Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Illustrated London Reading Book by Various

Part 2 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter I.]

In those prescient views by which the genius of Lord Bacon has often
anticipated the institutions and the discoveries of succeeding times,
there was one important object which even his foresight does not appear
to have contemplated. Lord Bacon did not foresee that the English
language would one day be capable of embalming all that philosophy can
discover, or poetry can invent; that his country would at length possess
a national literature of its own, and that it would exult in classical
compositions, which might be appreciated with the finest models of
antiquity. His taste was far unequal to his invention. So little did he
esteem the language of his country, that his favourite works were
composed in Latin; and he was anxious to have what he had written in
English preserved in that "universal language which may last as long as
books last."

It would have surprised Bacon to have been told that the most learned
men in Europe have studied English authors to learn to think and to
write. Our philosopher was surely somewhat mortified, when, in his
dedication of the Essays, he observed, that, "Of all my other works, my
Essays have been most current; for that, as it seems, they come home to
men's business and bosoms." It is too much to hope to find in a vast and
profound inventor, a writer also who bestows immortality on his
language. The English language is the only object, in his great survey
of art and of nature, which owes nothing of its excellence to the genius
of Bacon.

He had reason, indeed, to be mortified at the reception of his
philosophical works; and Dr. Rowley, even, some years after the death of
his illustrious master, had occasion to observe, "His fame is greater,
and sounds louder in foreign parts abroad than at home in his own
nation; thereby verifying that Divine sentence, 'A Prophet is not
without honour, save in his own country and in his own house,'" Even the
men of genius, who ought to have comprehended this new source of
knowledge thus opened to them, reluctantly entered into it: so repugnant
are we to give up ancient errors, which time and habit have made a part
of ourselves.


[Illustration: STATUE OF LORD BACON.]

* * * * *


[Illustration: SYRIAN LILY.]

Flowers! when the Saviour's calm, benignant eye
Fell on your gentle beauty; when from you
That heavenly lesson for all hearts he drew.
Eternal, universal as the sky;
Then in the bosom of your purity
A voice He set, as in a temple shrine,
That Life's quick travellers ne'er might pass you by
Unwarn'd of that sweet oracle divine.
And though too oft its low, celestial sound
By the harsh notes of work-day care is drown'd,
And the loud steps of vain, unlist'ning haste,
Yet the great lesson hath no tone of power,
Mightier to reach the soul in thought's hush'd hour,
Than yours, meek lilies, chosen thus, and graced.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

The earliest and one of the most fatal eruptions of Mount Vesuvius that
is mentioned in history took place in the year 79, during the reign of
the Emperor Titus. All Campagna was filled with consternation, and the
country was overwhelmed with devastation in every direction; towns,
villages, palaces, and their inhabitants were consumed by molten lava,
and hidden from the sight by showers of volcanic stones, cinders, and

Pompeii had suffered severely from an earthquake sixteen years before,
but had been rebuilt and adorned with many a stately building,
particularly a magnificent theatre, where thousands were assembled to
see the gladiators when this tremendous visitation burst upon the
devoted city, and buried it to a considerable depth with the fiery
materials thrown from the crater. "Day was turned to night," says a
classic author, "and night into darkness; an inexpressible quantity of
dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying
two entire cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum, whilst the people were
sitting in the theatre."


Many parts of Pompeii have, at various times, been excavated, so as to
allow visitors to examine the houses and streets; and in February, 1846,
the house of the Hunter was finally cleared, as it appears in the
Engraving. This is an interesting dwelling, and was very likely the
residence of a man of wealth, fond of the chase. A painting on the right
occupies one side of the large room, and here are represented wild
animals, the lion chasing a bull, &c. The upper part of the house is
raised, where stands a gaily-painted column--red and yellow in festoons;
behind which, and over a doorway, is a fresco painting of a summer-house
perhaps a representation of some country-seat of the proprietor, on
either side are hunting-horns. The most beautiful painting in this room
represents a Vulcan at his forge, assisted by three dusky, aged figures.
In the niche of the outward room a small statue was found, in _terra
cotta_ (baked clay). The architecture of this house is singularly rich
in decoration, and the paintings, particularly those of the birds and
vases, very bright vivid.


At this time, too, some very perfect skeletons were discovered in a
house near the theatre, and near the hand of one of them were found
thirty-seven pieces of silver and two gold coins; some of the former
were attached to the handle of a key. The unhappy beings who were
perished may have been the inmates of the dwelling. We know, from the
account written by Pliny, that the young and active had plenty of time
for escape, and this is the reason why so few skeletons have been found
in Pompeii.

In a place excavated at the expense of the Empress of Russia was found a
portable kitchen (represented above), made of iron, with two round holes
for boiling pots. The tabular top received the fire for placing other
utensils upon, and by a handle in the front it could be moved when

* * * * *


A Nightingale that all day long
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when even-tide was ended--
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite:
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied, far off upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glowworm by his spark:
So stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.

The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus, right eloquent:--
"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
"As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self-same power Divine
Taught you to sing and me to shine,
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."

The songster heard his short oration,
And, warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.


* * * * *


A fact not less startling than would be the realisation of the
imaginings of Shakespeare and of Milton, or of the speculations of Locke
and of Bacon, admits of easy demonstration, namely, that the air, the
earth, and the waters teem with numberless myriads of creatures, which
are as unknown and as unapproachable to the great mass of mankind, as
are the inhabitants of another planet. It may, indeed, be questioned,
whether, if the telescope could bring within the reach of our
observation the living things that dwell in the worlds around us, life
would be there displayed in forms more diversified, in organisms more
marvellous, under conditions more unlike those in which animal existence
appears to our unassisted senses, than may be discovered in the leaves
of every forest, in the flowers of every garden, and in the waters of
every rivulet, by that noblest instrument of natural philosophy, the

A. The body and head of the larva (magnified).
B. The respiratory apparatus, situated in the tail.
C. Natural size.]

To an intelligent person, who has previously obtained a general idea of
the nature of the Objects about to be submitted to his inspection, a
group of living animalcules, seen under a powerful microscope for the
first time, presents a scene of extraordinary interest, and never fails
to call forth an expression of amazement and admiration. This statement
admits of an easy illustration: for example, from some water containing
aquatic plants, collected from a pond on Clapham Common, I select a
small twig, to which are attached a few delicate flakes, apparently of
slime or jelly; some minute fibres, standing erect here and there on the
twig, are also dimly visible to the naked eye. This twig, with a drop or
two of the water, we will put between two thin plates of glass, and
place under the field of view of a microscope, having lenses that
magnify the image of an object 200 times in linear dimensions.

Upon looking through the instrument, we find the fluid swarming with
animals of various shapes and magnitudes. Some are darting through the
water with great rapidity, while others are pursuing and devouring
creatures more infinitesimal than themselves. Many are attached to the
twig by long delicate threads, several have their bodies inclosed in a
transparent tube, from one end of which the animal partly protrudes and
then recedes, while others are covered by an elegant shell or case. The
minutest kinds, many of which are so small that millions might be
contained in a single drop of water, appear like mere animated globules,
free, single, and of various colours, sporting about in every direction.
Numerous species resemble pearly or opaline cups or vases, fringed round
the margin with delicate fibres, that are in constant oscillation. Some
of these are attached by spiral tendrils; others are united by a slender
stem to one common trunk, appearing like a bunch of hare-bells; others
are of a globular form, and grouped together in a definite pattern, on a
tabular or spherical membranous case, for a certain period of their
existence, and ultimately become detached and locomotive, while many are
permanently clustered together, and die if separated from the parent
mass. They have no organs of progressive motion, similar to those of
beasts, birds, or fishes; and though many species are destitute of eyes,
yet possess an accurate perception of the presence of other bodies, and
pursue and capture their prey with unerring purpose.


A. Hairs of the Bat.
B. Of the Mole.
C. Of the Mouse.]

_Mantell's Thoughts on Animalcules._

* * * * *


This bird, which is now kept and reared throughout the whole of Europe,
and even in Russia and Siberia, on account of its pretty form, docility,
and sweet song, is a native of the Canary Isles. On the banks of small
streams, in the pleasant valleys of those lovely islands, it builds its
nest in the branches of the orange-trees, of which it is so fond, that
even in this country the bird has been known to find its way into the
greenhouse, and select the fork of one of the branches of an orange-tree
on which to build its nest, seeming to be pleased with the sweet perfume
of the blossoms.

[Illustration: CANARY.]

