Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

greatest happiness I enjoy ?" acting, in this instance, like * Plutarch, who being asked, “why he resided in his native

city, so obscure and so little ?” I stay, said he, lest it should grow less.” But, at length, finding his health and constitution impaired beyond the power of medicine, even of his own tar-water, he removed towards the end of the year 1752, to Oxfor:), an university he always loved, and at which he received a great part of his education, in hopes of receiving some benefit from the change of air. ' His principal motive, however, was that he might himself superintend the education of his son, whom he took along with him; and the prospect of enjoying two or three years among the literati of that famous seminary.

After a short passage, and a very pleasant journey, he arrived at that famous seat of learning, where he was visited by many of his former friends and admirers : but the certainty there was of speedily losing him, greatly damped the pleasure they would otherwise have had in his company. In a short time after his arrival, he expired, on the 14th of January, 1753, greatly regretted by the poor, whom he loved, and the learned, whom he had improved.

HAIR POWDER. Hair powder was first introduced by ballad singers at the fair of St. Germaine, in the year 1641. In the beginning of the reign of George the First, only two ladies wore powder in their hair, and they were pointed at for their singularity. At the coronalion of George II. there was only two hair dressers in London. In the year 1795, it was calculated, that there were in the kingdoin of Great Britain, fifty thousand hair-dres, sers ! supposing each of them to use one pound of flour in a day,--this upon an average would amount to 18,250,000 pounds in one year, which would make 5,314,280 quartern loayes, which at only nine-pence each, amounts to one million, one hundred and forty six thousand, four . hundred and twenty pounds British money. This statement does not take in the quantity of flour used by the soldiers, or that which is consumed by those who dress their own hair.

Were such a man as Swift to write a volume of allegorical travels, he might describe the English, as a people who wear three-penny loaves on their heads, by way of ornament,

680999 A

THE EFFECT OF MUSIC ON DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

Those who pretend that the love of music, and especially instrumental music, is a natural instinct, say that even brute animals are sensible of it. One day, when I was in the country, I resolved to try if it were true; and while a person played on a trump-marine properly tuned, I considered with attention the effect on a cat, a dog, a horse, an ass, a doe, some cows, some small birds, and a cock and hens; all which were in a court-yard, directly under a window out of which 1 leaned.

As for the cat, she did not seem to be at all sensible of the sound of the instrument; and, to judge by her deportment, she would have given all the music in the world for a single mouse : she did not shew the least mark of pleasure, but Lasked quietly in the sun. The horse stopped short before the window, and lifted up his head now and then, while he was grazing. The dog sat on his backside like a monkey, keeping his eyes fixed all the time on the person who played. He continued in this attitude inore than an hour, and seemned to conprehend what was going forward. The ass gave no token of sensibility, but kept on calmly eating his thistles. The doe raised her large ears, and seemed very attentive. The cows stopped a little, and, after having looked as if to see whether they knew us, went on their way. The small birds, some in an aviary, and others on the trees, seemed as if they would burst themselves with singig. The cock, solely attentive to the hens, and the hens entirely en ployed", in scratching the ground, gave no indication that they received any pleasure from hearing a trump-marine.

Shakspeare, in the Merchant of Venice, thus describes the etiect of music on horses :

« Do but note a wild and wanten herd,
Or race of youthful and unbridled colts,
Fetching inad bounds, beliowing, and neighing round,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
Ifthey perchance but hear a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perseive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze
By the sweit power of music.”

THE ANCTENT STATE OP LETTERS IN ENGLAND. THERE was a time in this kingdom, when letters were so low, that whoever could prove hiinself, in a court of justice, able to read a verse in the New Testament, was vested with the highest privileges; and a clergyman, who knew any thing of grammar, was looked upon as a prodigy. In those enlightened days, a rector of a parish, as we are told, going to law with his parishioners about paving the church, quoted this authority as from St. Peter : " pareant illi, noi paveam ego;" which he construed, “they are to pave the church, not I:” and this was allowed to be good law by a judge, who was an ecclesiastic too. Alfred the Great complained, towards the end of the ninth century, that " from the Humber to the Thames there was not a priest, who under-tood the liturgy in his mother-tongue, or who could translate the easiest piece of Latin:" and a correspondent of Abelard, about ihe middle of the twelfth, complimenting him upon a resort of pupils from all countries, says, that even Britain, distant as she was, sent her savages to be instructed by him”-remota Britania sua animalia erudienda destinabat.

