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The Illustrated London Reading Book by Various

Part 5 out of 8

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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.]

* * * * *



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.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

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.

* * * * *


[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."


* * * * *


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.

* * * * *


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.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!


Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Pow'r,
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour--
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tombs no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle, and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry sooth the dull, cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton, here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their names, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,


Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dew away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

"There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.

"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt' ring his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless lore.

"One morn, I miss'd him on th' accustom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

"The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou can'st read) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

[Illustration: THE EPITAPH.]

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth--
Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had--a tear;
He gain'd from Heav'n, 'twas all he wish'd--a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter M.]

Marvellous indeed have been the productions of modern scientific
investigations, but none surpass the wonder-working Electro-magnetic
Telegraphic Machine; and when Shakspeare, in the exercise of his
unbounded imagination, made _Puck_, in obedience to _Oberon's_ order to

"Be here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league."


"I'll put a girdle round the earth
In forty minutes"--

how little did our immortal Bard think that this light fanciful offer of
a "fairy" to "the King of the Fairies" would, in the nineteenth century,
not only be substantially realised, but surpassed as follows:--

The electric telegraph would convey intelligence more than twenty-eight
thousand times round the earth, while Puck, at his vaunted speed, was
crawling round it only ONCE!

On every instrument there is a dial, on which are inscribed the names of
the six or eight stations with which it usually communicates. When much
business is to be transacted, a boy is necessary for each of these
instruments; generally, however, one lad can, without practical
difficulty, manage about three; but, as the whole of them are ready for
work by night as well as by day, they are incessantly attended, in
watches of eight hours each, by these satellite boys by day and by men
at night.

As fast as the various messages for delivery, flying one after another
from the ground-floor up the chimney, reach the level of the
instruments, they are brought by the superintendent to the particular
one by which they are to be communicated; and its boy, with the
quickness characteristic of his age, then instantly sets to work.

His first process is by means of the electric current to sound a little
bell, which simultaneously alarms all the stations on his line; and
although the attention of the sentinel at each is thus attracted, yet it
almost instantly evaporates from all excepting from that to the name of
which he causes the electric needle to point, by which signal the clerk
at that station instantly knows that the forthcoming question is
addressed to _him_; and accordingly, by a corresponding signal, he
announces to the London boy that he is ready to receive it. By means of
a brass handle fixed to the dial, which the boy grasps in each hand, he
now begins rapidly to spell off his information by certain twists of his
wrists, each of which imparts to the needles on his dial, as well as to
those on the dial of his distant correspondent, a convulsive movement
designating the particular letter of the telegraphic alphabet required.
By this arrangement he is enabled to transmit an ordinary-sized word in
three seconds, or about twenty per minute. In the case of any accident
to the wire of one of his needles, he can, by a different alphabet,
transmit his message by a series of movements of the single needle, at
the reduced rate of about eight or nine words per minute.

While a boy at one instrument is thus occupied in transmitting to--say
Liverpool, a message, written by its London author in ink which is
scarcely dry, another boy at the adjoining instrument is, by the reverse
of the process, attentively reading the quivering movements of the
needles of his dial, which, by a sort of St. Vitus's dance, are rapidly
spelling to him a message, _via_ the wires of the South Western Railway,
say from Gosport, which word by word he repeats aloud to an assistant,
who, seated by his side, writes it down (he receives it about as fast as
his attendant can conveniently write it); on a sheet of; paper, which,
as soon as the message is concluded, descends to the "booking-office."
When inscribed in due form, it is without delay despatched to its
destination, by messenger, cab, or express, according to order.



* * * * *


How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirror'd in the ocean vast--
A thousand fathoms down!

As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.

For faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor let the type grow pale with age,
That first spoke peace to man.


[Illustration: A LUNAR RAINBOW.]

The moon sometimes exhibits the extraordinary phenomenon of an iris or
rainbow, by the refraction of her rays in drops of rain during the
night-time. This appearance is said to occur only at the time of full
moon, and to be indicative of stormy and rainy weather. One is described
in the _Philosophical Transactions_ as having been seen in 1810, during
a thick rain; but, subsequent to that time, the same person gives an
account of one which perhaps was the most extraordinary of which we have
any record. It became visible about nine o'clock, and continued, though
with very different degrees of brilliancy, until past two. At first,
though a strongly marked bow, it was without colour, but afterwards
became extremely vivid, the red, green, and purple being the most
strongly marked. About twelve it was the most splendid in appearance.
The wind was very high at the time, and a drizzling rain falling

* * * * *



At summer eve, when Heaven's ethereal bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey,
The promised joys of life's unmeasured way;
Thus from afar each dim-discovered scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been;
And every form that fancy can repair
From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden, grow
Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe.
Won by their sweets, in nature's languid hour,
The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
Then, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring!
What viewless forms th' Eolian organ play,
And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious care away!
Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore
Earth's loneliest bounds and ocean's wildest shore.
Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark, careering o'er unfathom'd fields;
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,
Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form!
Rocks, waves, and winds the shatter'd bark delay--
Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep,
And sing to charm the spirit of the deep.
Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole,
Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul.
His native hills that rise in happier climes;
The grot that heard his song of other times;
His cottage home, his bark of slender sail,
His glassy lake, and broomwood-blossom'd vale,
Rush in his thought; he sweeps before the wind,
And treads the shore he sigh'd to leave behind!

_Pleasures of Hope._

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter H.]

Hartlepool Lighthouse is a handsome structure of white freestone--the
building itself being fifty feet in height; but, owing to the additional
height of the cliff, the light is exhibited at an elevation of nearly
eighty-five feet above high-water mark. On the eastern side of the
building is placed a balcony, supporting a lantern, from which a small
red light is exhibited, to indicate that state of the tide which will
admit of the entrance of ships into the harbour; the corresponding
signal in the daytime being a red ball hoisted to the top of the
flag-staff. The lighthouse is furnished with an anemometer and tidal
gauge; and its appointments are altogether of the most complete
description. It is chiefly, however, with regard to the system adopted
in the lighting arrangements that novelty presents itself.

The main object, in the instance of a light placed as a beacon to warn
mariners of their proximity to a dangerous coast, is to obtain the
greatest possible intensity and amount of penetrating power. A naked or
simple light is therefore seldom, if ever employed; but whether it
proceed from the combustion of oil or gas, it is equally necessary that
it should be combined with some arrangement of optical apparatus, in
order that the rays emitted may be collected, and projected in such a
direction as to render them available to the object in view; and in all
cases a highly-polished metal surface is employed as a reflector.


In the Hartlepool Lighthouse the illuminative medium is _gas_. The
optical apparatus embraces three-fourths of the circumference of the
circle which encloses the light, and the whole of the rays emanating
from that part of the light opposed to the optical arrangement are
reflected or refracted (as the case may be), so that they are projected
from the lighthouse in such a direction as to be visible from the
surface of the ocean.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter C.]

