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Not to enquire about the songs of triumph mentioned even in Romulus's time, there was certainly something of poetry among them in the next reign, under Numa; a Prince who pretended to converse with the Muses as well as with Egeria, and who might possibly himself have made the verses which the Salian priests sang in his time. Pythagoras, either in the same reign, or if you please some time after, gave the Romans a tincture of poetry as well as of philosophy; for Cicero assures us that the Pythagoreans made great use of poetry and music; and probably they, like our old Druids, delivered most of their precepts in verse. Indeed, the chief employment of poetry in that and the following ages, among the Romans, was of a religious kind. Their very prayers, and perhaps their whole liturgy, was poetical. They had also a sort of prophetic or sacred writers, who seem to have written generally in verse; and were so numerous that there were above two thousand of their volumes remaining even to Augustus's time. They had a kind of plays too, in these early times, derived from what they had seen of the Tuscan actors when sent for to Rome to expiate a plague that raged in the city. These seem to have been either like our dumb-shows, or else a kind of extempore farces--a thing to this day a good deal in use all over Italy and in Tuscany. In a more particular manner, add to these that extempore kind of jesting dialogues begun at their harvest and vintage feasts, and carried on so rudely and abusively afterwards as to occasion a very severe law to restrain their licentiousness; and those lovers of poetry and good eating, who seem to have attended the tables of the richer sort, much like the old provincial poets, or our own British bards, and sang there to some instrument of music the achievements of their ancestors, and the noble deeds of those who had gone before them, to inflame others to follow their great examples.[Illustration: ANCIENT ROMAN SHOES.] [Illustration: ANCIENT ROMAN TORCHES.] [Illustration: ANCIENT ROMAN DRINKING-BOTTLE.] [Illustration: ANCIENT ALABASTER BOX.]
The names of almost all these poets sleep in peace with all their works; and, if we may take the word of the other Roman writers of a better age, it is no great loss to us. One of their best poets represents them as very obscure and very contemptible; one of their best historians avoids quoting them as too barbarous for politer ears; and one of their most judicious emperors ordered the greatest part of their writings to be burnt, that the world might be troubled with them no longer.
All these poets, therefore, may very well be dropped in the account, there being nothing remaining of their works, and probably no merit to be found in them if they had remained. And so we may date the beginning of the Roman poetry from Livius Andronicus, the first of their poets of whom anything does remain to us; and from whom the Romans themselves seem to have dated the beginning of their poetry, even in the Augustan age.[Illustration: ANCIENT ROMAN MILL.]
The first kind of poetry that was followed with any success among the Romans, was that for the stage. They were a very religious people; and stage plays in those times made no inconsiderable part in their public devotions; it is hence, perhaps, that the greatest number of their oldest poets, of whom we have any remains, and, indeed, almost all of them, are dramatic poets.SPENCE. * * * * * CHARACTER OF JULIUS CAESAR. [Illustration: Letter C.]
Caesar was endowed with every great and noble quality that could exalt human nature, and give a man the ascendant in society. Formed to excel in peace as well as war; provident in council; fearless in action, and executing what he had resolved with an amazing celerity; generous beyond measure to his friends; placable to his enemies; and for parts, learning, and eloquence, scarce inferior to any man. His orations were admired for two qualities, which are seldom found together, strength and elegance: Cicero ranks him among the greatest orators that Rome ever bred; and Quintilian says, that he spoke with the same force with which he fought; and if he had devoted himself to the bar, would have been the only man capable of rivalling Cicero. Nor was he a master only of the politer arts; but conversant also with the most abstruse and critical parts of learning; and, among other works which he published, addressed two books to Cicero on the analogy of language, or the art of speaking and writing correctly. He was a most liberal patron of wit and learning, wheresoever they were found; and out of his love of those talents, would readily pardon those who had employed them against himself; rightly judging, that by making such men his friends, he should draw praises from the same fountain from which he had been aspersed. His capital passions were ambition and love of pleasure, which he indulged in their turns to the greatest excess; yet the first was always predominant--to which he could easily sacrifice all the charms of the second, and draw pleasure even from toils and dangers, when they ministered to his glory. For he thought Tyranny, as Cicero says, the greatest of goddesses; and had frequently in his mouth a verse of Euripides, which expressed the image of his soul, that if right and justice were ever to be violated, they were to be violated for the sake of reigning. This was the chief end and purpose of his life--the scheme that he had formed from his early youth; so that, as Cato truly declared of him, he came with sobriety and meditation to the subversion of the republic. He used to say, that there were two things necessary to acquire and to support power--soldiers and money; which yet depended mutually upon each other: with money, therefore, he provided soldiers, and with soldiers extorted money, and was, of all men, the most rapacious in plundering both friends and foes; sparing neither prince, nor state, nor temple, nor even private persons who were known to possess any share of treasure. His great abilities would necessarily have made him one of the first citizens of Rome; but, disdaining the condition of a subject, he could never rest till he made himself a Monarch. In acting this last part, his usual prudence seemed to fail him; as if the height to which he was mounted had turned his head and made him giddy; for, by a vain ostentation of his power, he destroyed the stability of it; and, as men shorten life by living too fast, so by an intemperance of reigning he brought his reign to a violent end.MIDDLETON. [Illustration: COIN OF CAESAR AUGUSTUS.] [Illustration: COIN OF THE EMPEROR TIBERIUS.] * * * * * SIEGE OF TYRE.
It appeared to Alexander a matter of great importance, before he went further, to gain the maritime powers. Upon application, the Kings of Cyprus and Phoenicea made their submission; only Tyre held out. He besieged that city seven months, during which time he erected vast mounds of earth, plied it with his engines, and invested it on the side next the sea with two hundred gallies. He had a dream in which he saw Hercules offering him his hand from the wall, and inviting him to enter; and many of the Tyrians dreamt "that Apollo declared he would go over to Alexander, because he was displeased with their behaviour in the town," Hereupon, the Tyrians, as if the God had been a deserter taken in the fact, loaded his statue with chains, and nailed the feet to the pedestal, not scrupling to call him an _Alexandrist_. In another dream, Alexander thought he saw a satyr playing before him at some distance, and when he advanced to take him, the savage eluded his grasp. However, at last, after much coaxing and taking many circuits round him, be prevailed with him to surrender himself. The interpreters, plausibly enough, divided the Greek name for _satyr_ into two, _Sa Tyros_, which signifies _Tyre is thine_. They still show us a fountain near which Alexander is said to have seen that vision.[Illustration: CITY OF TYRE.]
About the middle of the siege, he made an excursion against the Arabians who dwelt about Anti-Libanus. Here he ran a great risk of his life, on account of his preceptor Lysimachus, who insisted on attending him--being, as he alleged, neither older nor less valiant than Phoenix; but when they came to the hills and quitted their horses to march up on foot, the rest of the party got far before Alexander and Lysimachus. Night came on, and, as the enemy was at no great distance, the King would not leave his preceptor, borne down with fatigue and with the weight of years. Therefore, while he was encouraging and helping him forward, he was insensibly separated from the troop, and had a cold and dark night to pass in an exposed and dismal situation. In this perplexity, he observed at a distance a number of scattered fires which the enemy had lighted; and depending upon his swiftness and activity as well as being accustomed to extricate the Macedonians out of every difficulty, by taking a share in the labour and danger, he ran to the next fire. After having killed two of the barbarians who watched it, he seized a lighted brand and hastened with it to his party, who soon kindled a great fire. The sight of this so intimidated the enemy, that many of them fled, and those who ventured to attack him were repulsed with considerable slaughter. By this means he passed the night in safety, according to the account we have from Charis.[Illustration: COIN OF TYRE.]
As for the siege, it was brought to a termination in this manner: Alexander had permitted his main body to repose themselves after the long and severe fatigues they had undergone, and ordered only some small parties to keep the Tyrians in play. In the meantime, Aristander, his principal soothsayer, offered sacrifices; and one day, upon inspecting the entrails of the victim, he boldly asserted among those around him that the city would certainly be taken that month. As it happened to be the last day of that month, his assertion was received with ridicule and scorn. The King perceiving he was disconcerted, and making it a point to bring the prophecies of his minister to completion, gave orders that the day should not be called the 30th, but the 28th of the month; at the same time he called out his forces by sound of trumpet, and made a much more vigorous assault than he at first intended. The attack was violent, and those who were left behind in the camp quitted it, to have a share in it and to support their fellow-soldiers, insomuch that the Tyrians were forced to give out, and the city was taken that very day.LANGHORNE'S _Plutarch_. * * * * * THE FALLS OF NIAGARA. [Illustration: Letter T.]
The river Niagara takes its rise in the western extremity of Lake Erie, and, after flowing about thirty-four miles, empties itself into Lake Ontario. It is from half a mile to three miles broad; its course is very smooth, and its depth considerable. The sides above the cataract are nearly level; but below the falls, the stream rushes between very lofty rocks, crowned by gigantic trees. The great body of water does not fall in one complete sheet, but is separated by islands, and forms three distinct falls. One of these, called the Great Fall, or, from its shape, the Horse-shoe Fall, is on the Canadian side. Its beauty is considered to surpass that of the others, although its height is considerably less. It is said to have a fall of 165 feet; and in the inn, which is about 300 yards from the fall, the concussion of air caused by this immense cataract is so great, that the window-frames, and, indeed, the whole house, are continually in a tremulous motion, and in winter, when the wind drives the spray in the direction of the buildings, the whole scene is coated with sheets of ice.[Illustration: THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.]
The great cataract is seen by few travellers in its winter garb. I had seen it several years before in all the glories of autumn, its
encircling woods, happily spared by the remorseless hatchet, and tinted with the brilliant hues peculiar to the American "Fall." Now the glory had departed; the woods were still there, but were generally black, with occasional green pines; beneath the grey trunks was spread a thick mantle of snow, and from the brown rocks inclosing the deep channel of the Niagara River hung huge clusters of icicles, twenty feet in length, like silver pipes of giant organs. The tumultuous rapids appeared to descend more regularly than formerly over the steps which distinctly extended across the wide river. The portions of the British, or Horse-shoe Fall, where the waters descend in masses of snowy whiteness, were unchanged by the season, except that vast sheets of ice and icicles hung on their margin; but where the deep waves of sea-green water roll majestically over the steep, large pieces of descending ice were frequently descried on its surface. No rainbows were now observed on the great vapour-cloud which shrouds for ever the bottom of the Fall; but we were extremely fortunate to see now plainly what I had looked for in vain at my last visit, the _water-rockets_, first described by Captain Hall, which shot up with a train of vapour singly, and in flights of a dozen, from the abyss near Table Rock, curved towards the east, and burst and fell in front of the cataract. Vast masses of descending fluid produce this singular effect, by means of condensed air acting on portions of the vapour into which the water is comminuted below. Altogether the appearance was most startling. It was observed at 1 P.M. from the gallery of Mr. Barnett's museum. The broad sheet of the American Fall presented the appearance of light-green water and feathery spray, also margined by huge icicles. As in summer, the water rushing from under the vapour-cloud of the two Falls was of a milky whiteness as far as the ferry, when it became dark and interspersed with floating masses of ice. Here, the year before, from the pieces of ice being heaped and crushed together in great quantities, was formed a thick and high bridge of ice, completely across the river, safe for passengers for some time; and in the middle of it a Yankee speculator had erected a shanty for refreshments. Lately, at a dinner party, I heard a staff-officer of talent, but who was fond of exciting wonder by his narratives, propose to the company a singular wager,--a bet of one hundred pounds that he would go over the Falls of Niagara and come out alive at the bottom! No one being inclined to take him up, after a good deal of discussion as to how this perilous feat was to be accomplished, the plan was disclosed. To place on Table Rock a crane, with a long arm reaching over the water of the Horse-shoe Fall; from this arm would hang, by a stout rope, a large bucket or cask; this would be taken up some distance above the Fall, where the mill-race slowly glides towards the cataract; here the adventurer would get into the cask, men stationed on the Table Rock would haul in the slack of the rope as he descended, and the crane would swing him clear from the cataract as he passed over. Here is a chance for any gentleman sportsman to immortalize himself!
The Sloth, in its wild condition, spends its whole life on the trees, and never leaves them but through force or accident; and, what is more extraordinary, it lives not _upon_ the branches, like the squirrel and the monkey, but _under_ them. Suspended from the branches, it moves, and rests, and sleeps. So much of its anatomical structure as illustrates this peculiarity it is necessary to state. The arm and fore-arm of the sloth, taken together, are nearly twice the length of the hind legs; and they are, both by their form and the manner in which they are joined to the body, quite incapacitated from acting in a perpendicular direction, or in supporting it upon the earth, as the bodies of other quadrupeds are supported by their legs. Hence, if the animal be placed on the floor, its belly touches the ground. The wrist and ankle are joined to the fore-arm and leg in an oblique direction; so that the palm or sole, instead of being directed downwards towards the surface of the ground, as in other animals, is turned inward towards the body, in such a manner that it is impossible for the sloth to place the sole of its foot flat down upon a level surface. It is compelled, under such circumstances, to rest upon the external edge of the foot. This, joined to other
peculiarities in the formation, render it impossible for sloths to walk after the manner of ordinary quadrupeds; and it is indeed only on broken ground, when he can lay hold of stones, roots of grass, &c., that he can get along at all. He then extends his arms in all directions in search of something to lay hold of; and when he has succeeded, he pulls himself forward, and is then enabled to trail himself along in the exceedingly awkward and tardy manner which has procured for him his name.
