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good old custom of celebrating Christmas, with profuse hospitality, is almost dispensed with in Ireland; and, alas! the song of the bard, nor the voice of merriment, no longer resounds in the mansions of the Irish nobility. These heartless absentees, instead of diffusing the blessings of benevolence and hospitality among the poor tenantry from whom they derive their incomes, are revelling in luxuries in Paris or Rome, and regardless of the miseries which they do not feel, they look like the bloated gods of Epicurus, with unconcern on the privations and sufferings of a brave peasantry, experiencing, while labouring for the support of these voluptuaries, the extremities of want and the
bitterness of cold.
Two Irish gentlemen have commenced publishing, in Montreal, Lower Canada, a weekly newspaper, under this title, which bids fair to rise to an eminence of fame and popularity. In the columns of the numbers that we have received, we recognize the warmth of the Irish spirit, the glow of Irish patriotism, and the lucid emanation of a cultivated genius and a lettered mind. We cordially congratulate our countrymen, in the Canadas, on the zeal and ability which the talented Editors of the Vindicator will marshal in the support of the Irish cause. These literary gentlemen will give their patrons a journal of originality and taste, directed by Irish feeling and dictated by Irish sincerity.
The Irish Vindicator will, we hope, fill up the chasm, which the lamented death of Mr. Waller, the late able and spirited editor of the Canadian Spectator, has made in the cause of civil and religious liberty in the Canadas.
The editorial essays of the Irish Vindicator possess considerable felicity of style, as the diction is perspicuous without preciseness, and flowing without negligence. In the poet's corner of this paper, original flowers of genius have sprung up to render the Parnassian bower more fragrant. We sincerely trust that the Irish Vindicator will experience a success commensurate to its high deserts.
Our admiration of the eminent talent and liberality of this Journal, induces us to inform its respectable editor, that the article headed "Private Correspondence," which he copied from that misnomer the "Truth Teller," a few days ago, owes its origin to a London paper. This is another instance of the bare-faced plagiarism, which the English literary felon is in the constant habit of imposing on the readers of the "Truth Teller" as original. The sordid and subtle Saxon proprietors of that stupid Journal have no more a correspondent in Dublin than they have in Constantinople. Therefore, whenever the editor of the Republican sees an article headed, From our Dublin Correspondent," he may conclude it to have been foisted into the columns of the "Truth Teller" by the arrant plagiary by whose vandal SCISSORS they are supplied.
tion on this subject from an essay in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1765, in which it is conjectured that the ancient custom of dressing churches at Christmas with laurel, holly, box, and ivy, was in allusion to the many figurative expressions, relative to Christ, as the "branch of righteousness," &c.
Wassail, or was heal, in Saxon, signifies, your health, and is now used in a very limited sense, and only at the time of Christmas, in England and Ireland. It, in the olden time, denoted wirth and festivity in general; and in this sense it occurs in Shakspeare, as follows:
"The King doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering upspring reels."
Perhaps the origin of the term wassail may be traced to the story of Vortigern and Rowena, the beautiful daughter of Hengist. On their first interview, she drank his health in a cup of spiced liquor, in conformity to the sorplure compliment-"O King, live for ever!" and presenting him the bowl, she said," Halford Kyning, waes heil!" i. e. "My Lord King, your health!" and after she had drank, he took the cup, and kissed the damsel, and pledged her.
Milton alludes to the custom of wassailling in the following lines
"I'm loath to meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence
Of such late wassaillers ·
New-year's day has ever been dedicated to hospitality and convivial pleasure to the offering of gifts at the shrine of friendship and love-to the expression of congratulation for blessings received, and perils escaped, during the past year. It is the season of festal banquets, and bacchanalian revelry in this city, when wine and walnuts, confectionary, jokes, and songs, and blazing hearths, contribute so much to our gratification The wit of the poet is now more brilliant than usual, as the wine feeds the blaze of lively repartee and lettered humour, while the bright and bland eyes of beauty dart the warm ray of love into the frost-bitten hearts of old bachelors...