Can anything (says Plato) be more delightful than the hearing or the
speaking of truth? For this reason it is that there is no conversation
so agreeable that of a man of integrity, who hears without any intention
to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive. As an advocate
was pleading the cause of his client in Rome, before one of the
praetors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the
law required the testimony of two persons; upon which the advocate
insisted on the integrity of the person whom he had produced, but the
praetor told him that where the law required two witnesses he would not
accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech, from a person
who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living,
shows us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great
man had gained among his contemporaries on account of his sincerity.


2. As I was sitting (says an ancient writer) with some senators of
Bruges, before the gate of the Senate-House, a certain beggar presented
himself to us, and with sighs and tears, and many lamentable gestures,
expressed to us his miserable poverty, and asked our alms, telling us at
the same time, that he had about him a private maim and a secret
mischief, which very shame restrained him from discovering to the eyes
of men. We all pitying the case of the poor man, gave him each of us
something, and departed. One, however, amongst us took an opportunity to
send his servant after him, with orders to inquire of him what that
private infirmity might be which he found such cause to be ashamed of,
and was so loth to discover. The servant overtook him, and delivered his
commission: and after having diligently viewed his face, breast, arms,
legs, and finding all his limbs in apparent soundness, "Why, friend,"
said he, "I see nothing whereof you have any such reason to complain."
"Alas! sir," said the beggar, "the disease which afflicts me is far
different from what you conceive, and is such as you cannot discern; yet
it is an evil which hath crept over my whole body: it has passed through
my very veins and marrow in such a manner that there is no member of my
body that is able to work for my daily bread. This disease is by some
called idleness, and by others sloth." The servant, hearing this
singular apology, left him in great anger, and returned to his master
with the above account; but before the company could send again to make
further inquiry after him, the beggar had very prudently withdrawn

3. Action, we are assured, keeps the soul in constant health; but
idleness corrupts and rusts the mind; for a man of great abilities may
by negligence and idleness become so mean and despicable as to be an
incumbrance to society and a burthen to himself. When the Roman
historians described an extraordinary man, it generally entered into his
character, as an essential, that he was _incredibili industria,
diligentia singulari_--of incredible industry, of singular diligence and
application. And Cato, in Sallust, informs the Senate, that it was not
so much the arms as the industry of their ancestors, which advanced the
grandeur of Rome, and made her mistress of the world.


* * * * *


The group in the Pacific Ocean called the Gambier Islands are but thinly
inhabited, but possess a good harbour. Captain Beechey, in his
"Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits," tells us
that several of the islands, especially the largest, have a fertile
appearance. The Captain gives an interesting account of his interview
with some of the natives, who approached the ship in rafts, carrying
from sixteen to twenty men each, as represented in the Engraving.


"We were much pleased," says the Captain, "with the manner of lowering
their matting sail, diverging on different courses, and working their
paddles, in the use of which they had great power, and were well
skilled, plying them together, or, to use a nautical phrase, 'keeping
stroke.' They had no other weapons but long poles, and were quite naked,
with the exception of a banana leaf cut into strips, and tied about
their loins; and one or two persons wore white turbans." They timidly
approached both the ship and the barge, but would upset any small boats
within their reach; not, however, from any malicious intention, but from
thoughtlessness and inquisitiveness. Captain Beechey approached them in
the gig, and gave them several presents, for which they, in return,
threw him some bundles of paste, tied up in large leaves, which was the
common food of the natives. They tempted the Captain and his crew with
cocoa-nuts and roots, and invited their approach by performing ludicrous
dances; but, as soon as the visitors were within reach, all was
confusion. A scuffle ensued, and on a gun being fired over their heads,
all but four instantly plunged into the sea. The inhabitants of these
islands are stated to be well-made, with upright and graceful figures.
Tattooing seems to be very commonly practised, and some of the patterns
are described as being very elegant.

* * * * *


"He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,"
Who first of all the bands of Satan breaks;
Who breaks the bands of sin, and for his soul,
In spite of fools, consulteth seriously;
In spite of fashion, perseveres in good;
In spite of wealth or poverty, upright;
Who does as reason, not as fancy bids;
Who hears Temptation sing, and yet turns not
Aside; sees Sin bedeck her flowery bed,
And yet will not go up; feels at his heart
The sword unsheathed, yet will not sell the truth;
Who, having power, has not the will to hurt;
Who feels ashamed to be, or have a slave,
Whom nought makes blush but sin, fears nought but God;
Who, finally, in strong integrity
Of soul, 'midst want, or riches, or disgrace
Uplifted, calmly sat, and heard the waves
Of stormy Folly breaking at his feet,
Nor shrill with praise, nor hoarse with foal reproach,
And both despised sincerely; seeking this
Alone, the approbation of his God,
Which still with conscience witness'd to his peace.
This, this is freedom, such as Angels use,
And kindred to the liberty of God!


* * * * *


The adventurous spirit of Englishmen has caused them to fit out no less
than sixty expeditions within the last three centuries and a half, with
the sole object of discovering a north-west passage to India. Without
attempting even to enumerate these baffled essays, we will at once carry
our young readers to these dreary regions--dreary, merely because their
capabilities are unsuited to the necessities which are obvious to all,
yet performing their allotted office in the economy of the world, and
manifesting the majesty and the glory of our great Creator.


Winter in the Arctic Circle is winter indeed: there is no sun to
gladden with his beams the hearts of the voyagers; but all is wrapt in
darkness, day and night, save when the moon chances to obtrude her faint
rays, only to make visible the desolation of the scene. The approach of
winter is strongly marked. Snow begins to fall in August, and the ground
is covered to the depth of two or three feet before October. As the cold
augments, the air bears its moisture in the form of a frozen fog, the
icicles of which are so sharp as to be painful to the skin. The surface
of the sea steams like a lime-kiln, caused by the water being still
warmer than the superincumbent atmosphere. The mist at last clears, the
water having become frozen, and darkness settles on the land. All is
silence, broken only by the bark of the Arctic fox, or by the loud
explosion of bursting rocks, as the frost penetrates their bosoms.

The crews of exploring vessels, which are frozen firmly in the ice in
winter, spend almost the whole of their time in their ships, which in
Sir James Ross's expedition (in 1848-49) were well warmed and
ventilated. Where there has not been sufficient warmth, their
provisions--even brandy--became so frozen as to require to be cut by a
hatchet. The mercury in a barometer has frozen so that it might be
beaten on an anvil.