Mr. Waterton informs us that he kept a sloth for several months in his room, in order to have an opportunity of observing his motions. If the ground were rough he would pull himself forward in the manner described, at a pretty good pace; and he invariably directed his course towards the nearest tree. But if he was placed upon a smooth and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in much distress. Within doors, the favourite position of this sloth was on the back of a chair; and after getting all his legs in a line on the topmost part of it, he would hang there for hours together, and often with a low and plaintive cry would seem to invite the notice of his master. The sloth does not suspend himself head downward, like the vampire bat, but when asleep he supports himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes the branch with one arm, and then with the other; after which he brings up both his legs, one by one, to the same branch; so that, as in the Engraving, all the four limbs are in a line. In this attitude the sloth has the power of using the fore paw as a hand in conveying food to his mouth, which he does with great address, retaining meanwhile a firm hold of the branch with the other three paws. In all his operations the enormous claws with which the sloth is provided are of indispensable service. They are so sharp and crooked that they readily seize upon the smallest inequalities in the bark of the trees and branches, among which the animal usually resides, and also form very powerful weapons of defence.
The sloth has been said to confine himself to one tree until he has completely stripped it of its leaves; but Mr. Waterton says, "During the many years I have ranged the forests, I have never seen a tree in such a state of nudity; indeed, I would hazard a conjecture, that, by the time the animal had finished the last of the old leaves, there would be a new crop on the part of the tree it had stripped first, ready for him to begin again--so quick is the process of vegetation in these countries. There is a saying among the Indians, that when the wind blows the sloth begins to travel. In calm weather he remains tranquil, probably not liking to cling to the brittle extremities of the branches, lest they should break with him in passing from one tree to another; but as soon as the wind arises, and the branches of the neighbouring trees become interwoven, the sloth then seizes hold of them and travels at such a good round pace, that any one seeing him, as I have done, pass from tree to tree, would never think of calling him a sloth."* * * * *
SIERRA NEVADA, OR SNOWY RANGE OF CALIFORNIA. "The dividing ridge of the Sierra Nevada is in sight from this encampment. Accompanied by Mr. Preuss, I ascended to-day the highest peak to the right, from which we had a beautiful view of a mountain lake at our feet, about 15 miles in length, and so entirely surrounded by mountains that we could not discover an outlet. We had taken with us a glass, but though we enjoyed an extended view, the valley was half hidden in mist, as when we had seen it before. Snow could be distinguished on the higher parts of the coast mountains; eastward, as far as the eye could extend, it ranged over a terrible mass of broken snowy mountains, fading off blue in the distance. The rock composing the summit consists of a very coarse, dark, volcanic conglomerate: the lower parts appeared to be of a very slatey structure. The highest trees were a few scattered cedars and aspens. From the immediate foot of the peak we were two hours in reaching the summit, and one hour and a quarter in descending. The day had been very bright, still, and clear, and spring seems to be advancing rapidly. While the sun is in the sky the snow melts rapidly, and gushing springs cover the face of the mountain in all the exposed places, but their surface freezes instantly with the disappearance of the sun.
"The Indians of the Sierra make frequent descents upon the settlements west of the Coast Range, which they keep constantly swept of horses; among them are many who are called Christian Indians, being refugees from Spanish missions. Several of these incursions occurred while we were at Helvetia. Occasionally parties of soldiers follow them across the Coast Range, but never enter the Sierra."[Illustration: SIERRA NEVADA, UPPER CALIFORNIA.]
The party had not long before passed through a beautiful country. The narrative says:--"During the earlier part of the day our ride had been over a very level prairie, or rather a succession of long stretches of prairie, separated by lines and groves of oak timber, growing along dry gullies, which are tilled with water in seasons of rain; and perhaps, also, by the melting snows. Over much of this extent the vegetation was spare; the surface showing plainly the action of water, which, in the season of flood, the Joaquin spreads over the valley. About one o'clock, we came again among innumerable flowers; and, a few miles further, fields of beautiful blue-flowering _lupine_, which seems to love the neighbourhood of water, indicated that we were approaching a stream. We here found this beautiful shrub in thickets, some of them being twelve feet in height. Occasionally, three or four plants were clustered together, forming a grand bouquet, about ninety feet in circumference, and ten feet high; the whole summit covered with spikes of flowers, the perfume of which is very sweet and grateful. A lover of natural beauty can imagine with what pleasure we rode among these flowering groves, which filled the air with a light and delicate fragrance. We continued our road for about half a mile, interspersed through an open grove of live oaks, which, in form, were the most symmetrical and beautiful we had yet seen in this country. The ends of their branches rested on the ground, forming somewhat more than a half sphere of very full and regular figure, with leaves apparently smaller than usual. The Californian poppy, of a rich orange colour, was numerous to-day. Elk and several bands of antelope made their appearance. Our road now was one continued enjoyment; and it was pleasant riding among this assemblage of green pastures, with varied flowers and scattered groves, and, out of the warm, green spring, to look at the rocky and snowy peaks where lately we had suffered so much."
Again, in the Sierra Nevada:--"Our journey to-day was in the midst of an advanced spring, whose green and floral beauty offered a delightful contrast to the sandy valley we had just left. All the day snow was in sight on the butt of the mountain, which frowned down upon us on the right; but we beheld it now with feelings of pleasant security, as we rode along between green trees and on flowers, with humming-birds and other feathered friends of the traveller enlivening the serene spring air. As we reached the summit of this beautiful pass, and obtained a view into the eastern country, we saw at once that here was the place to take leave of all such pleasant scenes as those around us. The distant mountains were now bald rocks again; and, below, the land had any colour but green. Taking into consideration the nature of the Sierra Nevada, we found this pass an excellent one for horses; and, with a little labour, or, perhaps, with a more perfect examination of the localities, it might be made sufficiently practicable for waggons."FREMONT'S _Travels_. * * * * * THE GROUSE. [Illustration: Letter W.]
We have but few European birds presenting more points of interest in their history than the Grouse, a species peculiar to the northern and temperate latitudes of the globe. Dense pine forests are the abode of some; others frequent the wild tracts of heath-clad moorland, while the patches of vegetation scattered among the rocky peaks of the mountains, afford a congenial residence to others. Patient of cold, and protected during the intense severities of winter by their thick plumage, they give animation to the frozen solitude long after all other birds have retired from the desolate scenery. Their food consists of the tender shoots of pines, the seeds of plants, the berries of the arbutus and bilberry, the buds of the birch and alder, the buds of the heather, leaves, and grain. The nest is very simply constructed, consisting of dried grasses placed upon the ground and sheltered among the herbage.
Two species of this bird, called forest grouse, are indigenous in England: one is the black grouse, common in the pine woods of Scotland and of the northern part of England, and elsewhere; the other is the capercailzie or cock of the woods. Formerly, in Ireland, and still more recently in Scotland, this noble bird, the most magnificent of the whole of the grouse tribe, was abundant in the larger woods; but it gradually disappeared, from the indiscriminate slaughter to which it was subject. Selby informs us that the last individual of this species in Scotland was killed about forty years ago, near Inverness. It still abounds in the pine forests of Sweden and Norway, and an attempt has been made by the Marquis of Breadalbane to re-introduce it into Scotland.
The red grouse, or moor grouse, is found in Scotland; and it is somewhat singular that this beautiful bird should not be known on the Continent, abundant as it is on the moorlands of Scotland, England, and Ireland. The breeding season of the red grouse is very early in spring, and the female deposits her eggs, eight or ten in number, in a high tuft of heather. The eggs are peculiarly beautiful, of a rich brown colour, spotted with black, and both herself and her mate attend the young with great assiduity. The brood continue in company during the winter, and often unite with other broods, forming large packs, which range the high moorlands, being usually shy and difficult of approach. Various berries, such as the cranberry, the bilberry, together with the tender shoots of heath, constitute the food of this species. The plumage is a rich colouring of chestnut, barred with black. The cock grouse in October is a very handsome bird, with his bright red comb erected above his eyes, and his fine brown plumage shining in the sun.[Illustration: GROUSE.]
The ptarmigan grouse is not only a native of Scotland but of the higher latitudes of continental Europe, and, perhaps, the changes of plumage in none of the feathered races are more remarkable than those which the ptarmigans undergo. Their full summer plumage is yellow, more or less inclining to brown, beautifully barred with zig-zag lines of black. Their winter dress is pure white, except that the outer tail-feathers, the shafts of the quills, and a streak from the eye to the beak are black. This singular change of plumage enables it, when the mountains are covered with snow, to escape the observation of the eagle, Iceland falcon, and the snowy owl: the feathers become much fuller, thicker, and more downy; the bill is almost hidden, and the legs become so thickly covered with hair-like feathers, as to resemble the legs of some well-furred quadruped.* * * * * PATMOS. [Illustration: Letter P.]
Patmos affords one of the few exceptions which are to be found to the general beauty and fertility of the islands of the Aegean Sea. Its natural advantages, indeed, are very few, for the whole of the island is little else than one continued rock, rising frequently into hills and mountains. Its valleys are seldom susceptible of cultivation, and scarcely ever reward it. Almost the only spot, indeed, in which it has been attempted, is a small valley in the west, where the richer inhabitants have a few gardens. On account of its stern and desolate character, the island was used, under the Roman Empire, as a place of banishment; and here the Apostle St. John, during the persecution of Domitian, was banished, and wrote the book of the Revelations. The island now bears the name of Patino and Palmosa, but a natural grotto in the rock is still shown as the place where St. John resided. "In and around it," says Mr. Turner, "the Greeks have dressed up one of their tawdry churches; and on the same site is a school attached to the church, in which a few children are taught reading and writing."[Illustration: PATMOS.]
Patmos used to be a famous resort of pirates. Dr. Clarke, after describing with enthusiasm the splendid scene which he witnessed in passing by Patmos, with feelings naturally excited by all the circumstances of local solemnity, and "the evening sun behind the towering cliffs of Patmos, gilding the battlements of the Monastery of the Apocalypse with its parting rays; the consecrated island, surrounded by inexpressible brightness, seeming to float upon an abyss of fire, while the moon, in milder splendour, was rising full over the opposite expanse," proceeds to remark, "How very different were the reflections caused upon leaving the deck, by observing a sailor with a lighted match in his hand, and our captain busied in appointing an extraordinary watch for the night, as a precaution against the pirates who swarm in these seas." These wretches, as dastardly as they were cruel, the instant they boarded a vessel, put every individual of the crew to death. They lurked about the isle of Fouri, to the north of Patmos, in great numbers, taking possession of bays and creeks the least frequented by other mariners. After they had plundered a ship, they bored a hole through her bottom, and took to their boats again. The knights of Malta were said to be amongst the worst of these robbers. In the library of the Monastery, which is built on the top of a mountain, and in the middle of the chief town, may be seen bulls from two of the Popes, and a protection from the Emperor Charles the Sixth, issued to protect the island from their incursions.
Though deficient in trees, Patmos now abounds in flowering plants and shrubs. Walnuts and other fruit trees grow in the orchards; and the wine of Patmos is the strongest and best flavoured of any in the Greek islands. The view of Patmos from the highest point is said to be very curious. The eye looks down on nothing but mountains below it; and the excessive narrowness of the island, with the curious form of its coast, have an extraordinary appearance.
Memorable in the history of genius is the 23rd of April, as being at once the day of the birth and death of Shakspeare; and these events took place on the same spot, for at Stratford-upon-Avon this illustrious dramatist was born, in the year 1564, and here he also died, in 1616. It has been conjectured, that his first dramatic composition was produced when he was but twenty-five years old. He continued to write for the stage for a great number of years; occasionally, also, appearing as a performer: and at length, having, by his exertions, secured a fortune of two or three hundred a year, retired to his native town, where he purchased a small estate, and spent the remainder of his days in ease and honour.[Illustration: THE CHANDOS PORTRAIT OF SHAKESPEARE.]
When Washington Irving visited Stratford-upon-Avon, he was led to make the following elegant reflections on the return of the poet to his early home:--"He who has sought renown about the world, and has reaped a full harvest of worldly favours, will find, after all, that there is no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul as that which springs up in his native place. It is there that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honour among his kindred and his early friends. And when the weary heart and failing head begin to warn him that the evening of life is drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant to the mother's arms, to sink in sleep in the bosom of the scene of his childhood. How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard, when, wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful world, he cast a heavy look upon his pastoral home, could he have foreseen that, before many years, he should return to it covered with renown; that his name should become the boast and glory of his native place; that his ashes should be religiously guarded as its most precious treasure; and that its lessening spire, on which his eyes were fixed in tearful contemplation, should one day become the beacon, towering amidst the gentle landscape, to guide the literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb!"
The accredited birth-place of Shakspeare has always been regarded with great interest: it is situate in a street in Stratford, retaining its ancient name of Henley, being the road to Henley-in-Arden. In 1574, here stood two houses, with a garden and orchard attached to each; and these houses were then purchased by John Shakspeare, whose son William was born in one of them, which still remains, though altered according to modern fashion. Its gable roofs are destroyed. Divided and subdivided into smaller tenements, part was converted into a little inn; part, the residence of a female who formerly showed the room where Shakspeare first saw the light, and the low-roofed kitchen where his mother taught him to read. The walls of the room in which he was born are literally covered with thousands of names, inscribed in homage by pilgrims from every region where the glory of Shakspeare is known. At the time when Shakspeare's father bought this house, it was, no doubt, quite a mansion, as compared with the majority of the houses in Stratford; but he little guessed the fame that would attach itself to this birth-place of his gifted son; long, we trust, to be preserved for the gratification of future generations of visitors to the hallowed spot. Besides his plays, Shakspeare was the author of several other poetical productions, and especially of a collection of sonnets.[Illustration: SHAKSPEARE'S HOUSE, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON.] * * * * * THE RETURN OF THE DOVE. [Illustration]
There hope in the Ark at the dawning of day, When o'er the wide waters the Dove flew away; But when ere the night she came wearily back With the leaf she had pluck'd on her desolate track, The children of Noah knelt down and adored, And utter'd in anthems their praise to the Lord. Oh bird of glad tidings! oh joy in our pain! Beautiful Dove! thou art welcome again.
