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tic adventures, and the light which they throw upon the
state of society in which they lived, afford a theme worthy Lives of the Italian Poets. By the Rev. Henry Stebbing of an author uniting to the most susceptible imagination, With twenty Medallion Portraits. In three volumes of others, and an unerring judgment in appreciating what
a mind that can read with accuracy the inmost thoughts 12mo. Pp. 343, 365, 361. London : Edward Bull.
is really worthy human nature. The reader will see Edinburgh : Bell and Bradfute. 1831.
that we entertain high notions respecting the genius reThe roll of Italian poets begins with Dante, and we quisite for the proper execution of such a work, and will would say closed with Tasso, had not Alfieri arisen, a be ready to allow Mr Stebbing considerable merit, even lonely and fiercely blazing star, after a long age of mere though he should only approximate to our standard. versifiers. The themes of which the bards of Italy sung, One qualification which the reverend author has shown are those which have chiefly employed their compeers in himself possessed of in a high degree, is patient research. every quarter of the world—“fierce wars and faithful His work is not hastily got up, in consequence of a suloves." But the national, and still more the individual perficial perusal of one or two second-hand authoritiescharacter of the Italians, has lent to their poems graces the fashionable practice of the day. He has laboured like peculiar and unrivalled. The features common to all are (no very new simile) the bee, bringing day by day her drops voluptuous sentiment, borne up by a buoyant and cheer- of honey to swell the winter store, carefully refusing every ful temperament. They are a set of practical Epicureans. thing nauseous or worthless. His taste is no less conspicuous, They enjoy, with a high relish, all the beauties of nature in his selection, than his industry. There is nothing offensive -they drink deep of the intoxicating draught of love-in his volume, and much that gives pleasure. His judgbut if they do turn their thoughts to serious reflection, it ments too, although we may sometimes dissent from them, is to lose themselves in the luxurious dreams of a mysti- are always those of a man of sound sense. And there is cal philosophy, most seductive, as it allows full scope to a vein of amiable, ingenuous candour running through the revels of the imagination.
the whole book. But there is a want of nerve and power, A turn of mind, such as we have attempted to de- We have no felicitous expressions suggesting a whole scribe, may be traced in all the Italian poets, but more mine of thought. The author does not vary his style to or less modified and varied. The difference is extreme suit the varying character of the incidents and characters between Dante, the stern and active political partisan, he describes; he is deficientin liveliness and graphic talent. and the dreamer Tasso. Not less wide is the gulf be- He is always correct, and sometimes insipid. tween Petrarch, concentrating with the self-will of pas From what we have said, our readers will easily infer sion all the wealth of his fancy upon one theme, and that Mr Stebbing is less successful in grappling with the making all his poems one long-drawn sigh, and Ariosto, characters of Dante, Boiardo, and Ariosto, than with ever gay, ever laughing—whose muse, if it ever look de- those of Petrarch and Tasso. In his narrative of the latmure, is like the girl trembling at the pressure of her ter, indeed, he has outdone himself. He has entered lover's hand, and the next moment breaking the tell-tale with full sympathy, and generous feeling, and exquisite silence by an affectation of redoubled mirth. Yet these tact, into the wayward feelings of this gentle, but waydifferences are all of them what logicians would term ac ward genius-this bruised and broken reed.
As giving cidental, not essential. The nerves of Dante and Ariosto the fairest specimen of Mr Stebbing's powers, and at the were of a firmer tone than those of their two lacrymose same time as communicating a unity of interest to our countrymen ; the fancy of the latter was more versatile extracts, we select them exclusively from the biography than that of the former-that was all. In Dante we find of Tasso. The outlines of the poet's history, perhaps warm and glowing passion ; Ariosto's laughter is half more generally known in England than that of any of hypocritical of that kind which is used to cloak deep his great countrymen, free us from the task of a narfeeling ; the other two, although like sweet bells jangled rative. ont of tune and harsh, broke down from excess of those Tasso's boyhood foreboded his future character. feelings, which temper and give a charm to the more “ To this seminary Portia sent her Torquato, soon after manly characters of those we have named.