As Sir James Ross went in search of Sir John Franklin, he adopted
various methods of letting him know (if alive) of assistance being at
hand. Provisions were deposited in several marked places; and on the
excursions to make these deposits, they underwent terrible fatigue, as
well as suffered severely from what is termed "snow blindness." But the
greatest display of ingenuity was in capturing a number of white foxes,
and fastening copper collars round their necks, on which was engraved a
notice of the position of the ships and provisions. It was possible that
these animals, which are known to travel very far in search of food,
might be captured by the missing voyagers, who would thus be enabled to
avail themselves of the assistance intended for them by their noble
countrymen. The little foxes, in their desire to escape, sometimes tried
to gnaw the bars of their traps; but the cold was so intense, that their
tongues froze to the iron, and so their captors had to kill them, to
release them from their misery, for they were never wantonly destroyed.

The great Painter of the Universe has not forgotten the embellishment of
the Pole. One of the most beautiful phenomena in nature is the Aurora
Borealis, or northern lights. It generally assumes the form of an arch,
darting flashes of lilac, yellow, or white light towards the heights of
heaven. Some travellers state that the aurora are accompanied by a
crackling or hissing noise; but Captain Lyon, who listened for hours,
says that this is not the case, and that it is merely that the
imagination cannot picture these sudden bursts of light as unaccompanied
by noise.

We will now bid farewell to winter, for with returning summer comes the
open sea, and the vessels leave their wintry bed. This, however, is
attended with much difficulty and danger. Canals have to be cut in the
ice, through which to lead the ships to a less obstructed ocean; and,
after this had been done in Sir James Ross's case, the ships were hemmed
in by a pack of ice, fifty miles in circumference, and were carried
along, utterly helpless, at the rate of eight or ten miles daily, for
upwards of 250 miles--the navigators fearing the adverse winds might
drive them on the rocky coast of Baffin's Bay. At length the wind
changed, and carried them clear of ice and icebergs (detached masses of
ice, sometimes several hundred feet in height) to the open sea, and back
to their native land.

With all its dreariness, we owe much to the ice-bound Pole; to it we
are indebted for the cooling breeze and the howling tempest--the
beneficent tempest, in spite of all its desolation and woe. Evil and
good in nature are comparative: the same thing does what is called harm
in one sense, but incalculable good in another. So the tempest, that
causes the wreck, and makes widows of happy wives and orphans of joyous
children, sets in motion air that would else be stagnant, and become the
breath of pestilence and the grave.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter A.]

All the Crown Jewels, or Regalia, used by the Sovereign on great state
occasions, are kept in the Tower of London, where they have been for
nearly two centuries. The first express mention made of the Regalia
being kept in this palatial fortress, occurs in the reign of Henry III.,
previously to which they were deposited either in the Treasury of the
Temple, or in some religious house dependent upon the Crown. Seldom,
however, did the jewels remain in the Tower for any length of time, for
they were repeatedly pledged to meet the exigences of the Sovereign. An
inventory of the jewels in the Tower, made by order of James I., is of
great length; although Henry III., during the Lincolnshire rebellion, in
1536, greatly reduced the value and number of the Royal store. In the
reign of Charles II., a desperate attempt was made by Colonel Blood and
his accomplices to possess themselves of the Royal Jewels.

The Regalia were originally kept in a small building on the south side
of the White Tower; but, in the reign of Charles I., they were
transferred to a strong chamber in the Martin Tower, afterwards called
the Jewel Tower. Here they remained until the fire in 1840; when being
threatened with destruction from the flames which were raging near them,
they were carried away by the warders, and placed for safety in the
house of the Governor. In 1841 they were removed to the new Jewel-House,
which is much more commodious than the old vaulted chamber in which they
were previously shown.

[Illustration: QUEEN'S CROWN.]

The QUEEN'S, or IMPERIAL CROWN was made for the coronation of her
present Majesty. It is composed of a cap of purple velvet, enclosed by
hoops of silver, richly dight with gems, in the form shown in our
Illustration. The arches rise almost to a point instead of being
depressed, are covered with pearls, and are surmounted by an orb of
brilliants. Upon this is placed a Maltese or cross pattee of
brilliants. Four crosses and four _fleurs-de-lis_ surmount the circlet,
all composed of diamonds, the front cross containing the "inestimable
sapphire," of the purest and deepest azure, more than two inches long,
and an inch broad; and, in the circlet beneath it, is a rock ruby, of
enormous size and exquisite colour, _said_ to have been worn by the
Black Prince at the battle of Cressy, and by Henry V. at the battle of
Agincourt. The circlet is enriched with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires,
and rubies. This crown was altered from the one constructed expressly
for the coronation of King George IV.: the superb diadem then weighed
5-1/2 lb., and was worn by the King on his return in procession from the
Abbey to the Hall at Westminster.

[Illustration: OLD IMPERIAL CROWN.]

The OLD IMPERIAL CROWN (St. Edward's) is the one whose form is so
familiar to us from its frequent representation on the coin of the
realm, the Royal arms, &c. It was made for the coronation of Charles
II., to replace the one broken up and sold during the Civil Wars, which
was said to have been worn by Edward the Confessor. It is of gold, and
consists of two arches crossing at the top, and rising from a rim or
circlet of gold, over a cap of crimson velvet, lined with white taffeta,
and turned up with ermine. The base of the arches on each side is
covered by a cross pattee; between the crosses are four _fleurs-de-lis_
of gold, which rise out of the circle: the whole of these are splendidly
enriched with pearls and precious stones. On the top, at the
intersection of the arches, which are somewhat depressed, are a mound
and cross of gold the latter richly jewelled, and adorned with three
pearls, one on the top, and one pendent at each limb.

[Illustration: PRINCE OF WALES'S CROWN.]

The PRINCE OF WALES'S CROWN is of pure gold, unadorned with jewels. On
occasions of state, it is placed before the seat occupied by the
Heir-Apparent to the throne in the House of Lords.

[Illustration: QUEEN'S DIADEM.]

[Illustration: TEMPORAL SCEPTRE.]

The QUEEN'S DIADEM was made for the coronation of Marie d'Este, consort
of James II., it is adorned with large diamonds, and the upper edge of
the circlet is bordered with pearls.

The TEMPORAL SCEPTRE of Queen Victoria is of gold, 2 feet 9 inch in
length; the staff is very plain, but the pommel is ornamented with
rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. The _fleurs-de-lis_ with which this
sceptre was originally adorned have been replaced by golden leaves,
bearing the rose, shamrock, and thistle. The cross is variously
jewelled, and has in the centre a large table diamond.

[Illustration: SPIRITUAL SCEPTRE.]

Her Majesty's SPIRITUAL SCEPTRE, Rod of Equity, or Sceptre with the
Dove, is also of gold, 3 feet 7 inches long, set with diamonds and other
precious stones. It is surmounted by an orb, banded with rose diamonds,
bearing a cross, on which is the figure of a dove with expanded wings.

The QUEEN'S IVORY SCEPTRE was made for Maria d'Este, consort of James
II. It is mounted in gold, and terminated by a golden cross, bearing a
dove of white onyx.