Sickness and sadness have on this day a sabbath, when joy and gayety array themselves in blandishing smiles, and old maids forget their envy, and pugnacious poetasters their spleen. The population of the city is all in motion at an early hour in the morning the panting tailor, and the blushing milliner, are seen running to their customers with new garments. All is bustle and preparation for a sumptuous dinner-a NewYear's feast. Wo to oxen, turkeys, fowls, ducks, and nut-cracking squirrels-and as to geese, we believe there will not be one left to save the capitol. Every one eats on New-Year's day. The mechanic cannot offend his delicate palate with pork or corned beef he must have pies, canvass-back ducks, and other dainties. The apprentice abjures his ordinary fare, and plunges at once into the luxuries of joints, puddings, and fruits. Surely it is the happiest season of the year-it is the "piping time" of good living; when hunger is no longer an enemy-when age assumes the aspect of youth, and affected morality divests itself of its chilling austerities-when the whole city is illuminated by bright fires and smiling faces.
Apples, nuts, and oranges, tower like a mount Atlas on every table: cakes frosted over, (as if to rival the snow) rise in huge piles. What a delightful spectacle for the school boy! he dreams no more of the coming lesson, the lifted taws, or fierce look of his teacher; they no longer "have terrors" for him; for he is attracted by "better metal" than syntax and prosody. In the midst of a "wilderness of sweets," he is puzzled whether to attack a golden heap of oranges, as tempting as the forbidden fruit of paradise-demolish a pyramid of sweet-meats-assault General Jackson and his army, in their pie-crust fortress-drag Mr. Adams out of the presidential chair, or sack Solomon's temple. O what havoc is made by the little gourmand!-The custom of presenting New-Year's gifts originated with the Romans, and was borrowed from them by the other nations of Europe. These gifts were formerly presented on this day in England, by the husband to the wife, the father to the child, or the master to the servant; reversing the Roman custom, which was generally from the inferior to the superior. The gifts were not confined to particular things, though some were preferred to others, and they appear to have been offerings peculiar to the season, and made more for ceremony's sake, than for a token of remembrance, or for value. An orange stuck full of cloves was one of this class. Eggs dyed of different colours were also sent as presents, particularly red ones.
Verses full of adulation and compliments, were sent by gallants to their mistresses, as New-Year's gifts. We are told by Chalmers, that the historian Buchannan, sent a Latin ode as a New-Year's gift to the beautiful but unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. History is silent concerning the manner in which her Majesty received it.
The new year opens to our view a bright vista of anticipation-green and cloudless as a poet's imaginary paradise, where felicity with a flaming sword, prevents the approach of poverty or sickness. In the dream of this delusion, we see good fortune smiling upon us; but when we awake, the phantom is vanished, the delusive visions are dissolved, and haggard adversity withers with its frown, the magic charms of the scene. It is the character of human nature to fling itself confidently upon the future, and even to "leap amid its darkness." The past is beyond our power-its tide has receded into the ocean of "time elapsed." We have, therefore, only the future for the haven, in which we can anchor our little bark of expectation, and we look to it with delight, always flattering ourselves that there at mooring, and safely sheltered from the storm, we shall behold "The seas for ever calm-the skies for ever bright."
The spendthrift now resolves to practice most rigid economy-the rake to abandon his evil pursuits, and lead a life of virtue; but these resolutions evaporate almost with......... the breath that utters them.
The greetings and wine-goblets that usher in the new year, are not wholly useless ceremonies. The division of time entered upon, bears a thousand fond expectations on its wings, which it liberally distributes to all that wish to be lulled in this sleep of delusion, by false and flattering HOPE. But it is better to listen to the siren song of the deceptious Goddess, even if we are shipwrecked on her rocks, than plunge into the abyss of despair; let us always struggle before we sink in despondency. The sorrows of this life are in themselves sufficiently gloomy, without darkening the horizon of hope, by sombre mists collected by anticipation.