completing his sixth year, and such was the ardour with The poets we have here selected for the purpose of il- which he attended to the lessons of the fathers, that he was lustrating our position are fair specimens of all. They Before the day da trned he would leave his bed, and wait so
never happy except when listening to their instructions. possessed among them the peculiar excellencies of all the anxiously for the hour of school, that his mother, in the others, wedded to more powerful and loftier minds. Nor winter time, was obliged to send him with a servant and a is the likeness the mere similarity of kindred; their lighted torch to show him along the neighbouring street. acknowledged superiority enabled them, in some measure, “ By the time he was ten years old, he had not only made to stamp their image upon the rest.
himself master of Latin, but was far advanced in Greek, and We agree entirely with Mr Stebbing, that the lives of composed orations and verses, which he recited to the satissuch a race of men afford a noble subject for the pen of faction and surprise of all who heard them. His progress also the biographer. A history of their public and private well were his tutors satisfied with his thoughtful and devout
in other kinds of knowledge was equally remarkable, and so life, recording all the outbreaks and Aashes of their spirit, disposition, that they admitted him to the communion when provoked by cross, or won by gentle incidents-notices of he was only nine years of age, and before he understood that their great contemporaries in arts and armstheir roman in the host was the real body of Christ. In the letter
which records this circumstance, he says, that notwith to the opinion of Pythagoras, Plato, Marcus Tullius, standing his ignorance of the mysterious union, he was Dante, and other philosophers, poets, and theologians, both * moved by a secret feeling of elevation, which the sanctity sacred and profane, there is sound in heaven; and to this and reverence of the place, and the habits and the manner opinion I may refer either as a poet, philosopher, or theoof the congregation, and the beating of the breast had con logian; but, abiding by the doctrine of the Peripatetics, I tributed to awaken,' and that having received the elements, deny the consequence, In heaven there is not sound, there. or, according to the erroneous doctrine of his teachers, the fore there are not Muses there. The better argument real body of Christ, he felt within himself" he knew mot would be, There is not music in heaven, therefore there are what of new and unknown delight.' ”
not Muses there. But, if there be musical proportions in His tendency to reverie, and the exclusive cultivation heaven, it must be that the Muses are there; but without
doubt there are, since the whole world is composed with of his taste, was encouraged by his father.
musical harmony, as Plato shows in Timæus, and Plotinus “ His company, it is said, was all his father required to and others who have philosophized on this matter. Nor complete the comfort he then enjoyed; and he lost no time would Aristotle himself deny that there are intelligible in associating him in his favourite oceupations, frequently proportions in heaven, as Pythagoras also intimates, accordemploying him in copying and correcting parts of his ma ing to the opinion of the Peripatetic philosopher, Simplinuscripts, but chietly in the perusal of the best Italian cius, in his tirst book on beaven, where he treats of this , works, both prose and verse. The wisdom of Bernardo, question.' Similar objections and answers appear on other in this respect, is worthy of notice. It was his opinion points, equally trivial; among others, as to the propriety of that nothing could be more absurd than to employ the at- representing the Almighty sending the dream to Godfrey : tention of youths in the study of the classics to the neglect the authority of Aristotle being quoted, “Dreams are not of their own language, making them, he said, citizens abroad sent by God'—To which I answer,' says Tasso, 'that the and strangers at home. In the study of Italian authors he authority of the Prince of Poets would be sufficient to demade Torquato follow the same plan as is usually contined | fend a poet; and Homer represents Jupiter sending a to the perusal of the ancients, teaching bim to remark all dream to Agamemnon, the general of the army. But even the delicacies of which the language is capable, the peculiar Aristotle himself, in the very book quoted, makes mention beauties of the different writers, and by what means the of certain divine or demoniacal dreams, sent from demons, most admired had arrived at the art of constructing such or from God, as St Thomas particularly notes in his little sweet and harmonious periods. Dante, Petrarch, and work De Intellectu.' This is sufficient for a specimen of Boccaccio, formed the principal companions of Torquato at the kind of criticism to which the Gerusalemme was subthis period; but as his father wished to make him eminent jected, and to which its author submitted with a degree of for general learning, and a man of business rather than a patience and humility, which proves both his anxiety to poet, he sent him, in November 1560, to Padua, in the hope render his poem as perfect as possible, and the laborious that he would there become a proticient in the civil law. care with which men of genius in former days attended to Had he reflected more carefully on the subject, it is not the revision of their works,” unlikely that he would have seen how improbable it was that a youth, who had hitherto been almost solely employed its bias, is a painful subject of contemplation.