When peace has departed the care-stricken breast, And the feet of the weary one languish for rest; When the world is a wide-spreading ocean of grief, How blest the return of the Bird and the Leaf! Reliance on God is the Dove to our Ark,
And Peace is the olive she plucks in the dark. The deluge abates, there is sun after rain-- Beautiful Dove! thou art welcome again!
There are several varieties of this venomous serpent, differing in point of colour; and the aspic of Egypt, with which Cleopatra destroyed herself, is said to be a very near ally to this species; but the true cobra is entirely confined to India.
The danger which accompanies the bite of this reptile, its activity when excited, the singularity of its form, and the gracefulness of its action, combine to render it one of the most remarkable animals of the class to which it belongs. When in its ordinary state of repose the neck is of the same diameter as the head; but when surprised or irritated, the skin expands laterally in a hood-like form, which is well known to the inhabitants of India as the symptom of approaching danger. Notwithstanding the fatal effects of the bite of these serpents, the Indian jugglers are not deterred from capturing and taming them for exhibition, which they do with singular adroitness, and with fearful interest to the unpractised observer. They carry the reptiles from house to house in a small round basket, from which they issue at the sound of a sort of flute, and execute certain movements in cadence with the music.
The animal from which our Engraving was taken is now in the menagerie of the Zoological Society in the Regent's Park, and is probably one of the finest which has ever reached England alive.
The Indian mangouste is described to be the most deadly enemy of the cobra di capello, and the battles between them have been frequently described. The serpent, when aware of the approach of the mangouste, rises on its tail, and with neck dilated, its head advanced, and eyes staring, awaits with every look of rage and fear the attack of its foe. The mangouste steals nearer and nearer, and creeping round, endeavours to get an opportunity of springing on the serpent's back; and whenever it misses its purpose and receives a bite, it runs perhaps some distance, to eat the mangouste-grass, which is an antidote against the poison: it then returns to the attack, in which it is commonly victorious.
The bite of the cobra di capello is not so immediately fatal as is commonly supposed; fowls have been known to live two days after being bitten, though they frequently die within half an hour. The snake never bites while its hood is closed, and as long as this is not erected the animal may be approached, and even handled with impunity; even when the hood is spread, while the creature continues silent, there is no danger. The fearful hiss is at once the signal of aggression and of peril. Though the cobra is so deadly when under excitement, it is,
nevertheless, astonishing to see how readily it is appeased, even in the highest state of exasperation, and this merely by the droning music with which its exhibitors seem to charm it.
The natives of India have a superstitious feeling with regard to this snake; they conceive that it belongs to another world, and when it appears in this, it is only as a visitor. In consequence of this notion they always avoid killing it, if possible.* * * * * THE PYRAMID LAKE. [Illustration: Letter P.]
Perhaps of all the localities of the Oregon territory so vividly described in Captain Fremont's adventurous narrative, the Pyramid Lake, visited on the homeward journey from the Dallas to the Missouri river, is the most beautiful. The exploring party having reached a defile between mountains descending rapidly about 2000 feet, saw, filling up all the lower space, a sheet of green water some twenty miles broad. "It broke upon our eyes," says the narrator, "like the ocean: the neighbouring peaks rose high above us, and we ascended one of them to obtain a better view. The waves were curling to the breeze, and their dark green colour showed it to be a body of deep water. For a long time we sat enjoying the view, for we had become fatigued with mountains, and the free expanse of moving waves was very grateful. It was like a gem in the mountains, which, from our position, seemed to enclose it almost entirely. At the eastern end it communicated with the line of basins we had left a few days since; and on the opposite side it swept a ridge of snowy mountains, the foot of the great Sierra. We followed a broad Indian trail or tract along the shore of the lake to the southward. For a short space we had room enough in the bottom, but, after travelling a short distance, the water swept the foot of the precipitous mountains, the peaks of which are about 3000 feet above the lake. We afterwards encamped on the shore, opposite a very remarkable rock in the lake, which had attracted our attention for many miles. It rose according to our estimation 600 feet above the level of the water, and, from the point we viewed it, presented a pretty exact outline of the great pyramid of Cheops. Like other rocks along the shore, it seemed to be encrusted with calcareous cement. This striking feature suggested a name for the lake, and I called it Pyramid Lake. Its elevation above the sea is 4890 feet, being nearly 700 feet higher than the Great Salt Lake, from which it lies nearly west." The position and elevation of Pyramid Lake make it an object of geographical interest. It is the nearest lake to the western river, as the Great Salt Lake is to the eastern river, of the great basin which lies between the base of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and the extent and character of which it is so desirable to know.
Many parts of the borders of this lake appear to be a favourite place of encampment for the Indians, whose number in this country is estimated at 140,000. They retain, still unaltered, most of the features of the savage character. They procure food almost solely by hunting; and to surprise a hostile tribe, to massacre them with every exercise of savage cruelty, and to carry off their scalps as trophies, is their highest ambition. Their domestic behaviour, however, is orderly and peaceable; and they seldom kill or rob a white man. Considerable attempts have been made to civilize them, and with some success; but the moment that any impulse has been given to war and hunting, they have instantly reverted to their original habits.[Illustration: PYRAMID LAKE, OREGON TERRITORY.] * * * * * ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE.
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey Had in her sober livery all things clad. Silence accompanied: for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, Were slunk--all but the wakeful nightingale: She, all night long, her am'rous descant sung. Silence was pleased. Now glow'd the firmament With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw-- When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest, 'Mind us of like repose: since God hath set Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Now falling with soft slumberous weight, Inclines our eyelids."--
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd: "My author and disposer, what thou bidst Unargued I obey. So God ordains.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change: all please alike. Sweet is the breath of morn--her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth After short show'rs; and sweet the coming on Of grateful evening mild--then silent night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, And these the gems of heav'n, her starry train: But neither breath of morn, when she ascends With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower Glistering with dew, nor fragrance after showers, Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night, With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon Or glitt'ring starlight, without thee is sweet."--
Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, Both turn'd, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole. "Thou also madest the night, Maker Omnipotent! and Thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd, Have finish'd; happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss Ordain'd by thee, and this delicious place, For us too large, where thy abundance wants Partakers, and uncropt, falls to the ground. But Thou hast promised from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."
Goldsmith's poetry enjoys a calm and steady popularity. It inspires us, indeed, with no admiration of daring design or of fertile invention; but it presents within its narrow limits a distinct and unbroken view of poetical delightfulness. His descriptions and sentiments have the pure zest of nature. He is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidity. Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some passages, be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic; but he unbends from this graver strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity. He is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity. He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose; and when he adopts colloquial plainness, it is with the utmost skill to avoid a vulgar humility. There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this chaste economy and choice of words, in Goldsmith than in any other modern poet, or, perhaps, than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of rhyme. In extensive narrative poems, such a style would be too difficult. There is a noble propriety even in the careless strength of great poems, as in the roughness of castle walls; and, generally speaking, where there is a long course of story, or observation of life to be pursued, such excursite touches as those of Goldsmith would be too costly materials for sustaining it. His whole manner has a still depth of feeling and reflection, which gives back the image of nature unruffled and minutely. His chaste pathos makes him an insulating moralist, and throws a charm of Claude-like softness over his descriptions of homely objects, that would seem only fit to be the subjects of Dutch painting; but his quiet enthusiasm leads the affections to humble things without a vulgar association, and he inspires us with a fondness to trace the simplest recollections of Auburn, till we count the furniture of its ale-house, and listen to the varnished clock that clicked behind the door.CAMPBELL. HAGAR AND ISHMAEL. [Illustration: Letter H.]
Hagar and Ishmael departed early on the day fixed for their removal, Abraham furnishing them with the necessary supply of travelling provisions. "And Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and she went away." The bottle here mentioned was probably made of the skin of a goat, sewn up, leaving an opening in one of the legs to serve as a mouth. Such skin bottles are still commonly used in Western Asia for water, and are borne slung across the shoulders, just as that of Hagar was placed.
It seems to have been the intention of Hagar to return to her native country, Egypt; but, in spite of the directions she received, the two travellers lost their way in the southern wilderness, and wandered to and fro till the water, which was to have served them on the road, was altogether spent. The lad, unused to hardship, was soon worn out. Overcome by heat and thirst, he seemed at the point of death, when the afflicted mother laid him down under one of the stunted shrubs of this dry and desert region, in the hope of his getting some relief from the slight damp which the shade afforded. The burning fever, however, continued unabated; and the poor mother, forgetting her own sorrow, destitute and alone in the midst of a wilderness, went to a little distance, unable to witness his lingering sufferings, and then "she lifted up her voice and wept." But God had not forgotten her: a voice was heard in the solitude, and an Angel of the Lord appeared, uttering words of comfort and promises of peace. He directed her to a well of water, which, concealed by the brushwood, had not been seen by her. Thus encouraged, Hagar drew a refreshing draught, and hastening to her son, "raised him by the hand," and gave him the welcome drink, which soon restored him. This well, according to the tradition of the Arabs, who pay great honour to the memory of Hagar, is Zemzem, near Mecca.[Illustration: HAGAR AND ISHMAEL.]
After this, we have no account of the history of Ishmael, except that he established himself in the wilderness of Paran, near Mount Sinai, and belonged to one of the tribes by which the desert was frequented. He was married, by his mother, to a countrywoman of her own, and maintained himself and his family by the produce of his bow. Many of the Arabian tribes have been proud to trace their origin to this son of the Patriarch Abraham.
THE HOLLY BOUGH.
In this fast fading year;
Ye who, by word or deed,
Have made a kind heart bleed,
Come gather here.
Let sinn'd against, and sinning, Forget their strife's beginning,
And join in friendship now; Be links no longer broken, Be sweet forgiveness spokenUnder the Holly-bough. Ye who have loved each other, Sister and friend and brother,
In this fast fading year;
Mother and sire and child, Young man and maiden mild,
Come gather here;
And let your hearts grow fonder, As Memory shall ponder
Each past unbroken vow: Old loves and younger wooing Are sweet in the renewingUnder the Holly-bough. Ye who have nourish'd sadness. Estranged from hope and gladness,
In this fast fading year;
Ye with o'erburden'd mind,
Made aliens from your kind,
Come gather here.
Let not the useless sorrow
Pursue you night and morrow,
If e'er you hoped, hope now-- Take heart, uncloud your faces, And join in our embracesUnder the Holly-bough. MACKAY [Illustration: THE HOLLY CART.] * * * * * THE UNIVERSE.
To us who dwell on its surface, the earth is by far the most extensive orb that our eyes can any where behold; but, to a spectator placed on one of the planets, it looks no larger than a spot. To beings who dwell at still greater distances, it entirely disappears. That which we call alternately the morning and the evening star, as in the one part of the orbit she rides foremost in the procession of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn, is a planetary world, which, with the five others that so wonderfully vary their mystic dance, are in themselves dark bodies, and shine only by reflection; have fields, and seas, and skies of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for animal subsistence, and are supposed to be the abodes of intellectual life. All these, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on the sun, receive their light from his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency. The sun, which seems to us to perform its daily stages through the sky, is, in this respect, fixed and immovable; it is the great axle about which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their stated courses. The sun, though apparently smaller than the dial it illuminates, is immensely larger than this whole earth, on which so many lofty mountains rise, and such vast oceans roll. A line extending from side to side through the centre of that resplendent orb, would measure more than 800,000 miles: a girdle formed to go round its circumference, would require a length of millions. Are we startled at these reports of philosophers? Are we ready to cry out in a transport of surprise, "How mighty is the Being who kindled such a prodigious fire, and keeps alive from age to age such an enormous mass of flame!" Let us attend our philosophic guides, and we shall be brought acquainted with speculations more enlarged and more inflaming. The sun, with all its attendant planets, is but a very little part of the grand machine of the universe; every star, though in appearance no bigger than the diamond that glitters upon a lady's ring, is really a vast globe like the sun in size and in glory; no less spacious, no less luminous, than the radiant source of the day: so that every star is not barely a world, but the centre of a magnificent system; has a retinue of worlds irradiated by its beams, and revolving round its attractive influence--all which are lost to our sight. That the stars appear like so many diminutive points, is owing to their immense and inconceivable distance. Immense and inconceivable indeed it is, since a ball shot from a loaded cannon, and flying with unabated rapidity, must travel at this impetuous rate almost 700,000 years, before it could reach the nearest of these twinkling luminaries.
While beholding this vast expanse I learn my own extreme meanness, I would also discover the abject littleness of all terrestrial things. What is the earth, with all her ostentatious scenes, compared with this astonishingly grand furniture of the skies? What, but a dim speck hardly perceptible in the map of the universe? It is observed by a very judicious writer, that if the sun himself, which enlightens this part of the creation, were extinguished, and all the host of planetary worlds which move about him were annihilated, they would not be missed by an eye that can take in the whole compass of nature any more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The bulk of which they consist, and the space which they occupy, are so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that their loss would leave scarce a blank in the immensity of God's works. If, then, not our globe only, but this whole system, be so very dimunitive, what is a kingdom or a country? What are a few lordships, or the so-much-admired patrimonies of those who are styled wealthy? When I measure them with my own little pittance, they swell into proud and bloated dimensions; but when I take the universe for my standard, how scanty is their size, how contemptible their figure; they shrink into pompous nothings!ADDISON. * * * * * ODE TO ST. CECILIA. [Illustration]
Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head,
As awaked from the dead,
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries, See the Furies arise:
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
Each a torch in his hand!
