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THE LOTUS. The Rhamnus Lotus of Linnteus, (Pentandria monogynia,) of which the annexed Engraving is a representation (though the leaves of the desert shrub are much smaller), is the Lotus of the ancients, of which it was commonly said, that those who ate of the fruit of it, forgot their native country, which is, perhaps, a poetical allusion to the ease and supposed comfort and happiness of a people, whose country produced fruit for them, without the labour of raising it.
This tree or shrub is disseminated over the edge of the Great Desert, from the coast of Cyrene, round by Tripoli and Africa proper, to the borders of the Atlantic, the Senegal, and the Niger. It bears small farinaceous berries, of a yellow colour, and delicious taste, called by the negroes Tomberongs. These berries are much esteemed by the natives, who convert them into a sort of bread, by exposing them, for some days, to the sun, and afterwards pounding them gently in a wooden mortar, until the farinaceous part of the berry is separated from the stone. This meal is then mixed with a little water, and formed into cakes, which, when dried in the sun, resemble, in colour and flavour, the sweetest ginger-bread. The stones are afterwards put into a vessel of water, and shaken about, so as to separate the meal which may adhere to them: this communicates a sweet and agreeable taste to the water, and, with the addition of a little pounded millet, forms a pleasant gruel called Fondi, which is the common breakfast in many parts of Sundamar, during the months of February and March. The fruit is collected by spreading a cloth upon the ground, and beating the branches with a stick.
As this shrub is found in Tunis, and also in the Negro kingdoms, and as it furnishes the natives of the latter with a food resembling bread, and also with a sweet liquor, which is much relished by them, there can be little doubt of its being the Lotus mentioned by Pliny, as the food of the Libyan Lotophagi. An army may very well have been fed with the bread I have tasted, made of the meal of the fruit, as is said by Pliny to have been done in Libya; and as the taste of the bread is sweet and agreeable, it is not likely the soldiers would complain of it.—Mungo Park and Rennell. L. C.
He that is good, will infallibly become better, and he that is bad, will as certainly become worse; for virtue, vice, and time, are three things that never stand still.—Colton.
OATH OF WILLIAM RUFUS. Our English chroniclers represent William Rufu*, on every occasion on which he used strong language, as employing an oath, " By St. Luke's face." Rapin and others call it his favourite oath. This is a very curious mistake, originating in a mistranslation of the Latin phrase of some ancient historian, probably Eadmer, or William of Malmesbury. "He swore," say they, "per v nil inn de Lucca, by the face of, or at Lucca, without the shadow of a reference to the Evangelist." The inquiry into this curious fact opens a passage of English history more fully than it is usually presented to us.
William the Second was a very headstrong and irreligious man, reckless of Providence, with ungovernable passions, self-willed, blind to danger, and regardless of duty. On one occasion of his employing the oath in question, these qualities showed themselves so prominently, and they so clearly develope the character of the man, that I take leave to insert the narrative more at length than the bare explanation of his oath might require.
The king was in the full enjoyment of a huntingparty when a messenger, from beyond sea, brought him tidings that a town which had lately fallen into his hands was besieged by the enemy. Instantly, equipped as he was for the chase, he turned his horse's head, and made for the sea. On his attendants' suggesting the propriety of waiting till his forces could be collected and marshalled, he scornfully replied, "I shall see who will follow me. Think ye I shall not have an army." He arrived at the coast almost alone. The wind was contrary, the weather stormy, and the sea in dreadful agitation. Resolved to pass over at the moment, when the mariners remonstrated and implored him to wait for a less foul sea and sky, he exclaimed impetuously, "I never yet heard of a king perishing by shipwreck; loose the cables, I say, instantly. You shall see the elements conspire in their obsequiousness to me." William crossed in safety, and the first rumour of his landing scattered the besiegers. A leading man among them, one Helias (the Earl of Flesche, his competitor for the Earldom of Maine), was taken prisoner, and brought before the king, who saluted him with a jeer, " I have you, master." To this his high-minded captive (whom as the historian remarks, his imminent danger could not teach prudence or humble language,) replied, " It was by mere chance you took me; if I could escape, I know what I would do." Upon this William, almost beside himself with rage and fury, clenching his fist at Helias, exclaimed, "You rascal! what woxild you do? Begone! away! fly!" and "By the face of Lucca (per vultum de Lucca) if you conquer me, I will make no terms with you for this free pardon."