The manner in which a mind so delicate swayed from in the study of the poets, and who had shown the most decided inclination to follow their example, would become a “ No part of Tasso's life is more melancholy than the very assiduous student of a science so contrary in its nature period at which we are now arrived. He was on the point both to his taste and previous pursuits.”
of ushering into the world a work which was destined to
crown him with the greenest laurels the Muse ever wore, But it was only his imagination and passions that were and thus obtain a rich and ample reward for all his labours. infected with this sickly taint-his mind at an early pe But before he could receive this precious fruit of his toil, he riod showed its ambition and daring.
was becoming the victim of the direst evil to which huma" He now reverted to the idea of his epic poem, of which nity is liable ;-while the morning of his glory was dawnhe had drawn out the plan at the latter University. His ing around him, darkness was gathering in his soul, and we studies in philosophy and criticism were all directed to this
see him become more dependent and helpless than ever, in great purpose, and he collected from the works of the most
the first hour the world paid universal homage to his celebrated writers whatever might assist him in the accom
genius. plishment of his grand design. His ideas on the subject subject, assumed, shortly after his return to Ferrara, a more
“ The inelancholy to which he had now been sometime were as yet undetermined- his taste had been formed on the best models of classic composition, but his imagination alarming character. There is no doubt that he suffered was captivated by the romance writers of his own and other many annoyances, and probably injuries, from his rivals at countries. To tix, therefore, his thoughts on the subject had greatly magnified the idea of danger, and led him to
Court, but it also seems likely ihat his nervous excitement which required such serious consideration, he wrote his dread an enemy in the most indifferent observer of his accelebrated** Discourses on Poetry,' in which he examines tions. Even his servants at last became objects of his fear, the various theories of the critics, and the methods best cal- and he wrote to the Marchese del Monte, beseeching him culated to insure the proper objects of the art. The treatise on epic poetry was written expressly with a view to the the Duke of Urbino in threatening the servant with the
to send him one, and to join to his own authority that of * Gerusalemme,' and both that and the others were address weightiest punishment, if he should ever be guilty of any ed to Scipione Gonzaga, as a testimony of the author's respect and gratitude.”
treachery against him. Shortly after this letter was writ
ten, the idea recurred, which had troubled his mind some The objections of his confidential critics must have time before, that he had allowed himself to indulge heretibeen peculiarly annoying to so susceptible a mind. They cal opinions while studying philosophy, and that he was were captious enough.
subject to the wrath of the Inquisition, which he imagined
his enemies were endeavouring to excite against him. He, “ The assistance and inspection of the judicious friends, therefore, set out for Bologna, as he had done from similar to whom Tasso makes allusion in the above letter, proved motives two years since, and presented himself before the a source of the greatest uneasiness to him. His critics, it fathers of the Inquisition, who, tinding nothing in him would appear, disagreed among themselves in all points, deserving of puuishment, dismissed him with some profitbut that of discovering defects in the execution of the work. able counsel. His replies to their objections are often very curious and ingenious; and we know not which to regard with greater acquittal. He now determined to preserve a perfect silence,
“But his fears were not in any way diminished by this wonder, the subtleties of his metaphysical reviewers, or the lest his adversaries should take advantage of some incautious keen scholarship with which he answers them.
One or two instances will serve to illustrate this subject. The
word, and indulged a notion that he had been only suffered Abate, Niccolò degli Oddi, began his objections with the
to escape the Inquisition this time, that some more effectual Invocation : It does not appear to me correct that
means might be found to ruin him utterly. He also began ania
to think that some violent death was preparing for bim, should be addressed under the name of Muse, and placed and that he must certainly tall a victim either to poison or in heaven-the name of Muse signifying nothing but a the dagger. The Duke and the Princesses did all in their sound or song, which, according to Aristotle, cannot be in heaven ; and sound not being there, the Muses are not
power to cure him of these gloomy imaginations, and had there, and, therefore, the Invocation is not correct.'— It June, 1577, when in the apartment of the Duchess of Ur
him frequently with them ; but one evening, the 16th of would be sufficient,' says Tasso, 'to reply, that, according bino, he suddenly seized a knife, and aimed a stroke at the
back of one of the attendants. The alarm occasioned by this tolling of clocks for an hour together. And I have thought circumstance was extreme, and as it was now concluded in my sleep that I was on horseback, and ready to fall and that he must be labouring under insanity, he was arrested, suffer some grievous hurt. I have had pains of the head, and placed in confinement in one of the apartments of the but not excessive; of the intestines, the side, and the legs palace court.”