[Illustration: AMPULLA.]

The ampulla is an antique vessel of pure gold, used for containing the
holy oil at coronations. It resembles an eagle with expanded wings, and
is finely chased: the head screws off at the middle of the neck for
pouring in the oil; and the neck being hollow to the beak the latter
serves as a spout, through which the consecrated oil is poured into

[Illustration: ANOINTING SPOON.]

The ANOINTING SPOON, which is also of pure gold: it has four pearls in
the broadest part of the handle, and the bowl of the spoon is finely
chased within and without; by its extreme thinness, it appears to be


The ARMILLAE, or BRACELETS, are of solid fine gold, chased, 1-1/2 inch
in breadth, edged with rows of pearls. They open by a hinge, and are
enamelled with the rose, _fleur-de-lis_, and harp.

[Illustration: IMPERIAL ORB.]

The IMPERIAL ORB, or MOUND, is an emblem of sovereignty, said to have
been derived from Imperial Rome, and to have been first adorned with the
cross by Constantine, on his conversion to Christianity. It first
appears among the Royal insignia of England on the coins of Edward the
Confessor. This orb is a ball of gold, 6 inches in diameter, encompassed
with a band of gold, set with emeralds, rubies, and pearls. On the top
is a remarkably fine amethyst, nearly 1-1/2 inch high, which serves as
the foot or pedestal of a rich cross of gold, 32 inches high, encrusted
with diamonds; having in the centre, on one side, a sapphire, and an
emerald on the other; four large pearls at the angles of the cross, a
large pearl at the end of each limb, and three at the base; the height
of the orb and cross being 11 inches.

The QUEEN'S ORB is of smaller dimensions than the preceding, but of
similar materials and fashion.


[Illustration: STATE SALT-CELLARS.]

The SALT-CELLARS are of singular form and rich workmanship. The most
noticeable is--the _Golden Salt-cellar of State,_ which is of pure gold,
richly adorned with jewels, and grotesque figures in chased work. Its
form is castellated: and the receptacles for the salt are formed by the
removal of the tops of the turrets.

In the same chamber with the Crowns, Sceptres, and other Regalia used in
the ceremonial of the Coronation, is a very interesting collection of
plate, formerly used at Coronation festivals; together with fonts, &c.
Amongst these are

The QUEEN'S BAPTISMAL FONT, which is of silver, gilt, tastefully chased,
and surmounted by two figures emblematical of the baptismal rite: this
font was formerly used at the christening of the Royal family; but a new
font of more picturesque design, has lately be n manufactured for her


There are, besides, in the collection, a large Silver Wine Fountain,
presented by the corporation of Plymouth to Charles II.; two massive
Coronation Tankards, of gold; a Banqueting Dish, and other dishes and
spoons of gold, used at Coronation festivals; besides a
beautifully-wrought service of Sacramental Plate, employed at the
Coronation, and used also in the Chapel of St. Peter in the Tower.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter I.]

I ask'd an aged man, a man of cares,
Wrinkled and curved, and white with hoary hairs:
"Time is the warp of life," he said; "Oh tell
The young, the fair, the gay, to weave 't well!"
I ask'd the ancient, venerable dead--
Sages who wrote, and warriors who bled:
From the cold grave a hollow murmur flow'd--
"Time sow'd the seed we reap in this abode!"
I ask'd a dying sinner, ere the tide
Of life had left his veins: "Time?" he replied,
"I've lost it! Ah, the treasure!" and he died.
I ask'd the golden sun and silver spheres,
Those bright chronometers of days and years:
They answer'd: "Time is but a meteor's glare,"
And bade me for Eternity prepare.
I ask'd the Seasons, in their annual round,
Which beautify or desolate the ground;
And they replied (no oracle more wise):
"'Tis Folly's blank, and Wisdom's highest prize!"
I ask'd a spirit lost, but oh! the shriek
That pierced my soul! I shudder while I speak.
It cried, "A particle! a speck! a mite
Of endless years--duration infinite!"
Of things inanimate, my dial I
Consulted, and it made me this reply:
"Time is the season fair of living well--
The path of glory, or the path of hell."
I ask'd my Bible, and methinks it said:
"Time is the present hour--the past is fled:
Live! live to-day; to-morrow never yet
On any human being rose or set."
I ask'd old Father Time himself at last,
But in a moment he flew swiftly past--
His chariot was a cloud, the viewless wind
His noiseless steeds, which left no trace behind.
I ask'd the mighty Angel who shall stand
One foot on sea, and one on solid land;
"By Heaven!" he cried, "I swear the mystery's o'er;
Time was," he cried, "but time shall be no more!"


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter F.]

Fine writing, according to Mr. Addison, consists of sentiments which are
natural without being obvious. There cannot be a juster and more concise
definition of fine writing.

Sentiments which are merely natural affect not the mind with any
pleasure, and seem not worthy to engage our attention. The pleasantries
of a waterman, the observations of a peasant, the ribaldry of a porter
or hackney-coachman; all these are natural and disagreeable. What an
insipid comedy should we make of the chit-chit of the tea-table, copied
faithfully and at full length! Nothing can please persons of taste but
nature drawn with all her graces and ornament--_la belle nature_; or, if
we copy low life, the strokes must be strong and remarkable, and must
convey a lively image to the mind. The absurd _naivete_ of Sancho Panza
is represented in such inimitable colours by Cervantes, that it
entertains as much as the picture of the most magnanimous hero or
softest lover.

The case is the same with orators, philosophers, critics, or any author
who speaks in his own person without introducing other speakers or
actors. If his language be not elegant, his observations uncommon, his
sense strong and masculine, he will in vain boast his nature and
simplicity. He may be correct, but he never will be agreeable. 'Tis the
unhappiness of such authors that they are never blamed nor censured. The
good fortune of a book and that of a man are not the same. The secret
deceiving path of life, which Horace talks of--_fallentis semita
vitae_--may be the happiest, lot of the one, but is the greatest
misfortune that the other can possibly fall into.

On the other hand, productions which are merely surprising, without
being natural, can never give any lasting entertainment to the mind. To
draw chimaeras is not, properly speaking, to copy or imitate. The
justness of the representation is lost, and the mind is displeased to
find a picture which bears no resemblance to any original. Nor are such
excessive refinements more agreeable in the epistolary or philosophic
style, than in the epic or tragic. Too much ornament is a fault in every
kind of production. Uncommon expressions, strong flashes of wit, pointed
similes, and epigrammatic turns, especially when laid too thick, are a
disfigurement rather than any embellishment of discourse. As the eye, in
surveying a Gothic building, is distracted by the multiplicity of
ornaments, and loses the whole by its minute attention to the parts; so
the mind, in perusing a work overstocked with wit, is fatigued and
disgusted with the constant endeavour to shine and surprise. This is the
case where a writer over-abounds in wit, even though that wit should be
just and agreeable. But it commonly happens to such writers, that they
seek for their favourite ornaments even where the subject affords them
not; and by that means have twenty insipid conceits for one thought that
is really beautiful.