If the clergy had then, as they are said to have had, all the learning among themselves, what a blessed state must the laity have been in! And so indeed it appears, for there is extant an old act of parliament, which provides, that “a nobleman shall be entitled to the benefit of his clergy, even though he cannot read :" and another law, cited by Judge Rolls in his Abridgement, sets forth, that “ the command of the sheriff to his officer, by word of mouth, and without writing, is good; for it may be, that neither the sheriff nor his officer can write or read.”. Who can say that such balcyon times may not return? When we contemplate the iguorance and dissipation of the great, whom the little are sure to follow : when we consider their not only neglect, but even contempt, of letters; their gambling, and low amusements; their luxury; the avarice, meanness, and selfishness, which prevail among them-when we consider all this, and more, can we forbear to exclaim, that “ signs following signs lead on the mighty year?”

THEORETIC SPECULATION. The attention of philosophers and naturalists was at a certain period long and ardently excited by a number of fossil skeletons discovered in a marsh on the banks of the Ohio. These were considered at the time, as bones of elephants, but afterwards proved by an eminent and indefatigable anatomist, not to be remains of that animal, but of a species of the carnivorous kind, more enormous in bulk, and now wholly extinct or unknown..

The subject has been scientifically investigated by an ingenious German and well-informed mineralogist, Mr. Raspe, who has resided long in England; he controverts some of the positions of the learned professor, and others he apparently confirms : but the difficulty of accounting for animals, no longer existing in countries where they seem at a certain time to have been numerous, still remains unexplained; it has escaped the sagacity of Gmelin, the genius of Buffon, and the minute research of Daubenton.

A modern theorist of a lively and eccentric cast has, in his own opinion, easily solved the mystery, by supposing that the bones in question are the remains of certain angelic beings, the original tenants of this our terrestrial globe in its primitive state ; till for the transgressions both were involved in ruin ; after which, this shattered planet was refitted for the accommodation of its present inhabitants !!!

But romance out of the question, is it not possible to account for such an assemblage of creatures, in a country where they no longer exist, by supposing that at some remote period, the place in which they were found, might have laid in the tract of a conqueror, unknown to the historians of Europe ; that it might have been the scene of a battle, and the animals in question, part of the baggage train, destroyed by slaughter or disease, and left in the hurry of flight, or of pursuit, to puzzle and set at defiance generations then unborn : chronology so remote is a terra incognita, to the philosopher as well as the historian.

REFORM. “ It is better," says a inodern writer, " that reformation should be difficult, or even unattainable, than that laws should be uncertain, and the enjoyment of life and property precarious."

Being asked, if reforin was never to be risked he

almost confessed as much, for a reason, personal, and not at all applicable to the subject, “ because the promoters of it, will, in every instance, be sacrificed, as the bulk of mankind always think enough has not been done.”.

Another of his reasons for delay is, " that abuse should become decrepid, hoary, and in its dotage, before you attack it; any institution, law, or custom, generally despised and ridiculed, however colossal, must, in a given time, tumble to the ground unsupported ; its removal then will not endanger public tranquillity.

“ I consider every evil as trifling, when compared to rouzing the vengeance, and exciting the energies of that omnipotent sovereign, the people; in a word, I prefer the leprosy, the itch, and a thousand little nasty teazing diseases, which fret a man dismally, I confess, to the plague, to pestilence, and famine. I would rather pay a government of my own countrymen, ten, or even twenty per cent, of all I possess, than be stripped by a Gallic pro-consul.”

. THE POET COWPER. FROM CECIL'S MEMOIRS OF THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. THERE has gone forth an unfounded report, that the deplorable melancholy of Cowper, was, in part, derived from his residence and connections at Olney. The fact, however, is the reverse of this ; which is attested by living witnesses, and confirmed by a MS. of the poet; with the perusal of which I was favoured by Mr. N.

It most evidently appears, that symptoms of Mr. Cowper's morbid state began to discover themselves in his earliest youth. He seems to have been at all times disordered, in a greater or less degree. He was sent to Westminster school at the age of nine years, and long endured the tyranny of an elder boy, of which he gives a shocking account in the paper above mentioned ; and which • produced,' as one of his biographers observes, who had long intimacy with him, an indelible effect upon his mind through life.'- A person so naturally bashful and depressed as Cowper, must needs find the profession of a barrister a farther occasion of anxiety : the post obtained for him by his friends in the house of Lords overwhelmed him; and the remonstrances which those friends made against his relinquishing so honourable and lucrative an appointment, (but which soon after actually took place,] greatly increased the anguish of a mind already incapacitated for business. To all this were

« AnteriorContinuar »