and thighs, but not great; I am greatly weakened by voThe state into which he was reduced by ill-judged mits, a flux of the blood, and fevers; but amid so many terrigour is awful.
rors, and such great afflictions, there appeared to me in the
air an image of the glorious Virgin with her Son in her " It is easy to imagine what an effect these continual arms, in the midst of a circle of colours and vapours; wherealternations of hope and despair must have had on the fore, I ought not to despair of her grace. And although it weakened frame and irritable mind of the more than ever is possible that this was a mere fantasm, as I am phrenetic, unfortunate Tasso. Terrified at one time with the gloom and am almost continually disturbed by various fantasies, of his solitude, and at another provoked by the insolence of and am filled with an infinite melancholy; nevertheless, I his keepers, and the neglect with which he was treated by am able, by the grace of God, to limit my assent, which, the Duke-now suffering all the anxiety of an ill-treated according to Cicero, is the work of a wise man; I ought author, then agitated with sudden intelligence of fame and
rather to believe, therefore, that this was a miracle of the success-conversing during the day with the great men, Virgin.' who expressed their highest veneration for the powers of his intellect, and left in the full glow of thought as soon as
“In writing to Eneas Tasso, he says, “The devil, with
whom I have slept and passed my time, not being able to night began to fall, to be locked up, a maniac among mani- find that peace with me which he desired, has become a acs,
what a fearfully mingled stream of ideas must have regular robber, and, coming behind me when I am asleep, passed through the mind of this noble, broken-hearted opens the closets which I am unable to keep a watch over ; being! The wonder is, not that his reason sometimes wan but as he has robbed me thus cunningly, I shall not trust to dered, but that it was not wholly lost : and if we consider his not pilfering me again, and therefore I transmit to your for a moment the terrible trial he had to endure, disposed Excellency the money given me by the Princes of Molfetta as he constitutionally was to melancholy, we shall see and Mantua, and by Signor Paulo Grillo, and the Marquis greater cause than ever to admire the original strength of of. Este, making in all twenty-four scudi of gold, ten zechis intellect, all the powers of which were, no doubt, in- chini, and forty ducats di piastre. I beg you to acknowstinctively and constantly combating with the terrors which ledge the receipt of this, and to use your exertions that I assailed the very life and being of his spirit.
may escape from the hand of the devil with my books and " He had been now for seven years a captive, and during writings, which are not more secure than my money.'" the best part of the time, had been confined in a small and unhealthy cell. Though latterly removed to a somewhat
Mr Stebbing's appreciation of Alfonso's conduct to the less loathsome chamber, and allowed, for a brief period, to poet is just and discriminative. enjoy the free air of the country, he was still treated with “ Alfonso was not long in discovering how Tasso was rigorous austerity, and the hope that solaced him one day vilifying him; and it is at this period of the poet's memoirs only served to deepen the despair of the next. Thus oppress that the memory of his patron begins to wear the shade that ed, his mind grew more and more willing to indulge in has rendered it so unamiable in the eyes of posterity. the reveries of a disordered fancy; his thoughts became Hitherto, the conduct of Alfonso appears to have been such, visions; the terror of solitude, long suffered, was changed that, had he continued it, he would have merited being into a belief that the air was rife with beings of another placed among the most respected benefactors of genias. He world; all was confusion in his mind-splendid dreams-a had left nothing undone to soothe the irritated mind of resentful (sense of injury--a consciousness of power that Tasso; had taken him with him to his favourite villa, reascarce another human being possessed—and a knowledge soned with him on the folly of his apprehensions, written forced upon him, at the same time, that not another could letters for him when he was distressed respecting the pirated be found more dependent, more afflicted, or bowed nearer edition of his