« ForrigeFortsæt »
The "send him victorious long to reign over us," had some sense in it when applied to George I, who came over from his Electorate of Hanover. In the after reigns it becomes mere stultiloquy, and worse than silly, because disgracefully profane; that is if we consider those words as having any meaning of their own. As to the music itself, the writer of the libretto of Oberon informed me that a difficulty of adapting words to it arose, he believed, from grammatical inaccuracy. The history of this air remains to be written. Whoever undertakes the task must not forget to notice how Prussia and England, so long and so frequently at war with France, each took up the same French air and used it for their National Anthem.
From the eleven favorable notices of the press, occupying the last page of the second edition of my humble attempt at introducing a new National Anthem, I select one because it shews that “PUNCH” was on my side.
“Our talented funny contemporary, Punch, in his determination to catch the passing folly as it flies,' has seized on the poetic composition of our National Anthem, which certainly yields plenty of room for criticism, and in defence of the rhyming of Mr. Tennyson's late edition to what might fairly be termed a disgrace to our national qualification for rhyme, says, would any discerning tailor, who had a pair of corduroy breeches to let out, perform that job by inserting in their waist-band a piece of best super Saxony.' Punch should be immortalized for his endeavour to improve our National Anthem. Mr. Curle has been singularly fortunate in his composition. We should think it would be accepted ať all hands as a graceful substitute for Monmouth Street poetry. Mr. Curle here renders, what the National Anthem should be, a prayer to the Deity for our Sovereign and our Country.
It is well worthy of favour, and we fervently recommend it to notice."- West London Observer, Feby, 27, 1858.
PAGE VII.-Hattie. One of the pieces published under this signature found its way, by a circuitous route, to Marlborough House, where through the instrumentality of one of the Ladies of the household, its representative, I am told, met with the approbation of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. “ When found make a note of,” recipe for roasted hare,
First daintly prepare
Should be moist with gravy rich. PAGE VIII.-OCCULT SCIENCE. The work alluded to in the foregoing preface is entitled “ Astrology as it is, not as it has been represented.” It was published in 1856. After reading in Blackwood the early chapters of “ What will he do with it," by Lord Lytton, then Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, I was much struck by a somewhat curious circumstance which happened about the same time. My friend, “The Cavalry Officer," called on me one day immediately after his return from a week's stay at Knebworth; bringing with him a crystal which Lord Lytton had kindly lent for experiment. It was such an one as that of which mention is made in the beginning of “What will he do with it;' and we were both much disappointed at finding no after allusion to the subject in the progress of the tale. This crystal remained in my care for some time, and was eventually returned to its owner without trial of its properties, which were understood to have had some affinity with those belonging to the little pools of inky fluid, in which many Indian travellers testify to having witnessed the exhibition of certain marvellous portraitures.
In referring to the prefatory address from which the “Sunday Times" quoted so freely, I am reminded of having therein introduced an example of the marvellous change taking place in the series of natural numbers, as demonstrated in the working of the calculating machine invented by the late Mr. Babbage, and described in the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise; and which information I think may be new, as well as interesting to many readers.
The machine having been set going, the numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 80 on, present themselves in the succession to which we have been accustomed, and continue this regular course up to 100,000,001 ; and then, instead of 100,000,002, a new law commences, and we find 100,010,002; and this new law proceeds thus :EXPECTED NUMBERS WOULD BE.
THE NEW LAW IS. 100,000,002
100,150,006 But this second law after increasing in the proportion last shown for 2761 terms, gives place to a third law. This third law continues regularly through 951 terms, and then gives place to a succession of other laws.
Now the law of figures to which we are accustomed is not the true law which regulated the action of the machine! this is obvious, because at a certain point the ratio of increase alters, and therefore the occurrence of the increase of numbers, as the 10,000, 30,000 and 60,000, &c., was a part of the consequence of the original adjustment of the engine, although it operated 100,000,001 times before the first of these laws was destined to commence an altered course. With regard to other deviations from the first new law, it is observed that, “whilst their consecutive introduction at various definite intervals is a necessary consequence of the mechanical structure of the engine, our knowledge of analysis does not enable us to predict the periods themselves at which the more distant laws will be introduced.”