There is no subject in critical learning more copious than this of the
just mixture of simplicity and refinement in writing; and, therefore,
not to wander in too large a field, I shall confine myself to a few
general observations on that head.

First, I observe, "That though excesses of both kinds are to be avoided,
and though a proper medium ought to be studied in all productions; yet
this medium lies not in a point, but admits of a very considerable
latitude." Consider the wide distance, in this respect, between Mr. Pope
and Lucretius. These seem to lie in the two greatest extremes of
refinement and simplicity which a poet can indulge himself in, without
being guilty of any blameable excess. All this interval may be filled
with poets, who may differ from each other, but may be equally
admirable, each in his peculiar style and manner. Corneille and
Congreve, who carry their wit and refinement somewhat farther than Mr.
Pope (if poets of so different a kind can be compared together), and
Sophocles and Terence, who are more simple than Lucretius, seem to have
gone out of that medium wherein the most perfect productions are to be
found, and are guilty of some excess in these opposite characters. Of
all the great poets, Virgil and Racine, in my opinion, lie nearest the
centre, and are the farthest removed from both the extremities.

My second observation on this head is, "That it is very difficult, if
not impossible, to explain by words wherein the just medium betwixt the
excesses of simplicity and refinement consists, or to give any rule by
which we can know precisely the bounds betwixt the fault and the
beauty." A critic may not only discourse very judiciously on this head
without instructing his readers, but even without understanding the
matter perfectly himself. There is not in the world a finer piece of
criticism than Fontenelle's "Dissertation on Pastorals;" wherein, by a
number of reflections and philosophical reasonings, he endeavours to fix
the just medium which is suitable to that species of writing. But let
any one read the pastorals of that author, and he will be convinced,
that this judicious critic, notwithstanding his fine reasonings, had a
false taste, and fixed the point of perfection much nearer the extreme
of refinement than pastoral poetry will admit of. The sentiments of his
shepherds are better suited to the toilets of Paris than to the forests
of Arcadia. But this it is impossible to discover from his critical
reasonings. He blames all excessive painting and ornament, as much as
Virgil could have done had he written a dissertation on this species of
poetry. However different the tastes of men may be, their general
discourses on these subjects are commonly the same. No criticism can be
very instructive which descends not to particulars, and is not full of
examples and illustrations. 'Tis allowed on all hands, that beauty, as
well as virtue, lies always in a medium; but where this medium is placed
is the great question, and can never be sufficiently explained by
general reasonings.

I shall deliver it as a third observation on this subject, "That we
ought to be more on our guard against the excess of refinement than that
of simplicity; and that because the former excess is both less beautiful
and more dangerous than the latter."

It is a certain rule that wit and passion are entirely inconsistent.
When the affections are moved, there is no place for the imagination.
The mind of man being naturally limited, it is impossible all his
faculties can operate at once; and the more any one predominates, the
less room is there for the others to exert their vigour. For this reason
a greater degree of simplicity is required in all compositions, where
men and actions and passions are painted, than in such as consist of
reflections and observations. And as the former species of writing is
the more engaging and beautiful, one may safely, upon this account, give
the preference to the extreme of simplicity above that of refinement.

We may also observe, that those compositions which we read the oftenest,
and which every man of taste has got by heart, have the recommendation
of simplicity, and have nothing surprising in the thought when divested
of that elegance of expression and harmony of numbers with which it is
cloathed. If the merit of the composition lies in a point of wit, it may
strike at first; but the mind anticipates the thought in the second
perusal, and is no longer affected by it. When I read an epigram of
Martial, the first line recalls the whole; and I have no pleasure in
repeating to myself what I know already. But each line, each word in
Catullus has its merit; and I am never tired with the perusal of him. It
is sufficient to rim over Cowley once; but Parnel, after the fiftieth
reading, is fresh as at the first. Besides, it is with books as with
women, where a certain plainness of manner and of dress is more engaging
than that glare of paint and airs and apparel which may dazzle the eye
but reaches not the affections. Terence is a modest and bashful beauty,
to whom we grant every thing, because he assumes nothing, and whose
purity and nature make a durable though not a violent impression upon

But refinement, as it is the less beautiful, so it is the more dangerous
extreme, and what we are the aptest to fall into. Simplicity passes for
dulness when it is not accompanied with great elegance and propriety.
On the contrary, there is something surprising in a blaze of wit
and conceit. Ordinary readers are mightily struck with it, and
falsely imagine it to be the most difficult, as well as most
excellent way of writing. Seneca abounds with agreeable faults, says
Quinctilian--_abundat dulcibus vitiis_; and for that reason is the more
dangerous and the more apt to pervert the taste of the young and

I shall add, that the excess of refinement is now more to be guarded
against than ever; because it is the extreme which men are the most apt
to fall into, after learning has made great progress, and after eminent
writers have appeared in every species of composition. The endeavour to
please by novelty leads men wide of simplicity and nature, and fills
their writings with affectation and conceit. It was thus that the age of
Claudius and Nero became so much inferior to that of Augustus in taste
and genius; and perhaps there are at present some symptoms of a like
degeneracy of taste, in France as well as in England.


* * * * *


The celebrated patriot, John Hampden, was descended from an ancient
family in Buckinghamshire, where he was born in 1594. On leaving the
University, he entered the inns of court, where he made considerable
progress in the study of the law. He was chosen to serve in the
Parliament which assembled at Westminster, February, 1626, and served in
all the succeeding Parliaments in the reign of Charles I. That Monarch
having quarrelled with his Parliament, was obliged to have recourse to
the open exercise of his prerogative in order to supply himself with
money. From the nobility he desired assistance; from the City of London
he required a loan of L100,000. The former contributed but slowly; the
latter at length gave a flat denial. To equip a fleet, an apportionment
was made, by order of the Council, amongst all the maritime towns, each
of which was required, with the assistance of the adjoining counties, to
furnish a certain number of vessels or amount of shipping. The City of
London was rated at twenty ships. And this was the first appearance in
the present reign of ship-money--a taxation which had once been imposed
by Elizabeth, on a great emergency, but which, revived and carried
further by Charles, produced the most violent discontent.


In 1636, John Hampden became universally known by his intrepid
opposition to the ship-money, as an illegal tax. Upon this he was
prosecuted, and his conduct throughout the transaction gained him great
credit and reputation. When the Long Parliament began, the eyes of all
were fixed upon him as the father of his country. On the 3rd of January,
1642, the King ordered articles of high treason, and other
misdemeanours, to be prepared against Lord Kimbolton, Mr. Hampden, and
four other members of the House of Commons, and went to the House to
seize them, but they had retired. Mr. Hampden afterwards made a
celebrated speech in the House to clear himself from the charge brought
against him.