The bird has been known in Europe since the beginning of the sixteenth
century, when a ship, having a large number of canaries on board
destined for Leghorn, was wrecked on the coast of Italy. The birds
having regained their liberty, flew to the nearest land, which happened
to be the island of Elba, where they found so mild a climate that they
built their nests there and became very numerous. But the desire to
possess such beautiful songsters led to their being hunted after, until
the whole wild race was quite destroyed. In Italy, therefore, we find
the first tame canaries, and here they are still reared in great
numbers. Their natural colour is grey, which merges into green beneath,
almost resembling the colours of the linnet; but by means of
domestication, climate, and being bred with other birds, canaries may
now be met with of a great variety of colours. But perhaps there is none
more beautiful than the golden-yellow, with blackish-grey head and tail.
The hen canary lays her eggs four or five times a year, and thus a great
number of young are produced.

As they are naturally inhabitants of warm climates, and made still more
delicate by constant residence in rooms, great care should be taken in
winter that this favourite bird be not exposed to cold air, which,
however refreshing to it in the heat of summer, is so injurious in this
season that it causes sickness and even death. To keep canaries in a
healthy and happy state, it is desirable that the cage should be
frequently hung in brilliant daylight, and, if possible, placed in the
warm sunshine, which, especially when bathing, is very agreeable to
them. The more simple and true to-nature the food is, the better does it
agree with them; and a little summer rapeseed mixed with their usual
allowance of the seed to which they have given their name, will be found
to be the best kind of diet. As a treat, a little crushed hempseed or
summer cabbage-seed may be mixed with the canary-seed. The beautiful
grass from which the latter is obtained is a pretty ornament for the
garden; it now grows very abundantly in Kent.

The song of the canary is not in this country at all like that of the
bird in a state of nature, for it is a kind of compound of notes learned
from other birds. It may be taught to imitate the notes of the
nightingale, by being placed while young with that bird. Care must be
taken that the male parent of the young canary be removed from the nest
before the young ones are hatched, or it will be sure to acquire the
note of its parent. The male birds of all the feathered creation are the
only ones who sing; the females merely utter a sweet chirrup or chirp,
so that from the hen canary the bird will run no risk of learning its
natural note.

* * * * *


Diligence, industry, and proper improvement of time are material duties
of the young. To no purpose are they endowed with the best abilities, if
they want activity for exerting them. Unavailing, in this case, will be
every direction that can be given them, either for their temporal or
spiritual welfare. In youth the habits of industry are most easily
acquired; in youth the incentives to it are strong, from ambition and
from duty, from emulation and hope, from all the prospects which the
beginning of life affords. If, dead to these calls, you already languish
in slothful inaction, what will be able to quicken the more sluggish
current of advancing years? Industry is not only the instrument of
improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. Nothing is so opposite to
the true enjoyment of life as the relaxed and feeble state of an
indolent mind. He who is a stranger to industry, may possess, but he
cannot enjoy. For it is labour only which gives the relish to pleasure.
It is the appointed vehicle of every good man. It is the indispensable
condition of our possessing a sound mind in a sound body. Sloth is so
inconsistent with both, that it is hard to determine whether it be a
greater foe to virtue or to health and happiness. Inactive as it is in
itself, its effects are fatally powerful. Though it appear a
slowly-flowing stream, yet it undermines all that is stable and
flourishing. It not only saps the foundation of every virtue, but pours
upon you a deluge of crimes and evils.

It is like water which first putrefies by stagnation, and then sends up
noxious vapours and fills the atmosphere with death. Fly, therefore,
from idleness, as the certain parent both of guilt and of ruin. And
under idleness I include, not mere inaction only, but all that circle of
trifling occupations in which too many saunter away their youth;
perpetually engaged in frivolous society or public amusements, in the
labours of dress or the ostentation of their persons. Is this the
foundation which you lay for future usefulness and esteem? By such
accomplishments do you hope to recommend yourselves to the thinking part
of the world, and to answer the expectations of your friends and your
country? Amusements youth requires: it were vain, it were cruel, to
prohibit them. But, though allowable as the relaxation, they are most
culpable as the business, of the young, for they then become the gulf of
time and the poison of the mind; they weaken the manly powers; they sink
the native vigour of youth into contemptible effeminacy.


* * * * *



The river Jordan rises in the mountains of Lebanon, and falls into the
little Lake Merom, on the banks of which Joshua describes the hostile
Kings as pitching to fight against Israel. After passing through this
lake, it runs down a rocky valley with great noise and rapidity to the
Lake of Tiberias. In this part of its course the stream is almost
hidden by shady trees, which grow on each side. As the river approaches
the Lake of Tiberias it widens, and passes through it with a current
that may be clearly seen during a great part of its course. It then
reaches a valley, which is the lowest ground in the whole of Syria, many
hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea. It is so well
sheltered by the high land on both sides, that the heat thus produced
and the moisture of the river make the spot very rich and fertile. This
lovely plain is five or six miles across in parts, but widens as it
nears the Dead Sea, whose waters cover the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,
destroyed for the wickedness of their inhabitants.

* * * * *


On Jordan's banks the Arab camels stray,
On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray--
The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep;
Yet there--even there--O God! thy thunders sleep:

There, where thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone;
There, where thy shadow to thy people shone--
Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire
(Thyself none living see and not expire).

Oh! in the lightning let thy glance appear--
Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear!
How long by tyrants shall thy land be trod?
How long thy temple worshipless, O God!


* * * * *


Without some degree of fortitude there can be no happiness, because,
amidst the thousand uncertainties of life, there can be no enjoyment of
tranquillity. The man of feeble and timorous spirit lives under
perpetual alarms. He sees every distant danger and tremble; he explores
the regions of possibility to discover the dangers that may arise: often
he creates imaginary ones; always magnifies those that are real. Hence,
like a person haunted by spectres, he loses the free enjoyment even of a
safe and prosperous state, and on the first shock of adversity he
desponds. Instead of exerting himself to lay hold on the resources that
remain, he gives up all for lost, and resigns himself to abject and
broken spirits. On the other hand, firmness of mind is the parent of
tranquillity. It enables one to enjoy the present without disturbance,
and to look calmly on dangers that approach or evils that threaten in
future. Look into the heart of this man, and you will find composure,
cheerfulness, and magnanimity; look into the heart of the other, and you
will see nothing but confusion, anxiety, and trepidation. The one is a
castle built on a rock, which defies the attacks of surrounding waters;
the other is a hut placed on the shore, which every wind shakes and
every wave overflows.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letters "The".]

The Ivy in a dungeon grew
Unfed by rain, uncheer'd by dew;
Its pallid leaflets only drank
Cave-moistures foul, and odours dank.

But through the dungeon-grating high
There fell a sunbeam from the sky:
It slept upon the grateful floor
In silent gladness evermore.

The ivy felt a tremor shoot
Through all its fibres to the root;
It felt the light, it saw the ray,
It strove to issue into day.

It grew, it crept, it push'd, it clomb--
Long had the darkness been its home;
But well it knew, though veil'd in night,
The goodness and the joy of light.

Its clinging roots grew deep and strong;
Its stem expanded firm and long;
And in the currents of the air
Its tender branches flourish'd fair.

It reach'd the beam--it thrill'd, it curl'd,
It bless'd the warmth that cheers the world;
It rose towards the dungeon bars--
It look'd upon the sun and stars.

It felt the life of bursting spring,
It heard the happy sky-lark sing.
It caught the breath of morns and eves,
And woo'd the swallow to its leaves.

By rains, and dews, and sunshine fed,
Over the outer wall it spread;
And in the daybeam waving free,
It grew into a steadfast tree.

Upon that solitary place
Its verdure threw adorning grace.
The mating birds became its guests,
And sang its praises from their nests.

Wouldst know the moral of the rhyme?
Behold the heavenly light, and climb!
Look up, O tenant of the cell,
Where man, the prisoner, must dwell.

To every dungeon comes a ray
Of God's interminable day.
On every heart a sunbeam falls
To cheer its lonely prison walls.

The ray is TRUTH. Oh, soul, aspire
To bask in its celestial fire;
So shalt thou quit the glooms of clay,
So shaft thou flourish into day.

So shalt thou reach the dungeon grate,
No longer dark and desolate;
And look around thee, and above,
Upon a world of light and love.



* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter H.]

How curious is the structure of the nest of the goldfinch or chaffinch!
The inside of it is lined with cotton and fine silken threads; and the
outside cannot be sufficiently admired, though it is composed only of
various species of fine moss. The colour of these mosses, resembling
that of the bark of the tree on which the nest is built, proves that the
bird intended it should not be easily discovered. In some nests, hair,
wool, and rushes are dexterously interwoven. In some, all the parts are
firmly fastened by a thread, which the bird makes of hemp, wool, hair,
or more commonly of spiders' webs. Other birds, as for instance the
blackbird and the lapwing, after they have constructed their nest,
plaster the inside with mortar, which cements and binds the whole
together; they then stick upon it, while quite wet, some wool or moss,
to give it the necessary degree of warmth. The nests of swallows are of
a very different construction from those of other birds. They require
neither wood, nor hay, nor cords; they make a kind of mortar, with
which they form a neat, secure, and comfortable habitation for
themselves and their family. To moisten the dust, of which they build
their nest, they dip their breasts in water and shake the drops from
their wet feathers upon it. But the nests most worthy of admiration are
those of certain Indian birds, which suspend them with great art from
the branches of trees, to secure them from the depredations of various
animals and insects. In general, every species of bird has a peculiar
mode of building; but it may be remarked of all alike, that they always
construct their nests in the way that is best adapted to their security,
and to the preservation and welfare of their species.



