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rated insolence; and a churlish pluralist has manifested his vexation, that the applicant should seek to learn, with such rudeness, as has moved the mildest observer to desire that the wrathful clerk were straightway consigned to a neighbouring horse-pond, for the ablution of his angry discourtesy. Whenever the student presents himself at a conventual or corporate library without a special recommendation, the want of it is alleged against him ;-robbers and burglars are addicted to the perusal and transcription of Greek MSS., and they often effect their nefarious
purposes under the pretext of collation and emendation: the thing is notorious; and if the abandoned critic would escape the watchhouse and the police, he must run for it. Should the simple wight appear armed with written introductions, his case is more cruel ; for the refusal is not less certain, but more tedious. With gentleness and gratitude must he politely accept any excuse, and all excuses in long succession, through a regard for the feelings and reputation of the introducer; a worthless list of useless printed books for a catalogue of valuable MSS. ; a broomstick for a book; or an old hat instead of a librarian. A promise misleads, by inducing the loss of time and of toil; a kick or a cuff is conclusive, and declares that satisfaction, legal or military, may perchance be had, literary never. The enumeration of evils would be endless, as the evils themselves are enormous. How, then, are they to be remedied? The cure is easy and effectual.
At Vienna, at Naples, at Milan; in Frauce, in Denmark, it is said, and partially even in Spain ; in countries which we contemn as barbarous, all the MSS. in the custody of corporations have been collected by the authority of the state, and deposited in a public library. The inconveniences which we now perceive were felt, or rather some of them only. The insecurity of most valuable possessions, and the dispersion in remote places of objects that ought to be assembled in the capital, were the alleged grievances; that access should be refused was a crime of which less arrogant nations were happily ignorant. Nor was the prudent collection, in all cases, a modern innovation; sometimes—as, for example, at Vienna-it was effected at an era which our pert philosophers would scorn as uncivilized. Our gross and guilty negligence has already received a merited, but most cruel, chastisement: at Carlisle many choice, unesteemed, but inestimable, MSS. were burnt; at St. Paul's, also, it is said, and in Sion College; and the contents of the Chapter library at Westminster were destroyed by fire; amongst the last some have asserted, whether erroneously none can now determine, that the accursed flames, hot from the depths of perdition, devoured the Second Decade of Livy. Ilow much injury, never to be repaired, would have been avoided, had the scattered volumes been gathered together betimes ! A folio, containing about half of the Lexicon of Suidas, seems to have disappeared from the Chapter library at Durham, where, however, the administration has been more careful than in other similar repositories : the MS. is described in the Oxford catalogues, but not in the particular catalogue lately published at Durham. Many stray MSS. attest the frequency of abstraction; and it is to be feared that damp and neglect have too often committed fatal ravages : hence, perhaps, in part arises the unwillingness to admit visiters. But these evils must cease.
It is the paramount duty of an enlightened administration, without loss of time, to despatch a trusty and experienced person, armed with the authority of the legislature, to collect these precious memorials, and to deposit them in the British Museum. It is not necessary for the purposes of literature that the property should be changed; each volume may be inscribed and registered as belonging to the particular body in whose charge it is found, but entrusted by the state to the British Museum for safe custody and more convenient reference. Thus the silly quibble about the private property of corporations will be avoided; and there will be no temptation to forget that these fictitious creatures, whether sole or aggregate, are ancillary to, and wholly dependent upon, the public will. Nor will the direction of a munificent testator, that the books by him bequeathed should remain in a specified place, occasion any difficulty; for he selected the locality only because it would be commodious to the studious, and he would doubtless rejoice that their convenience should be augmented by a wise and well-ordered change. By the word mànuscript, charters, records, and other muniments and evidences of legal rights, are not here signified, but those ancient writings only which the ordinary acceptation of the term by the learned would denote: the greater part of our sepulchred wealth is Latin, much Greek, and a portion in English, French, or other languages. To descant upon the value of the precious remains is needless: every manuscript has its peculiarities-an individuality, a certain idiosyncrasy; its leaves can never be turned over without profit. As those who would fully understand an author desire to consult every printed edition, so would they also examine every manuscript, each manuscript being, in truth, a different edition; the chief use of printed books being, perhaps, as some have taught, to prepare the reader for the study of MSS., inasmuch as the ancient usage of comprehending a work thoroughly existed at a period long anterior to the invention of printing. Whoever, for the moderate charge of one guinea a year, purchases the privilege of advertising his name every week or month on the drab cover of a sixpenny discourse, touching all, or not touching any, of the sciences, is deemed a patron of learning and of learned men, being himself, of course, most learned: no other encouragement is known to the age. Nevertheless, the necessity of searching for and collecting the vast mass of hidden treasure is so obvious and urgent, that if it be duly insisted upon it cannot long be delayed. Frequently and strenuously to press so important a matter will not be discreditable; nor surely is the first suggestion.
THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER.
BY SYLVANUS SWANQUILL, ESQ. THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER!--Oh, for the harp of an Ossian worthily to celebrate thy charms! Oh, for the one string (the fourth) of a Paganini rightly to modulate thy praises! Ods flints and triggers—if we may swear such an old-fashioned oath—what associations are conjured up in a man's breast at the mention of thy name! How distinct sound the double crack of his Manton, and the wing-whirr of the brown covey, in his mind's ear, Horatio! How brightly lies the landscape under his eye-how bland is the breath of morning in his nostrils—how joyous the bounding of his brave dogs-how light, how glad, how grateful his own heart!
September ! what a glorious month it is! Cornfields are yet waving in golden undulations over the hill-sides, or standing in tent-like rows along the plain. Sickles are yet plying among the brown ears; gleaners are yet stooping amid the bright sheaves; waggons are groaning under the weight of an abundant harvest, and, as they swing through the half-yard-deep ruts in the narrow lanes, hang “samples” of the golden grain on the unclipt hedges, for the little birds to banquet on when they are gone. In September, however, if the season has been favourable, the crops are for the most part got in; the country, in general, is crisp with stubble; Irishmen are seen returning shoeless and stockingless to Green Erin--home is home, after all. Harvest hymns are being sung in parish churches; and farmers are grumbling at Providence, and the corn-laws, and the assessed taxes, and are certain there never were such times. But, pshaw! what have we to do with politics on the First of September ? The very Senate itself is silent now, and nature seems to be enjoying a universal holyday. The country is full of life and beauty : everything is consummated. The flowers of spring, those beautiful promises, have ripened into golden fruit; the poor man's orchard is an Aladdin's garden, and every schoolboy is an Aladdin. Apples, pears, plums, apricots! What temptations are hanging about in every direction! That lad must have more than his share of honesty who can resist them all. Eve and Atalanta were overcome with a golden pippin; what wonder then that little Tommy, or Bobby, or Jacky, or Billy should be unable to resist the combined influences of russet and codling, of cæurpendu, and Waking-pippin, and Ribstone-pippin, and Keswick codling, and northern-greening, and pearmain, and nonsuch, and Hawthornden, and those rosy rascals surnamed peach!-Sweet or sour; but why do I say sour? They are all sweet to them; the very crab in the hedgerow hath its admirers on the “lower forms,” and many is the hatful that will be eaten between this and the next number of the “ New Monthly Magazine.”
Then the pears! the magnificent bell-pears! hanging along the ranches like so many Great Toms of Lincoln; the bergamot, the lus
* The first of September, this year, to use an Iricism, will not take place till the second, -the Sabbath coming in the way. But we write for eternity, therefore such little accidents have no weight with us.
cious little jargonelle, the mouth-melting swan-egg, and the humble Tet'nall! The plums ! red, yellow, purple, like little skins of nectar, so full of cool, ripe, luscious juice— bah! it makes one's mouth water to think of them! And then we say nothing of peach, grape, and nectarine, because they are not, or rarely, come-at-able by our little school friend)—then the stores of wild fruit that are growing in the dark woods, or among the sunny hedgerows. Nuts! who has not pleasant recollections of his nutting days, when he sallied forth into field and forest to procure,
by hook or crook," a feast of those delicate morsels, heedless of keepers and indigestions, and blind to the murderous announcement that “ steel traps and spring guns are actually set on these premises." Oh! many's the Thursday and Saturday afternoon that I have spent over head and ears in the brown hazel-bushes; and many's the race I have run with velveteen-jacketed keeper, on emerging into day, with pockets, hat, and handkerchief stodgefull of brown-shellers. What luxury, to grasp the ripe clusters, scarcely distinguishable from the rough leaves among which they grew! What emulation about the bunches of fives, and sixes, and sevens! and with what joy we pocketed the same, earwigs and all, inly trembling lest a luckier boy should find a larger cluster! Then how we went cracking all the way home, for we were too busy to enjoy any part of our treasure in the wood! Crack, crack, crack! I wonder we did not break every tooth in our head! And what games of cob-nut ensued when we again arrived at school, to the very considerable neglect of Bonnycastle and Cæsar de Bello Gallico.
September ! a bright month is September. How magnificent are the sunsets and the moonlights ! The air is now so clear that you can count every tree upon the horizon, and every sundown is a picture by Claude, in “his best manner.' How full is the landscape of leaf and blossom! No winter sign yetmall is the brightness of life. Not but that some Job's comforter (the damned-goodnatured friend that pointed out to you your first grey hair) will be able to discover some fading leaf or withered bough, some jaundiced chestnut or fading birch ; but, spite of the monster, all is brightness and beauty. June itself is not more full of foliage, nay, not so full; for the young shoots that were put forth at midsummer by the oak and his comrades are now fully expanded, their hues of light-green and crimson having sobered down into the general tint.* Song-birds are newly waking their voices in the woods. Our old friend cockrobin is chirruping up for joy that the dog-days are at an end, and his breast is brighter and redder than ever. The favourite warblers of spring are again trying over their chromatics and diatonics; and débutantes-young thrushes and blackbirds, cum multis aliis-are heard in every bush. Flowers are still lying along the banksides, of which our well-beloved harebell is the chief in beauty. The furze is bright with yellow blossoms – when is it not, I should like to know ? and the thistle makes a fine show, with its white and crimson tufts. Clusters of yellow, star-like flowers, with orange centres, whose name we do not know, (we really must look over our botany,) are growing in every field and hedgeside; and other, smaller gold flowers are lying like spangles under our feet. The foxglove, glorious creature! is seen here and there, in the shady dingle, or on the cold side of the hedge, but no longer blowing with the vigour and beauty of its midsummer brethren. Woodbines are yet twining their flowery fingers among the hawthorn leaves, and the wild convolvulus is being smothered with dust on every road side.
* A striking feature in July and August is the putting forth of young shoots by the timber and other trees. The oak is most conspicuous at this time, from the strong contrast afforded by the old and new leaves ; those being of a very dark green, these of a light-green, red, or brown. The younger trees are most prolific of these midsummer shoots.
Overhead ripe berries hang in juicy clusters: elderberries, blackberries, hips and haws, and the beautiful bunches of the mountain ash. Old women in scarlet cloaks, with hooked sticks and wicker baskets, are seen trudging up hill and down dale, wherever an elder tree is to be met with; and the cottager's wife sends for the annual cargo of coarse sugar to make her gudeman a keg of sweet wine. Now farm-houses are invisible; you can see nothing in that direction but massive ricks of hay and corn, with straw weathercocks a-top; or now and then, perhaps, a cluster of ancient chimneys peeping over their roofs. Flocks of geese, and turkeys, and pigeons, and guinea-fowls are met with in the fields, picking up the corn that has been scattered by the harvesters; and, every market day, chubby dairymaids are seen trudging to town with the fattest of them for sale.
Now the hop countries are in a complete turmoil : every man, woman, and child seems to be engaged in the gathering--a happy, sunny scene as one would wish to see on a September day. The merry groups of children, laughing among the bright foliage, and twining the green tendrils round their innocent brows; the men and women--pshaw! nymphs and swains, we mean-plucking the pleasant-smelling flowers from their stems, and cracking their jokes, and casting sheeps'-eyes and hop-flowers at one another in amorous frolic; the bright-faced boys, bearing away the lofty plants--stems, leaves, flowers, and all—to where their seniors are picking and sorting them for the service of glorious Sir John Barleycorn, Bart. ; these altogether form a picture of pleasure and plenty that no age or country can surpass. In the orchard counties, tod, perry, and cider are flowing from the juicy presses; very nice liquors to those who like them; but, for our part, Burton against Worcestershire all the world over.
Now London is a desert, so to say, and the legitimates open to empty benches. Now young ladies and gentlemen throng to the sea-coast and gaze upon the ocean, exclaiming, “ There is a rapture in the lonely shore,” &c. &c. (ride any young lady's album passim). Now the Cockney, telling over the gains of the season, resolves on a voyage and a continental tour, and embarks with Mrs. Smith and the Messrs. and the Misses Smith, at the St. Katherine's Docks, incontinently. Now Parliament breaks up, and Parliamentary reporters attend union meetings and county assizes. Now“ patent percussion guns," " unrivalled pointers,” “pedometers for the waistcoat pocket,” « anti-corrosive powder," “ chemically-prepared wadding," "gambroon shooting jackets of an entirely new cut, waterproof hats on a new principle, ► are advertised in all the newspapers. Now Mr. Robins is instructed to offer to public competition divers “ eligible country residences," elegant Gothic villas," “ charming rustic retreats, with right of sporting,” &c.; all of course “ claiming to approach FAIRY LAND.”