In consequence of different legends of "The Holy Face" existing in the Church of Rome, I was for some time under a mistake as to the real origin of this oath. "The Face of Lucca," however, by which William swore, was undoubtedly a crucifix in that town. Butler, in a note on the life of St. Veronica of Milan, calls it a very ancient miraculous crucifix, in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Cathedral dedicated to St. Martin. Lord Lyttelton says, "There is at Lucca, in Tuscany, an ancient figure of Christ brought there miraculously, as they pretend, and which they say still continues to work miracles. They call it // santo volto di Lucca, and are so proud of possessing it, that it is stamped on their coin with this legend, Sanctus vultus de Luca.
An oath very similar to this of William,—" By the Holy Face."—is used to the present day in Spain, especially in Valencia. Its origin is found in one of the most engaging and affecting, but not on that account less unfounded, legends of the church of Rome.
Many of the Romish legends sprang, unhappily, from less worthy motives than mistaken zeal for the Gospel, and we can only lament the depravity which would employ the religion of Jesus as an instrument for compassing selfish, ambitious, and worldly objects. Even when we are required in charity, to refer the invention of a legend to a well-intentioned, but misguided, zeal, however the imagination may be pleased, and our interest excited by the narrative, no sooner do we reflect upon it, as an unhallowed auxiliary to the word of the Eternal and Omnipotent One, than we turn from it in shame, and pain, and sorrow. Such is the " Legend of the Holy Face."
As our blessed Lord, so runs the tale, was bearing his cross towards Calvary, overwhelmed by the weight which pressed his soul, and bent his body to the earth, he stumbled three times. In Spain there are prints representing this affecting scene, and called, " The three Falls." On one of these moments of anguish, a female from Verona, with an affectionate desire to relieve his suffering, wiped his face with a handkerchief, thrice folded: an exact image of his countenance was left impressed on each of the three folds. One of these the people in Valencia pretend to be still kept in a cathedral of their own, exhibiting it on certain holy days with much ceremonial solemnity. And by this "holy face" they swear. Tyler on Oaths.
BRUCE AND THE SPIDER.
It was, probably, about this time, that an incident took place, which, although it rests only on tradition in the families of the name of Bruce, is rendered probable by the manners of the times. After receiving the last unpleasing intelligence from Scotland, Bruce was lying one morning on his wretched bed, and deliberating with himself, whether he had not betlcr resign all thoughts of again attempting to make good bis right to the Scottish crown, and, dismissing bis followers, transport himself and his brothers to the Holy Land, and spend the rest of his life in fighting against the Saracens; by which he thought, perhaps, he might deserve the forgiveness of Heaven for the great sin of stabbing Comyn in the church at Dumfries. But then, on the other hand, he thought it would be both criminal and cowardly to give up bis attempts to restore freedom to Scotland, while there yet remained the least chance of his being successful in an undertaking, which, rightly considered, was much more his duty than to drive the infidels out of Palestine, though the superstition of the age might think otherwise.
While he was divided betwixt tnese reflections, and doubtful of what he should do, Bruce was looking upward to the roof of the cabin in which he lay, and his eye was attracted by a spider, which, hanging at the end of a long thread of his own spinning, was endeavouring, as is the fashion of that creature, to swing himself from one beam in the roof to another, for the purpose of fixing the line on which he meant to stretch his web. The insect made the attempt again and again without success; and at length Bruce counted that it had tried to carry its point six times, and been as often unable to do it. It came into his head, that he had himself fought just six battles against the English and their allies, and that the poor persevering spider was exactly in the same situation with himself, having made as many trials, and been as often disappointed in what it aimed at. "Now," thought Bruce, " as I have no means of knowing what is best to be done, I will be guided by the luck which shall attend this spider. If the insect shall make another effort to fix its thread, and shall be successful, I will venture a seventh time to try my fortune in Scotland; but if the spider shall fail, I will go to the wars in Palestine, and never return to my native country again."