Such is the wonderful instinct of birds with respect to the structure of
their nests. What skill and sagacity! what industry and patience do they
display! And is it not apparent that all their labours tend towards
certain ends? They construct their nests hollow and nearly round, that
they may retain the heat so much the better. They line them with the
most delicate substances, that the young may lie soft and warm. What is
it that teaches the bird to place her nest in a situation sheltered from
the rain, and secure against the attacks of other animals? How did she
learn that she should lay eggs--that eggs would require a nest to
prevent them from falling to the ground and to keep them warm? Whence
does she know that the heat would not be maintained around the eggs if
the nest were too large; and that, on the other hand, the young would
not have sufficient room if it were smaller? By what rules does she
determine the due proportions between the nest and the young which are
not yet in existence? Who has taught her to calculate the time with such
accuracy that she never commits a mistake, in producing her eggs before
the nest is ready to receive them? Admire in all these things the power,
the wisdom, and the goodness of the Creator!


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

The Bosjesmans, or Bushmen, appear to be the remains of Hottentot
hordes, who have been driven, by the gradual encroachments of the
European colonists, to seek for refuge among the inaccessible rocks and
sterile desert of the interior of Africa. Most of the hordes known in
the colony by the name of Bushmen are now entirely destitute of flocks
or herds, and subsist partly by the chase, partly on the wild roots of
the wilderness, and in times of scarcity on reptiles, grasshoppers, and
the larvae of ants, or by plundering their hereditary foes and
oppressors, the frontier Boers. In seasons when every green herb is
devoured by swarms of locusts, and when the wild game in consequence
desert the pastures of the wilderness, the Bushman finds a resource in
the very calamity which would overwhelm an agricultural or civilized
community. He lives by devouring the devourers; he subsists for weeks
and months on locusts alone, and also preserves a stock of this food
dried, as we do herrings or pilchards, for future consumption.

The Bushman retains the ancient arms of the Hottentot race, namely, a
javelin or assagai, similar to that of the Caffres, and a bow and
arrows. The latter, which are his principal weapons both for war and the
chase, are small in size and formed of slight materials; but, owing to
the deadly poison with which the arrows are imbued, and the dexterity
with which they are launched, they are missiles truly formidable. One of
these arrows, formed merely of a piece of slender reed tipped with bone
or iron, is sufficient to destroy the most powerful animal. But,
although the colonists very much dread the effects of the Bushman's
arrow, they know how to elude its range; and it is after all but a very
unequal match for the fire-lock, as the persecuted natives by sad
experience have found. The arrows are usually kept in a quiver, formed
of the hollow stalk of a species of aloe, and slung over the shoulder;
but a few, for immediate use, are often stuck in a band round the head.

A group of Bosjesmans, comprising two men, two women, and a child, were
recently brought to this country and exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, in
Piccadilly. The women wore mantles and conical caps of hide, and gold
ornaments in their ears. The men also wore a sort of skin cloak, which
hung down to their knees, over a close tunic: the legs and feet were
bare in both. Their sheep-skin mantles, sewed together with threads of
sinew, and rendered soft and pliable by friction, sufficed for a garment
by day and a blanket by night. These Bosjesmans exhibited a variety of
the customs of their native country. Their whoops were sometimes so loud
as to be startling, and they occasionally seemed to consider the
attention of the spectators as an affront.

[Illustration: BUSHMEN.]

* * * * *


The merit of this Prince, both in private and public life, may with
advantage be set in opposition to that of any Monarch or citizen which
the annals of any age or any nation can present to us. He seems, indeed,
to be the realisation of that perfect character, which, under the
denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of
delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination than in hopes of
ever seeing it reduced to practice; so happily were all his virtues
tempered together, so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did
each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds. He knew how to
conciliate the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation; the
most obstinate perseverance with the easiest flexibility; the most
severe justice with the greatest lenity; the greatest rigour in command
with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and
inclination for science, with the most shining: talents for action. His
civil and his military virtues are almost equally the objects of our
admiration, excepting only, that the former, being more rare among
princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause.
Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill
should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily
accomplishments, vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a
pleasant, engaging, and open countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him
into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit
his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively
colours, and with more particular strokes, that we may at least perceive
some of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is
impossible he could be entirely exempted.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter O.]

Oh! call my brother back to me,
I cannot play alone;
The summer comes with flower and bee--
Where is my brother gone?

The butterfly is glancing bright
Across the sunbeam's track;
I care not now to chase its flight--
Oh! call my brother back.

The flowers run wild--the flowers we sow'd
Around our garden-tree;
Our vine is drooping with its load--
Oh! call him back to me.

"He would not hear my voice, fair child--
He may not come to thee;
The face that once like spring-time smiled,
On earth no more thou'lt see


"A rose's brief bright life of joy,
Such unto him was given;
Go, thou must play alone, my boy--
Thy brother is in heaven!"

And has he left the birds and flowers,
And must I call in vain,
And through the long, long summer hours,
Will he not come again?

And by the brook, and in the glade,
Are all our wand'rings o'er?
Oh! while my brother with me play'd,
Would I had loved him more!--


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter M.]

Man is that link of the chain of universal existence by which spiritual
and corporeal beings are united: as the numbers and variety of the
latter his inferiors are almost infinite, so probably are those of the
former his superiors; and as we see that the lives and happiness of
those below us are dependant on our wills, we may reasonably conclude
that our lives and happiness are equally dependant on the wills of those
above us; accountable, like ourselves, for the use of this power to the
supreme Creator and governor of all things. Should this analogy be well
founded, how criminal will our account appear when laid before that just
and impartial judge! How will man, that sanguinary tyrant, be able to
excuse himself from the charge of those innumerable cruelties inflicted
on his unoffending subjects committed to his care, formed for his
benefit, and placed under his authority by their common Father? whose
mercy is over all his works, and who expects that his authority should
be exercised, not only with tenderness and mercy, but in conformity to
the laws of justice and gratitude.

But to what horrid deviations from these benevolent intentions are we
daily witnesses! no small part of mankind derive their chief amusements
from the deaths and sufferings of inferior animals; a much greater,
consider them only as engines of wood or iron, useful in their several
occupations. The carman drives his horse, and the carpenter his nail, by
repeated blows; and so long as these produce the desired effect, and
they both go, they neither reflect or care whether either of them have
any sense of feeling. The butcher knocks down the stately ox, with no
more compassion than the blacksmith hammers a horseshoe; and plunges his
knife into the throat of the innocent lamb, with as little reluctance as
the tailor sticks his needle into the collar of a coat.

If there are some few who, formed in a softer mould, view with pity the
sufferings of these defenceless creatures, there is scarce one who
entertains the least idea that justice or gratitude can be due to their
merits or their services. The social and friendly dog is hanged without
remorse, if, by barking in defence of his master's person and property,
he happens unknowingly to disturb his rest; the generous horse, who has
carried his ungrateful master for many years with ease and safety, worn
out with age and infirmities, contracted in his service, is by him
condemned to end his miserable days in a dust-cart, where the more he
exerts his little remains of spirit, the more he is whipped to save his
stupid driver the trouble of whipping some other less obedient to the
lash. Sometimes, having been taught the practice of many unnatural and
useless feats in a riding-house, he is at last turned out and consigned
to the dominion of a hackney-coachman, by whom he is every day corrected
for performing those tricks, which he has learned under so long and
severe a discipline. The sluggish bear, in contradiction to his nature,
is taught to dance for the diversion of a malignant mob, by placing
red-hot irons under his feet; and the majestic bull is tortured by every
mode which malice can invent, for no offence but that he is gentle and
unwilling to assail his diabolical tormentors. These, with innumerable
other acts of cruelty, injustice, and ingratitude, are every day
committed, not only with impunity, but without censure and even without
observation; but we may be assured that they cannot finally pass away
unnoticed and unretaliated.