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain, And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain.
Behold how they toss their torches on high, How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods!
The Princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the King seized a flambeau, with zeal to destroy; Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire. At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from the sacred store, Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before. Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown:
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.
The Satin Bower-Bird was one of the earliest known species in the Australian fauna, and probably received the name of _Satin Grakle_, by which it was described in Latham's "General History of Birds," from the intensely black glossy plumage of the adult male. But, although the existence of this bird was noticed by most of the writers on the natural history of Australia subsequent to Latham, it appears that no suspicion of its singular economy had extended beyond the remotest settlers, until Mr. Gould, whose great work on the "Birds of Australia" is known to every one, unravelled the history of the _bowers_, which had been discovered in many parts of the bush, and which had been attributed to almost every possible origin but the right one.
The bower, as will be seen by the Illustration, is composed of twigs woven together in the most compact manner, and ornamented with shells and feathers, the disposition of which the birds are continually altering. They have no connexion with the nest, and are simply playing-places, in which the birds divert themselves during the months which precede nidification.[Illustration: BOWER BIRDS.]
The birds themselves are nearly as large as a jackdaw. The female is green in colour, the centre of the breast feathers yellowish; the unmoulted plumage of the male is similar: the eyes of both are brilliant blue.* * * * * THE POOL OF SILOAM. [Illustration: Letter T.]
The fountain and pool of Siloam, whose surplus waters flow in a little streamlet falling into the lake Kedron, is situate near the ancient walls of the city of Jerusalem. Mr. Wild tells us "that the fountain of Siloam is a mineral spring of a brackish taste, and somewhat of the smell of the Harrowgate water, but in a very slight degree." It is said to possess considerable medicinal properties, and is much frequented by pilgrims. "Continuing our course," says he, "around the probable line of the ancient walls, along the gentle slope of Zion, we pass by the King's gardens, and arrive at the lower pool of Siloam, placed in another indentation in the wall. It is a deep square cistern lined with masonry, adorned with columns at the sides, and having a flight of steps leading to the bottom, in which there was about two feet of water. It
communicates by a subterraneous passage with the fountain, from which it is distant about 600 yards. The water enters the pool by a low arched passage, into which the pilgrims, numbers of whom are generally to be found around it, put their heads, as part of the ceremony, and wash their clothes in the purifying stream that rises from it." During a rebellion in Jerusalem, in which the Arabs inhabiting the Tillage of Siloam were the ringleaders, they gained access to the city by means of the conduit of this pool, which again rises within the mosque of Omar. This passage is evidently the work of art, the water in it is generally about two feet deep, and a man may go through it in a stooping position. When the stream leaves the pool, it is divided into numbers of little aqueducts, for the purpose of irrigating the gardens and
pleasure-grounds which lie immediately beneath it in the valley, and are the chief source of their fertility, for, as they are mostly formed of earth which has been carried from other places, they possess no original or natural soil capable of supporting vegetation. As there is but little water in the pool during the dry season, the Arabs dam up the several streams in order to collect a sufficient quantity in small ponds adjoining each garden, and this they all do at the same time, or there would be an unfair division of the fertilizing fluid. These dams are generally made in the evening and drawn off in the morning, or sometimes two or three times a day; and thus the reflux of the water that they hold gives the appearance of an ebb and flow, which by some travellers has caused a report that the pool of Siloam is subject to daily tides.
There are few towns, and scarcely any metropolitan town, in which the natural supply of water is so inadequate as at Jerusalem; hence the many and elaborate contrivances to preserve the precious fluid, or to bring it to the town by aqueducts.* * * * * WINTER THOUGHTS. [Illustration: Letter A.]
Ah! little think the gay licentious proud, Whom pleasure, pow'r, and affluence surround-- They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along How many feel this very moment death, And all the sad variety of pain:
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame! how many bleed By shameful variance betwixt man and man! How many pine in want and dungeon glooms, Shut from the common air, and common use Of their own limbs! how many drink the cup Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery! Sore pierced by wintry winds, How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty! How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind, Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse, Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life, They furnish matter for the Tragic Muse! Even in the vale where Wisdom loves to dwell, With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation join'd, How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop In deep retired distress. How many stand Around the death-bed of their dearest friends, And point the parting anguish! Thought fond man Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, That one incessant struggle render life--
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, Vice in its high career would stand appall'd, And heedless, rambling impulse learn to think; The conscious heart of Charity would warm, And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh, And into clear perfection gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
Really winter in Canada must be felt to be imagined; and when felt can no more be described by words, than colours to a blind man or music to a deaf one. Even under bright sun-shine, and in a most exhilirating air, the biting effect of the cold upon the portion of our face that is exposed to it resembles the application of a strong acid; and the healthy grin which the countenance assumes, requires--as I often observed on those who for many minutes had been in a warm room waiting to see me--a considerable time to relax.
In a calm, almost any degree of cold is bearable, but the application of successive doses of it to the face by wind, becomes, occasionally, almost unbearable; indeed, I remember seeing the left cheek of nearly twenty of our soldiers simultaneously frost-bitten in marching about a hundred yards across a bleak open space, completely exposed to a strong and bitterly cold north-west wind that was blowing upon us all.
The remedy for this intense cold, to which many Canadians and others have occasionally recourse, is--at least to my feelings it always appeared--infinitely worse than the disease. On entering, for instance, the small parlour of a little inn, a number of strong, able-bodied fellows are discovered holding their hands a few inches before their faces, and sitting in silence immediately in front of a stove of such excruciating power, that it really feels as if it would roast the very eyes in their sockets; and yet, as one endures this agony, the back part is as cold as if it belonged to what is called at home "Old Father Christmas."
As a further instance of the climate, I may add, that several times, while my mind was very warmly occupied in writing my despatches, I found my pen full of a lump of stuff that appeared to be honey, but which proved to be frozen ink; again, after washing in the morning, when I took up some money that had lain all night on my table, I at first fancied it had become sticky, until I discovered that the sensation was caused by its freezing to my fingers, which, in consequence of my ablutions, were not perfectly dry.[Illustration: WINTER DRESS OF BRITISH TROOPS IN CANADA.]
Notwithstanding, however, this intensity of cold, the powerful circulation of the blood of large quadrupeds keeps the red fluid, like the movement of the waters in the great lakes, from freezing; but the human frame not being gifted with this power, many people lose their limbs, and occasionally their lives, from cold. I one day inquired of a fine, ruddy, honest-looking man, who called upon me, and whose toes and instep of each foot had been truncated, how the accident happened? He told me that the first winter he came from England he lost his way in the forest, and that after walking for some hours, feeling pain in his feet, he took off his boots, and from the flesh immediately swelling, he was unable to put them on again. His stockings, which were very old ones, soon wore into holes; and as rising on his insteps he was hurriedly proceeding he knew not where, he saw with alarm, but without feeling the slightest pain, first one toe and then another break off, as if they had been pieces of brittle stick, and in this mutilated state he continued to advance till he reached a path which led him to an inhabited log house, where he remained suffering great pain till his cure was effected.
Although the sun, from the latitude, has considerable power, it appears only to illuminate the sparkling snow, which, like the sugar on a bridal cake, conceals the whole surface. The instant, however, the fire of heaven sinks below the horizon, the cold descends from the upper regions of the atmosphere with a feeling as if it were poured down upon the head and shoulders from a jug.SIR FRANCIS HEAD. BALLOONS.
The idea of constructing a machine which should enable us to rise into and sail through the air, seems often to have occupied the attention of mankind, even from remote times, but it was never realised until within the last sixty or seventy years. The first public ascent of a fire-balloon in France, in 1783, led to an experiment on the part of Joseph Mongolfier. He constructed a balloon of linen, lined with paper, which, when inflated by means of burning chopped straw and coal, was found to be capable of raising 500 pounds weight. It was inflated in front of the Palace at Versailles, in the presence of the Royal family, and a basket, containing a sheep, a duck, and a cock, was attached to it. It was then liberated, and ascended to the height of 1500 feet. It fell about two miles from Versailles; the animals were uninjured, and the sheep was found quietly feeding near the place of its descent.
Monsieur Mongolfier then constructed one of superior strength, and a M. de Rozier ventured to take his seat in the car and ascend three hundred feet, the height allowed by the ropes, which were not cut. This same person afterwards undertook an aerial voyage, descending in safety about five miles from Paris, where the balloon ascended. But this enterprising voyager in the air afterwards attempted to travel in a balloon with sails. This was formed by a singular combination of balloons--one inflated with hydrogen gas, and the other a fire-balloon. The latter, however, catching fire, the whole apparatus fell from the height of about three-quarters of a mile, with the mangled bodies of the voyagers attached to the complicated machinery.[Illustration: GREEN'S BALLOON, ASCENDING FROM VAUXHALL GARDENS.]
A Frenchman named Tester, in 1786, also made an excursion in a balloon with sails; these sails or wings aided in carrying his balloon so high, that when he had reached an elevation of 3000 feet, fearing his balloon might burst, he descended into a corn-field in the plain of Montmorency. An immense crowd ran eagerly to the spot; and the owner of the field, angry at the injury his crop had sustained, demanded instant indemnification. Tester offered no resistance, but persuaded the peasants that, having lost his wings, he could not possibly escape. The ropes were seized by a number of persons, who attempted to drag the balloon towards the village; but as, during the procession, it had acquired considerable buoyancy, Tester suddenly cut the cords, and, rising in the air, left the disappointed peasants overwhelmed in astonishment. After being out in a terrible thunder-storm, he descended uninjured, about twelve hours from the time of his first ascent. SIR THOMAS GRESHAM.[Illustration: Letter A.]
Among the worthies of this country who, after a successful and honourable employment of their talent in life, have generously consulted the advantage of generations to come after them, few names appear more conspicuous than that of Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of Gresham College, and of the Royal Exchange, London. He was born in that city about the year 1518, the second son of Sir Richard Gresham, who served the office of sheriff in 1531, and that of Lord Mayor in 1537. He received a liberal education at the University, and is mentioned in high terms as having distinguished himself at Cambridge, being styled "that noble and most learned merchant." His father at this time held the responsible position of King's merchant, and had the management of the Royal monies at Antwerp, then the most important seat of commerce in Europe; and when his son Sir Thomas succeeded him in this responsible appointment, he not only established his fame as a merchant, but secured universal respect and esteem. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth, his good qualities attracted the peculiar notice of her Majesty, who was pleased to bestow on him the honour of knighthood; and at this time he built the noble house in Bishopsgate-street, which after his death was converted to the purposes of a College of his own foundation.
In the year 1564, Sir Thomas made an offer to the Corporation of London, that, if the City would give him a piece of ground, he would erect an Exchange at his own expense; and thus relieve the merchants from their present uncomfortable mode of transacting business in the open air. The liberal offer being accepted, the building, which was afterwards destroyed in the Great Fire of London, was speedily constructed, at a very great expense, and ornamented with a number of statues. Nor did Gresham's persevering benevolence stop here: though he had so much to engross his time and attention, he still found leisure to consider the claims of the destitute and aged, and in his endowment of eight alms-houses with a comfortable allowance for as many decayed citizens of London, displayed that excellent grace of charity which was his truest ornament.
In person Sir Thomas was above the middle height, and handsome when a young man, but he was rendered lame by a fall from his horse during one of his journeys in Flanders. Sir Thomas Gresham's exemplary life terminated suddenly on the 21st of November, 1579, after he had just paid a visit to the noble building which he had so generously founded.[Illustration: SIR THOMAS GRESHAM.] * * * * * ON THE ATTAINMENT OF KNOWLEDGE.
Let the enlargement of your knowledge be one constant view and design in life; since there is no time or place, no transactions, occurrences, or engagements in life, which exclude us from this method of improving the mind. When we are alone, even in darkness and silence, we may converse with our own hearts, observe the working of our own spirits, and reflect upon the inward motions of our own passions in some of the latest occurrences in life; we may acquaint ourselves with the powers and properties, the tendencies and inclinations both of body and spirit, and gain a more intimate knowledge of ourselves. When we are in company, we may discover something more of human nature, of human passions and follies, and of human affairs, vices and virtues, by conversing with mankind, and observing their conduct. Nor is there any thing more valuable than the knowledge of ourselves and the knowledge of men, except it be the knowledge of God who made us, and our relation to Him as our Governor.
When we are in the house or the city, wheresoever we turn our eyes, we see the works of men; when we are abroad in the country, we behold more of the works of God. The skies and the ground above and beneath us, and the animal and vegetable world round about us, may entertain our observation with ten thousand varieties.
Fetch down some knowledge from the clouds, the stars, the sun, the moon, and the revolutions of all the planets. Dig and draw up some valuable meditations from the depths of the earth, and search them through the vast oceans of water. Extract some intellectual improvement from the minerals and metals; from the wonders of nature among the vegetables and herbs, trees and flowers. Learn some lessons from the birds and the beasts, and the meanest insect. Read the wisdom of God, and his admirable contrivance in them all: read his almighty power, his rich and various goodness, in all the works of his hands.
From the day and the night, the hours and the flying minutes, learn a wise improvement of time, and be watchful to seize every opportunity to increase in knowledge.
From the vices and follies of others, observe what is hateful in them; consider how such a practice looks in another person, and remember that it looks as ill or worse in yourself. From the virtue of others, learn something worthy of your imitation.
