vol II date / index
St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, A.D. 373.
This learned doctor of the church, was patriarch of Alexandria; he is celebrated for his opposition to the Arians, and from his name having been affixed to the creed which contains his doctrines. He died in 373. Alban Butler says, the creed was compiled in Latin in the fifth century.
1519. Leonardo da Vinci, the painter, died.
In the beginning of May, a steam-boat for conveying passengers ascends the Thames in the morning from Queenhithe to Richmond, and returns the same day; and so she proceeds to and fro until the autumn. Before she unmoors she takes in little more than half her living freight, the remainder is obtained during the passage. Her band on deck plays a lively tune, and "off she goes" towards Blackfriars'-bridge. From thence, leisurely walkers, and holiday-wishing people, on their way to business, look from between the balustrades on the enviable steamer; they see her lower her chimney to pass beneath the arch, and ten to one, if they cross the road to watch her coming forth on the other side, they receive a puff from the re-elevating mast; this fuliginous rebuke is inspiring.
A Legal Lament.
Ye Richmond Navigators bold
all on the liquid plain,
When from the bridge we envied you,
with pleasure mix'd with pain,
Why could you be so cruel as
to ridicule our woes,
By in our anxious faces turn-
ing up your steamer's nose?
'Twas 'strange, 'twas passing strange, 'twas
pitiful, twas wonderous
Pitiful, as Shakspeare says,
by you then being under us,
To be insulted as we were,
when you your chimney rose
And thought yourselves at liberty
to cloud our hopes and clothes.
The same sweet poet says, you know,
"each dog will have his day,"
And hence for Richmond we, in turn,
may yet get under weigh.
So thus we are consoled in mind,
and as to being slighted,
For that same wrong, we'll right ourselves,
and get you all indicted.
The steam-boat is a good half hour in clearing the port of London, and arriving at Westminster; this delay in expedition is occasioned by "laying to" for "put offs" of single persons and parties, in Thames wherries. If the day be fine, the passage is very pleasant. The citizen sees various places wherein he has enjoyed himself,—he can point out the opening to Fountain-court, wherein is the "coal-hole," the resort of his brother "wolves," a club of modern origin, renouned for its support of Mr. Kean; on the left bank, he shows the site of "Cuper's-gardens," to which he was taken when a boy by his father's foreman, and where the halfpenny-hatch stood; or he has a story to tell of the "Fox-under-the-hill," near the Strand, where Dutch Sam mustered the fighting Jews, and Perry's firemen, who nightly assisted John Kemble's "What d'ye want," during the "O. P. row," at Covent-garden theatre. Then he directs his attention to the Mitre, at Stangate, kept by "independent Bent," a house celebrated for authors who "flourish" there, for "actors of all work," and artists of less prudence than powers. He will tell you of the capital porter-shops that were in Palace-yard before the old coffee-houses were pulled down, and he directs you to the high chimney of Hodges's distillery, in Church-street, Lambeth. He stands erect, and looks at Cumberland-gardens as though they were his freehold—for there has he been in all his glory; and at the Red-house, at Battersea, he would absolutely go ashore, if his wife and daughters had not gone so far in geography as to know that Richmond is above Battersea-bridge. Here he repeats after Mathews, that Battersea-steeple, being of copper, was coveted by the emperor of Russia for an extinguisher; that the horizontal windmill was a case for it; and that his imperial majesty intended to take them to Russia, but left them behind from forgetfulness. Others see other things,. The grounds from which the walls of Brandenburgh-house were rased to the foundation, after the decease of fallen majesty—the house wherein Sharp, the engraver, lived after his removal from Acton, and died—the tomb of Hogarth, in Chiswick church-yard — "Brentford town of mud," so immortalized by one of our poets, from whence runs Boston-lane, wherein dwelt the good and amiable Granger, who biographized every Englishman of whom there was a portrait—and numerous spots remarkable for their connection with some congenial sentiment or person.