The laws of self-defence undoubtedly justify us in destroying those
animals who would destroy us, who injure our properties, or annoy our
persons; but not even these, whenever their situation incapacitates them
from hurting us. I know of no right which we have to shoot a bear on an
inaccessible island of ice, or an eagle on the mountain's top; whose
lives cannot injure us, nor deaths procure us any benefit. We are unable
to give life, and therefore ought not wantonly to take it away from the
meanest insect, without sufficient reason; they all receive it from the
same benevolent hand as ourselves, and have therefore an equal right to
enjoy it.

God has been pleased to create numberless animals intended for our
sustenance; and that they are so intended, the agreeable flavour of
their flesh to our palates, and the wholesome nutriment which it
administers to our stomachs, are sufficient proofs: these, as they are
formed for our use, propagated by our culture, and fed by our care, we
have certainly a right to deprive of life, because it is given and
preserved to them on that condition; but this should always be performed
with all the tenderness and compassion which so disagreeable an office
will permit; and no circumstances ought to be omitted, which can render
their executions as quick and easy as possible. For this Providence has
wisely and benevolently provided, by forming them in such a manner that
their flesh becomes rancid and unpalateable by a painful and lingering
death; and has thus compelled us to be merciful without compassion, and
cautious of their sufferings, for the sake of ourselves: but, if there
are any whose tastes are so vitiated, and whose hearts are so hardened,
as to delight in such inhuman sacrifices, and to partake of them without
remorse, they should be looked upon as demons in human shape, and expect
a retaliation of those tortures which they have inflicted on the
innocent, for the gratification of their own depraved and unnatural

So violent are the passions of anger and revenge in the human breast,
that it is not wonderful that men should persecute their real or
imaginary enemies with cruelty and malevolence; but that there should
exist in nature a being who can receive pleasure from giving pain, would
be totally incredible, if we were not convinced, by melancholy
experience, that there are not only many, but that this unaccountable
disposition is in some manner inherent in the nature of man; for, as he
cannot be taught by example, nor led to it by temptation, or prompted to
it by interest, it must be derived from his native constitution; and it
is a remarkable confirmation of what revelation so frequently
inculcates--that he brings into the world with him an original
depravity, the effects of a fallen and degenerate state; in proof of
which we need only to observe, that the nearer he approaches to a state
of nature, the more predominant this disposition appears, and the more
violently it operates. We see children laughing at the miseries which
they inflict on every unfortunate animal which comes within their power;
all savages are ingenious in contriving, and happy in executing, the
most exquisite tortures; and the common people of all countries are
delighted with nothing so much as bull-baitings, prize-fightings,
executions, and all spectacles of cruelty and horror. Though
civilization may in some degree abate this native ferocity, it can never
quite extirpate it; the most polished are not ashamed to be pleased with
scenes of little less barbarity, and, to the disgrace of human nature,
to dignify them with the name of sports. They arm cocks with artificial
weapons, which nature had kindly denied to their malevolence, and with
shouts of applause and triumph see them plunge them into each other's
hearts; they view with delight the trembling deer and defenceless hare,
flying for hours in the utmost agonies of terror and despair, and, at
last, sinking under fatigue, devoured by their merciless pursuers; they
see with joy the beautiful pheasant and harmless partridge drop from
their flight, weltering in their blood, or, perhaps, perishing with
wounds and hunger, under the cover of some friendly thicket to which
they have in vain retreated for safety; they triumph over the
unsuspecting fish whom they have decoyed by an insidious pretence of
feeding, and drag him from his native element by a hook fixed to and
tearing out his entrails; and, to add to all this, they spare neither
labour nor expense to preserve and propagate these innocent animals, for
no other end but to multiply the objects of their persecution.

What name would we bestow on a superior being, whose whole endeavours
were employed, and whose whole pleasure consisted in terrifying,
ensnaring, tormenting, and destroying mankind? whose superior faculties
were exerted in fomenting animosities amongst them, in contriving
engines of destruction, and inciting them to use them in maiming and
murdering each other? whose power over them was employed in assisting
the rapacious, deceiving the simple, and oppressing the innocent? who,
without provocation or advantage, should continue from day to day, void
of all pity and remorse, thus to torment mankind for diversion, and at
the same time endeavour with his utmost care to preserve their lives and
to propagate their species, in order to increase the number of victims
devoted to his malevolence, and be delighted in proportion to the
miseries he occasioned. I say, what name detestable enough could we find
for such a being? yet, if we impartially consider the case, and our
intermediate situation, we must acknowledge that, with regard to
inferior animals, just such a being is a sportsman.


* * * * *


It was in Palestine itself that Peter the Hermit first conceived the
grand idea of rousing the powers of Christendom to rescue the Christians
of the East from the thraldom of the Mussulman, and the Sepulchre of
Jesus from the rude hands of the Infidel. The subject engrossed his
whole mind. Even in the visions of the night he was full of it. One
dream made such an impression upon him, that he devoutly believed the
Saviour of the world Himself appeared before him, and promised him aid
and protection in his holy undertaking. If his zeal had ever wavered
before, this was sufficient to fix it for ever.

Peter, after he had performed all the penances and duties of his
pilgrimage, demanded an interview with Simeon, the Patriarch of the
Greek Church at Jerusalem. Though the latter was a heretic in Peter's
eyes, yet he was still a Christian, and felt as acutely as himself for
the persecutions heaped by the Turks upon the followers of Jesus. The
good prelate entered fully into his views, and, at his suggestion, wrote
letters to the Pope, and to the most influential Monarchs of
Christendom, detailing the sorrows of the faithful, and urging them to
take up arms in their defence. Peter was not a laggard in the work.
Taking an affectionate farewell of the Patriarch, he returned in all
haste to Italy. Pope Urban II. occupied the apostolic chair. It was at
that time far from being an easy seat. His predecessor, Gregory, had
bequeathed him a host of disputes with the Emperor Henry IV., of
Germany; and he had made Philip I., of France, his enemy. So many
dangers encompassed him about that the Vatican was no secure abode, and
he had taken refuge in Apulia, under the protection of the renowned
Robert Guiscard. Thither Peter appears to have followed him, though the
spot in which their meeting took place is not stated with any precision
by ancient chroniclers or modern historians. Urban received him most
kindly, read with tears in his eyes the epistle from the Patriarch
Simeon, and listened to the eloquent story of the Hermit with an
attention which showed how deeply he sympathised with the woes of the
Christian Church.


Enthusiasm is contagious, and the Pope appears to have caught it
instantly from one whose zeal was so unbounded. Giving the Hermit full
powers, he sent him abroad to preach the Holy War to all the nations and
potentates of Christendom. The Hermit preached, and countless thousands
answered to his call. France, Germany, and Italy started at his voice,
and prepared for the deliverance of Zion. One of the early historians of
the Crusade, who was himself an eye-witness of the rapture of Europe,
describes the personal appearance of the Hermit at this time. He says
that there appeared to be something of divine in everything which he
said or did. The people so highly reverenced him, that they plucked
hairs from the mane of his mule, that they might keep them as relics.
While preaching, he wore, in general, a woollen tunic, with a
dark-coloured mantle which fell down to his heels. His arms and feet
were bare, and he ate neither flesh nor bread, supporting himself
chiefly upon fish and wine. "He set out," said the chronicler, "from
whence I know not; but we saw him passing through towns and villages,
preaching everywhere, and the people surrounding him in crowds, loading
him with offerings, and celebrating his sanctity with such great
praises, that I never remember to have seen such honours bestowed upon
any one." Thus he went on, untired, inflexible, and full of devotion,
communicating his own madness to his hearers, until Europe was stirred
from its very depths.

_Popular Delusions._

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter W.]

We find a glory in the flowers
When snowdrops peep and hawthorn blooms;
We see fresh light in spring-time hours,
And bless the radiance that illumes.
The song of promise cheers with hope,
That sin or sorrow cannot mar;
God's beauty fills the daisyed slope,
And keeps undimm'd Faith's guiding star.

We find a glory in the smile
That lives in childhood's happy face,
Ere fearful doubt or worldly guile
Has swept away the angel trace.
The ray of promise shineth there,
To tell of better lands afar;
God sends his image, pure and fair,
To keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.

We find a glory in the zeal
Of doating breast and toiling brain;
Affection's martyrs still will kneel,
And song, though famish'd, pour its strain.
They lure us by a quenchless light,
And point where joy is holier far;
They shed God's spirit, warm and bright,
And keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.

We muse beside the rolling waves;
We ponder on the grassy hill;
We linger by the new-piled graves,
And find that star is shining still.
God in his great design hath spread,
Unnumber'd rays to lead afar;
They beam the brightest o'er the dead,
And keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.


