ePub 版

read it aloud, he gave it into her hands. This put the grave court into such a laughter, and the poor weak woman into such a confusion, that she afterwards grew wiser, or became less regarded.


IT is, perhaps, not generally known, that music was the original profession of that celebrated astronomer, Herschel. "It will appear," says Dr. Miller, "that Í was the first person by whose means this extraordinary genius was drawn from a state of obscurity. About the year 1760, as I was dining with the officers of the Durham militia at Pontefract, one of them informed me, that they had a young German in their band as a performer on the hautboy, who had only been a few months in this country, yet spoke English almost as well as a native; that, exclusive of the hautboy, he was an excellent performer on the violin, and, if I chose to repair to another room, he should entertain me with a solo. I did so, and Mr. Herschel executed a solo of Giardini's, in a manner that surprised me. Afterwards I took an opportunity to have a little conversation with him, and requested to know if he had engaged himself to the Durham militia for any long period? He answered, "No, only from month to month." Leave them, said I, and come and live with me: I am a single man, and think we shall be happy together; doubtless your merit will soon entitle you to a more eligible situation. He consented to my request, and came to Doncaster. It is true, at that time my humble mansion consisted but of two rooms; however, poor as I was, my cottage contained a small library of well chosen books; and it must appear singular that a young German, who had been so short a time in England, should understand even the peculiarities of our language so well, as to adopt Dean Swift for his favourite author. I took an early opportunity of introducing him at Mr. Copley's concert; and he presently began in

'Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;'

for never before had we heard the concertos of Corelli, Geminiani, and Avison, or the overtures of Handel,

performed more chastely, or more according to the original intention of the composers, than by Mr. Herschel. I soon lost my companion-his fame presently spread abroad-he had the offer of scholars, and was solicited to lead the public concerts both at Wakefield and Halifax.


"About this time a new organ for the parish church of Halifax was built by Snetzler, which was opened with an oratorio by the late well-known Joah Bates. Mr. Herschel, and six others, were candidates for the organist's place. They drew lots how they were to perform in rotation. My friend Herschel drew the third lot. The second performer was Mr Wainwright, afterwards Dr. Wainwright, of Manchester, whose finger was so rapid, that old Snetzler, the organ-builder, ran about the church, exclaiming, Te tevel! te tevel! he run over the key like one cat: he will not give my piphes room for to shpeak. During Mr. Wainwright's performance I was standing in the middle aisle with Herschel. What chance have you, said I, to follow this man? He replied, I don't know: I am sure fingers will not do.' On which he ascended the organ-loft, and produced from the organ so uncommon a fulness, such a volume of slow solemn harmony, that I could by no means account for the effect. After this short extempore effusion, he finished with the old hundredth psalm-tune, which he played better than his opponent. Aye, aye! cried old Snetzler, 'tish is very goot, very goot indeed; I vil luf tish man, for he gives my piphes room for to spheak. Having afterwards asked Mr. Herschel by what means, in the beginning of his performance, he produced so uncommon an effect? he replied, I told you fingers would not do;' and producing two pieces of lead from his waistcoat pocket, One of these,' said he, I placed on the lowest key of the organ, and the other upon the octave above: thus, by accommodating the harmony, I produced the effect of four hands instead of two. However, as my leading the concert on the violin is their principal object, they will give me the place in preference to a better performer on the organ; but I shall not stay long here, for I have the offer of a superior situation at Bath, which offer I shall accept."



THIS month was under the protection of Mars. It retained its original name, notwithstanding various at tempts to change it. The senate wished to denominate it Faustinus, in honour of Faustina, daughter of the Emperor Antoninus; Commodus gave it the name of Invictus; and Domitian that of Domitianus. The namers, however, were no sooner dead thau the name expired.