From the deformity, the distress, or calamity of others, derive lessons of thankfulness to God, and hymns of grateful praise to your Creator, Governor, and Benefactor, who has formed you in a better mould, and guarded you from those evils. Learn also the sacred lesson of contentment in your own estate, and compassion to your neighbour under his miseries.
From your natural powers, sensations, judgment, memory, hands, feet, &c., make this inference, that they were not given you for nothing, but for some useful employment to the honour of your Maker, and for the good of your fellow-creatures, as well as for your own best interest and final happiness.DR. WATTS. * * * * * THIBETAN SHEEP.
The enterprising traveller, Moorcroft, during his journey across the vast chain of the Himalaya Mountains, in India, undertaken with the hope of finding a passage across those mountains into Tartary, noticed, in the district of Ladak, the peculiar race of sheep of which we give an Engraving. Subsequent observations having confirmed his opinion as to the quality of their flesh and wool, the Honourable East India Company imported a flock, which were sent for a short time to the Gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent's Park. They were then distributed among those landed proprietors whose possessions are best adapted, by soil and climate, for naturalising in the British Islands this beautiful variety of the mountain sheep. The wool, the flesh, and the milk of the sheep appear to have been very early appreciated as valuable products of the animal: with us, indeed, the milk of the flock has given place to that of the herd; but the two former still retain their importance. Soon after the subjugation of Britain by the Romans, a woollen manufactory was established at Winchester, situated in the midst of a district then, as now, peculiarly suited to the short-woolled breed of sheep. So successful was this manufacture, that British cloths were soon preferred at Rome to those of any other part of the Empire, and were worn by the most opulent on festive and ceremonial occasions. From that time forward, the production of wool in this island, and the various manufactures connected with it, have gone on increasing in importance, until it has become one of the chief branches of our commerce.[Illustration: THIBETAN SHEEP.] * * * * * NAVAL TACTICS. [Illustration: Letter O.]
On being told the number and size of the sails which a vessel can carry (that is to say, can sail with, without danger of being upset), the uninitiated seldom fail to express much surprise. This is not so striking in a three-decker, as in smaller vessels, because the hull of the former stands very high out of the water, for the sake of its triple rank of guns, and therefore bears a greater proportion to its canvas than that of a frigate or a smaller vessel. The apparent inequality is most obvious in the smallest vessels, as cutters: and of those kept for pleasure, and therefore built for the purpose of sailing as fast as possible, without reference to freight or load, there are many the hull of which might be entirely wrapt up in the mainsail. It is of course very rarely, if ever, that a vessel carries at one time all the sail she is capable of; the different sails being usually employed according to the circumstances of direction of wind and course. The sails of a ship, when complete, are as follows:--
The lowermost sail of the mast, called thence the _mainsail_, or _foresail_; the _topsail_, carried by the _topsail-yard_; the
_top-gallant-sail_; and above this there is also set a _royal_ sail, and again above this, but only on emergencies, a sail significantly called a _sky-sail_. Besides all this, the three lowermost of these are capable of having their surface to be exposed to the wind increased by means of _studding_ sails, which are narrow sails set on each side beyond the regular one, by means of small _booms_ or yards, which can be slid out so as to extend the lower yards and topsail-yards: the upper parts of these additional sails hang from small yards suspended from the principal ones, and the boom of the lower studding-sails is hooked on to the chains. Thus each of the two principal masts, the fore and main, are capable of bearing no less than thirteen distinct sails. If a ship could be imagined as cut through by a plane, at right angles to the keel, close to the mainmast, the _area_, or surface, of all the sails on this would be five or six times as great as that of the section or profile of the hull!
The starboard studding-sails are on the fore-mast, and on both sides of the main-top-gallant and main-royal; but, in going nearly before a wind, there is no advantage derived from the stay-sails, which, accordingly, are not set. The flying-jib is to be set to assist in steadying the motion.
The mizen-mast, instead of a lower square-sail like the two others, has a sail like that of a cutter, lying in the plane of the keel, its bottom stretched on a boom, which extends far over the taffarel, and the upper edge carried by a _gaff_ or yard sloping upwards, supported by ropes from the top of the mizen-mast.
All these sails, the sky-sails excepted, have four sides, as have also the sprit-sails on the bowsprit, jib-boom, &c.; and all, except the sail last mentioned on the mizen, usually lie across the ship, or in planes forming considerable angles with the axis or central line of the ship. There are a number of sails which lie in the same plane with the keel, being attached to the various _stays_ of the masts; these are triangular sails, and those are called _stay-sails_ which are between the masts: those before the fore-mast, and connected with the bowsprit, are the _fore stay-sail_, the _fore-topmast-stay-sail_, the _jib_, sometimes a _flying jib_, and another called a _middle jib_, and there are two or three others used occasionally. Thus it appears that there are no less than fifty-three different sails, which are used at times, though, we believe, seldom more than twenty are _set_ at one time, for it is obviously useless to extend or set a sail, if the wind is prevented from filling it by another which intercepts the current of air.
The higher the wind, the fewer the sails which a ship can carry; but as a certain number, or rather quantity, of canvas is necessary in different parts of the ship to allow of the vessel being steered, the principal sails, that is, the _courses_ or lower sails, and the top-sails, admit of being reduced in extent by what is termed _reefing_: this is done by tying up the upper part of the sail to the yard by means of rows of strings called _reef-points_ passing through the canvas; this reduces the depth of the sail, while its width is unaltered on the yard, which is therefore obliged to be lowered on the mast accordingly.[Illustration: SHORTENING SAIL IN A STORM.] [Illustration: PREPARING TO MAKE SAIL.] [Illustration: LOOSED SAILS.]
Ships are principally distinguished as those called merchantmen, which belong to individuals or companies, and are engaged in commerce; and men-of-war, or the national ships, built for the purposes of war. The latter receive their designation from the number of their decks, or of the guns which they carry. The largest are termed ships of the line, from their forming the line of battle when acting together in fleets; and are divided into first-rates, second-rates, third-rates, &c.
First-rates include all those carrying 100 guns and upwards, with a company of 850 men and upwards; second-rates mount 90 to 100 guns, and so on, down to the sixth-rates; but some ships of less than 44 guns are termed frigates.
There are three principal masts in a complete ship: the first is the main-mast, which stands in the centre of the ship; at a considerable distance forward is the fore-mast; and at a less distance behind, the mizen-mast. These masts, passing through the decks, are fixed firmly in the keel. There are added to them other masts, which can be taken down or raised--hoisted, as it is termed at sea--at pleasure: these are called top-masts, and, according to the mast to which each is attached--main, fore, or mizen-topmast. When the topmast is carried still higher by the addition of a third, it receives the name of top-gallant-mast. The yards are long poles of wood slung across the masts, or attached to them by one end, and having fixed to them the upper edge of the principal sails. They are named upon the same plan as the masts; for example, the main-yard, the fore-top-sail-yard, and so on. The bowsprit is a strong conical piece of timber, projecting from the stem of a ship, and serving to support the fore-mast, and as a yard or boom on which certain sails are moveable.
According as the wind blows from different points, in regard to the course the ship is sailing, it is necessary that the direction of the yards should be changed, so as to form different angles with the central line or with the keel; this is effected by ropes brought from the ends of the yards to the mast behind that to which these belong, and then, passing through blocks, they come down to the deck: by pulling one of these, the other being slackened, the yard is brought round to the proper degree of inclination; this is termed bracing the yards, the ropes being termed braces.* * * * * THE CHOICE OF HERCULES.
When Hercules was in that part of his youth in which it was natural for him to consider what course of life he ought to pursue, he one day retired into a desert, where the silence and solitude of the place very much favoured his meditations. As he was musing on his present condition, and very much perplexed in himself on the state of life he should choose, he saw two women, of a larger stature than ordinary, approaching towards him. One of them had a very noble air, and graceful deportment; her beauty was natural and easy, her person clean and unspotted, her eyes cast towards the ground with an agreeable reserve, her motion and behaviour full of modesty, and her raiment as white as snow. The other had a great deal of health and floridness in her countenance, which she had helped with an artificial white and red; and she endeavoured to appear more graceful than ordinary in her mien, by a mixture of affectation in all her gestures. She had a wonderful confidence and assurance in her looks, and all the variety of colours in her dress, that she thought were the most proper to shew her complexion to advantage. She cast her eyes upon herself, then turned them on those that were present, to see how they liked her, and often looked on the figure she made in her own shadow. Upon her nearer approach to Hercules, she stepped before the other lady, who came forward with a regular, composed carriage, and running up to him, accosted him after the following manner:--
"My dear Hercules!" says she, "I find you are very much divided in your thoughts upon the way of life that you ought to choose; be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquietude of business. The affairs of either war or peace shall have no power to disturb you. Your whole employment shall be to make your life easy, and to entertain every sense with its proper gratifications. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfume, concerts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell for ever to care, to pain, to business." Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name, to which she answered--"My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure."
By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner:--"Hercules," says she, "I offer myself to you because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love of virtue and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay this down as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable which can be purchased without pains and labour. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping Him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it; in short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so. These are the only terms and conditions upon which I can propose happiness."The Goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse:--"You see," said she, "Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasures is long and difficult; whereas that which I propose is short and easy."
"Alas!" said the other lady, whose visage glowed with passion, made up of scorn and pity, "what are the pleasures you propose? To eat before you are hungry; drink before you are athirst; sleep before you are tired; to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as Nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's-self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old age. As for me, I am the friend of gods and of good men; an agreeable companion to the artizan; an household guardian to the fathers of families; a patron and protector of servants; an associate in all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for none eat or drink of them who are not invited by hunger or thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years; and those who are in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and after the close of their labours honoured by posterity."
We know, by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and I believe every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice._Tatler_. * * * * * STRATA FLORIDA ABBEY. [Illustration]
The remains of Strata Florida Abbey, in South Wales, are most interesting in many points of view, more especially as the relics of a stately seminary for learning, founded as early as the year 1164. The community of the Abbey were Cistercian monks, who soon attained great celebrity, and acquired extensive possessions. A large library was founded by them, which included the national records from the earliest periods, the works of the bards and the genealogies of the Princes and great families in Wales. The monks also compiled a valuable history of the Principality, down to the death of Llewellyn the Great. When Edward I. invaded Wales, he burned the Abbey, but it was rebuilt A.D. 1294. Extensive woods once flourished in the vicinity of Strata Florida, and its burial-place covered no less than 120 acres. A long list of eminent persons from all parts of Wales were here buried, and amongst them David ap Gwillim, the famous bard. The churchyard is now reduced to small dimensions; but leaden coffins, doubtless belonging to once celebrated personages, are still found, both there and at a distance from the cemetery. A few aged box and yew-trees now only remain to tell of the luxuriant verdure which once grew around the Abbey; and of the venerable pile itself little is left, except an arch, and the fragment of a fine old wall, about forty feet high. A small church now stands within the enclosure, more than commonly interesting from having been built with the materials of the once celebrated Abbey of Strata Florida.* * * * * KAFFIR CHIEFS. [Illustration]
In the warm summer months a thin kind of petticoat constitutes the sole bodily attire of the Kaffir Chiefs; but in winter a cloak is used, made of the skins of wild beasts, admirably curried. The head, even in the hottest weather, is never protected by any covering, a fillet, into which a feather of the ostrich is stuck, being generally worn; and they seldom wear shoes, except on undertaking a long journey, when they condescend to use a rude substitute for them. The bodies of both sexes are tattooed; and the young men, like the fops of more civilized nations, paint their skins and curl their hair. Their arms are the javelin, a large shield of buffalo-hide, and a short club.
The women exhibit taste in the arrangement of their dress, particularly for that of the head, which consists of a turban made of skin, and profusely ornamented with beads, of which adornment both men and women are very fond. A mantle of skin, variously bedecked with these and other showy trinkets, is worn; and the only distinction between the dress of the chieftains' wives and those of a lower rank consists in a greater profusion of ornaments possessed by the former, but of which all are alike vain. There is no change of dress, the whole wardrobe of the female being that which she carries about with her and sleeps in, for bed-clothes they have none.
The grain which they chiefly cultivate is a kind of millet: a small quantity of Indian corn and some pumpkins are likewise grown; but a species of sugar-cane is produced in great abundance, and of this they are extremely fond. Their diet, however, is chiefly milk in a sour curdled state. They dislike swine's flesh, keep no poultry, are averse to fish, but indulge in eating the flesh of their cattle, which they do in a very disgusting way. Although naturally brave and warlike, they prefer an indolent pastoral life, hunting being an occasional pastime.
Much light was thrown on the condition and future prospects of this people in 1835, by some papers relative to the Cape of Good Hope, which were laid before the English Government. From these it appeared that a system of oppression and unjustifiable appropriation on the part of the whites, have from time to time roused the savage energies of the Kaffirs, and impelled them to make severe reprisals upon their European spoilers. The longing of the Cape colonists for the well-watered valleys of the Kaffirs, and of the latter for the colonial cattle, which are much superior to their own, still are, as they have always been, the sources of irritation. Constant skirmishes took place, until, at length, in 1834, the savages poured into the colony in vast numbers, wasted the farms, drove off the cattle, and murdered not a few of the inhabitants. An army of 4000 men was marched against the invaders, who were driven far beyond the boundary-line which formerly separated Kaffirland from Cape Colony, and not only forced to confine themselves within the new limits prescribed, but to pay a heavy fine. Treaties have been entered into, and tracts of country assigned to the Kaffir chiefs of several families, who acknowledge themselves to be subjects of Great Britain, and who are to pay a fat ox annually as a quit-rent for the lands which they occupy.