* * * * *


My loving people! we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our
safety, to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes, for fear
of treachery; but, I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my
faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear: I have always so behaved
myself, that, under God, I have placed my chief strength and safeguard
in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects. And, therefore, I am
come among you at this time, not for my recreation or sport, but being
resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die among you
all, and to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people,
my honour and my blood--even in the dust. I know I have the body of a
weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a King, and the heart of
a King of England, too! and think foul scorn, that Parma, or Spain, or
any Prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms; to
which, rather than dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up
arms--I myself will be your general, your judge, and the rewarder of
every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your
forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure
you, on the word of a Prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the
meantime, my Lieutenant-General shall be in my stead, than whom never
Prince commanded more noble and worthy subject; nor do I doubt, by your
obedience to my General, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in
the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my
God, my kingdom, and my people.

_English History._


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

The city of Jalapa, in Mexico, is very beautifully situated at the foot
of Macultepec, at an elevation of 4335 feet above the level of the sea;
but as this is about the height which the strata of clouds reach, when
suspended over the ocean, they come in contact with the ridge of the
Cordillera Mountains; this renders the atmosphere exceedingly humid and
disagreeable, particularly in north-easterly winds. In summer, however,
the mists disappear; the climate is perfectly delightful, as the
extremes of heat and cold are never experienced.

On a bright sunny day, the scenery round Jalapa is not to be surpassed.
Mountains bound the horizon, except on one side, where a distant view of
the sea adds to the beauty of the scene. Orizaba, with its snow-capped
peak, appears so close, that one imagines that it is within a few hours'
reach, and rich evergreen forests clothe the surrounding hills. In the
foreground are beautiful gardens, with fruits of every clime--the banana
and fig, the orange, cherry, and apple. The town is irregularly built,
but very picturesque; the houses are in the style of the old houses of
Spain, with windows down to the ground, and barred, in which sit the
Jalapenas ladies, with their fair complexions and black eyes.

Near Jalapa are two or three cotton factories, under the management of
English and Americans: the girls employed are all Indians, healthy and
good-looking; they are very apt in learning their work, and soon
comprehend the various uses of the machinery. In the town there is but
little to interest the stranger, but the church is said to have been
founded by Cortez, and there is also a Franciscan convent. The vicinity
of Jalapa, although poorly cultivated, produces maize, wheat, grapes,
and jalap, from which plant the well-known medicine is prepared, and the
town takes its name. A little lower down the Cordillera grows the
vanilla, the bean of which is so highly esteemed for its aromatic


The road from Jalapa to the city of Mexico constantly ascends, and the
scenery is mountainous and grand; the villages are but few, and fifteen
or twenty miles apart, with a very scanty population. No signs of
cultivation are to be seen, except little patches of maize and chile, in
the midst of which is sometimes to be seen an Indian hut formed of reeds
and flags. The mode of travelling in this country is by diligences, but
these are continually attacked and robbed; and so much is this a matter
of course, that the Mexicans invariably calculate a certain sum for the
expenses of the road, including the usual fee for the banditti. Baggage
is sent by the muleteers, by which means it is ensured from all danger,
although a long time on the road. The Mexicans never think of resisting
these robbers, and a coach-load of eight or nine is often stopped and
plundered by one man. The foreigners do not take matters so quietly, and
there is scarcely an English or American traveller in the country who
has not come to blows in a personal encounter with the banditti at some
period or other of his adventures.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter C.]

Condors are found throughout the whole range of the Cordilleras, along
the south-west coast of South America, from the Straits of Magellan to
the Rio Negro. Their habitations are almost invariably on overhanging
ledges of high and perpendicular cliffs, where they both sleep and
breed, sometimes in pairs, but frequently in colonies of twenty or
thirty together. They make no nest, but lay two large white eggs on the
bare rock. The young ones cannot use their wings for flight until many
months after they are hatched, being covered, during that time, with
only a blackish down, like that of a gosling. They remain on the cliff
where they were hatched long after having acquired the full power of
flight, roosting and hunting in company with the parent birds. Their
food consists of the carcases of guanacoes, deer, cattle, and other

The condors may oftentimes be seen at a great height, soaring over a
certain spot in the most graceful spires and circles. Besides feeding on
carrion, the condors will frequently attack young goats and lambs.
Hence, the shepherd dogs are trained, the moment the enemy passes over,
to run out, and, looking upwards, to bark violently. The people of Chili
destroy and catch great numbers. Two methods are used: one is to place a
carcase within an inclosure of sticks on a level piece of ground; and
when the condors are gorged, to gallop up on horseback to the entrance,
and thus inclose them; for when this bird has not space to run, it
cannot give its body sufficient momentum to rise from the ground. The
second method is to mark the trees in which, frequently to the number of
five or six together, they roost, and then at night to climb up and
noose them. They are such heavy sleepers that this is by no means a
difficult task.

The condor, like all the vulture tribe, discovers his food from a great
distance; the body of an animal is frequently surrounded by a dozen or
more of them, almost as soon as it has dropped dead, although five
minutes before there was not a single bird in view. Whether this power
is to be attributed to the keenness of his olfactory or his visual
organs, is a matter still in dispute; although it is believed, from a
minute observation of its habits in confinement, to be rather owing to
its quickness of sight.

[Illustration: CONDORS.]

* * * * *


I was yesterday, about sun-set, walking in the open fields, till the
night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the
richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of
heaven; in proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and
planets appeared one after another, till the whole firmament was in a
glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened
by the season of the year, and the rays of all those luminaries that
passed through it. The Galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To
complete the scene, the full moon rose at length in that clouded majesty
which Milton takes notice of, and opened to the eye a new picture of
nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights,
than that which the sun had before discovered to us.

As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her
progress among the constellations, a thought arose in me, which I
believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and
contemplative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection,
"When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the
stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that though art mindful of
him, and the son of man that thou regardest him!" In the same manner,
when I consider that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more
philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me, with those
innumerable sets of planets or worlds, which were moving round their
respective suns; when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another
heaven of suns and worlds rising still above this which we discovered,
and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which
are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the
inhabitants of the former as the stars do to us; in short, while I
pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little
insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's

Were the sun, which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the
host of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and
annihilated, they would not be missed more than a grain of sand upon the
sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison
of the whole, it would scarce make a blank in creation. The chasm would
be imperceptible to an eye that could take in the whole compass of
nature, and pass from one end of creation to the other; as it is
possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in
creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. We see many
stars by the help of glasses, which we do not discover with our naked
eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the more still are our
discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought so far, that he does not
think it impossible there may be stars whose light is not yet travelled
down to us since their first creation. There is no question but the
universe has certain bounds set to it; but when we consider that it is
the work of infinite power, prompted by infinite goodness, with an
infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any
bounds to it?

To return, therefore, to my first thought, I could not but look upon
myself with secret horror, as a being that was not worth the smallest
regard of one who had so great a work under his care and
superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immensity
of nature, and lost among that infinite variety of creatures, which in
all probability swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter.

In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered
that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions which we are apt to
entertain of the Divine nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many
different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some
things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we
observe in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to
creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is,
beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of every created
being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his
observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in
which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to
one creature than another, according as we rise one above another in the
scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its
circumference. When therefore we reflect on the Divine nature, we are so
used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot
forbear in some measure ascribing it to Him in whom there is no shadow
of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures us that his attributes are
infinite; but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it cannot
forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates, till our reason
comes again to our succour and throws down all those little prejudices
which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.

We shall, therefore, utterly extinguish this melancholy thought of our
being overlooked by our Maker in the multiplicity of his works, and the
infinity of those objects among which He seems to be incessantly
employed, if we consider, in the first place, that He is omnipresent;
and in the second, that He is omniscient.

If we consider Him in his omnipresence; his being passes through,
actuates, and supports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and
every part of it, is full of Him. There is nothing He has made that is
either so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable, which He does not
essentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every
being, whether material or immaterial, and as intimately present to it
as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in Him, were He
able to move out of one place into another, or to draw himself from any
thing He has created, or from any part of that space which He diffused
and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of Him in the language
of the old philosophers, He is a being whose centre is everywhere and
his circumference nowhere.

In the second place, He is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His
omniscience indeed necessarily and naturally flows from his
omnipresence. He cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in
the whole material world which He thus essentially pervades; and of
every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, to every part
of which He is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered
the creation as the temple of God, which He has built, with his own
hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered
infinite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation of the
Almighty; but the noblest and most exalted way of considering this
infinite space, is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the _se
sorium_ of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their _sensoriola_, or
little _sensoriums_, by which they apprehend the presence and perceive
the actions of a few objects that lie contiguous to them. Their
knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But, as God
Almighty cannot but perceive and know everything in which He resides,
infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and is, as it were, an
organ to omniscience.