When we consider this world as only a stage, upon which, for a short time only, we are permitted to tread, and that the mortal curtain must soon drop, to close upon our view, it surely behoves us to acquit ourselves in this drama of life, so that the part we have acted may assure us applause from a heavenly audience.
New-year's day in New York, is an eventful one-almost all the stores are shut, labour suspends his toil, commerce languishing in the Tariff fever, rests upon her oars, and the Editors have one day's respite from printer's devils, and their ears "a calm suspension" from the discordant cry-" More copy, Sir!”- All enjoy a universal holiday, except the confectioners, for this is their day of reaping a golden harvest.
Nothing is seen in the streets, but well-dressed persons going to visit their friends and relations, and renew all the endearing ties of friendship and acquaintance; thus by their solicitude, and reciprocity of kindness, adding new links to the golden chain of social intercourse.
The early part of the evening is devoted to the theatre; but the sable night is, as Ossian has it," sent away in songs," after the bon vivants have feasted on a luxurious supper, as exquisite as ever smoked on the tables of Lucullus, Apicius, or Coelius.
A picture of Grecian Females, drawn by à French Traveller, in a series of letters, translated
I am traversing, my dear friend, a great part of the "native lands of the gods"-the country of poetry-painting, sculpture, and beauty.
I have drank of the limpid water of Castalia-gathered flowers on the summit of Pindus, and dropped a tear on the grave of Leonidas, in the pass of Thermopyla. I cannot tell you the pleasure I derived from visiting this classic ground, where every object seemed to speak to my feelings. as they reminded me of our school boy days, when the record of the heroic deeds of the Grecians fired our breast with emulation, when we went forth to victory, under the conquest-winged eagles of him, whose name we dare not now utter; but whose memory is embalmed in the tears and enshrined in the hearts of Frenchmen.
But pardon the emotions which the remembrance of events that are associated with my feelings, has given birth to. The heart is often gladdened by the revival of some dear recollections, which spring up green and fragrant, under the sun-beams of me mory.
You ask me to describe the Grecian Females, and give you a sketch of their mental and personal charms, as well as a picture of the society and manners of this "clime of the east." The task imposed by friendship, I shall cheerfully perform, to the best of my ability.
The Grecian manners are perfect pictures of those of their ancestors, and a mixture of Asiatic and European, so that we cannot be much surprised, that in several respects, they are diametrically different from our own. No women are seen in company with men-no woman sits down to table with her husband; among the lower orders, the wife stands behind her husband, and waits on him while at meals. The ladies of quality have a separate establishment in the house, called the Gynecaeum, or female apartments, where they eat, drink, sleep, and perform the duties of the family. No Greek lady walks the streets alone, or unattended by her slaves or servants, who are in number according to the rank and wealth of their mistress; none but the poor classes, or neglected courtezans, are seen without such attendants. The Greek matrons when they enjoy the promenade, are so completely disguised, by their costume, that no part of them can be seen, except their eyes and nose. Their garments are loose and flowing. The dress of a matron, consists of a garment of red cloth, the waist very short, tired by a girdle under the breast, the skirts falling down to the ground in folds; VOL. I.-2.