On the fifth the ceremony of the Mundus Patens was performed. This consisted in opening a small round temple, called Mundus, which was opened only thrice a year. During these times it was forbidden to give battle, hold assemblies, marry, or set about any public or private business; the infernal regions being believed to be then open. Sacrifices were offered on the sixth to the Manes The ideas of the ancients with respect to the manes do not appear to have been very accurately defined. The manes are sometimes spoken of as spirits separated from their earthly bodies, sometimes as the infernal deities, and sometimes merely as the deities or genii of the dead. Servius affirms that it was the opinion of some of the ancients, that the great celestial gods were the gods of the living, but that the gods of the second order, the manes in particular, were the gods of the dead, and that they exercised their sway only amidst the darkness of the night, over which they presided. Apuleius, in his book de Deo Socratis, is the writer who speaks most clearly on this subject. "The spirits of men," says he, "after they have quitted their bodies, become a sort of demons, which the ancient Latins called Lemures: those of the dead who were good, and watched over their descendants, were called lares familiares; but those who were restless, turbulent, and malevolent, and terrified men by nocturnal apparitions, were denominated larvæ. When it was uncertain whether the spirit of a deceased person was become a lar or a larva, it was termed mane.' The Meditrinalia was held on the eleventh. It was dedicated to Meditrina, the goddess of medicine, to whom libations were made of new and old wine. The new wine was now first tasted, and some of the old was drank as



a medicine. On the first drinking of the new wine a particular form of words was used, the omission of which was considered as being an unlucky omen.— The Augustalia, in honour of Augustus, was celebrated on the twelfth. This festival was instituted by the tribunes of the people, in memory of the happy return of Augustus to Rome, after having pacified Greece, Sicily, Italy, and the Parthians. An altar was erected to him with the inscription, Fortuna reduci. There were games on this day. The festival of the Fontinalia was on the thirteenth. It was devoted to the nymphs who presided over fountains and springs. On that day garlands were thrown into the wells and springs, and hung over them. Sacrifices were offered to Mercury on the fifteenth, by the shopkeepers. On the same day a horse, denominated the October horse, was sacrificed to Mars, in the Campus Martius. The people supposed this to be done in vengeance for the Trojans, from whom the Romans claimed their descent, having been surprized by the Greeks, who were concealed in the Trojan horse. The plebeian games were held in the circus, on the sixteenth, either in commemoration of the recovery of liberty by the expulsion of the kings, or of the reconciliation of the people with the senate after their retreat to the Aventine Hill. On the seventeenth was a sacrifice to Jupiter Liberator. The Armilustrium took place on the nineteenth. There was a general review in the Campus Martius on this occasion, the knights, centurions, and soldiers wore crowns, the soldiers danced in arms, and sacrifices were performed to the sound of trumpets. Offerings were made to Liber Pater, or Bacchus, on the twenty-third. On the twenty-eighth were the public games, instituted by Sylla, and called the games of victory. The Vertumnalia, a festival dedicated to Vertumnus, was held on the thirtieth.

The sun this month is in the sigus Virgo and Scorpió.



"A thing of shreds and patches."


THE Third Letter on the Regicide Peace having been left by Mr. Burke in an unfinished state, the editor, Dr. F. Laurence, was under the necessity of filling up the chasms. In the first edition he did not specify the parts which he had inserted, to connect the whole. His silence on this score was intended as a good-humoured stratagem to entrap the critics. It was quite successful. On the publication of the work, they opened upon him full cry. The temerity which ventured to touch with profane hands the compositions of Mr. Burke was censured in strong terms. One critic talked of a manufactory of pamphlets being established, under the name of Mr. Burke. According to the opinion of these sapient gentlemen, however, though the editor had been unpardonably silent on the subject, it was easy to distinguish his wretched interpolations from the genuine effusions of the deceased orator. "Here,' exclaimed one, producing a passage in which the produce of some taxes was stated in plain language, "here we see the hand of the bungling interpolator! But here," continued he, "here we recognize the brilliant eloquence of Mr. Burke," and in proof of this he referred to another passage, which, undoubtedly, is written in a masterly style. It is that part which begins with the words, "In turning our view from the higher to the lower classes," and ends with "wherever the British arms have been carried." Unfortunately for the critic he was wrong in both cases. The first quotation I saw in the original manuscript, and in the hand-writing, too, of Mr. Burke. The second was the composition of Dr. Laurence. I took it down on paper, from his dictation, at the house of a friend, where we were then on a visit; and can, therefore, give conclusive evidence. A similar blunder, with respect to other passages, was committed by some others of the critical tribe. * Burke's Works, vol. viii. page 369.

« 上一頁繼續 »