poem, and borne both his melancholy humours to the earth-with all these contradictory emotions in his and even violence with the utmost patience and forbearance; soul, it is little to be wondered at that he every day became so that, up to the present time, he seems to have had a very less capable of distinguishing between the suggestions of fair claim to the gratitude of the unfortunate poet. The imagination and the real objects of sense, feverishly strong severity he was now about to exercise, afforded a terrible and active as was the former, and little as there was in the contrast to his previous kindness. Highly angered at the things around him to awaken any interest or keep alive expressions which Tasso had used against him, or else reany natural sympathy-the only principle in our being that garding them as an additional evidence of his insanity, he can prevent the imagination from gaining dominion over the ordered him to be secured, and immediately conveyed to the
Hospital of St Anna, an institution for lunatics. In which* Tasso yielded himself a willing victim to his disordered ever light he considered the conduct of the poet, this profancy, and about the period at which we are arrived began cedure was unjustifiable. He had allowed him to return to believe that he was haunted night and day by a mali to Ferrara, and, sensible as he was of the weak and irritacious spirit, whose sole occupation it was to annoy him. ble condition of his mind, he was bound, by the common We are fortunately able to give his own account of this law of humanity, to do nothing to increase the disposition strange matter, as he did not neglect to mention the new to malady. Instead of which, he treated him in a manner source of affliction to his friend Cataneo, to whom he thus that would have inflamed a much sounder intellect than writes :- I have received two letters from you, but one of poor Tasso's had been for a long time past. To the dethem vanished as soon as I had read it, and I believe the struction of his hopes, he had added the wounds inflicted by goblin has stolen it, as it is the one in which he is spoken a cold and haughty contempt, and he had every reason to of, and this is another of those wonders which I have often expect that the feelings of the injured man would show seen in this hospital. I am sure they are effected by some themselves, in words or actions, different to those of a calm magician, as I could prove by many arguments, but parti- and cunning courtier. But even supposing that the concularly from the circumstance of a loaf having been visibly duct of Tasso was more the effect of lunacy than of passion, taken from me, while my eyes were wide open, and from which certainly ought not to have been punished so severely, a plate of fruit having been taken away in a similar he surely deserved a milder treatment than to be seized and manner the other day, when the amiable young Polacco conveyed to a common madhouse. He had, it is true, no came to visit me. I have been also served thus with other claims upon the kindness of Alfonso, except those which viands when no one has entered the prison, and with let- genius has on all men, and especially on princes; but those ters and books which were locked up in cases, but which I claims are sacred, and Alfonso sinned against the noblest have found scattered about the floor in the morning, and feelings that inspire the human soul, by immuring Tasso in others I have never found.'
a dungeon. His thoughts were dark and bewildered, but 65 Nor was this the only torment he experienced from the the light from heaven' was still in his soul, and that onght fererish state of his imagination. • Besides the miracles of to have rendered his person as inviolable and sacred as that the goblin I suffer many nocturnal terrors; I have thought of a sovereign-genius being at least as plainly the gift of I saw flames in the air, and sometimes my eyes have spark-God as a crown." led to such a degree that I feared I should lose my sight,
On the whole, we can recommend this book to the and sparks have visibly flown from me. I have also seen amid the spars of the bed, shadows of rats which could not reading public, as one which will never lead them astray; naturally be in that place ; I have heard fearful noises, and although the author may sometimes fail to convey to us have felt a whistling in my ears, and a jingling of bells and in their full force the strong characters of old Italy.