Were the soul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought
should start beyond the bounds of the creation, should it millions of
years continue its progress through infinite space with the same
activity, it would still find itself within the embrace of its Creator,
and encompassed round with the immensity of the Godhead. While we are in
the body, He is not less present with us, because He is concealed from
us. "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!" says Job. "Behold I go
forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
on the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him; He
hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him." In short,
reason as well as revelation assures us that He cannot be absent from
us, notwithstanding He is undiscovered by us.

In this consideration of God Almighty's omnipresence and omniscience,
every uncomfortable thought vanishes. He cannot but regard everything
that has being, especially such of his creatures who fear they are not
regarded by Him. He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety
of heart in particular, which is apt to trouble them on this occasion;
for, as it is impossible He should overlook any of his creatures, so we
may be confident that He regards, with an eye of mercy, those who
endeavour to recommend themselves to his notice, and in unfeigned
humility of heart think themselves unworthy that He should be mindful of


* * * * *



Long trails of cistus flowers
Creep on the rocky hill,
And beds of strong spearmint
Grow round about the mill;
And from a mountain tarn above,
As peaceful as a dream,
Like to a child unruly,
Though school'd and counsell'd truly,
Roams down the wild mill stream!
The wild mill stream it dasheth
In merriment away,
And keeps the miller and his son
So busy all the day.

Into the mad mill stream
The mountain roses fall;
And fern and adder's-tongue
Grow on the old mill wall.
The tarn is on the upland moor,
Where not a leaf doth grow;
And through the mountain gashes,
The merry mill stream dashes
Down to the sea below.
But in the quiet hollows
The red trout groweth prime,
For the miller and the miller's son
To angle when they've time.

Then fair befall the stream
That turns the mountain mill;
And fair befall the narrow road
That windeth up the hill!
And good luck to the countryman,
And to his old grey mare,
That upward toileth steadily,
With meal sacks laden heavily,
In storm as well as fair!
And good luck to the miller,
And to the miller's son;
And ever may the mill-wheel turn
While mountain waters run!


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter E.]

Envy is almost the only vice which is practicable at all times, and in
every place--the only passion which can never lie quiet for want of
irritation; its effects, therefore, are everywhere discoverable, and its
attempts always to be dreaded.

It is impossible to mention a name, which any advantageous distinction
has made eminent, but some latent animosity will burst out. The wealthy
trader, however he may abstract himself from public affairs, will never
want those who hint with Shylock, that ships are but boards, and that no
man can properly be termed rich whose fortune is at the mercy of the
winds. The beauty adorned only with the unambitious graces of innocence
and modesty, provokes, whenever she appears, a thousand murmurs of
detraction and whispers of suspicion. The genius, even when he
endeavours only to entertain with pleasing; images of nature, or
instruct by uncontested principles of science, yet suffers persecution
from innumerable critics, whose acrimony is excited merely by the pain
of seeing others pleased--of hearing applauses which another enjoys.

The frequency of envy makes it so familiar that it escapes our notice;
nor do we often reflect upon its turpitude or malignity, till we happen
to feel its influence. When he that has given no provocation to malice,
but by attempting to excel in some useful art, finds himself pursued by
multitudes whom he never saw with implacability of personal resentment;
when he perceives clamour and malice let loose upon him as a public
enemy, and incited by every stratagem of defamation; when he hears the
misfortunes of his family or the follies of his youth exposed to the
world; and every failure of conduct, or defect of nature, aggravated and
ridiculed; he then learns to abhor those artifices at which he only
laughed before, and discovers how much the happiness of life would be
advanced by the eradication of envy from the human heart.

Envy is, indeed, a stubborn weed of the mind, and seldom yields to the
culture of philosophy. There are, however, considerations which, if
carefully implanted, and diligently propagated, might in time overpower
and repress it, since no one can nurse it for the sake of pleasure, as
its effects are only shame, anguish, and perturbation. It is, above all
other vices, inconsistent with the character of a social being, because
it sacrifices truth and kindness to very weak temptations. He that
plunders a wealthy neighbour, gains as much as he takes away, and
improves his own condition in the same proportion as he impairs
another's; but he that blasts a flourishing reputation, must be content
with a small dividend of additional fame, so small as can afford very
little consolation to balance the guilt by which it is obtained.

I have hitherto avoided mentioning that dangerous and empirical
morality, which cures one vice by means of another. But envy is so base
and detestable, so vile in its original, and so pernicious in its
effects, that the predominance of almost any other quality is to be
desired. It is one of those lawless enemies of society, against which
poisoned arrows may honestly be used. Let it therefore be constantly
remembered, that whoever envies another, confesses his superiority; and
let those be reformed by their pride, who have lost their virtue.

Almost every other crime is practised by the help of some quality which
might have produced esteem or love, if it had been well employed; but
envy is a more unmixed and genuine evil; it pursues a hateful end by
despicable means, and desires not so much its own happiness as another's
misery. To avoid depravity like this, it is not necessary that any one
should aspire to heroism or sanctity; but only that he should resolve
not to quit the rank which nature assigns, and wish to maintain the
dignity of a human being.


* * * * *


No tree is more frequently mentioned by ancient authors, nor was any
more highly honoured by ancient nations, than the olive. By the Greeks
it was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, and formed the crown of
honour given to their Emperors and great men, as with the Romans. It is
a tree of slow growth, but remarkable for the great age it attains;
never, however, becoming a very large tree, though sometimes two or
three stems rise from the same root, and reach the height of from twenty
to thirty feet. The leaves grow in pairs, lanceolate in shape, of a dull
green on the upper, and hoary on the under side. Hence, in countries
where the olive is extensively cultivated, the scenery is of a dull
character, from this colour of the foliage. The fruit is oval in shape,
with a hard strong kernel, and remarkable from the outer fleshy part
being that in which much oil is lodged, and not, as is usual, in the
seed. It ripens from August to September.

Of the olive-tree two varieties are particularly distinguished: the
long-leafed, which is cultivated in the south of France and in Italy;
and the broad-leafed in Spain, which has its fruit much longer than that
of the former kind.


That the olive grows to a great age, has long been known. Pliny mentions
one which the Athenians of his time considered to be coeval with their
city, and therefore 1600 years old; and near Terni, in the vale of the
cascade of Marmora, there is a plantation of very old trees, supposed to
consist of the same plants that were growing there in the time of Pliny.
Lady Calcott states that on the mountain road between Tivoli and
Palestrina, there is an ancient olive-tree of large dimensions, which,
unless the documents are purposely falsified, stood as a boundary
between two possessions even before the Christian era. Those in the
garden of Olivet or Gethsemane are at least of the time of the Eastern
Empire, as is proved by the following circumstance:--In Turkey every
olive-tree found standing by the Mussulmans, when they conquered Asia,
pays one medina to the treasury, while each of those planted since the
conquest is taxed half its produce. The eight olives of which we are
speaking are charged only eight medinas. By some it is supposed that
these olive-trees may have been in existence even in the time of our
Saviour; the largest is about thirty feet in girth above the roots, and
twenty-seven feet high.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

There is a beautiful propriety in the order in which Nature seems to
have directed the singing-birds to fill up the day with their pleasing
harmony. The accordance between their songs and the external aspect of
nature, at the successive periods of the day at which they sing, is
quite remarkable. And it is impossible to visit the forest or the
sequestered dell, where the notes of the feathered tribes are heard to
the greatest advantage, without being impressed with the conviction that
there is design in the arrangement of this sylvan minstrelsy.--

[Illustration: THE ROBIN.]

First the robin (and not the lark, as has been generally imagined), as
soon as twilight has drawn its imperceptible line between night and day,
begins his lovely song. How sweetly does this harmonise with the soft
dawning of the day! He goes on till the twinkling sun-beams begin to
tell him that his notes no longer accord with the rising scene. Up
starts the lark, and with him a variety of sprightly songsters, whose
lively notes are in perfect correspondence with the gaiety of the
morning. The general warbling continues, with now and then an
interruption by the transient croak of the raven, the scream of the jay,
or the pert chattering of the daw. The nightingale, unwearied by the
vocal exertions of the night, joins his inferiors in sound in the
general harmony. The thrush is wisely placed on the summit of some lofty
tree, that its loud and piercing notes may be softened by distance
before they reach the ear; while the mellow blackbird seeks the inferior

[Illustration: THE LARK.]

[Illustration: THE LINNET.]