While Bruce was forming this resolution, the spider made another exertion with all the force it could muster,
and fairly succeeded in fastening its thread to the beam which it had so often in vain attempted to reach. Bruce seeing the success of the spider, resolved to try his own fortune; and as he never before gained a victory, so he never afterwards sustained any considerable check or defeat. I have often met with people of the name of Bruce, so completely persuaded of the truth of this story, that they would not, on any account, kill a spider, because it was such an insect which had shown the example of perseverance, and given a signal of good luck, to their great namesake. Tales of a Grand father
ANECDOTE OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
I Will give you a somewhat curious anecdote, on the truth of which you may rely. Stimulated by curiosity, I rode up to a neighbouring eminence, to observe the motions of our own army, which had already commenced retiring, as well as those of the enemy, who, from the occasional pushing forward of their skirmishers, seemed intent on some further operations. On this height were several officers, one of whom was seated, while his horse was held by an orderly dragoon, and the others standing around him. I had approached within a few yards of them before 1 observed that the principal object in the group was Lord Wellington. In a moment my attention was arrested. He was at luncheon, and in the act of adding mustard to a slice of meat which had just been deposited upon his plate, when the following colloquy took place :—
"The enemy are moving, my lord," said one of the staffofficers to his commander, already busily engaged in the office of mastication. "Very well." replied his lordship, "take the glass, Somerset, and tell me what they seem to be about," at the same time continuing his meal with every appearance of nonchalance. The officer did so for about a minute.
"I think t ey are extending to the left, my lord."
"Are they, indeed!" exclaimed Lord Wellington, spring ing on his feet; "give me the glass quickly."
He took it, and for a short space continued observing the motions of the enemy. "Come, I think this will do at last," be exclaimed. "Ride off instantly, and tell Clinton and Leith to return as quickly as possible to their ibrmer ground."
In a moment all his staff were in motion, Lord Wellington mounted his horse and I returned to my regiment, which, as our division was intended to form the rear of the retreat, had not yet begun to move. Such was the promptitude and rapidity with which a decision affecting the fate of nations was formed by the master mind of our Great Commander. Blackwood's Mayazine.
Queen of fresh flowers,
Whom vernal stars obey
Bring thy genial ray.
Thou merry month of May f
Mark! how we meet thee
At dawn of dewy day!
With our roundelay 1
Thou merry month of May!
Flocks on the mountains,
And birds upon their spray
All hold holiday;
Thou merry month of May I II Emeu.
Fear is one of the passions of human nature, of which it is impossible to divest it. When the Emperor Charles the Fifth read upon the tomb-stone of a Spanish nobleman, "Here lies one who never knew fear," be wittily said, " Then he never snuffed a candle with his fingers."—Johnson.
CEYLON LEECHES. .
Thjsre is a species of Leech which infests, in immense numbers, the woods and swampy grounds of Ceylon, particularly in the rainy season, to the great annoyance of every one who passes through them. The leeches of this species are very small, not much larger than a pin; and are of a dark-red speckled colour. In their motions they do not crawl like a worm, or like the leeches we are accustomed to see in Europe; but keep constantly springing, by first fixing their head on a place, and then bringing their tail up to it with a sudden jerk, while at the same time their head is thrown forwards for another hold. In this manner they move so exceeding quickly, that before they are perceived, they contrive to get upon one's clothes, when they immediately endeavour "by some aperture to find an entrance to the skin. As soon as they reach it, they begin to draw blood; and as they can effect this even through the light clothing worn in this climate, it is almost impossible to pass through the woods and swamps in rainy weather without being covered with blood. On our way to Candy, in marching through the narrow paths among the woods, we were terribly annoyed by these vermin; for whenever any of us sat down, or even halted for a moment, we were sure to be immediately attacked by multitudes of them; and before we could get rid of them, our gloves and boots were filled with blood. This was attended with no small danger; for if a soldier were, from drunkenness or fatigue, to fall asleep on the ground, he must have. perished by bleeding to death'. On rising in the morning, I have often ftiund my bed-clothes and skin covered with blood in an alarming manner. The Dutch, in their marches into the interior at different times, lost several of their men; and on our setting out, they told us that we should hardly be able to make our way for them. But, though wc were terribly annoyed, we all escaped without any serious accident. Other animals, as well as man, are subject to the attack of these leeches. Horses in particular, from their excessive plunging and kicking to get rid of these creatures when they fasten upon them, render it very unsafe for any one to ride through the woods of the interior. Percival's Ceylon.