Macomo, one of the Kaffir Chiefs, is a man of most remarkable character and talent, and succeeded his father, Gaika, who had been possessed of much greater power and wider territories than the son, but had found himself compelled to yield up a large portion of his lands to the colonists. Macomo received no education; all the culture which his mind ever obtained being derived from occasional intercourse with missionaries, after he had grown to manhood. From 1819, the period of Gaika's concessions, up to the year 1829, he with his tribe dwelt upon the Kat river, following their pastoral life in peace, and cultivating their corn-fields. Suddenly they were ejected from their lands by the Kat river, on the plea that Gaika had ceded these lands to the colony. Macomo retired, almost without a murmur, to a district farther inland, leaving the very grain growing upon his fields. He took up a new position on the banks of the river Chunice, and here he and his tribe dwelt until 1833, when they were again driven out to seek a new home, almost without pretence. On this occasion Macomo did make a remonstrance, in a document addressed to an influential person of the colony. "In the whole of this savage Kaffir's letter, there is," says Dr. Philip, "a beautiful simplicity, a touching pathos, a confiding magnanimity, a dignified remonstrance, which shows its author to be no common man. It was dictated to an interpreter."[Illustration]
"As I and my people," writes Macomo, "have been driven back over the Chunice, without being informed why, I should be glad to know from the Government what evil we have done. I was only told that we _must_ retire over the Chunice, but for what reason I was not informed. It was agreed that I and my people should live west of the Chunice, as well as east of it. When shall I and my people be able to get rest?"* * * * * RAILWAY TUNNELS. [Illustration: Letter O.]
Of the difficulties which occasionally baffle the man of science, in his endeavours to contend with the hidden secrets of the crust of the earth which we inhabit, the Kilsby Tunnel of the London and North-western Railway presents a striking example. The proposed tunnel was to be driven about 160 feet below the surface. It was to be, as indeed it is, 2399 yards in length, with two shafts of the extraordinary size of sixty feet in diameter, not only to give air and ventilation, but to admit light enough to enable the engine-driver, in passing through it with a train, to see the rails from end to end. In order correctly to
ascertain, and honestly to make known to the contractors the nature of the ground through which this great work was to pass, the
engineer-in-chief sank the usual number of what are called "trial shafts;" and, from the result, the usual advertisements for tenders were issued, and the shafts, &c. having been minutely examined by the competing contractors, the work was let to one of them for the sum of L99,000. In order to drive the tunnel, it was deemed necessary to construct eighteen working shafts, by which, like the heavings of a mole, the contents of the subterranean gallery were to be brought to the surface. This interesting work was in busy progress, when, all of a sudden, it was ascertained, that, at about 200 yards from the south end of the tunnel, there existed, overlaid by a bed of clay, forty feet thick, a hidden quicksand, which extended 400 yards into the proposed tunnel, and which the trial shafts on each side of it had almost miraculously just passed without touching. Overwhelmed at the discovery, the contractor instantly took to his bed; and though he was justly relieved by the company from his engagement, the reprieve came too late, for he actually died.
The general opinion of the several eminent engineers who were consulted was against proceeding; but Mr. R. Stephenson offered to undertake the responsibility of the work. His first operation was to lower the water with which he had to contend, and it was soon ascertained that the quicksand in question covered several square miles. The tunnel, thirty feet high by thirty feet broad, was formed of bricks, laid in cement, and the bricklayers were progressing in lengths averaging twelve feet, when those who were nearest the quicksand, on driving into the roof, were suddenly almost overwhelmed by a deluge of water, which burst in upon them. As it was evident that no time was to be lost, a gang of workmen, protected by the extreme power of the engines, were, with their materials, placed on a raft; and while, with the utmost celerity, they were completing the walls of that short length, the water, in spite of every effort to keep it down, rose with such rapidity, that, at the conclusion of the work, the men were so near being jammed against the roof, that the assistant-engineer jumped overboard, and then swimming, with a rope in his mouth, he towed the raft to the nearest working shaft, through which he and his men were safely lifted to daylight, or, as it is termed by miners, "to grass."
The water now rose in the shaft, and, as it is called, "drowned the works" but, by the main strength of 1250 men, 200 horses, and thirteen steam-engines, not only was the work gradually completed, but, during day and night for eight months, the almost incredible quantity of 1800 gallons of water per minute was raised, and conducted away. The time occupied from the laying of the first brick to the completion was thirty months.[Illustration: DEEP CUTTING NEAR THE TUNNEL.] * * * * * SUN FISH.
While lying in Little Killery Bay, on the coast of Connemara, in her Majesty's surveying ketch _Sylvia_, we were attracted by a large fin above the surface, moving with an oscillatory motion, somewhat resembling the action of a man sculling at the stern of a boat; and knowing it to be an unusual visitor, we immediately got up the harpoon and went in chase. In the meantime, a country boat came up with the poor animal, and its crew inflicted upon it sundry blows with whatever they could lay their hands on--oars, grappling, stones, &c.--but were unsuccessful in taking it; and it disappeared for some few minutes, when it again exhibited its fin on the other side of the Bay. The dull and stupid animal permitted us to place our boat immediately over it, and made no effort to escape. The harpoon never having been sharpened, glanced off without effect; but another sailor succeeded in securing it by the tail with a boat-hook, and passing the bight of a rope behind its fins, we hauled it on shore, under Salrock House, the residence of General Thompson, who, with his family, came down to inspect this strange-looking inhabitant of the sea. We were well soused by the splashing of its fins, ere a dozen hands succeeded in transporting this heavy creature from its native abode to the shore, where it passively died, giving only an occasional movement with its fins, or uttering a kind of grunt.[Illustration: SIDE VIEW OF SUN FISH.] [Illustration: FRONT VIEW OF SUN FISH.]
This animal, I believe, is a specimen of the Sun-fish (_Orthagoriscus_). It has no bony skeleton; nor did we, in our rather hasty dissection, discover any osseous structure whatever, except (as we were informed by one who afterwards inspected it) that there was one which stretched between the large fins. Its jaws also had bony terminations, unbroken into teeth, and parrot-like, which, when not in use, are hidden by the envelopement of the gums. The form of the animal is preserved by an entire cartilaginous case, of about three inches in thickness, covered by a kind of shagreen skin, so amalgamated with the cartilage as not to be separated from it. This case is easily penetrable with a knife, and is of pearly whiteness, more resembling cocoa-nut in appearance and texture than anything else I can compare it with. The interior cavity, containing the vital parts, terminates a little behind the large fins, where the cartilage was solid, to its tapered extremity, which is without a caudal fin. Within, and around the back part, lay the flesh, of a coarse fibrous texture, slightly salmon-coloured. The liver was such as to fill a common pail, and there was a large quantity of red blood. The nostril, top of the eye, and top of the gill-orifice are in line, as represented in the Engraving. The dimensions are as under:--
Eye round, and like that of an ox, 2-1/4 inches diameter. Gill-orifice, 4 inches by 2-1/4 inches. Dorsal and anal fins equal, 2 ft. 2 in. long, by 1 ft. 3 in. wide. Pectoral fins, 10 in. high by 8 broad. Length of fish, 6 ft. Depth, from the extremities of the large fins, 7 ft. 4 in. Extreme breadth at the swelling under the eye, only 20 in. Weight, 6 cwt. 42 lb.CAPTAIN BEDFORD, R.N. * * * * * BATTLE OF THE BALTIC. [Illustration: Letter O.]
Of Nelson and the North
Sing the glorious day's renown, When to battle fierce came forth All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone; By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand--
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.
Like Leviathans afloat
Lay their bulwarks on the brine; While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line;
It was ten of April morn, by the chime, As they drifted on their path:
There was silence deep as death, And the boldest held his breath For a time.
But the might of England flush'd
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush'd
O'er the deadly space between.
"Hearts of Oak!" our Captains cried; when each gun From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.
Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back--
Their shots along the deep slowly boom: Then ceased, and all is wail
As they strike the shatter'd sail,
Or, in conflagration pale,
Light the gloom.
Out spoke the victor then,
As he hail'd them o'er the wave, "Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save;
So peace instead of death let us bring. But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
With their crews, at England's feet, And make submission meet
To our King."
Then Denmark bless'd our chief, That he gave her wounds repose; And the sounds of joy and grief From her people wildly rose,
As Death withdrew his shades from the day, While the sun look'd smiling bright
O'er a wide and woeful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Now joy, old England, raise!
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities' blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light; And yet, amidst that joy and uproar, Let us think of them that sleep, Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep-- Ellsinore!
Brave hearts! to Britain's pride,
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died
With the gallant, good Riou--
Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o'er their grave: While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave.
Cannon took their name from the French word _Canne_, a reed. Before their invention, machines were used for throwing enormous stones. These were imitated from the Arabs, and called _ingenia_, whence engineer. The first cannon were made of wood, wrapped up in numerous folds of linen, and well secured by iron hoops. The true epoch of the use of metallic cannon cannot be ascertained; it is certain, however, that they were in use about the middle of the 14th century. The Engraving beneath represents a field-battery gun taking up its position in a canter. The piece of ordnance is attached, or "limbered up" to an ammunition carriage, capable of carrying two gunners, or privates, whilst the drivers are also drilled so as to be able to serve at the gun in action, in case of casualties.[Illustration: TAKING UP POSITION.]
Having reached its destination, and been detached or "unlimbered" from the front carriage, we next see the action of loading; the ramrod having at its other extremity a sheep-skin mop, larger than the bore of the piece, and called "a sponge." This instrument, before loading, is invariably used, whilst the touch-hole or "vent" is covered by the thumb of the gunner especially numbered off for this important duty; and the air being thus excluded, the fire, which often remains within the bore, attached to either portions of cartridge-case or wadding, is
extinguished. Serious accidents have been known to occur from a neglect of this important preliminary to loading; as a melancholy instance, a poor fellow may be seen about the Woolwich barracks, _both_ of whose arms were blown off above the elbow joint, whilst ramming home a cartridge before the sponge had been properly applied.
If it is deemed essential to keep up a fire upon the enemy during a temporary retreat, or in order to avoid an overwhelming body of cavalry directed against guns unsupported by infantry, in that case the limber remains as close as possible to the field-piece, as shown in the Engraving above.
Skilful provisions are made against the various contingencies likely to occur in action. A wheel may he shattered by the enemy's shot, and the gun thereby disabled for the moment: this accident is met by supporting the piece upon a handspike, firmly grasped by one or two men on each side, according to the weight of the gun, whilst a spare wheel, usually suspended at the back of "the tumbril," or ammunition waggon, is obtained, and in a few moments made to remedy the loss, as represented above.[Illustration: DISABLED WHEEL.] [Illustration: DISMANTLING A GUN.]
The extraordinary rapidity with which a gun can be dislodged from its carriage, and every portion of its complicated machinery scattered upon the ground, is hardly to be believed unless witnessed; but the wonder is increased tenfold, on seeing with what magical celerity the death-dealing weapon can be put together again. These operations will be readily understood by an examination of the Illustrations. In that at the foot of page 175 the cannon is lying useless upon the earth; one wheel already forms the rude resting-place of a gunner, whilst the other is in the act of being displaced. By the application of a rope round the termination of the breech, and the lifting of the trail of the carriage, care being previously taken that the trunnions are in their respective sockets, a very slight exertion of manual labour is required to put the gun into fighting trim. That we may be understood, we will add that the trunnions are the short round pieces of iron, or brass, projecting from the sides of the cannon, and their relative position can be easily ascertained by a glance at the gun occupying the foreground of the Illustration where the dismantling is depicted. To perform the labour thus required in managing cannon, is called to serve the guns.[Illustration: MOUNTING A GUN.]
Cannon are cast in a solid mass of metal, either of iron or brass; they are then bored by being placed upon a machine which causes the whole mass to turn round very rapidly. The boring tool being pressed against the cannon thus revolving, a deep hole is made in it, called the bore.* * * * * THE TREE KANGAROO AND BLACK LEOPARD.
The ordinary mode in which the Kangaroos make their way on the ground, as well as by flight from enemies, is by a series of bounds, often of prodigious extent. They spring from their hind limbs alone, using neither the tail nor the fore limbs. In feeding, they assume a crouching, hare-like position, resting on the fore paws as well as on the hinder extremities, while they browse on the herbage. In this attitude they hop gently along, the tail being pressed to the ground. On the least alarm they rise on the hind limbs, and bound to a distance with great rapidity. Sometimes, when excited, the old male of the great kangaroo stands on tiptoe and on his tail, and is then of prodigious height. It readily takes to the water, and swims well, often resorting to this mode of escape from its enemies, among which is the dingo, or wild dog of Australia.[Illustration: TREE KANGAROO, AND BLACK LEOPARD.]
Man is, however, the most unrelenting foe of this inoffensive animal. It is a native of New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, and was first discovered by the celebrated navigator Captain Cook, in 1770, while stationed on the coast of New South Wales. In Van Diemen's Land the great kangaroo is regularly hunted with fox-hounds, as the deer or fox in England.
The Tree Kangaroo, in general appearance, much resembles the common kangaroo, having many of that animal's peculiarities. It seems to have the power of moving very quickly on a tree; sometimes holding tight with its fore feet, and bringing its hind feet up together with a jump; at other times climbing ordinarily.* * * * *
In the island of Java a black variety of the Leopard is not uncommon, and such are occasionally seen in our menageries; they are deeper than the general tint, and the spots show in certain lights only. Nothing can exceed the grace and agility of the leopards; they bound with astonishing ease, climb trees, and swim, and the flexibility of the body enables them to creep along the ground with the cautious silence of a snake on their unsuspecting prey.