They will find in it no offences against good taste or the tious and tolerant priest, a self-taught architect in an age purest morality. They will find in it much that is just emerging from barbarism. He is the Chaucer of amiable, the true reflex of the author's character. It con- architecture. There is something in his strong homely tains the biography of every distinguished Italian poet, fabrics, with the profusion of wild and sometimes deli. from Dante to Alfieri, and thus forms a history of cate ornament scattered over them, which irresistibly reItalian poetry. We take leave of the author with sin- mind us of his great contemporary. We have sought for
a characteristic anecdote of him to lay before our readers,
but our attention has been arrested by his biographer's The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and description of the manner in which large structures were
Architects. By Allan Cunningham. Vol. IV. (Being the reared at that early period. Family Library, Vol. XIX.) London. John Murray. “ From our old historians, our public records, and a few 1831.
brief instructions, of the days of Wykeham, concerning the The author of this volume having led us, in those which the mode of erecting cathedrals. The site of the church was
royal buildings, we gather some curious information about preceded it, through the master painters and sculptors of selected, not in a barren spot, but in a pleasant place, where our country, has now closed his pleasing and honourable the soil was naturally fruitful, and lakes or streams contask by recounting the histories of our principal architects. taining fish were near. The foundations of the structure The character of an architect-of one, let us be under were marked out, and around this a camp of huts was estastood, who is really a master in his profession-has ever blished, to afford shelter to the workmen : a warden was been an object of our peculiar admiration. In order to appointed to every ten men, and over the whole a clerk of
the works presided, whose duty was to see the building be eminent as an architect, a man must unite to the eye executed according to the plans of the chief'architect. Those of the painter, and the feelings of the poet, the severest workmen, if the need of the church required great diligence, powers of reasoning. He must be a clear-headed, close- had many indulgences; and if they were refractory, there calculating man of business, at the same time that he must were modes of bringing them to reason, spiritual as well as be conciliating in his manners, in order to temper those temporal. The masonry was the work of Englishmen; with whom he has to deal. Lastly, he must possess en
and much of the carving, as our memorandums suficiently thusiasm and perseverance. Look at every distinguished workmen seems sometimes to have directed the accessorial
show, was cut by native bands. The caprice or taste of the architect, of whom any records remain,—you will find ornaments ; for many of our cathedrals are deformed by him uniting all these qualities, and, in consequence, on figures of indecent demons, and other grotesque and impure terms of intimacy with all the master spirits of his day. representations, which mingle indifferently with things The history of the erection of more than one of the finest holy. To save the purse of the state, or the hoards of the monuments of architecture is more amusing than any ro
clergy, the noble families of the district, from a love of reWitness the building of the great dome at Flo- ligion, or as a commutation of penance, permitted their rence-witness the building of St Paul's, as related in sals to be pressed, and their horses too, in order to facilitate
forests to be felled, their quarries to be wrought, their vasthe volume now before us. And yet how often has it the good work. Wren, who was no admirer of their archibeen the lot of men such as we have described, to feel, at
tecture, speaks with knowledge and with justice of their the proud moment when, in the face of an assembled na way of going to work. Those who have seen the exact tion, they laid the last hand to their everlasting piles, that amounts in records,' says he, ‘of the charge of the fabrics of the impressions with which they were regarded by those to
some of our cathedrals, near four hundred years old, cannot whom in an especial manner they had looked for patron.
but have a great esteem for their economy, and admire how
soon they erected such lofty structures. Iudeed, great age, was the reverse of friendly! How often may our author's touching reflection upon the completion of St height they thought the greatest magnificence. Few stones
were used but what a man might carry up a ladder on his Paul's, have been applicable !