Should the sun, having been eclipsed by a cloud, shine forth with fresh
effulgence, how frequently we see the goldfinch perch on some blossomed
bough, and hear its song poured forth in a strain peculiarly energetic;
while the sun, full shining on his beautiful plumes, displays his golden
wings and crimson crest to charming advantage. The notes of the cuckoo
blend with this cheering concert in a pleasing manner, and for a short
time are highly grateful to the ear. But sweet as this singular song is,
it would tire by its uniformity, were it not given in so transient a

At length evening advances, the performers gradually retire, and the
concert softly dies away. The sun is seen no more. The robin again sends
up his twilight song, till the more serene hour of night sets him to the
bower to rest. And now to close the scene in full and perfect harmony;
no sooner is the voice of the robin hushed, and night again spreads in
gloom over the horizon, than the owl sends forth his slow and solemn
tones. They are more than plaintive and less than melancholy, and tend
to inspire the imagination with a train of contemplations well adapted
to the serious hour.

Thus we see that birds bear no inconsiderable share in harmonizing some
of the most beautiful and interesting scenes in nature.


* * * * *


Thus died Edward VI., in the sixteenth year of his age. He was counted
the wonder of his time; he was not only learned in the tongues and the
liberal sciences, but he knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a
table-book, in which he had written the characters of all the eminent
men of the nation: he studied fortification, and understood the mint
well. He knew the harbours in all his dominions, with the depth of the
water, and way of coming into them. He understood foreign affairs so
well, that the ambassadors who were sent into England, published very
extraordinary things of him in all the courts of Europe. He had great
quickness of apprehension, but being distrustful of his memory, he took
notes of everything he heard that was considerable, in Greek characters,
that those about him might not understand what he writ, which he
afterwards copied out fair in the journal that he kept. His virtues were
wonderful; when he was made to believe that his uncle was guilty of
conspiring the death of the other councillors, he upon that abandoned

Barnaby Fitzpatrick was his favourite; and when he sent him to travel,
he writ oft to him to keep good company, to avoid excess and luxury, and
to improve himself in those things that might render him capable of
employment at his return. He was afterwards made Lord of Upper Ossory,
in Ireland, by Queen Elizabeth, and did answer the hopes this excellent
King had of him. He was very merciful in his nature, which appeared in
his unwillingness to sign the warrant for burning the Maid of Kent. He
took great care to have his debts well paid, reckoning that a Prince who
breaks his faith and loses his credit, has thrown up that which he can
never recover, and made himself liable to perpetual distrust and extreme
contempt. He took special care of the petitions that were given him by
poor and opprest people. But his great zeal for religion crowned all the
rest--it was a true tenderness of conscience, founded on the love of God
and his neighbour. These extraordinary qualities, set off with great
sweetness and affability, made him universally beloved by his people.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter W.]

What sounds are on the mountain blast,
Like bullet from the arbalast?
Was it the hunted quarry past
Right up Ben-ledi's side?
So near, so rapidly, he dash'd,
Yon lichen'd bough has scarcely plash'd
Into the torrent's tide.
Ay! the good hound may bay beneath,
The hunter wind his horn;
He dared ye through the flooded Teith,
As a warrior in his scorn!
Dash the red rowel in the steed!
Spur, laggards, while ye may!
St. Hubert's staff to a stripling reed,
He dies no death to-day!
"Forward!" nay, waste not idle breath,
Gallants, ye win no greenwood wreath;
His antlers dance above the heath,
Like chieftain's plumed helm;
Right onward for the western peak,
Where breaks the sky in one white streak,
See, Isabel, in bold relief,
To Fancy's eye, Glenartney's chief,
Guarding his ancient realm.
So motionless, so noiseless there,
His foot on rock, his head in air,
Like sculptor's breathing stone:
Then, snorting from the rapid race,
Snuffs the free air a moment's space,
Glares grimly on the baffled chase,
And seeks the covert lone.

Hunting has been a favourite sport in Britain for many centuries.
Dyonisius (B.C. 50) tells us that the North Britons lived, in great
part, upon the food they procured by hunting. Strabo states that the
dogs bred in Britain were highly esteemed on the Continent, on account
of their excellent qualities for hunting; and Caesar tells us that
venison constituted a great portion of the food of the Britons, who did
not eat hares. Hunting was also in ancient times a Royal and noble
sport: Alfred the Great hunted at twelve years of age; Athelstan, Edward
the Confessor, Harold, William the Conqueror, William Rufus, and John
were all good huntsmen; Edward II. reduced hunting to a science, and
established rules for its practice; Henry IV. appointed a master of the
game; Edward III. hunted with sixty couples of stag-hounds; Elizabeth
was a famous huntswoman; and James I. preferred hunting to hawking or
shooting. The Bishops and Abbots of the middle ages hunted with great
state. Ladies also joined in the chase from the earliest times; and a
lady's hunting-dress in the fifteenth century scarcely differed from the
riding-habit of the present day.



* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter E.]

Elizabeth his wife, actuated by his undaunted spirit, applied to the
House of Lords for his release; and, according to her relation, she was
told, "they could do nothing; but that his releasement was committed to
the Judges at the next assizes." The Judges were Sir Matthew Hale and
Mr. Justice Twisden; and a remarkable contrast appeared between the
well-known meekness of the one, and fury of the other. Elizabeth came
before them, and, stating her husband's case, prayed for justice: "Judge
Twisden," says John Bunyan, "snapt her up, and angrily told her that I
was a convicted person, and could not be released unless I would promise
to preach no more. _Elizabeth_: 'The Lords told me that releasement was
committed to you, and you give me neither releasement nor relief. My
husband is unlawfully in prison, and you are bound to discharge him.'
_Twisden_: 'He has been lawfully convicted.' _Elizabeth_: 'It is false,
for when they said "Do you confess the indictment?" he answered, "At the
meetings where he preached, they had God's presence among them."'
_Twisden_: 'Will your husband leave preaching? if he will do so, then
send for him.' _Elizabeth_: 'My Lord, he dares not leave off preaching
as long as he can speak. But, good my Lords, consider that we have four
small children, one of them blind, and that they have nothing to live
upon while their father is in prison, but the charity of Christian
people.' _Sir Matthew Hale_: 'Alas! poor woman.' _Twisden_: 'Poverty is
your cloak, for I hear your husband is better maintained by running up
and down a-preaching than by following his calling?' _Sir Matthew Hale_:
'What is his calling?' _Elizabeth_: 'A tinker, please you my Lord; and
because he is a tinker, and a poor man, therefore he is despised and
cannot have justice.' _Sir Matthew Hale_: 'I am truly sorry we can do
you no good. Sitting here we can only act as the law gives us warrant;
and we have no power to reverse the sentence, although it may be
erroneous. What your husband said was taken for a confession, and he
stands convicted. There is, therefore, no course for you but to apply to
the King for a pardon, or to sue out a writ of error; and, the
indictment, or subsequent proceedings, being shown to be contrary to
law, the sentence shall be reversed, and your husband shall be set at
liberty. I am truly sorry for your pitiable case. I wish I could serve
you, but I fear I can do you no good.'"

Little do we know what is for our permanent good. Had Bunyan then been
discharged and allowed to enjoy liberty, he no doubt would have returned
to his trade, filling up his intervals of leisure with field-preaching;
his name would not have survived his own generation, and he could have
done little for the religious improvement of mankind. The prison doors
were shut upon him for twelve years. Being cut off from the external
world, he communed with his own soul; and, inspired by Him who touched
Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire, he composed the noblest of allegories,
the merit of which was first discovered by the lowly, but which is now
lauded by the most refined critics, and which has done more to awaken
piety, and to enforce the precepts of Christian morality, than all the
sermons that have been published by all the prelates of the Anglican

LORD CAMPBELL'S _Lives of the Judges._

* * * * *


This singular variety of the Fox was first made known to naturalists in
1820, after the return of De Laland from South Africa. It is an
inhabitant of the mountains in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good
Hope, but it is so rare that little is known of its habits in a state of
nature. The Engraving was taken from a specimen which has been lately
placed in the Zoological Society's gardens in the Regent's Park. It is
extremely quick of hearing, and there is something in the general
expression of the head which suggests a resemblance to the long-eared
bat. Its fur is very thick, and the brush is larger than that of our
common European fox. The skin of the fox is in many species very
valuable; that of another kind of fox at the Cape of Good Hope is so
much in request among the natives as a covering for the cold season,
that many of the Bechuanas are solely employed in hunting the animal
down with dogs, or laying snares in the places to which it is known to


In common with all other foxes, those of Africa are great enemies to
birds which lay their eggs upon the ground; and their movements are, in
particular, closely watched by the ostrich during the laying season.
When the fox has surmounted all obstacles in procuring eggs, he has to
encounter the difficulty of getting at their contents; but even for this
task his cunning finds an expedient, and it is that of pushing them
forcibly along the ground until they come in contact with some substance
hard enough to break them, when the contents are speedily disposed of.

The natives, from having observed the anxiety of the ostrich to keep
this animal from robbing her nest, avail themselves of this solicitude
to lure the bird to its destruction; for, seeing that it runs to the
nest the instant a fox appears, they fasten a dog near it, and conceal
themselves close by, and the ostrich, on approaching to drive away the
supposed fox, is frequently shot by the real hunter.