In India the leopard is called by the natives the "tree-tiger," from its generally taking refuge in a tree when pursued, and also from being often seen among the branches: so quick and active is the animal in this situation, that it is not easy to take a fair aim at him. Antelopes, deer, small quadrupeds, and monkeys are its prey. It seldom attacks a man voluntarily, but, if provoked, becomes a formidable assailant. It is sometimes taken in pitfalls and traps. In some old writers there are accounts of the leopard being taken in trap, by means of a mirror, which, when the animal jump against it, brings a door down upon him.* * * * * CHARITY. [Illustration: Letter D.]
Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue, Than ever man pronounced or angel sung; Had I all knowledge, human and divine That thought can reach, or science can define; And had I power to give that knowledge birth, In all the speeches of the babbling earth, Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire, To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire;
Or had I faith like that which Israel saw, When Moses gave them miracles and law: Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy power exerted in my breast, Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r; That scorn of life would be but wild despair; A cymbal's sound were better than my voice; My faith were form, my eloquence were noise. [Illustration]
Charity, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind; Knows with just reins, and gentle hand, to guide Betwixt vile shame and arbitrary pride. Not soon provoked, she easily forgives;
And much she suffers, as she much believes. Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives; She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives; Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even, And opens in each heart a little heaven.
Each other gift, which God on man bestows, Its proper bounds, and due restriction knows; To one fix'd purpose dedicates its power;
And finishing its act, exists no more.
Thus, in obedience to what Heaven decrees, Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease; But lasting Charity's more ample sway,
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay,
In happy triumph shall for ever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive.
As through the artist's intervening glass, Our eye observes the distant planets pass, A little we discover, but allow
That more remains unseen than art can show; So whilst our mind its knowledge would improve, Its feeble eye intent on things above,
High as we may we lift our reason up,
By faith directed, and confirm'd by hope; Yet are we able only to survey
Dawnings of beams and promises of day; Heav'n's fuller effluence mocks our dazzled sight-- Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light.
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispell'd; The Son shall soon be face to face beheld, In all his robes, with all his glory on,
Seated sublime on his meridian throne.
Then constant Faith, and holy Hope shall vie, One lost in certainty, and one in joy:
Whilst thou, more happy pow'r, fair Charity, Triumphant sister, greatest of the three, Thy office, and thy nature still the same, Lasting thy lamp, and unconsumed thy flame, Shall still survive--
Shall stand before the host of heav'n confest, For ever blessing, and for ever blest.
Sardis, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia, is situated on the river Pactolus, in the fertile plain below Mount Tmolus. Wealth, pomp, and luxury characterised this city from very ancient times. The story of Croesus, its last King, is frequently alluded to by historians, as affording a remarkable example of the instability of human greatness. This Monarch considered himself the happiest of human beings, but being checked by the philosopher Solon for his arrogance, he was offended, and dismissed the sage from his Court with disgrace. Not long afterwards, led away by the ambiguous answers of the oracles, he conducted a large army into the field against Cyrus, the future conqueror of Babylon, but was defeated, and obliged to return to his capital, where he shut himself up. Hither he was soon followed and besieged by Cyrus, with a far inferior force; but, at the expiration of fourteen days, the
citadel, which had been deemed impregnable, was taken by a stratagem, and Croesus was condemned to the flames. When the sentence was about to be executed, he was heard to invoke the name of Solon, and the curiosity of Cyrus being excited, he asked the cause; and, having heard his narrative, ordered him to be set free, and subsequently received him into his confidence.
Under the Romans, Sardis declined in importance, and, being destroyed by an earthquake, for some time lay desolate, until it was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
The situation of Sardis is very beautiful, but the country over which it looks is almost deserted, and the valley is become a swamp. The hill of the citadel, when seen from the opposite bank of the Hermus, appears of a triangular form; and at the back of it rise ridge after ridge of mountains, the highest covered with snow, and many of them bearing evident marks of having been jagged and distorted by earthquakes. The citadel is exceedingly difficult of ascent; but the magnificent view which it commands of the plain of the Hermus, and other objects of interest, amply repays the risk and fatigue. The village, small as it is, boasts of containing one of the most remarkable remains of antiquity in Asia; namely, the vast Ionic temple of the heathen goddess Cybele, or the earth, on the banks of the Pactolus. In 1750, six columns of this temple were standing, but four of them have since been thrown down by the Turks, for the sake of the gold which they expected to find in the joints.Two or three mills and a few mud huts, inhabited by Turkish herdsmen, contain all the present population of Sardis. * * * * * MARTELLO TOWERS. [Illustration: Letter A.]
At a time when there appeared to be good reason for believing that the invasion of England was contemplated, the Government turned their attention to the defence of such portions of the coast as seemed to present the greatest facility for the landing of a hostile force. As the Kentish coast, from East Were Bay to Dymchurch, seemed more especially exposed, a line of Martello Towers was erected between these two points, at a distance from each other of from one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile. Other towers of the same kind were erected on various parts of the coast where the shore was low, in other parts of England, but more particularly in the counties of Sussex and Suffolk. Towers of this construction appear to have been adopted, owing to the resistance that was made by the Tower of Martella, in the Island of Corsica, to the British forces under Lord Hood and General Dundas, in 1794. This tower which was built in the form of an obtruncated cone--like the body of a windmill--was situated in Martella, or Martle Bay. As it rendered the landing of the troops difficult, Commodore Linzee anchored in the bay to the westward, and there landed the troops on the evening of the 7th of February, taking possession of a height that commanded the tower. As the tower impeded the advance of the troops, it was the next day attacked from the bay by the vessels _Fortitude_ and _Juno_; but after a cannonade of two hours and a half, the ships were obliged to haul off, the _Fortitude_ having sustained considerable damage from red-hot shot discharged from the tower. The tower, after having been cannonaded from the height for two days, surrendered; rather, it would appear, from the alarm of the garrison, than from any great injury that the tower had sustained. The English, on taking possession of the fort, found that the garrison had originally consisted of thirty-three men, of whom two only were wounded, though mortally. The walls were of great thickness, and bomb-proof; and the parapet consisted of an interior lining of rush matting, filled up to the exterior of the parapet with sand. The only guns they had were two 18-pounders.
The towers erected between East Were Bay and Dymchurch (upwards of twenty) were built of brick, and were from about 35 feet to 40 feet high: the entrance to them was by a low door-way, about seven feet and a half from the ground; and admission was gained by means of a ladder, which was afterwards withdrawn into the interior. A high step of two feet led to the first floor of the tower, a room of about thirteen feet diameter, and with the walls about five feet thick. Round this room were loopholes in the walls, at such an elevation, that the men would be obliged to stand on benches in the event of their being required to oppose an attack of musketry. Those benches were also used as the sleeping-places of the garrison. On this floor there was a fire-place, and from the centre was a trap-door leading downwards to the ammunition and provision rooms. The second floor was ascended by similar means.[Illustration: MARTELLO TOWER ON THE KENTISH COAST.] * * * * * TURKISH CUSTOMS. [Illustration: Letter C.]
Characteristically indolent, the fondness for a sedentary life is stronger, perhaps, with the Turks, than with any other people of whom we read. It is difficult to describe the gravity and apathy which
constitute the distinguishing features of their character: everything in their manners tends to foster in them, especially in the higher classes, an almost invincible love of ease and luxurious leisure. The general rule which they seem to lay down for their guidance, is that taking the trouble to do anything themselves which they can possibly get others to do for them; and the precision with which they observe it in some of the minutest trifles of domestic life is almost amusing. A Turkish gentleman, who has once composed his body upon the corner of a sofa, appears to attach a certain notion of grandeur to the keeping of it there, and it is only something of the gravest importance that induces him to disturb his position. If he wishes to procure anything that is within a few steps of him, he summons his slaves by clapping his hands (the Eastern mode of "ringing the bell"), and bids them bring it to him: his feelings of dignity would be hurt by getting up to reach it himself. Of course, this habit of inaction prevails equally with the female sex: a Turkish lady would not think of picking up a fallen handkerchief, so long as she had an attendant to do it for her. As may be supposed, the number of slaves in a Turkish household of any importance is very great. [Illustration: TURKISH FEMALE SLAVE.]
The position of women in Eastern countries is so totally unlike that which they hold in our own happy land, that we must refer expressly to it, in order that the picture of domestic life presented to us in the writings of all travellers in the East may be understood. Amongst all ranks, the wife is not the friend and companion, but the slave of her husband; and even when treated with kindness and affection, her state is still far below that of her sisters in Christian lands. Even in the humblest rank of life, the meal which the wife prepares with her own hands for her husband, she must not partake of with him. The hard-working Eastern peasant, and the fine lady who spends most of her time in eating sweet-meats, or in embroidery, are both alike dark and ignorant; for it would be accounted a folly, if not a sin, to teach them even to read.
Numerous carriers, or sellers of water, obtain their living in the East by supplying the inhabitants with it. They are permitted to fill their water-bags, made of goat-skins, at the public fountains. This goat-skin of the carrier has a long brass spout, and from this the water is poured into a brass cup, for any one who wishes to drink. Many of these are employed by the charitable, to distribute water in the streets; and they pray the thirsty to partake of the bounty offered to them in the name of God, praying that Paradise and pardon may be the lot of him who affords the refreshing gift.[Illustrated: TURKISH WATER-CARRIER]
The Dancing Dervises are a religious order of Mohamedans, who affect a great deal of patience, humility, and charity. Part of their religious observance consists in dancing or whirling their bodies round with the greatest rapidity imaginable, to the sound of a flute; and long practice has enabled them to do this without suffering the least inconvenience from the strange movement.
In Eastern countries, the bread is generally made in the form of a large thin cake, which is torn and folded up, almost like a sheet of paper; it can then be used (as knives and forks are not employed by the Orientals) for the purpose of rolling together a mouthful of meat, or supping up gravy and vegetables, at the meals.[Illustration: DANCING DERVISE.] * * * * *
ON STUDY. Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. The chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in
discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots, and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by duty; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use, but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted; not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that should be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sorts of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
He who hath bent him o'er the dead Ere the first day of death is fled;
The first dark day of nothingness.
The last of danger and distress:
Before Decay's effacing fingers,
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers, And mark'd the mild, angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there; The fix'd, yet tender traits that streak The languor of the placid cheek.
And, but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not--wins not--weeps not--now; And, but for that chill, changeless brow, Whose touch thrills with mortality,
And curdles to the gazer's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon: Yes, but for these, and these alone
Some moments--ay, one treacherous hour-- He still might doubt the tyrant's power; So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd,
The first, last look by death reveal'd.
Such is the aspect of this shore;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet--so deadly fair--
We start, for soul is wanting there:
Hers is the loveliness in death
That parts not quite with parting breath;
But beauty, with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb:
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of feeling past away!
Spark of that flame--perchance of Heavenly birth, Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!
Attock is a fort and small town in the Punjaub, on the left or east bank of the Indus, 942 miles from the sea, and close below the place where it receives the water of the Khabool river, and first becomes navigable. The name, signifying _obstacle_, is supposed to have been given to it under the presumption that no scrupulous Hindoo would proceed westward of it; but this strict principle, like many others of similar nature, is little acted on. Some state that the name was given by the Emperor Akbar, because he here found much difficulty in crossing the river. The river itself is at this place frequently by the natives called Attock. Here is a bridge, formed usually of from twenty to thirty boats, across the stream, at a spot where it is 537 feet wide. In summer, when the melting of the snows in the lofty mountains to the north raises the stream so that the bridge becomes endangered, it is withdrawn, and the communication is then effected by means of a ferry.
The banks of the river are very high, so that the enormous accession which the volume of water receives during inundation scarcely affects the breadth, but merely increases the depth. The rock forming the banks is of a dark-coloured slate, polished by the force of the stream, so as to shine like black marble. Between these, "one clear blue stream shot past." The depth of the Indus here is thirty feet in the lowest state, and between sixty and seventy in the highest, and runs at the rate of six miles an hour. There is a ford at some distance above the confluence of the river of Khabool; but the extreme coldness and rapidity of the water render it at all times very dangerous, and on the slightest inundation quite impracticable. The bridge is supported by an association of boatmen, who receive the revenue of a village allotted for this purpose by the Emperor Akbar, and a small daily pay as long as the bridge stands, and also levy a toll on all passengers.
On the right bank, opposite Attock, is Khyrabad--a fort built, according to some, by the Emperor Akbar, according to others by Nadir Shah. This locality is, in a military and commercial point of view, of much importance, as the Indus is here crossed by the great route which, proceeding from Khabool eastward through the Khyber Pass into the Punjaub, forms the main line of communication between Affghanistan and Northern India. The river was here repeatedly crossed by the British armies, during the late military operations in Affghanistan; and here, according to the general opinion, Alexander, subsequently Timur, the Tartar conqueror, and, still later, Nadir Shah, crossed; but there is much uncertainty on these points.[Illustration: THE FORT OF ATTOCK.]
The fortress was erected by the Emperor Akbar, in 1581 to command the passage; but, though strongly built of stone on the high and steep bank of the river, it could offer no effectual resistance to a regular attack, being commanded by the neighbouring heights. Its form is that of a parallelogram: it is 800 yards long and 400 wide. The population of the town, which is inclosed within the walls of the fort, is estimated at 2000.* * * * * THE ORDER OF NATURE. [Illustration: Letter S.]
See through this air, this ocean, and this earth, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high progressive life may go! Around, how wide! how deep extend below! Vast chain of Being! which from God began, Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see No glass can reach; from Infinity to thee From thee to Nothing.--On superior pow'rs Were we to press, inferior might on ours; Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where one step broken the great scale's destroyed From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Tenth or ten-thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the whole must fall. Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd, Being on being wreck'd, and world on world, Heav'n's whole foundations to the centre nod, And Nature trembles to the throne of God: All this dread Order break--for whom? for thee? Vile worm!--Oh, madness! pride! impiety!