At page 158 of this work on Astrology the table of the nativity of Napoleon III is introduced; and under it are these words:—“Here also we find Saturn unfortunately placed in an angle, the Midheaven; the moon also in an angle, in Square to Saturn. Time will show whether his Imperial Majesty will suffer losses and disgrace in his advanced years, the same as his predecessor and imperial uncle, it is ominous of evil.”
PAGE VIII.-Buds of late Summer Days. Two lines of this song have been several times requoted. I used them myself in a letter to Public Opinion, and in all cases where this letter was noticed the lines were introduced. Here is one--“Deliver us from evil”-“Men conscia Recti" writes an able and sensible letter to Public Opinion by way of protest against the intended alteration of the above passage, in our Lord's prayer, into “ Deliver us from The
vil one.” He challenges the alteration upon philological grounds, and adduces more than one good argument against it. He also bases his protest upon more general ground, and here one passage of his letter is well worth quoting. "I am fully conscious," he says, “ of being merely the exponent of a strong feeling that exists among the great majority of thoughtful and educated persons in opposition to what is felt to be a retrogade movement, not only carrying us back to the literature of the dark ages of St. Dunstan and holy St. Romaunt, but introducing Bogie, with his horns and hoofs, to the side of each little bed, where
“ Balmy with a mother's blessing,
Tiny lips are taught to pray.” Doncaster Chronicle, Dec. 23, 1870.
PAGE XVI.— Those who are familiar with the poetical works of Edgar Allen Poe will have no difficulty in solving this enigma.
PAGE 18, LINE 15.-STAR WOVEN STAR BRIGHT. The particles of frozen rain commonly called snow flakes, are in most instances composed of ice crystals in the form of stars with six rays. These stars are originally separate crystallizations, but when the atmosphere is agitated the original flakes come in contact with each other and owing to the presence of moisture unite in groups and descend in irregular forms. Numeration loses its power in the mind when we look upon the country covered with deep snow and know that those vast fields and drifts in all their thickness, are accumulations of these minute delicate stellar morsels of frozen water awaiting dissolution.
PAGE 24.--WHERE YON CHILDREN CLOTHED IN WHITE. The effect of the low afternoon sunlight, streaming across a road through the openings between the trees of an avenue or through the gaps in high hedges bordering green lanes, produces a marvellous dazzling splendor of whiteness when falling on any figures in white clothing. CREEPS ALONG AIR WOVEN STRINGS. The lines, or pencils of light as they are called, produced by the separation of the sun beams in certain parts of woodland scenery, are poetically suggestive of the strings of a musical instrument.
PAGE 34.--THE CUPS OF THE LAWS. Bacchanalian song writers of the past generation seem for the most part to have missed an argument in favor of their favorite indulgence presenting itself in the allusion here made to the custom of the luxurious Ionians in legislating over their wine; a custom probably derived from their Persian conquerors who, as we learn from Herodotus, (Clio. 133) were accustomed to soak themselves thoroughly with wine when considering affairs of importance; and whatever was approved vino gravati, was submitted to them the next day wheu they were restored to sobriety; and if the two opinions coincided the affair was settled accordingly, but any proposition not being in both instances favorably received was invariably given up. He also goes on to say, vice versa, that anything meeting with their approbation when they were sober, had to be submitted again, for reconsideration, when they were drunk; and want of unanimity in its approval during the séance of intoxication, was considered sufficient to cause it to be abandoned.