back from scaffold to scaffold, though they had pullies and “ For a period of thirty years the genius of Wren had spoked wheels upon occasion; but having rejected corpices, now been watchfully inspecting the progress of that great they had no need of great engines: stove upon stone was monument of his fame--the Cathedral of St Paul; nor had easily piled up to great heights ; therefore the pride of their the nation at large, though shaken sometimes by civil coin work was in piunacles and steeples. In this they essentially motions, been a cold or careless looker on. The report had differed from the Roman way, who laid all their mouldings long spread not only through England but through Eu- horizontally, which made the best perspective: the Gothic rope, that a fabric, rivalling all in the world save that of St way, on the contrary, carried all their mouldings perpendiPeter's at Rome, was rising on the ruins of the old metro- cular, so that the ground-work being settled, they had nopolitan church ; and now the general curiosity was quick- thing else to do but to spire all up as they could. Thus ened by the news that the great work was nearly finished. they made their pillars of a bundle of little Toruses, which Of the original patrons of the design, many were dead, some they divided into more when they came to the roof; and had been banished, and there remained but few of the com these Toruses split into many small ones, and traversing one missioners who had so often impeded the early progress of another, gave occasion to the tracery work of which the the undertaking. When, in 1710, Sir Christopher, in the Freemasons were the inventors. They used the sharp79th year of his age, by the hands of his son, laid the high- headed arch which would rise with little centreing, requiest stone of the lantern on the cupola of St Paul's, there red lighter key-stones and less butment, and yet could bear were few to rejoice of his own compeers, save Mr Strong, another row of doubled arches rising from the key-stone, the respectable master mason to the Cathedral. The pious by the diversifying of which they erected eminent strucarchitect performed this in humility and with prayer; and tures. It must be confessed, that this was an ingenious as it was publicly known, London poured out its vast po- compendium of work, suited to those northern climates; pulation to witness the ceremony. But even while the great and 'I must also own, that works of the same height and and venerable man was placing the crown on the head of magnificence, in the Roman way, would be much more this royal work, he was not unaware that among the spec- expensive. The facility with which those edifices were tators of the scene there were some who envied or hated his reared, was aided much by the command which a feudal success, and still hoped to make the very fabric, whose prince had over his people; but more by the power of the finished beauty the crowd were so rapturously applauding, Church over hordes of illiterate workmen, who had at once the means of bringing sorrow and shame to his grey hairs." before their eyes the fear of hell, the hope of heaven, and
the impulse of good wages." England cannot be looked upon as a building, any more than as a fiddling or a painting nation. And yet in the A long period intervenes between William of Wykeart of architecture, as in every other, she has given birth ham and Inigo Jones—the children of different ages, we to men of original and manly genius. To pass over the can scarcely recognise one common feature in their tamany who have produced our fine morsels of Gothic ar- lents. Inigo's architecture has all that daring, rich, seemchitecture, scattered “like stray gifts” through the land, ingly (not really) unsolid character, which one can faney but who have died leaving no name behind them, there is cherished in a mind naturally that way tending, by his old William of Wykeham, a shrewd statesman, a conscien- ! practice in the court masks. In his case, as well as in that
of William of Wykeham's, there seems to be an analogy
With turrets and with towres; between his style of architecture and the poetry of his
With balls and with bowres, age. He is full of conceits, but not unfrequently borne
Stretching to the starres ; aloft by as high a spring-tide of imagination as ever rai
With glass windowes and barres; sed genius above the flats and shoals of common life.
Hanging about their walles Next comes Wren, to whose merits and fate we have al
Clothes of golde and palles,
Arras of riche arraye, ready alluded, and to whose story we request our readers'
Fresh as flowres in Maye.'” attention ; it is that of a great and good man. There is a legend attached to the name of Wren, of which we find no mention in Mr Cunningham's book, which attributes to Observations on Fossil Vegetables ; accompanied by Rehim the invention of freemasonry in that peculiar form in which it has spread from England over the world. Van
presentations of their Internal Structure, as seen through
the Microscope. By Henry Witham, Esq. of Lartingbrugh is the last of this race of Titans. His Blenheim is still
4to. Pp. 48. Edinburgh: William Blackextant to confirm his reputation as a sculptor_his plays wood. London: T. Cadell. 1831. to show his redundant wit—the according voice of his contemporaries to bear witness to his merits as a man.
This work richly deserves the attention of the naturalist. From his day to our own, architecture has slept in Eng. The author tells us that his object has been “ to impress land. But the spirit is reviving ; and it is a proud upon geologists the advantage of attending more particuthought for us that in our own town the earliest re-larly to the internal structure of plants.” The circumawakening has taken place.
stances which first attracted his own attention to the This fourth volume closes, we believe, Mr Cunning- subject, he thus narrates :—“ My investigations have led ham's work, and it is now our duty to pronounce upon me to believe, that plants of the phanerogamic class are it as a whole. The first volume we are inclined to think much more abundant in our coal-fields, and mountain the least successful of all; at the same time we protest limestone groups, than has generally been supposed. The against being thought to approve of that paltry clamour great opacity and peculiar mineralogical arrangements of which was raised against it in the metropolis, commen- these fossil plants, have presented obstacles to the excing, we believe, with certain second and third-rate art- amination of their intimate structure, which have induced ists, who sickened to see an individual who was only naturalists to rest contented with the distinctive characman-of-business to one of their own profession, occupy, ters afforded by their external forms; and in many inon the strength of natural genius, a larger share of the stances, these forms are obviously too much altered, to pablic estimation tban themselves of the three suc- permit us to refer the objects in question with perfect ceeding volumes only one opinion has been entertained- satisfaction to any natural family. But a method has they are good, characterised by careful research, good lately been discovered, by which the stems or branches taste, and good sense.