What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, Or hand to toil, aspired to be the head? What if the head, the eye, or ear, repined To serve--mere engines to the ruling Mind? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another, in this general frame: Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains, The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole Whose body Nature is, and God the Soul: That changed through all, and yet in all the same, Great is in earth as in th' ethereal frame, Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees, Lives through all life, extends through all extent, Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns: To him no high, no low, no great, no small; He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name: Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee. Submit--in this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear: Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see; All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, One truth is clear, WHATEVER is, is RIGHT.
This celebrated statesman, who flourished in the reigns of Charles I. and II., took a prominent part in the eventful times in which he lived. He was not of noble birth, but the descendant of a family called Hyde, which resided from a remote period at Norbury, in Cheshire. He was originally intended for the church, but eventually became a lawyer, applying himself to the study of his profession with a diligence far surpassing that of the associates with whom he lived. In 1635, he attracted the notice of Archbishop Laud, which may be regarded as the most fortunate circumstance of his life, as it led to his introduction to Charles I. In consequence of the ability displayed by him in the responsible duties he was called to perform, that Monarch offered him the office of Solicitor-General. But this Hyde declined, preferring, as he said, to serve the King in an unofficial capacity. After the battle of Naseby, Hyde was appointed one of the council formed to attend, watch over, and direct the Prince of Wales. After hopelessly witnessing for many months a course of disastrous and ill-conducted warfare in the West, the council fled with the Prince, first to the Scilly Islands, near Cornwall, and thence to Jersey. From this place, against the wishes of Hyde, the Prince, in 1640, repaired to his mother, Henrietta, at Paris, leaving Hyde at Jersey, where he remained for two years, engaged in the composition of his celebrated "History of the Rebellion." In May, 1648, Hyde was summoned to attend the Prince at the Hague; and here they received the news of the death of Charles I., which is said to have greatly appalled them. After faithfully following the new King in all his vicissitudes of fortune, suffering at times extreme poverty, he attained at the Restoration the period of his greatest power. In 1660, his daughter Anne was secretly married to the Duke of York; but when, after a year, it was openly acknowledged, the new Lord Chancellor received the news with violent demonstrations of indignation and grief. Hyde, in fact, never showed any avidity for emoluments or distinction; but when this marriage was declared, it became desirable that some mark of the King's favour should be shown, and he was created Earl of Clarendon. He subsequently, from political broils, was compelled to exile himself from the Court, and took up his residence at Montpellier, where, resuming his literary labours, he completed his celebrated History, and the memoir of his life. After fruitlessly petitioning King Charles II. for permission to end his days in England, the illustrious exile died at Rouen, in 1674, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.[Illustration: STATUE OF LORD CLARENDON.] * * * * * OWLS. [Illustration: Letter I.]
It is now generally known that the Owl renders the farmer important service, by ridding him of vermin, which might otherwise consume the produce of his field; but in almost every age and country it has been regarded as a bird of ill omen, and sometimes even as the herald of death. In France, the cry or hoot is considered as a certain forerunner of misfortune to the hearer. In Tartary, the owl is looked upon in another light, though not valued as it ought to be for its useful destruction of moles, rats, and mice. The natives pay it great respect, because they attribute to this bird the preservation of the founder of their empire, Genghis Khan. That Prince, with his army, happened to be surprised and put to flight by his enemies, and was forced to conceal himself in a little coppice. An owl settled on the bush under which he was hid, and his pursuers did not search there, as they thought it impossible the bird would perch on a place where any man was concealed. Thenceforth his countrymen held the owl to be a sacred bird, and every one wore a plume of its feathers on his head.
One of the smallest of the owl tribe utters but one melancholy note now and then. The Indians in North America whistle whenever they chance to hear the solitary note; and if the bird does not very soon repeat his harmless cry, the speedy death of the superstitious hearer is foreboded. It is hence called the death bird. The voices of all carnivorous birds and beasts are harsh, and at times hideous; and probably, like that of the owl, which, from the width and capacity of its throat, is in some varieties very powerful, may be intended as an alarm and warning to the birds and animals on which they prey, to secure themselves from the approach of their stealthy foe.
Owls are divided into two groups or families--one having two tufts of feathers on the head, which have been called ears or horns, and are moveable at pleasure, the others having smooth round heads without tufts. The bills are hooked in both. There are upwards of sixty species of owls widely spread over almost every part of the known world; of these we may count not fewer than eight as more or less frequenting this country. One of the largest of the tribe is the eagle hawk, or great horned owl, the great thickness of whose plumage makes it appear nearly as large as the eagle. Some fine preserved specimens of this noble-looking bird may be seen in the British Museum. It is a most powerful bird; and a specimen was captured, with great difficulty, in 1837, when it alighted upon the mast-head of a vessel off
The amiable naturalist, Mr. Waterton, who took especial interest in the habits of the owl, writes thus on the barn owl:--"This pretty aerial wanderer of the night often comes into my room, and, after flitting to and fro, on wing so soft and silent that he is scarcely heard, takes his departure from the same window at which he had entered. I own I have a great liking for the bird; and I have offered it hospitality and protection on account of its persecutions, and for its many services to me; I wish that any little thing I could write or say might cause it to stand better with the world than it has hitherto done."[Illustration: OWLS IN A CASTLE KEEP.] * * * * * CHATTERTON. [Illustration]
This gifted young poet was the son of a schoolmaster at Bristol, where he was born, in 1752. On the 24th of August, 1770, he was found dead, near a table covered with the scraps of writings he had destroyed, in a miserable room in Brook-street, Holborn. In Redcliffe churchyard, Bristol, a beautiful monument has been erected to the memory of the unfortunate poet.
O God! whose thunders shake the sky, Whose eye this atom globe surveys,
To Thee, my only rock, I fly--
Thy mercy in thy justice praise.
Oh, teach me in the trying hour, When anguish swells the dewy tear,
To still my sorrows, own Thy power, Thy goodness love, Thy justice fear.
Ah! why, my soul, dost thou complain, Why, drooping, seek the dark recess?
Shake off the melancholy chain, For God created all to bless.
But, ah! my breast is human still: The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill, The sickness of my soul declare.
This city and sea-port of Natolia, in Asia, is situate towards the northern part of a peninsula, upon a long and winding gulf of the same name, which is capable of containing the largest navy in the world. The city is about four miles round, presenting a front of a mile long to the water; and when approached by sea, it resembles a capacious amphitheatre with the ruins of an ancient castle crowning its summit. The interior of the city, however, disappoints the expectations thus raised, for the streets are narrow, dirty, and ill-paved, and there is now scarcely a trace of those once splendid edifices which rendered Smyrna one of the finest cities in Asia Minor. The shops are arched over, and have a handsome appearance: in spite of the gloom which the houses wear, those along the shore have beautiful gardens attached to them, at the foot of which are summer-houses overhanging the sea. The city is subject to earthquakes and the plague, which latter, in 1814, carried off above 50,000 of the inhabitants.
About midnight, in July, 1841, a fire broke out at Smyrna, which, from the crowded state of the wooden houses, the want of water, and the violence of the wind, was terribly destructive. About 12,000 houses were destroyed, including two-thirds of the Turkish quarter, most of the French and the whole of the Jewish quarters, with many bazaars and several mosques, synagogues, and other public buildings. It was calculated that 20,000 persons were deprived of shelter and food, and the damage was estimated at two millions sterling.[Illustration: SMYRNA.]
The fine port of Smyrna is frequented by ships from all nations, freighted with valuable cargoes, both outward and inward. The greater part of the trading transactions is managed by Jews, who act as brokers, the principals meeting afterwards to conclude the bargains.
In 1402 Smyrna was taken by Tamerlane, and suffered very severely. The conqueror erected within its walls a tower constructed of stones and the heads of his enemies. Soon after, it came under the dominion of the Turks, and has been subsequently the most flourishing city in the Levant, exporting and importing valuable commodities to and from all parts of the world.* * * * * GENTLENESS. [Illustration: Letter I.]
I begin with distinguishing true gentleness from passive tameness of spirit, and from unlimited compliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness which submits, without opposition, to every encroachment of the violent and assuming, forms no part of Christian duty; but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which on every occasion falls in with the opinions and manners of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent of many vices. It overthrows all steadiness of principle; and produces that sinful conformity with the world which taints the whole character. In the present corrupted state of human manners, always to assent and to comply is the very worst maxim we can adopt. It is impossible to support the purity and dignity of Christian morals without opposing the world on various occasions, even though we should stand alone. That gentleness, therefore, which belongs to virtue, is to be carefully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards, and the fawning assent of sycophants. It renounces no just right from fear. It gives up no important truth from flattery. It is indeed not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit, and a fixed principle, in order to give it any real value. Upon this solid ground only, the polish of gentleness can with advantage be superinduced.
It stands opposed, not to the most determined regard for virtue and truth, but to harshness and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and oppression. It is properly that part of the great virtue of charity, which makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren. Compassion prompts us to relieve their wants. Forbearance prevents us from retaliating their injuries. Meekness restrains our angry passions; candour, our severe judgments. Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manners, and, by a constant train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery. Its office, therefore, is extensive. It is not, like some other virtues, called forth only on peculiar emergencies; but it is continually in action, when we are engaged in intercourse with men. It ought to form our address, to regulate our speech, and to diffuse itself over our whole behaviour.
We must not, however, confound this gentle "wisdom which is from above" with that artificial courtesy, that studied smoothness of manners, which is learned in the school of the world. Such accomplishments the most frivolous and empty may possess. Too often they are employed by the artful as a snare; too often affected by the hard and unfeeling as a cover to the baseness of their minds. We cannot, at the same time, avoid observing the homage, which, even in such instances, the world is constrained to pay to virtue. In order to render society agreeable, it is found necessary to assume somewhat that may at least carry its appearance. Virtue is the universal charm. Even its shadow is courted, when the substance is wanting. The imitation of its form has been reduced into an art; and in the commerce of life, the first study of all who would either gain the esteem or win the hearts of others, is to learn the speech and to adopt the manners of candour, gentleness, and humanity. But that gentleness which is the characteristic of a good man has, like every other virtue, its seat in the heart; and let me add, nothing except what flows from the heart can render even external manners truly pleasing. For no assumed behaviour can at all times hide the real character. In that unaffected civility which springs from a gentle mind there is a charm infinitely more powerful than in all the studied manners of the most finished courtier.
True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to HIM who made us, and to the common nature of which we all share. It arises from reflections on our own failings and wants, and from just views of the condition and the duty of man. It is native feeling heightened and improved by principle. It is the heart which easily relents; which feels for every thing that is human, and is backward and slow to inflict the least wound. It is affable in its address, and mild in its demeanour; ever ready to oblige, and willing to be obliged by others; breathing habitual kindness towards friends, courtesy to strangers, long-suffering to enemies. It exercises authority with moderation; administers reproof with tenderness; confers favours with ease and modesty. It is unassuming in opinion, and temperate in zeal. It contends not eagerly about trifles; slow to contradict, and still slower to blame; but prompt to allay dissension and to restore peace. It neither intermeddles unnecessarily with the affairs, nor pries inquisitively into the secrets of others. It delights above all things to alleviate distress; and if it cannot dry up the falling tear, to sooth at least, the grieving heart. Where it has not the power of being useful, it is never burdensome. It seeks to please rather than to shine and dazzle, and conceals with care that superiority, either of talent or of rank, which is oppressive to those who are beneath it. In a word, it is that spirit and that tenour of manners which the Gospel of Christ enjoins, when it commands us "to bear one another's burdens; to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; to please every one his neighbour for his good; to be kind and tender-hearted; to be pitiful and courteous; to support the weak, and to be patient towards all men."BLAIR. * * * * * THE IGUANA.
The Iguana (_Cyclura colei_) is not only of singular aspect, but it may be regarded as the type of a large and important group in the Saurian family, which formed so conspicuous a feature in the ancient fauna of this country. The iguana attains a large size in Jamaica, whence the present specimen was obtained, not unfrequently approaching four feet in length. In colour it is a greenish grey. It is entirely herbivorous, as are all its congeners. Its principal haunt in Jamaica is the low limestone chain of hills, along the shore from Kingston Harbour and Goat Island, on to its continuation in Vere.[Illustration: THE IGUANA.]
The iguanas which are occasionally taken in the savannahs adjacent to this district are considered by Mr. Hill (an energetic correspondent of the Zoological Society who resides in Spanish Town, and who has paid great attention to the natural history of the island) to be only stray visitants which have wandered from the hills. The allied species of _Cyclura_, which are found on the American continent, occur in situations of a very different character, for they affect forests on the bank of rivers, and woods around springs, where they pass their time in trees and in the water, living on fruits and leaves. This habit is preserved by the specimen in the Zoological Society's Gardens, which we have seen lying lazily along an elevated branch. Its serrated tail is a formidable weapon of defence, with which, when alarmed or attacked, it deals rapid blows from side to side. When unmolested it is harmless and inoffensive, and appears to live in perfect harmony with the smaller species of lizards which inhabit the same division of the house.* * * * * HENRY IV.'S SOLILOQUY ON SLEEP.
How many thousands of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness;
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody? O thou dull God! why liest thou with the vile In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch, A watch-case to a common larum-bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast, Seal up the shipboy's eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them With deaf'ning clamours in the slipp'ry shrouds, That with the hurly Death itself awakes:
Can'st thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose To the wet seaboy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a King? Then, happy lowly clown! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herds Mind slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care; No children run to lisp their sire's return, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.