Most people who have visited Bremen will remember the Rathsweinkeller, the far famed Council's Wine Cellar, in connection with which are several small recessed apartments, bearing the same relation to it, that the side chapels bear to a cathedral. These chambers are adapted to the convenience of select drinking parties; and at the end of the main vault, according to a writer in the Penny Cyclopædia, is an acoustic chamber or whispering gallery. It would be extremely curious and interesting, if any remote affinity could be traced between this cellar of the council (which was constructed under the former Town Hall of Bremen in 1405) and the custom of the Persians and Ionians taking counsel together over the inspiring contents of their classical and oriental wine cups, some five centuries before the commencement of the Christian era. The probability of such being the case, may be seen in the connection that is so well known as existing between the Persian language and that of the Germans, and in regard to wnich the remarkable similarity of words may be illustrated by such instances as the Persian “giriftan" and the German " greifan," to seize : whence by changing the aspirate to the corresponding soft mute, onr “ grip" appears as a shortened form. The Persian * banda” a slave, and “band” a captive; and the German “binden" bund. “ Band" being moreover the root of the verb to bind in Persian. Also the Persian “himl" signifying lifting up and the German “Himel" Heaven. The Persian "hal" firmness fixedness and the German "halten"; whence we get "halter” and “to halt"; while the French “hâler" and our verb "to hale” evidently owe their origin to the same oriental root.
Admitting, therefore, the probability that the Germans are descendent from the same original stock as the Persians; it is clear that having brought with them down the stream of time so many words that may be considered identical with those of the Asiatic language; they must, almost of necessity. have preserved also some traces of customs that in distant ages were equally common to both: and this Rathsweinkeller may, possibly, be one of the last marks remaining, perhaps the very last yestige of a custom,-certainly "more honored in the breach than in the observance.”-that appropriately died out with the expiration of the dark ages.
This ode will consequently be found to possess a peculiar interest, if read in accordance with the translation I have here ventured to give.
A comparison of Moore's version with the Greek will show an extremely free and flowery rendering, and one perhaps not altogether consonant with the spirit of the original. It may have been that lie was not quite satisfied with it on his own part; since he informs his readers that he followed the idea of those who believed the two words in the third line ought to be read with reversed meaning, which is equivalent to saying, he was led to consider the phrase-Bring me the cups of the laws and ordinances—to mean, Bring me the laws relative to drinking: a very severe strain upon the text showing clearly that an established difficulty then existed in resolving its meaning. All the odes are now recognized as belonging to a period considerably later than the time of Pisistratus, and I think it may fairly be inferred that the author, as a Grecian, using the Ionic dialect, would be familiar with the customs of his Ionian predecessors, and therefore may well be imagined, calling with enthusiasm for the goblets used by the legislators, just in the same spirit as, with a majestic Hourish he demands the lyre of the great heroic bard.
PAGE 38.-LOVE FOR THE OLD. This song was written and set to music, in compliment to my very dear old friend Admiral Kitchen, sometime Governor of Ascension; and who went through his baptism of fire under Nelson in the terrible bombardment of Copenhagen, 1801. În after life as Post Captain he enjoyed a pension for wounds and hard service, which was taken from him by a grateful country when he received his fag. His income as admiral was consequently less than while holding an inferior position. As I had this from his own lips there can be no question about the accuracy of the statement, and the economy (or sharp practice) of our government established in such cases.
PAGE 46.-A CLASSIC FRAGMENT. The reader will seek in vain for this subject in the works of Propertius.
PAGE 48.-MONTI OF MILAN. The clever sculptor of an exquisite group, exhibited in the exposition of 1862, under the title of " A Dream of Joy."
PAGE 51.--AVORIA. A portrait, Eheu fugaces ! suggested by Robt. Browning's little poem A Face, and beginning
“ If one could have that little head of hers
Painted upon a back ground of pure gold." PAGE 57. LINE 8.-LOCKSLEY HALL.
