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216

HORACE BECOME A SWAN.

gesture, and their slow and majestic motion, never fail to heighten the beauty of the surrounding scenery! They belong to the several Companies; and at stated periods, vulgarly called Swan-hopping, their number, as well as their condition, is made the subject of particular attention. It is worthy of remark, how the Swan has been noticed by Writers both of ancient and modern times. HOMER, HORACE and VIRGIL draw some of their most beautiful comparisons from them. The memorable transformation of HORACE, in the last Ode of the Second Book, must not be omitted: he speaks in a strain of rapture on the occasion :

A rougher skin now clothes my thighs,
Into a Swan's fair form I rise,
And feel the feather'd plumage shed
Its down, and o'er my shoulders spread!
Swift as with Dædalean wing,
Harmonious Bird! I'll soaring sing,
And in my flight the foamy shores
Where Bosphorus tremendous roars,
The regions bound by Northern cold,
And Lybia's burning sands, behold!
Then to the learned sons of Spain,
To him who ploughs the Scythian main,
To him wlio with dissembled fears
Conscious the Roman arms reveres,
To him who drinks the rapid Rhone,
Sball HORACE, deathless Bard, be known!

FRANCIS.

Buffon, after having given an enchantingly eloquent description of the Swan, has this conclusion: THE SWAN'S DYING HYMN.

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“But it was not enough that the Swan sung admirably; the ancients ascribed to it a prophetic spirit. It alone of animated beings, which all shudder at the prospect of destruction, chaunted in the moment of its agony, and with harmonious sounds prepared to breathe the last sigh! When about to expire, they said, and to bid a sad and tender adieu to life, the Swan poured forth those accents so sweet, so affecting, and which, like a gentle and doleful murmur, with a voice low, plaintive and melancholy, formed its funereal song. This tearful music was heard at the dawn of day, when the winds and the waves were still; and they have been seen expiring with the notes of their dying hymn: for, according to Pythagoras, it was the song of exultation upon the immediate prospect of passing into a happier state! No fiction of natural history, no fable of antiquity, was ever more celebrated, oftener repeated, or better received. It occupied the soft and lively imaginations of the Greeks; poets, orators, even philosophers, adopted it as a truth too pleasing to be doubted. And well may we excuse such fables ; they were amiable and affecting—they were worth many dull insipid truths--they were sweet emblems to feeling minds !”

Not to multiply instances of this beautiful Bird being noticed by modern writers-Dr.Doddridge, writing in behalf of Revelation, intimates that the objections of the Unbeliever, however artfully urged, or petulantly applied, fall off, like drops of water from

L

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BAND OF GYPSIES.

the downy plumage of THE SWAN, unpolluting the sacred cause of our coMMON CHRISTIANITY.

Our attention was now excited by the spectacle for which we in vain lopked out on Putney Common a band of Gypsies, crouching beneath a hedge, and regaling their appetites with dainties not recognized by the Epicurean habits of civilized life. The scene is almost literally pourtrayed by the inimitable pencil of a modern Bard :

I see a column of slow-rising smoke
O'ertop the lofty wood that skirts the wild:
A vagabond and useless tribe there eat
Their miserable meal. A KETTLE,
Slung between two poles, upon a stick transverse,
Receives the morsel-flesh obscene of hog,
Or vermin, or at best of cock purloin'd
From his accustoin'd perch. HARD-FARING RACE!
They pick their fuel out of ev'ry hedge,
Which, kindled with dry leaves and wood, just saves
The spark of life. The sportive wind blows wide
Their fluttering rags, and shows a tawny skin,
The vellum of the pedigree they claim!

COW PER.

Mr. Hoyland, of Sheffield (to whose volume I have already referred), assures us, that the greatest luxury the gypsies can procure is a roast of cattle that have died of any distemper--to eat their fill of such a meal is to them the height of epicurism! When any person censures their taste, er shews surprise at it, they say, " the flesh of a beast which God kills must be

GYPSIES FOND OF PLATE.

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better than that of one killed by the hand of man." They are particularly fond of animals that have died by fire; therefore, whenever a conflagration has happened, the next day the gypsies, from every neighbouring quarter, assemble, and draw the suffocated, half-consumed beast out of the ashes; men, women and children, in troops, joyfully carrying the Aesh home to their dwellings! They are also very partial to gold and silver plate, particularly silver cups, which is a disposition they have in common with wandering tribes. They let slip no opportunity of acquiring something of this kind, and will even starve themselves to procure it! Though they seem little anxious to heap up riches for their children, yet these frequently inherit a treasure of this sort, and are obliged, in their turn, to preserve it as a sacred inheritance. Mr. Hoyland, in the true spirit of Christianity, asks, at the close of his volume

“ Can a nation, whose diffusive philanthropy extends to the civilization of a quarter of the globe, and to the evangelization of the whole world, be regardless of any

of the children of her own bosom, or suffer the pious and truly patriotic solicitude of HER KING, for the instruction of the meanest of his subjects, to remain unaccomplished? Many persons appear zealous to send missionaries to convert heathens in the most distant parts of the world, when, as it has been observed, the greatest, perhaps, of all heathens are at home, entirely neglected."

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DR. STEPHEN HALES,

Not far from STRAWBERRY HILL, on our way to Hampton Court, is the small but rural village of Teddington, seated on the Thames, and twelve miles from London. As the tide flows not beyond this place, some have thought the name to have been originally Tide-end-Town. Mr. Lysons, however, remarks, that the village has, in all records, for centuries past been called Totyngton. And as it has been already noticed that the present worthy Lord Mayor occupies Little Strawberry Hill, it is deserving of observation, that Sir Charles Duncombe, Lord Mayor of London, in 1709, built a handsome house and lived in splendid retirement at the little village of Teddington. The CHURCH is a perpetual Curacy, and was occupied by that Christian philosopher Dr. Stephen Hales, for upwards of half a century. He lies buried under the tower of the church, which was his own erection. He was born in Kent, 1677, and educated at Cambridge. Botany was his first study, taking many a painful walk among Gog-Magog Hills and the Bogs of Cherryhunt Moor. In these expeditions he collected fossils also, and even insects, having contrived an instrument for taking such of them as could fly. At the University he invented a brass machine to demonstrate the motion of the planets, which nearly coincided with that elegant and instructive instrument, the modern Orrery. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, he received their thanks for experiments on Vegetation, In 1741, he made

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