The fur of the red fox of America is much valued as an article of trade,
and about 8000 are annually imported into England from the fur
countries, where the animal is very abundant, especially in the wooded

Foxes of various colours are also common in the fur countries of North
America, and a rare and valuable variety is the black or silver fox. Dr.
Richardson states that seldom more than four or five of this variety are
taken in a season at one post, though the hunters no sooner find out the
haunts of one, than they use every art to catch it, because its fur
fetches six times the price of any other fur produced in North America.
This fox is sometimes found of a rich deep glossy black, the tip of the
brush alone being white; in general, however, it is silvered over the
end of each of the long hairs of the fur, producing a beautiful

The Arctic fox resembles greatly the European species, but is
considerably smaller; and, owing to the great quantity of white woolly
fur with which it is covered, is somewhat like a little shock dog. The
brush is very large and full, affording an admirable covering for the
nose and feet, to which it acts as a muff when the animal sleeps. The
fur is in the greatest perfection during the months of winter, when the
colour gradually becomes from an ashy grey to a full and pure white, and
is extremely thick, covering even the soles of the feet. Captain Lyon
has given very interesting accounts of the habits of this animal, and
describes it as being cleanly and free from any unpleasant smell: it
inhabits the most northern lands hitherto discovered.

[Illustration: SYRIAN FOX.]

* * * * *


The Plain of Esdraelon, in Palestine, is often mentioned in sacred
history, as the great battle-field of the Jewish and other nations,
under the names of the Valley of Mejiddo and the Valley of Jizreel, and
by Josephus as the Great Plain. The convenience of its extent and
situation for military action and display has, from the earliest periods
of history down to our own day, caused its surface at certain intervals
to be moistened with the blood, and covered with the bodies of
conflicting warriors of almost every nation under heaven. This extensive
plain, exclusive of three great arms which stretch eastward towards the
Valley of the Jordan, may be said to be in the form of an acute
triangle, having the measure of 13 or 14 miles on the north, about 18 on
the east, and above 20 on the south-west. Before the verdure of spring
and early summer has been parched up by the heat and drought of the late
summer and autumn, the view of the Great Plain is, from its fertility
and beauty, very delightful. In June, yellow fields of grain, with green
patches of millet and cotton, chequer the landscape like a carpet. The
plain itself is almost without villages, but there are several on the
slopes of the inclosing hills, especially on the side of Mount Carmel.
On the borders of this plain Mount Tabor stands out alone in magnificent
grandeur. Seen from the south-west its fine proportions present a
semi-globular appearance; but from the north-west it more resembles a
truncated cone. By an ancient path, which winds considerably, one may
ride to the summit, where is a small oblong plain with the foundations
of ancient buildings. The view from the summit is declared by Lord
Nugent to be the most splendid he could recollect having ever seen from
any natural height. The sides of the mountain are mostly covered with
bushes and woods of oak trees, with occasionally pistachio trees,
presenting a beautiful appearance, and affording a welcome and agreeable
shade. There are various tracks up its sides, often crossing each other,
and the ascent generally occupies about an hour. The crest of the
mountain is table-land, 600 or 700 yards in height from north to south,
and about half as much across, and a flat field of about an acre occurs
at a level of some 20 or 25 feet lower than the eastern brow. There are
remains of several small ruined tanks on the crest, which still catch
the rain water dripping through the crevices of the rock, and preserve
it cool and clear, it is said, throughout the year.

[Illustration: MOUNT TABOR.]

The tops of this range of mountains are barren, but the slopes and
valleys afford pasturage, and are capable of cultivation, from the
numerous springs which are met with in all directions. Cultivation is,
however, chiefly found on the seaward slopes; there many flourishing
villages exist, and every inch of ground is turned to account by the
industrious natives.

[Illustration: FIG TREE.]

[Illustration: SYCAMORE.]

Here, amidst the crags of the rocks, are to be seen the remains of the
renowned cedars with which Lebanon once abounded; but a much larger
proportion of firs, sycamores, mulberry trees, fig trees, and vines now

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter S.]

She, that most faithful lady, all this while,
Forsaken, woful, solitary maid,
Far from the people's throng, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd
To seek her knight; who, subtlely betray'd
By that false vision which th' enchanter wrought,
Had her abandon'd. She, of nought afraid,
Him through the woods and wide wastes daily sought,
Yet wish'd for tidings of him--none unto her brought.

One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight;
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight:
From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside; her angel face,
As the great eye that lights the earth, shone bright,
And made a sunshine in that shady place,
That never mortal eye beheld such heavenly grace.

It fortun'd that, from out the thicket wood
A ramping lion rushed suddenly,
And hunting greedy after savage blood,
The royal virgin helpless did espy;
At whom, with gaping mouth full greedily
To seize and to devour her tender corse,
When he did run, he stopp'd ere he drew nigh,
And loosing all his rage in quick remorse,
As with the sight amazed, forgot his furious force.

Then coming near, he kiss'd her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hand with fawning tongue,
As he her wronged innocence did meet:
Oh! how can beauty master the most strong,
And simple truth subdue intent of wrong!
His proud submission, and his yielded pride,
Though dreading death, when she had marked long,
She felt compassion in her heart to slide,
And drizzling tears to gush that might not be denied.

And with her tears she pour'd a sad complaint,
That softly echoed from the neighbouring wood;
While sad to see her sorrowful constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood:
With pity calm'd he lost all angry mood.
At length, in close breast shutting up her pain,
Arose the virgin born of heavenly brood,
And on her snowy palfrey rode again
To seek and find her knight, if him she might attain.

The lion would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong guard
Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:
Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward,
And when she waked, he waited diligent
With humble service to her will prepared.
From her fair eyes he took commandment,
And ever by her looks conceived her intent.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter S.]

Seven miles from the sea-port of Boston, in Lincolnshire, lies the rural
town of Swineshead, once itself a port, the sea having flowed up to the
market-place, where there was a harbour. The name of Swineshead is
familiar to every reader of English history, from its having been the
resting-place of King John, after he lost the whole of his baggage, and
narrowly escaped with his life, when crossing the marshes from Lynn to
Sleaford, the castle of which latter place was then in his possession.
The King halted at the Abbey, close to the town of Swineshead, which
place he left on horseback; but being taken ill, was moved in a litter
to Sleaford, and thence to his castle at Newark, where he died on the
following day, in the year 1216.

Apart from this traditional interest, Swineshead has other antiquarian
and historical associations. The circular Danish encampment, sixty yards
in diameter, surrounded by a double fosse, was, doubtless, a post of
importance, when the Danes, or Northmen, carried their ravages through
England in the time of Ethelred I., and the whole country passed
permanently into the Danish hands about A.D. 877. The incessant inroads
of the Danes, who made constant descents on various parts of the coast,
burning the towns and villages, and laying waste the country in all
directions, led to that stain upon the English character, the Danish
massacre. The troops collected to oppose these marauders always lost
courage and fled, and their leaders, not seldom, set them the example.
In 1002, peace was purchased for a sum of L24,000 and a large supply of
provisions. Meantime, the King and his councillors resolved to have
recourse to a most atrocious expedient for their future security. It had
been the practice of the English Kings, from the time of Athelstane, to
have great numbers of Danes in their pay, as guards, or household
troops; and these, it is said, they quartered on their subjects, one on
each house. The household troops, like soldiers in general, paid great
attention to their dress and appearance, and thus became very popular
with the generality of people; but they also occasionally behaved with
great insolence, and were also strongly suspected of holding secret
intelligence with their piratical countrymen. It was therefore resolved
to massacre the Hus-carles, as they were called, and their families,
throughout England. Secret orders to this effect were sent to all parts,
and on St. Brice's day, November 13th, 1002, the Danes were everywhere
fallen on and slain. The ties of affinity (for many of them had married
and settled in the country) were disregarded; even Gunhilda, sister to
Sweyn, King of Denmark, though a Christian, was not spared, and with her
last breath she declared that her death would bring the greatest evils
upon England. The words of Gunhilda proved prophetic. Sweyn, burning for
revenge and glad of a pretext for war, soon made his appearance on the
south coast, and during four years he spread devastation through all
parts of the country, until the King Ethelred agreed to give him L30,000
and provisions as before for peace, and the realm thus had rest for two
years. But this short peace was but a prelude to further disturbances;
and indeed for two centuries, dating from the reign of Egbert, England
was destined to become a prey to these fierce and fearless invaders.


The old Abbey of Swineshead was demolished in 1610, and the present
structure, known as Swineshead Abbey, was built from the materials.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter B.]

Beautiful stream! By rock and dell

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest