Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

A HAPPY RETORT. “MADAM," said a snarling son of Esculapius, “if women were admitted to Paradise, their tongues would make it a purgatory." “ And some physicians, if allowed to practise there,” retorted the lady, “would soon make it a desert.”

ANECDOTE OF GOLDSMITH. I was invited," said the Doctor, “by my friend, Percy, to wait upon the Duke of Northumberland, in consequence of the satisfaction he had received from the perusal of one of my productions. I dressed myself in the best manner I could, and after studying some compliments, I thought necessary on such an occasion, proceeded to Northumberland House, and acquainted the servants, that I had particular business with his Grace. They shewed me into the anti-chamber ;-where, after waiting some time, a gentleman very elegantly dressed, made his appearance. Taking him for the Duke, I delivered all the fine things I had composed, in order to compliment him for his master, who would see me immediately. At that instant the Duke came into the apartment, and I was confounded on the occasion, that I wanted words barely sufficient to express the sense I entertained of the Duke's politeness, and went away extremely chagrined at the blunder I had committed.”

CURIOUS DYING SCENES. ACCORDING to Fielding, Jonathan Wild picked the pocket of the ordinary while he was exhorting him in the cart, and went out of the world with the parson's corkscrew and thumb-bottle in his hand.

Petronius, who was master of the ceremonies and inventor of pleasures at the court of Nero, when he saw that elegant indulgence was giving place to coarse debauchery, perceived at once, that his term of favour had arrived, and it was time to die. He resolved, therefore, to anticipate the tyrant, and disrobe death of its paraphernalia of terror. Accordingly, he entered a warm bath, and opened his veins, composed verses jested with his familiar associates, and died off by insensible degrees.

Democritus, the laughing philosopher, disliking the inconveniences, and infirmities of a protracted old age,

made

up

his mind to die on a certain day; but to oblige his sister, he postponed his departure until the three feasts of Ceres were over. He supported nature on a pot of honey to the appointed hour, and then expired by arrangement.

When the three sons of Diagoras, of Rhodes, were crowned at the Olympic games," Die, Diagoras,” whispered a friendly Lace-dæmonian," for you are too happy to live any longer.” He took the hint, and forthwith expired of joy, in the arins of his children.

Awaits to seize him rising; one arm bears,
His lifted head above the limpid stream,
While the full clammy fleece the other laves
Around, laborious, with repeated toil;
And then resigns him to the sunny bank,

Where, bleating loud, he shakes his dripping locks. The shearing itself is conducted with a degree of ceremony and rural dignity, and is a kind of festival, as well as a piece of labour.

At last, of snowy white, the gathered flocks
Are in the wattled pen innumerous press'd,
Head above head, and ranged in lusty rows :
The shepberds sit, and whet the sounding shears;
The house-wife waits to roll her fleecy stores,
With all her gay drest maids attending round:
One, chief, in gracious dignity enthron'd,
Shines o'er the rest, the pastoral queen, and rays
Her smiles, sweet beaming, on her shepherd king.
A simple scene! yet hence Britannia sees
Her solid grandeur rise : bence she commands
Th’exalted stores of every brighter clime,

The treasures of the sun without his rage. A profusion of fragrance now arises from the fields of clover in flower, honeysuckle, and the still inore delicious odour from the bean blossoms.

Long let us walk
Where the breeze blows from yon extended field
Of blossom'd beans. Arabia cannot boast
A fuller gale of joy, than liberal, thence
Breaches thro' the sense, and takes the ravish'd soul.

[blocks in formation]

The fragrance of the new-mown hay, the gaiety of all surrounding objects, and the genial warmth of the weather, all conspire to render it a season of pleasure and delight to the beholder. It is at this season that we can peculiarly feel the beauty of these charming lines of Milton :

As one who long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe
Among the pleasant villages and farms
Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight,
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound. Though the other senses are so much gratified in this month, the ear loses most of its entertainment, as the birds, now the season of courtship and rearing their young is past, no longer exercise their musical powers.

The groves, the fields, the meadows, now no more
With melody resound. 'Tis silence all,
As if the lovely songsters, overwhelmed
By bounteous Nature's plenty, lay entranc'd
In drowsy lethargy.

A HAPPY RETORT. “Madam,” said a snarling son of Esculapius, " if women were admitted to Paradise, their tongues would make it a purgatory." “And some physicians, if allowed to practise there," retorted the lady, “would soon make it a desert.”

ANECDOTE OF GOLDSMITH. I was invited," said the Doctor, “by my friend, Percy, to wait upon the Duke of Northumberland, in consequence of the satisfaction he had received from the perusal of one of my productions. I dressed myself in the best manner I could, and after studying some compliments, I thought necessary on such an occasion, proceeded to Northumberland House, and acquainted the servants, that I had particular business with his Grace. They shewed me into the anti-chamber ;-where, after waiting some time, a gentleman very elegantly dressed, made his appearance. Taking him for the Duke, I delivered all the fine things I had composed, in order to compliment him for his master, who would see me immediately. At that instant the Duke came into the apartment, and I was confounded on the occasion, that I wanted words barely sufficient to express the sense I entertained of the Duke's politeness, and went away extremely chagrined at the blunder I had committed.”

CURIOUS DYING SCENES. ACCORDING to Fielding, Jonathan Wild picked the pocket of the ordinary while he was exhorting him in the cart, and went out of the world with the parson's corkscrew and thumb-bottle in his hand.