a thin flowing veil of muslin with a gold border, is gracefully thrown over the he and shoulders. The young ladies array themselves when they go to walk, in a similar head long red vest, with a square cape of yellow satin, hanging down behind, and in going through the streets, they studiously keep their hands concealed in their pocket holes, at the sides. They use no carriages or chairs; but wear buckskins, a species of gollosias or clogs, near a foot high, after the manner of the ancients. Their carriage and gait in the streets, are easy, light and graceful. But though the tyrant custom obliges Grecian ladies to wear a masquerade dress in the streets, where they resemble bright moons enveloped in clouds, yet the moment they enter the domestic sanctuary, they cast off the drapery that hid their charms while abroad. In the house their appearance assumes all the attractions that can win the hearts of the other sex. Here the fair one, like Thetis, has her white and delicate feet naked, and highly polished with pumice stone, so as to resemble burnished ivory, with the nails tinged red, treading on elegant silk carpets, for no lady wears either shoes or stockings at home. Her trowsers of thin gause, which display the symmetry of her limbs, descend from the hip to the ancle: the lower portion of these trowsers are tastefully embroidered with flowers: the vest is of silk, exactly fitted to her bosom, and the form of her body, which it rather covers than conceals; the sleeves button occasionally at the hand, and are lined with yellow satin; an ornamented zone or girdle, encompasses her slender waist just under the breast, and fastens before with clasps of gold, frequently set with precious stones the head dress is a red or green scull cap, dazzling with pearls and brilliants; from beneath the cap along the cheeks, flow a fine lock of hair, curling on the face and down the back a profusion of luxuriant tresses, glossy and silky, waving over her snowy neck and shoulders in ringlets, which appear to be twisted by the hands of Cupid; her fine blue-veined wrists are encircled with bracelets of gold, and the strings of rubies and coral that gird her neck, appeared like variegated flowers springing up through April snows. Instead of the scull-cap, some of the young ladies wear their hair artfully rolled on the crown of the head, and ornamented with flowers. They all a l'Aurore, are rosy-fingered, as they stain the tips of the fingers in crimson colour. Indeed the Grecian women of the present day, perfectly resemble the figures which we find on ancient Greek coins, medals, and sculptures.
The modern as well as the ancient Greek ladies use paint to improve their beauty, a circle of blue environs their eyes, and the inside of the sockets and edges are tinged with black. Though vanity, and the desire of setting off their charms in the most seducing manner, are sedulously attended to, by the Grecian females, the mental pearl remains as it came from the mine of nature, as intellectual attractions, which shine with such lustre in our women, are here of no momentous consideration. The girls are taught to dance, to sing, to play on the Turkish guitar, the timbral or tympanum, and to embroider, in which art they generally excel; but few can read, none can write. Emblems, instead of love-letters, serve to give expression to their sentiments, and convey them to the objects of their affections. The Grecian women are still eminently beautiful, but without education, what are they but richly coloured flowers, tinted and variegated, but possessing neither scent nor fragrance. Among them you may still find Helens, and Ariadnes; but no Sapphos or Aspasias. The same capacity, the same genius, which rendered the ancient Greeks so illustrious, still exist among them, if they were called forth, and fostered by humane, free, and enlightened government but the inhuman oppressions, and barbarous ignorance of the Turks, wither genius in the bud, and sink the moral and physical energies of the people in stagnant apathy.
The Greeks will sometimes admit a stranger, especially a friend and intimate, into his gynecaeum, or women's apartments. I was fortunate enough to have this honour, a few days after my arrival in Corinth. It was on the 6th of December, at mid-day. The ladies were sitting round their Tendor (stove) employed in embroidery. The company consisted of the Lady of the house, her two daughters, the eldest of whom appeared to be sixteen and the youngest fourteen years of age. Never did even the magnificent court of Napoleon, where I have seen the loveliest women of Europe congregated, display to my eyes, such a perfect beauty as the eldest girl, who now saluted my friend and me. On our being seated on low sofas, the charming Lucia, (for that was her name,) rose and served us with coffee and fruit. Her deportment was as graceful and light, at that of a young Hebe. Never did I indulge purer rapture, than
The tendor is a brazier of charcoal fire, placed in the middle of the room in winter, for there are no chim: ies in the Greek houses. This fire is covered by a kind of table, over which is spread an embroidered carpet, that reaches on all sides to the floor. Around are placed sofas for the company, on which men and women, like the Turks, sit cross-legged. The tendir carpet was embellished with a fine likeness of the great English poet, Lord Byron, whose memory the Greeks cherish with reverennal regard. "Ah!" exclaimed muy host, had the magnanimous Lord been spared to us by God, a few years longer, our chains would be rent, and all Greece would be blessed with liberty."