may be sliced, and afterwards reduced to such a degree We have been much pleased to trace through these of thinness, as to permit us to inspect the most minute successive volumes the gradual adoption of a more simple remains of organic texture. The unexpected result thus and natural style--the want of which was the only thing obtained, has enabled me to examine numerous varieties that annoyed us in the author's earlier prose writings of structure in fossil plants.” The method here alluded We add one extract more, as a specimen of the nervous, to, he, in a subsequent part of his work, describes as folmanly English of the present volume.
lows:-“ This method, which I have had the pleasure The Tudor Architecture, (as it is usually called,) of recommending to the York and Newcastle Philosophiwhich had been gradually becoming predominant in Eng- cal and Natural History Societies, may be briefly deland, has been regarded as the illegitimate offspring of the scribed as follows :--A slice, or thin fragment, is obtained Grecian and Gothic, and it certainly has a little of either in the usual manner. One side of it is ground and pocharacter; inferior in elegance to the one, and in magnifi- lished, and is then applied to a piece of plate or other cence to the other, but more than uniting the domestic glass, by means of a transparent gum or resin. The accommodations of both. In truth, it had its rise in the other side is then ground down parallel to the glass, increasing wants and daily demand for comforts which civi, and, on being brought to the necessary degree of thinlisation made; it was admirably adapted for fire-side and festive enjoyments; and combined—for the times were yet ness, polished. By this means, the internal structure unsettled security with convenience. In the interior there may be as distinctly seen as in the case of a recent vegewas abundance of accommodation-splendid halls, tapes- table.” tried chambers, armouries, refectories, kitchens made to the Mr Witham's work gives an account of the nature and scale of roasting an ox with a padding in his belly, con extent of his own observations upon fossil vegetables by cealed closets, and darker places of abode; and it must be this new method, and is valuable as an indication to confessed that, externally, the whole was imposing. No rale, indeed, was followed, no plan formally obeyed; each geologists of what they may hope to effect by following proprietor seemed to do in building what was right in his the same method of observation, but still more by the own eyes, and a baron's residence resembled some of those important facts which he has already ascertained. romances in which the episodes oppress the narrative for The work is divided into four sections. In the first, the members were frequently too cambrous for the body. some remarks are offered upon the vegetation of the first But the general effect was highly picturesque, and amid period of the ancient world ; that is, from the first dewas wonderfully well adapted to its purpose with all its posit of the transition series to the top of the coal-field. strangeness it was not strange. The 'baron's picturesque We have already had the pleasure to lay the substance of hall seemed the offspring of the soil, and in harınony with this section before our readers, in our 57th Number, in the accompaniments. The hill, the river, the groves, the a report of a paper read by Mr Withan in the Wernerian rocks, and the residence, seemed all to have risen into exist- Society. In the second, he gives an account of some fossil ence at once. Tower was heaped upon tower ; there was vegetables found at Lennel Braes, and Allanbank Mill in a wilderness of pinnacles and crow-stepped peaks—jealous Berwickshire. This section is dedicated to a more dewindows barred and double barred with iron ; passages tailed account of the situation in which the most importwhich led to nothing-ridges of roofs as sharp as knives, on which no snow could lie-projection overlooking projection, ant specimens examined by Mr Witham bave been found. to throw the rain from the face of the wall, and casements The interence he draws from his examination of this diswhere ladies might air their charms, perched so high that trict is important. “By the above observations, it appears birds only could approach them. Skelton, then, inight well quite clear, that the mountain limestone group which, to describe the magnates of the Tudor era as
the south of the river Tweed, contains beds of coal, by no • Building royallie
means terminates at or near the ancient boundary of the Their mansions curiouslie,
two kingdoms, but approaches within a short distance of the