In the beginning of the civil war Hampden commanded a regiment of foot,
and did good service at the battle of Edgehill; but he received a mortal
wound in an engagement with Prince Rupert, in Chalgrave-field, in
Oxfordshire, and died in 1648. Hampden is said to have possessed in a
high degree talents for gaining and preserving popular influence, and
great courage, industry, and strength of mind, which procured him great
ascendancy over other men.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter H.]

Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year: the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have past.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving incidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And 'portance in my travels' history;
Wherein of antres vast, and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak--such was the process;
And of the cannibals that each other eat--
The Anthropophagi--and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to bear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse; which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage relate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard
But not intentively: I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
She swore--in faith 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful;
She wish'd she had not heard it; yet she wish'd
That Heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me;
And bade me if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;
She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter V.]

Verily duty to parents is of the first consequence; and would you, my
young friends, recommend yourselves to the favour of your God and
Father, would you imitate the example of your adorable Redeemer,
and be made an inheritor of his precious promises; would you enjoy
the peace and comforts of this life, and the good esteem of your
fellow-creatures--Reverence your parents; and be it your constant
endeavour, as it will be your greatest satisfaction, to witness your
high sense of, and to make some returns for the obligations you owe to
them, by every act of filial obedience and love.

Let their commands be ever sacred in your ears, and implicitly obeyed,
where they do not contradict the commands of God: pretend not to be
wiser than they, who have had so much more experience than yourselves;
and despise them not, if haply you should be so blest as to have gained
a degree of knowledge or of fortune superior to them. Let your carriage
towards them be always respectful, reverent, and submissive; let your
words be always affectionate and humble, and especially beware of pert
and ill-seeming replies; of angry, discontented, and peevish looks.
Never imagine, if they thwart your wills, or oppose your inclinations,
that this ariseth from any thing but love to you: solicitous as they
have ever been for your welfare, always consider the same tender
solicitude as exerting itself, even in cases most opposite to your
desires; and let the remembrance of what they have done and suffered for
you, ever preserve you from acts of disobedience, and from paining those
good hearts which have already felt so much for you, their children.

The Emperor of China, on certain days of the year, pays a visit to his
mother, who is seated on a throne to receive him; and four times on his
feet, and as often on his knees, he makes her a profound obeisance,
bowing his head even to the ground.

Sir Thomas More seems to have emulated this beautiful example; for,
being Lord Chancellor of England at the same time that his father was a
Judge of the King's Bench, he would always, on his entering Westminster
Hall, go first to the King's Bench, and ask his father's blessing before
he went to sit in the Court of Chancery, as if to secure success in the
great decisions of his high and important office.


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter W.]

When the widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, left France, where she had dwelt
since her fifth year--where she had shared in the education of the
French King's own daughters, in one of the convents of the kingdom, and
been the idol of the French Court and people, it is said that, as the
coast of the happy land faded from her view, she continued to exclaim,
"Farewell, France! farewell, dear France--I shall never see thee more!"
And her first view of Scotland only increased the poignancy of these
touching regrets. So little pains had been taken to "cover over the
nakedness and poverty of the land," that tears sprang into her eyes,
when, fresh from the elegant luxurious Court of Paris, she saw the
wretched ponies, with bare, wooden saddles, or dirty and ragged
trappings, which had been provided to carry her and her ladies from the
water-side to Holyrood. And then the palace itself; how different from
the palaces in which she had lived in France! Dismal and small, it
consisted only of what is now the north wing. The state-room and the
bed-chamber which were used by her yet remain, with the old furniture,
and much of the needle-work there is said to have been the work of her
hands. During her long and melancholy imprisonment in England, the art
of needle-work and reading were almost her only mode of relieving the
dreary hours.

From the moment Mary of Scotland took the fatal resolution of throwing
herself upon the supposed kindness and generosity of Elizabeth, her fate
was sealed, and it was that of captivity, only to be ended by death.
She was immediately cut off from all communication with her subjects,
except such as it was deemed proper to allow; and was moved about from
place to place, the better to ensure her safety. The hapless victim
again and again implored Elizabeth to deal generously and justly with
her. "I came," said she, in one of her letters, "of mine own accord; let
me depart again with yours: and if God permit my cause to succeed, I
shall be bound to you for it." But her rival was unrelenting, and, in
fact, increased the rigours of her confinement. Whilst a prisoner at
Chatsworth, she had been permitted the indulgence of air and exercise;
and the bower of Queen Mary is still shown in the noble grounds of that
place, as a favourite resort of the unfortunate captive. But even this
absolutely necessary indulgence was afterwards denied; she was wholly
confined to the Castle of Fotheringay, and a standing order was issued
that "she should be shot if she attempted to escape, or if others
attempted to rescue her."


Burns, in his "Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots," touchingly expresses the
weary feelings that must have existed in the breast of the Royal

"Oh, soon to me may summer suns
Nae mair light up the morn!
Nae mair to me the autumn winds
Wave o'er the yellow corn!
And in the narrow house of death,
Let winter round me rave;
And the next flowers that deck the spring,
Bloom on my peaceful grave."

* * * * *


In the year 1850, a vast line of railway was completed from Chester to
Holyhead, for the conveyance of the Royal mails, of goods and
passengers, and of her Majesty's troops and artillery, between London
and Dublin--Holyhead being the most desirable point at which to effect
this communication with Ireland. Upon this railway are two stupendous
bridges, which are the most perfect examples of engineering skill ever
executed in England, or in any other country.

The first of these bridges carries the railway across the river Conway,
close to the ancient castle built by Edward I. in order to bridle his
new subjects, the Welsh.

The Conway bridge consists of a tube, or long, huge chest, the ends of
which rest upon stone piers, built to correspond with the architecture
of the old castle. The tube is made of wrought-iron plates, varying in
thickness from a quarter of an inch to one inch, riveted together, and
strengthened by irons in the form of the letter T; and, to give
additional strength to the whole, a series of cells is formed at the
bottom and top of the tube, between an inner ceiling and floor and the
exterior plates; the iron plates which form the cells being riveted and
held in their places by angle irons. The space between the sides of the
tube is 14 feet; and the height of the whole, inclusive of the cells, is
22 feet 3-1/2 inches at the ends, and 25 feet 6 inches at the centre.
The total length of the tube is 412 feet. One end of the tube is fixed
to the masonry of the pier; but the other is so arranged as to allow for
the expansion of the metal by changes of the temperature of the
atmosphere, and it therefore, rests upon eleven rollers of iron, running
upon a bed-plate; and, that the whole weight of the tube may not be
carried by these rollers, six girders are carried over the tube, and
riveted to the upper parts of its sides, which rest upon twelve balls of
gun-metal running in grooves, which are fixed to iron beams let into the

The second of these vast railway bridges crosses the Menai Straits,
which separate Caernarvon from the island of Anglesey. It is constructed
a good hundred feet above high-water level, to enable large vessels to
sail beneath it; and in building it, neither scaffolding nor centering
was used.