A Little turn happened lately to a parishioner, which in former times, when events were viewed under aspects different from those by which we now regard them, might have occasioned more wonderment and comment than it did. An industrious labouring man had been some time unemployed; and having sought an engagement at all those places most likely to have afforded it, but without success, sat himself down upon a bank in one of our potato-fields, carelessly twisting a straw, and ruminating what his next resource might be; when casting his eyes to the ground, he discovered, immediately between his feet, a guinea! a guinea perfect in all its requisites! The finding of such a coin, at such a time, was no common occurrence; but by what casualty did the money come there? The frequenters of our fields, breakers of stone, and delvers of the soil, inhabiters of the tenement and the cot, have no superfluous gold to drop unheeded in their progress, and one should have supposed, that the various operations which the field had undergone in the potato-culture, would have brought to view any coin of that size and lustre. Upon looking at the land, however, much of our perplexity was removed, by observing that the ground had been in part manured by scrapings from our turnpike-road, rendering it highly probable, that this golden stranger had been dropped by some traveller, not missed by him, or lost in the mire, this mortar from the road possibly so coating it about, as to secrete it for a time, some heavy rain dissolving the clod, and bringing it to view. This, I am sensible, is an incident little deserving of narration, but has been done from two motives: we village-historians meet with but few important events to detail from the annals of our district: we have no gazettes, few public records, or official documents, to embellish our pages, and if we will write, must be content with such small matters as present themselves; and to point out, how frequently very mysterious circumstances may be elucidated, and appear as consistent events by an unbiassed examination. We may not be able always satisfactorily to see why a tide of good fortune should flow at the desire of one, and ebb from the wishes of another, yet many of the occurrences of human life, are, perhaps, not so extraordinary as they are made to appear by the suppression of facts, or our ignorance of circumstances.—Journal of a Naturalist.
As the man of pleasure, by a vain attempt to bo more happy than any man can be, is often more miserable than most men are; so the sceptic, in a vain attempt to be wise, beyond what is permitted to man, plunges into a darkness more deplorable, and a blindness more incurable, than that of the common herd whom he despises, and would fain instruct. For the more precious the gift, the more pernicious ever will be tho abuse of it, as the most powerful medicines are the most dangerous, if misapplied; and no eiTor is so remediless as that which arises, not from the exclusion of wisdom, but from its perversion. The sceptic, when he plunges into the depths of infidelity, like the miser who leaps from the shipwreck, will find that the treasures which he bears about him, will only sink him deeper in the abyss. Colton.
Tenderness, delicacy, and gentleness, are certainly the appropriate qualities of a woman; but they are more the means of virtue, than virtues themselves, and if a woman satisfies herself with the mere possession of these qualities, without considering their use, she may suffer them to degenerate into faults. For instance, if her tenderness makes her helpless and useless, if it destroys her fortitude in bearing evils, and her exertion in repelling them; if her delicacy makes her whimsical, capricious, and proud; her gentleness, indolent and selfish, these qualities becjmc vices instead of virtues.
Her tenderness is the stimulus to all her benevolent and Christian duties; delicacy, her shield against tho contaminating blasts of vice and vulgarity; gentleness of spirit, her guard against anxiety, and imitation in the active routine of her necessary and beneficial employments. —Mrs. Kino.