Petronius, who was master of the ceremonies and inventor of pleasures at the court of Nero, when he saw that elegant indulgence was giving place to coarse debauchery, perceived at once, that his term of favour had arrived, and it was time to die. He resolved, therefore, to anticipate the tyrant, and disrobe death of its paraphernalia of terror. Accordingly, he entered a warm bath, and opened his veins, composed verses jested with his familiar associates, and died off by insensible degrees.

Democritus, the laughing philosopher, disliking the inconveniences, and infirmities of a protracted old age, made up his mind to die on a certain day; but to oblige his sister, he postponed his departure until the three feasts of Ceres were over. He supported nature on a pot of honey to the appointed hour, and then expired by arrangement.

When the three sons of Diagoras, of Rhodes, were crowned at the Olympic games, “ Die, Diagoras,” whispered a friendly Lacedæmonian, " for you are too happy to live any longer.” He took the hint, and forthwith expired of joy, in the arms of his children. god !"

The Emperor Vespasian on his death-bed sarcastically remarked to his courtiers and Aatterers “ I feel that I am about becoming a

The first Darius, King of Persia, when dying, desired to have this intellectual epitaph engraved on his tomb—" Here lies King Darius, who was able to drink many bottles of wine without staggering."

Jerome Carden, a celebrated Italian physician, starved himself gradually, and calculated with such mathematical nicety, as to hit the very day and hour he foretold.

When Rabelais was dying, the cardinal sent a page to inquire how he was. Rabelais joked with the envoy until he felt his strength declining and his last moments approach. He then said -“Tell his eminence the state in which you left me.

I am going to inquire into a great possibility. He is in a snug nest, let him stay there as long as he can. Draw the curtain—the farce is over."

When the famous Count de Grammont was reported to be in extremity, the King, Louis XIV., being told of his total want of religious feeling, which shocked him not a little, sent the Marquis de Dangean to beg him, for the credit of the court, to die like a good Christian. He was scarcely able to speak, but, turning round to the Countess, who had always been remarkable for her piety, he said with a smile" Countess, take care, or Dangean will filch from

you the credit of my conversion."

SONG.
Hear me ev'ry nymph and swain;

Wholesome counsel I impart;
Love and change, and love again,

Cupid likes a frolic heart.
Rebels only—those alone,

Who his gentle laws despise;
Hearts as hard and cold as stone,

Those alone doth he chastise.
Bless us all! were once is ire

'Gainst inconstant lovers bent;
Darts by millions 'twould require;

Cupid's stock would soon be spent.

CRITICISM. True criticism is the application of taste and good sense to the several fine arts. The object which it proposes, is to distinguish what is beautiful, and what is faulty in every performance; from particular instances to ascend to general principles, and so to form rules and conclusions concerning the several kinds of beauty in works of genius.

BASE COIN-Specie put into a foundation-stone.

A VIEW OF OXFORD. I HAVE enjoyed the rich treat of a visit to Oxford. I should think it must present immense attractions to a student of the fine arts. To me it seemed like the fulfilment of some romantic dream. Though I went full of expectation, I. found it quite as beautiful as I anticipated. The venerable monuments of antiquity, the exquisite architecture, the windows all in a blaze with scriptural histories, the libraries, the galleries of pictures, the museums, and above all, the holy memories that come round you, behold the portraits of England's best and wisest, or walk in the foot prints of the martyrs, produces a species of sacred intoxication from which it is not easy to recover. As I walked round the top of Radcliffe Library, and looked down on the forest of pinnacles, the tall spires, the beautiful quadrangles interspersed with gardens and

groves, the river with its bridges, and the beautiful woodland landscape, glowing to the horizon in the clear light of a cloudless sky, I was lost in admiration. The modern improvements are very extensive. One of the most exquisite things in Oxford is the Chapel of Magdalen College, which was restored in 1833. The window representing “ The Last Judgment,” and the altarpiece representing “Our Lord carrying the Cross," are things which having been once seen engraven themselves on the memory for ever.

The restorations were done on the spot by English workmen. At Queen's College, £30,000 was left by Dr. Mason, in 1841, to be laid out in books. I think they told us, this sum has been raised, by subscription, to £60,000; and the whole has been applied to the formation of the present beautiful library. The Botanic Garden has been greatly improved lately.

SWEARING AND CHEWING. Now any reader, who is averse to homilies, had better pass over this page, as on it I mean to allude to two practices—the one physical, the other mental—which may be said to constitute the principal faults in the American habits, habits which every American, having the elevation of his countrymen at heart, deplores no less heartily than the writer. One is that of chewing tobacco; the other, profane swearing. This wanton blasphemy, the invocation of the Deity in every phrase, for the purpose of swearing by his name; the mingling of all that is sacred to worship with ribaldry, foolish or common conversation, is a monstrosity so great, a, depravity of mind so hideous, a habit so wicked, that it swallows up the ten thousand good things which would otherwise be admired. On the canal I have seen boys not ten years of age old, oh! so old, in this leprosy of the soul ! From remonstrances and observation it strikes me that this habit arises from a desire to exhibit independence, liberty of speech, &c.; that it was freeman-like to swear if you had a mind to; that this is a free country, and a man

« PoprzedniaDalej »