PAGE 59.-ONE OF MANY. This poem was written in the spring of 1860, and owing to its tone and treatment has but little expectation of favour, except with those who take the trouble to read it twice, with an interval of thought. Seasons, like the lives of mortals, are often sacrificed to the working of a destiny far beyond our human comprehension, and the obvious comparison between that lost month of May and a delicate young lovely girl, cut off by remorseless fate in the blossom season of her life, is too commonplace not to be seen. To aim at continued smoothness of versification would be to produce an unappropriate effect; the jar upon the mind has too much discord in the reality to be forgotten in the figurative semblance. The beautiful Greek line from the Odyssey which alludes to the pensive and sad souls of the young maidens newly arrived among the other “visionary ghosts” as Pope_calls them, loses its identity in that poet's melodious paraphrase. The Latin of Clarke is expressive, but does not run smoothly
Virguntulæque tenellæ, recenti luctu affectum animum habentes.
PAGE 64.-TO A FRIEND IN AFFLICTION. The Rev. I. M. Knott, Lin. Coll., Oxon.: vicar of Prior's Hardwicke, Prior's Marston, and Shuckborough. An excellent shot, and was at one time considered by everybody but himself, to be the best goer across country in South Warwickshire. He survived his wife but a few
years. PAGE 64.--JOHN ALCORN. One of the last of the Church clerks Perhaps the very last, for the present kind hearted incumbent
to continue in office long after a clerk's part in the services had fallen every where else into disuse. Old John was a hardy cheery old man, and took great delight in digging graves; he had also the additional peculiarity of never wearing a hat when in the vicinity of the church. The writer has often seen him, in the depth of winter, seeking the Rector and intent upon some errand concerning Marriages, Burials, or Certificates, far away from the charchyard, with the snow falling upon his bare head and mingling with his scanty locks, and sprinkling his hale smiling visage. When John wished to be complimentary to any stranger who officiated, he would speak of him, no matter his degree, as “not a bad mate.' It was a proud moment for old John when the Bishop of the diocese shook him by the hand, and spoke to him as a fellow worker, thus confirming John's views by a paraphrase of his favorite expression.
PAGE 65.-CURIOUS LATIN EPITAPH. It is not known who was the composer of this adulatory inscription. Ben Jonson's lines on Elizabeth L. H. contain a conceit precisely similar to that expressed in the last two Latin lines. The Poet Laureate and author of, among many other works, that original production “ The devil is an ass,” died in 1637, a year before the decease of the person on whom this Latin epitaph was written. Ben Jonson's works were published in folio nearly 20 years before he died. He wrote:
“ Underneath this stone doth lie
To more virtue than doth live.” PAGE 83-AD CÆCILIUM. The Anachronism, as concerning this title, cannot be avoided while admitting the verses to have been written fourteen years ago, before the talented writer of “ Adversaria" had appeared as a successful novelist and otherwise made more fully evident his varied talents and literary genius. He repudiated the verses, when offered to him by the banks of the Plym, as far too flattering ; but I cannot resist the pleasure of adding them, slightly abbreviated, to a list with which are connected so many other associations of pleasurable retrospection. PAGE 92 LINE 4 from foot.-SO YOUR PETTISHNESS SAID, TO HIS HEAD. Vide A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, sc. 1.-Lysander loq:
“Demetrius, I'll arouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena."
“I am gone, sir,
I'll be with you again.” PAGE 95.-ICONOGRAPHY OF WELLS CATHEDRAL. The offence if other than venial was committed so many years ago that the writer trusts he may be forgiven for having caricatured the peculiarity of diction, while imitating the genial humour of a most amiable and esteemed foreigner, in order to divert attention from himself. No one among his archæological or other friends knew where the lines originated, although some one fancied, one morning as he met in Saint James's Street the gentleman whose learned fist is alluded to, there was a peculiar sparkle in his eye that looked suspiciously intelligent. The lines refer to a masterly paper published in the Journal of the British Archæological Association, for March, 1857, by J. R. Planché, Esq., at that time Rouge Croix; now Somerset Herald.
PAGE 97.—CHUBB'S HOTEL. The following polyglot recommendation might be well applied to it
“In qnesta casa troverete
And a most attentive owner." PAGE 103 LINES 6 and 8 from top.-The last syllable of forlorn is liere made to rhyme with gone. Webster says gone should be pronounced as if written gorn.