Christianity forbids no necessary occupations, no reasonable indulgences, no innocent relaxations. It allows us to use the world, provided we do not abuse it. It does not spread before us a delicious banquet, and then come with a "touch not, taste not, handle not." All it requires is, that our liberty degenerate not into licentiousness, our amusements into dissipation, our industry into incessant toil, our carefulness into extreme anxiety and endless solicitude. So far from forbidding us to engage in business, it expressly commands us not to be slothful in it, and to labour with our hands for the things that be needful; it enjoins every one to abide in the calling wherein he was called, and perform all tho duties of it. It even stigmatizes those that provide not for their own, with telling them that they are worse than infidels. When it requires us "to bo temperate in all things," it plainly tells us, that we may use all things temperately; when it directs us," to make our moderation known unto all men," this evidently implies, that within the bounds of moderation we may enjoy all the reasonable conveniences and comforts of tho present life. —Bishop Porteus.
Unto them that love him, God causeth all things to work for the best. So that with Him, by the heavenly light of steadfast faith, they see life even in death; with Him, even in heaviness and sorrow, they fail not of joy and comfort; with Him, even in poverty, affliction, and trouble, they neither perish, nor are forsaken. Miles Coverdale.
He who saith there is no such thing as an honest man, you may be sure is himself a knave. Bishop Berkeley.
We all live upon the hope of pleasing somebody; and tho pleasure of pleasing ought to be greatest, and, at least, always will be greatest, when our endeavours are exerted in consequence of our duty. Dr. Johnson.
Filial Respect.—When Sir Thomas More was Lord Chancellor of England, and Sir John, his father, one of the judges of the King's Bench, he would, in WestminsterHall, beg his blessing of him on his knees. Fuller.
Take a heretic, a rebel, a person that hath an ill cause to manage; what he is deficient in the strength of his cause, he makes up with diligence; while he that hath right on his side, is cold, indiligent, lazy, inactive, trusting that the goodness of his cause will not fail to prevail without assistance. So wrong prevails, while evil persons are zealous, and the good remiss.—Jeremy Taylor.
The western extremity of the Isle of Wight was anciently styled the Isle of Freshwater, from the circumstance of the river, which here crosses the island, rising within a few hundred yards of the beach to the south, and flowing out at Yarmouth, on the northern coast, and thus almost forming a separation between the two portions of the isle. From Freshwater Bay to the Needles, which are at the extreme west, aud thence round the coast to Alum Bay, the entire range of cliff is of the most sublime description; and, especially when viewed from the sea, it presents an uninterrupted succession of that bold and imposing outline so characteristic of the British shores.
The scenery of Freshwater Bay is one of the most attractive features of this picturesque and far-famed island. The wild range of perpendicular cliffs, surmounted by the verdure of the downs that appear above them, forming a striking contrast with the snowy surface of the chalk,—the waves gently swelling to their base, or dashing in wild confusion against their sides,—the sea-fowl issuing from the cavities of the rock, wheeling aloft and balancing themselves in mid-air, or plunging in search of their prey beneath the waters,—the boats of the fishermen busied in the labours of their perilous calling,—the shipping in the Channel,—combined with the different appearances of the changing seasons and varying weather, altogether yield a picture of the most pleasing and animating description.
These cliffs are peculiarly remarkable for the prodigious numbers of aquatic birds that frequent them, more especially during the summer-months, with the purpose of depositing and hatching their eggs among the crevices of the rocks, which afford them a secure asylum from the weather j though even here they are not beyond the reach of man, their unwearied persecutor. The inhabitants of the island, for the sake of their down and eggs, descend, at the hazard of their lives, from the brow of the cliff above, suspended
merely by a rope attached to the waist, and thus explore, at leisure, every hollow of the rock, much in the manner practised by the inhabitants of the Shetland Isles*.