in contemplating the blaze of perfection, and winning attractions, that irradiated the figure and face of this facinating Grecian Maiden. Her stature was majestic, but her air and attitude were nature itself, dignified, softened, and subdued by the most engaging modesty, and as it gave the roseate hues of dimpled blushes to her cheeks, sensibility kindled the lustre of her blue eyes, which sparkled like pearly dew drops, trembling on the leaves of the violet. The softest roses that ever youth and loveliness poured out on beauty, were blooming fresh and fragrant on her lips, and I am sure her pure soul was the shrine of virtue. Never did female charms appear so amiable nor virtue so adorned as in this incomparable virgin.
(To be concluded in our next.)
LITERARY AND BIOGRAPHICAL
IRISH AUTHORS AND ARTISTS.-NO. IV.
The biography of Goldsmith has not only been given to the world by the elegant pen of his countryman, the celebrated Richard Glover, author of the epic poem Leonidas, but, also, illustrated by Cumberland, and lately embellished by all the colouring of genius and flush of language, which shed such lustre on the narrative, of SIR WALTER SCOTT, in his Lives of the Novelists, it would therefore be like attempting to "gild refined gold, or throw perfume on the violet," for us to retouch pictures, which are brilliant with vivid tints that time can never fade.* We may however be able to say something new, by way of anecdote, of a man who as a poet, a dramatist and an essayist, criticism has placed in the first class of the English Literati, and whose writings, surviving many revolutions of fashion and taste, are every day more frequently read, quoted, and admired. We read his poems with delight; but seldom think, much less reflect on the extreme sufferings of their amiable author, wandering "remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow"-from the inhospitable plains of Poland. to the solitudes of the Alps; at one time, obtaining in the seminaries of Belgium, a scanty meal and a night's lodging, for a laboriously successful disputation; and at another obtaining from the peasants, on the pastoral banks of the Loire, entertainment and food for accompanying the rustic dance with his flute. It was during this peregrination, that he formed the outlines of his Traveller, an excellent Poem, of which Dr. Johnson said "that it was superior to any thing produced since the death of Pope," and the great statesman, Mr. Fox, declared, "it was one of the finest poems in the English language." Who can read this charming poem, without admiring its interesting sentiments, elegant and picturesque imagery, and nervous harmony of language. An accomplished critic, Dr. Aikin, however, is of opinion that the "Deserted Village" has more sublime imagery, more variety, depth, pathos, and more of the peculiar character of poetry. In his essays, a delicate strain of humour gives animation and interest to his composition. Indeed, we believe that for sweetness, harmony, and elegant simplicity, his prose compositions are inferior only to some of Addison's papers, in the Spectator. The first work our author gave the world, was entitled an "Inquiry into the present state of polite learning in Europe;"  and the year following he wrote a book that acquired great fame; Life of Richard Nash, Esq. of Bath. In this book, which was published anonymously, he introduced the "Memoirs of Miss Sylvia H- which gave the publication as great a run, as the "Memoirs of a woman of quality," did to Peregrine Pickle. The lady of whom he gave such a striking picture, well known for her frailties and talents, in Bath, was so mortified at finding herself dragged into such discreditable notoriety, that she was found (as one of her noble gallants expressed it) one fine morning "self suspended," and the following lines, written on the occasion, and by herself, lying on her table.
"Oh Death! thou sov'reign cure of human wo:
To which was subjoined the following note, "How could I be so mean as to live an object of the contempt and scorn, to which the publication of that cursed Book has ex
* Dr. Percy, the learned Bishop of Dromore, wrote, “a memoir of the life and writings of Goldsmith." + Rosseau, un ler similar circumstances, says, "I had little Cash, and as I feared less the danger of perishing through want of sleep, than want of food, I determined on sleeping in the open fields."