The abutments on either side of the Straits are huge piles of masonry.
That on the Anglesey side is 143 feet high, and 173 feet long. The wing
walls of both terminate in splendid pedestals, and on each are two
colossal lions, of Egyptian design; each being 25 feet long, 12 feet
high though crouched, 9 feet abaft the body, and each paw 2 feet 1
inches. Each weighs 30 tons. The towers for supporting the tube are of a
like magnitude with the entire work. The great Britannia Tower, in the
centre of the Straits, is 62 feet by 52 feet at its base; its total
height from the bottom, 230 feet; it contains 148,625 cubic feet of
limestone, and 144,625 of sandstone; it weighs 20,000 tons; and there
are 387 tons of cast iron built into it in the shape of beams and
girders. It sustains the four ends of the four long iron tubes which
span the Straits from shore to shore. The total quantity of stone
contained in the bridge is 1,500,000 cubic feet. The side towers stand
at a clear distance of 460 feet from the great central tower; and,
again, the abutments stand at a distance from the side towers of 230
feet, giving the entire bridge a total length of 1849 feet,
corresponding with the date of the year of its construction. The side
or land towers are each 62 feet by 52 feet at the base, and 190 feet
high; they contain 210 tons of cast iron.


The length of the great tube is exactly 470 feet, being 12 feet longer
than the clear space between the towers, and the greatest span ever yet
attempted. The greatest height of the tube is in the centre--30 feet,
and diminishing towards the end to 22 feet. Each tube consists of sides,
top and bottom, all formed of long, narrow wrought-iron plates, varying
in length from 12 feet downward. These plates are of the same
manufacture as those for making boilers, varying in thickness from
three-eighths to three-fourths of an inch. Some of them weigh nearly 7
cwt., and are amongst the largest it is possible to roll with any
existing machinery. The connexion between top, bottom, and sides is made
much more substantial by triangular pieces of thick plate, riveted in
across the corners, to enable the tube to resist the cross or twisting
strain to which it will be exposed from the heavy and long-continued
gales of wind that, sweeping up the Channel, will assail it in its lofty
and unprotected position. The rivets, of which there are 2,000,000--each
tube containing 327,000--are more than an inch in diameter. They are
placed in rows, and were put in the holes red hot, and beaten with heavy
hammers. In cooling, they contracted strongly, and drew the plates
together so powerfully that it required a force of from 1 to 6 tons to
each rivet, to cause the plates to slide over each other. The weight of
wrought iron in the great tube is 1600 tons.

Each of these vast bridge tubes was constructed on the shore, then
floated to the base of the piers, or bridge towers, and raised to its
proper elevation by hydraulic machinery, the largest in the world, and
the most powerful ever constructed. For the Britannia Bridge, this
consisted of two vast presses, one of which has power equal to that of
30,000 men, and it lifted the largest tube six feet in half an hour.

The Britannia tubes being in two lines, are passages for the up and down
trains across the Straits. Each of the tubes has been compared to the
Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly; and the labour of placing this tube
upon the piers has been assimilated to that of raising the Arcade upon
the summit of the spire of St. James's Church, if surrounded with water.

Each line of tube is 1513 feet in length; far surpassing in size any
piece of wrought-iron work ever before put together; and its weight is
5000 tons, being nearly equal to that of two 120-gun ships, having on
board, ready for sea, guns, provisions, and crew. The plate-iron
covering of the tubes is not thicker than the hide of an elephant, and
scarcely thicker than the bark of an oak-tree; whilst one of the large
tubes, if placed on its end in St. Paul's churchyard, would reach 107
feet higher than the cross of the cathedral.


* * * * *


Ye mariners of England!
Who guard our native seas,
Whose flag has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze,
Your glorious standard launch again,
To match another foe,
And sweep through the deep
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.

The spirits of your fathers
Shall start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And Ocean was their grave;
Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell,
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.

Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o'er the mountain waves,
Her home is on the deep:
With thunders from her native oak,
She quells the floods below,
As they roar on the shore,
When the stormy tempests blow;
When the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.

The meteor-flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn,
Till danger's troubled night depart,
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye ocean-warriors!
Our song and feast shall flow
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.


* * * * *


"I knew" (says the pleasing writer of "Letters from Sierra Leone") "that
the long-looked-for vessel had at length furled her sails and dropped
anchor in the bay. She was from England, and I waited, expecting every
minute to feast my eyes upon at least one letter; but I remembered how
unreasonable it was to suppose that any person would come up with
letters to this lonely place at so late an hour, and that it behoved me
to exercise the grace of patience until next day. However, between ten
and eleven o'clock, a loud shouting and knocking aroused the household,
and the door was opened to a trusty Kroo messenger, who, although one of
a tribe who would visit any of its members in their own country with
death, who could 'savey white man's book,' seemed to comprehend
something of our feelings at receiving letters, as I overheard him
exclaim, with evident glee, 'Ah! massa! here de right book come at
last.' Every thing, whether a brown-paper parcel, a newspaper, an
official despatch, a private letter or note is here denominated a
'book,' and this man understood well that newspapers are never received
so gladly amongst 'books' from England as letters." The Kaffir, in the
Engraving, was sketched from one employed to convey letters in the South
African settlements; he carries his document in a split at the end of a


It is a singular sight in India to see the catamarans which put off from
some parts of the coast, as soon as ships come in sight, either to bear
on board or to convey from thence letters or messages. These frail
vessels are composed of thin cocoa-tree logs, lashed together, and big
enough to carry one, or, at most, two persons. In one of these a small
sail is fixed, and the navigator steers with a little paddle; the float
itself is almost entirely sunk in the water, so that the effect is very
singular--a sail sweeping along the surface with a man behind it, and
apparently nothing to support them. Those which have no sails are
consequently invisible and the men have the appearance of treading the
water and performing evolutions with a racket. In very rough weather the
men lash themselves to their little rafts but in ordinary seas they
seem, though frequently washed off, to regard such accidents as mere
trifles, being naked all but a wax cloth cap in which they keep any
letters they may have to convey to ships in the roads, and swimming like
fish. Their only danger is from sharks, which are said to abound. These
cannot hurt them while on their floats; but woe be to them if they catch
them while separated from that defence. Yet, even then, the case is not
quite hopeless, since the shark can only attack them from below; and a
rapid dive, if not in very deep water, will sometimes save them.

* * * * *



[Illustration: Letter C.]

Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

* * * * *

Hail! Source of Being! Universal Soul
Of heaven and earth! Essential Presence, hail;
To Thee I bend the knee; to Thee my thought
Continual climb; who, with a master hand.
Hast the great whole into perfection touch'd.
By Thee the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew:
By Thee disposed into congenial soils,
Stands each attractive plant, and sucks and swells
The juicy tide--a twining mass of tubes.
At thy command the vernal sun awakes
The torpid sap, detruded to the root
By wintry winds, that now in fluent dance,
And lively fermentation, mounting, spreads
All this innumerous-colour'd scene of things.
As rising from the vegetable world
My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend
My panting Muse! And hark! how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.
Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh, pour
The mazy running soul of melody
Into my varied verse! while I deduce
From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,
The symphony of spring, and touch a theme
Unknown to fame, the passion of the groves.

[Illustration: SPRING.]


[Illustration: Letter F.]

From bright'ning fields of ether fair disclosed,
Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes,
In pride of youth, and felt through nature's depth:
He comes attended by the sultry hours,
And ever-fanning breezes on his way;
While from his ardent look the turning Spring
Averts his blushing face, and earth and skies,
All-smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.

* * * * *

Cheer'd by the milder beam, the sprightly youth
Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth
A sandy bottom shows. Awhile he stands
Gazing the inverted landscape, half afraid
To meditate the blue profound below;
Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
His ebon tresses, and his rosy cheek,
Instant emerge: and through the obedient wave,
At each short breathing by his lip repell'd,
With arms and legs according well, he makes,
As humour leads, an easy-winding path;
While from his polish'd sides a dewy light
Effuses on the pleased spectators round.

This is the purest exercise of health.
The kind refresher of the Summer heats:
Nor, when cold Winter keens the brightening flood,
Would I, weak-shivering, linger on the brink.
Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserved
By the bold swimmer, in the swift elapse
Of accident disastrous.

[Illustration: SUMMER.]


[Illustration: Letter C.]

Crown'd with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf,
While Autumn nodding o'er the yellow plain
Comes jovial on, the Doric reed once more,
Well pleased, I tune. Whatever the wintry frost
Nitrous prepared, the various-blossom'd Spring
Put in white promised forth, and Summer suns
Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view,
Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.

* * * * *

Hence from the busy, joy-resounding fields
In cheerful error let us tread the maze
Of Autumn, unconfined; and taste, revived,
The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.
Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,
From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower
Incessant melts away. The juicy pear
Lies in a soft profusion scatter'd round.
A various sweetness swells the gentle race,
By Nature's all-refining hand prepared;
Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,
In ever-changing composition mix'd.
Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,
The fragrant stores, the wide projected heaps
Of apples, which the lusty-handed year,
Innumerous, o'er the blushing orchard shakes.

[Illustration: AUTUMN.]


[Illustration: Letter S.]

See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train--
Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my theme,
These--that exalt the soul to solemn thought
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms;
Congenial horrors, hail: with frequent foot,
Pleased have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nursed by careless solitude I lived,
And sung of nature with unceasing joy;
Pleased have I wander'd through your rough domain,
Trod the pure virgin snows, myself as pure;
Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst,
Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brew'd
In the grim evening sky.

* * * * *

Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand
Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year,
How mighty, how majestic are thy works!
With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul,
That sees astonish'd, and astonish'd sings!
Ye, too, ye winds! that now begin to blow
With boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.
Where are your stores, ye powerful beings, say,
Where your aerial magazines reserved
To swell the brooding terrors of the storm?
In what far distant region of the sky,
Hush'd in deep silence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?

* * * * *

'Tis done; dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictured life! Pass some few years
Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength,
And sober autumn fading into age,
The pale concluding winter comes at last
The shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
All now are vanish'd; virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man--
His guide to happiness on high.


[Illustration: WINTER.]


* * * * *


[Illustration: Letter T.]

There are few who have not felt the charms of music, and acknowledged
its expressions to be intelligible to the heart. It is a language of
delightful sensations, that is far more eloquent than words: it breathes
to the ear the clearest intimations; but how it was learned, to what
origin we owe it, or what is the meaning of some of its most affecting
strains, we know not.

We feel plainly that music touches and gently agitates the agreeable and
sublime passions; that it wraps us in melancholy, and elevates us to
joy; that it dissolves and inflames; that it melts us into tenderness,
and rouses into rage: but its strokes are so fine and delicate, that,
like a tragedy, even the passions that are wounded please; its sorrows
are charming, and its rage heroic and delightful. As people feel the
particular passions with different degrees of force, their taste of
harmony must proportionably vary. Music, then, is a language directed to
the passions; but the rudest passions put on a new nature, and become
pleasing in harmony: let me add, also, that it awakens some passions
which we perceive not in ordinary life. Particularly the most elevated
sensation of music arises from a confused perception of ideal or
visionary beauty and rapture, which is sufficiently perceivable to fire
the imagination, but not clear enough to become an object of knowledge.
This shadowy beauty the mind attempts, with a languishing curiosity, to
collect into a distinct object of view and comprehension; but it sinks
and escapes, like the dissolving ideas of a delightful dream, that are
neither within the reach of the memory, nor yet totally fled. The
noblest charm of music, then, though real and affecting, seems too
confused and fluid to be collected into a distinct idea.

Harmony is always understood by the crowd, and almost always mistaken by
musicians. The present Italian taste for music is exactly correspondent
to the taste for tragi-comedy, that about a century ago gained ground
upon the stage. The musicians of the present day are charmed at the
union they form between the grave and the fantastic, and at the
surprising transitions they make between extremes, while every hearer
who has the least remainder of the taste of nature left, is shocked at
the strange jargon. If the same taste should prevail in painting, we
must soon expect to see the woman's head, a horse's body, and a fish's
tail, united by soft gradations, greatly admired at our public
exhibitions. Musical gentlemen should take particular care to preserve
in its full vigour and sensibility their original natural taste, which
alone feels and discovers the true beauty of music.

If Milton, Shakspeare, or Dryden had been born with the same genius and
inspiration for music as for poetry, and had passed through the
practical part without corrupting the natural taste, or blending with it
any prepossession in favour of sleights and dexterities of hand, then
would their notes be tuned to passions and to sentiments as natural and
expressive as the tones and modulations of the voice in discourse. The
music and the thought would not make different expressions; the hearers
would only think impetuously; and the effect of the music would be to
give the ideas a tumultuous violence and divine impulse upon the mind.
Any person conversant with the classic poets, sees instantly that the
passionate power of music I speak of, was perfectly understood and
practised by the ancients--that the Muses of the Greeks always sung, and
their song was the echo of the subject, which swelled their poetry into
enthusiasm and rapture. An inquiry into the nature and merits of the
ancient music, and a comparison thereof with modern composition, by a
person of poetic genius and an admirer of harmony, who is free from the

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