The upper part of the bay, where cliffs begin to rise in romantic grandeur, is remarkable for the cave, of which we have given an Engraving. This cave, opening under the cliff, expands into a marine grotto of considerable dimensions, and forms an interesting and impressive object to the curious traveller. A slight pier of chalk divides the mouth of the cave into two unequal arches, beyond the smaller of which is another of the same size. The principal arch is between twenty and thirty feet in height. The entire depth of the cavern is about one hundred and twenty feet, but the height rapidly diminishes till it becomes too low to be explored. The interior of the arches, with their dark mantle of moss and sea-weed, forms a fine contrast to the white chalky cliffs outside j and the sea-view from the upper part of the cave, with its wild fore-ground, formed by large fragments of the rock which lie scattered at the feet of the spectator, is strikingly beautiful. Through the lesser opening are seen the opposite cliffs of Freshwater Bay; while the main arch displays a wide expanse of ocean, and, in the distance, the noble summit of St. Catherine's Hill. The floor of the cave is a clear pebbly beach, strewn with masses of the rock of every size and shape; and, being washed by each returning tide, is always dripping with the briny moisture, which, added to the cool crystal drops that continually trickle from the roof above, gives a reviving freshness to this retreat, that in the hot months of summer is inexpressibly delightful.
E. A. I.
• See Saturday Magatine, Vol. II., p. 220.
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER. WKST STRAND. Published In Wekklt Numbbri,PriciOnk Pbnnt, And In Monthly Part*.
FBICE SlxPKKCB, AND
Sold by ail Bookiellen and Newivendcn Id the Kingdom.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE PORT OF LONDON, AND OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE COMMERCIAL NAVY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
That London is the greatest Port in the world, is a fact generally known; but we believe that comparatively few of the inhabitants of the metropolis itself are aware of its real magnitude. Our design in this paper is to supply this deficiency in popular information, and to make the wonders of the Thames more familiar to all. Before entering, however, upon a description of the Port Of Londox As It is, we shall give a rapid sketch of its history, in connexion with such chronological notices of the rise and progress of commerce in Great Britain, as may tend to confer additional interest on the subject. In a commercial country like this, few subjects, indeed, have a better-founded claim on our attention; yet it has, hitherto, been unaccountably neglected; even the facts which we have here embodied, are scattered over many works, most of which are not generally accessible: in short, the history of British mercantile navigation remains to be written.
The .advantageous position of London for the purposes of commerce, appears to have been fully appreciated at an early period of the sojourn of the Romans in this island. At that time, the wide expanse of low country, from the mouth of the Thames to the metropolis, must have been one vast estuary at high water; from which it is supposed to have derived its British name, Lyndin, (the town on the lake,) afterwards corrupted into the Latin, Londinium. The Romans, who were pre-eminently distinguished for the magnitude of their public, works, soon perceived the importance of confining the flow of the tide within the course of the Thames, for which purpose they raised dykes or banks on either shore. This great undertaking was commenced, according to Whitaker, in the neighbourhood of St. George's fields, but to what extent they carried it, along the marshes of Essex and Kent, has not been clearly ascertained. Vol. IV.
Such was the progress of this Port, that, A. D. 60, little more than a century after the landing of Julius Caesar, it is described by Tacitus as "the chief residence of merchants, and the great mart of trade." In the year 211, it is styled a " great and wealthy city; illustrious for the vast number of merchants which resort to it, for its widely extended commerce, and for the abundance of every species of commodity which it could supply." In the year 359, not long before the Romans abandoned Britain, it is said that 800 vessels were engaged in the import and export of corn, to and from London alone. During the times of the Saxons, by whom it was called Lundenceaster, it suffered various severe reverses from the aggressions of the Danes and other foreign enemies; yet it still appears to have progressed in trade, for the venerable Bede terms it, in 604, "a princely mart town." It was not, however, till the reign of Alfred, in the ninth century, that it wag constituted the capital of all England.
It is generally believed, that duties were first levied on ships and merchandise by Ethelred the Second, who, in 979, ordered that all vessels "comingup to Bilynggesgate," then the heart of the port, should, "if a small ship, give one halfpenny, if a greater one, one penny, for toll." A duty of fourpence was also imposed on ships " lying there."
The attention of the descendants of the Norman conquerors of England was, for a long period, but little directed to the cultivation of the arts of peace; and the commerce of London does not seem to have made any important progress until the dawn of the Reformation. Commerce, however, in the mean while, was making vast strides in other parts of Europe, especially in Italy, which, in the eleventh century, from the concurrence of different causes, became the chief scene of its revival. In the twelfth centurv, the rise of commerce in the north led