The Aits, or Osier Islands, are picturesque interspersions on the Thames. Its banks are studded with neat cottages, or elegant villas crown the gentle heights; the lawns come sweeping down like carpets of green velvet, to the edge of its soft-flowing waters, and the grace of the scenery improves till we are borne into the full bosom of its beauty—the village of Richmond, or as it was anciently called, Sheen. On coming within sight of this, the most delightful scene in our sea-girt isle, the band on board the steam-boat plays "the lass of Richmond-hill," while the vessel glides on the translucent water, till she curves to the bridge-foot, and the passengers disembark. Ascending the stone stairs to the street, a short walk through the village brings us to the top of the far-famed hill, from whence there is a sudden sight of one of the loveliest views in the world. Here, unless an overflowing purse can command the preference of the "Star and Garter," we enter the pleasant and comfortable "Roebuck" inn, which has nothing to recommend it but civil treatment and domestic conveniences. The westward room on the second floor is quiet, and one of the pleasantest in the house. The walls of this peaceful apartment have no ornament, unless so can be called a mezzotinto engraving by Watson, after Reynolds, of Jeffery, lord Amherst, in armour, with a countenance remarkably similar to the rev. Rowland Hill's in his younger days. The advantage of this room is the delightful view from its windows. Heither come ye whose hearts are saddened, or whose nerves are shattered by the strife of life, or the disturbances of the world; inhale the pure aire, and gaze awhile on a prospect more redolent of beauty than Claude or Poussin ever painted or saw. Whatever there be of soothing charm in scenery, is here exuberant. Description must not be attempted, for poets have made it their theme and failed.
To the over-wearied inhabitants of the metropolis, the trip to Richmond is covetable. The lively French, the philosophic German, the elegant Italian, the lofty Spaniard, and the Cossack of the Don, pronounce the prospect from the hill the most enchanting in Europe. There was no itinerary of Richmond until Dr. John Evans, during a visit in 1824, hastily threw some memoranda into a neat little volume, illustrated by a few etchings, under the title of "Richmond and its Vicinity," which he purposes to improve.
In honour of the female character, and in illustration of the first of May, should be added, that upon the coin of Dort, or Dordrecht, in Holland, is a cow, under which is sitting a milk-maid. The same representation is in relievo on the pyramid of an elegant fountain in that beautiful town. Its origin is from the following historical fact:—When the United Provinces were struggling for their liberty two beautiful daughters of a rich farmer, on their way to the town, with milk, observed, not far from their path, several Spanish soldiers concealed behind some hedges. The patriotic maidens pretending not to have seen any thing, pursued their journey, and as soon as they arrived in the city, insisted upon an admission to the burgo-master, who had not yet left his bed; they were admitted, and related what they had discovered. He assembled the council, measures were immediately taken, the sluices were opened, and a number of the enemy lost their lives in the water. The magistrates in a body honoured the farmer with a visit, where they thanked his daughters for the act of patriotism, which saved the town; they afterwards indemnified him fully for the loss he sustained from the inundation; and the most distinguished young citizens, vied with each other, who should be honoured with the hands of those virtuous milk-maids.
It should also be noticed, in connection with Mr. Montgomery's volume in behalf of the chimney-sweepers, that a Mr. J. C. Hudson has addressed "A Letter to the Mistresses of Families, on the Cruelty of employing Children in the odious, dangerous, and often fatal Task of sweeping Chimnies." To Mr. Hudson's pamphlet, which is published at sixpence, there are two cuts, from designs by Mr. George Cruikshank.
It is observed by Dr. Forster, in the "Perennial Calendar," that "the melody of birds is perhaps at no time of the year greater and more constant than it is at this present period. The nightingale, the minstrel of the eve; and the lark, the herald of the morn; together with the numerous birds whose music fills the groves all day, contribute, in no small degree, to the pleasure derived from the country in this month. Nor is the lowing of distant cattle in the evening, the hooting of the owl, and many other rustic sounds, deficient in power to please by association of ideas. Shakspeare has a beautiful comparison of the lark and nightingale in 'Romeo and Juliet:'—
SCENE. Juliet's Chamber.
Jul. Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon Pomegranate tree:
Believe me, love, it was the Nightingale.
Rom. It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
Jul. Yon light is not daylight, I know it, I.
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
To be to thee this night a torchbearer,
And light thee on thy way to Mantua.
Therefore stay yet, thou need'st not to be gone.
Rom. Let me ta'en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I'll say, yon grey is not the morning's eye;
'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow:
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads.
I have more care to stay than will to go."
Dr. Forster notices, that "beds of tulips begin now to flower, and about London, Haerlem, Amsterdam, and other cities of England and Holland, are seen in perfection in the gardens of florists, who have a variety of very whimsical names for the different varieties. The early, or Van Thol tulip, is now out of blow, as is the variety called the Clarimond, beds of which appear very beautiful in April. The sort now flowering is the tulipa Gesneriana, of which the names Bizarre, Golden Eagle, &c. are only expressive of varieties. For the amusement of the reader, we quote from the 'Tatler' the following account of an accident that once befell a gentleman in a tulip-garden:— 'I chanced to rise very early one particular morning this summer, and took a walk into the country, to divert myself among the fields and meadows, while the green was new, and the flowers in their bloom. As at this season of the year every lane is a beautiful walk, and every hedge full of nosegays, I lost myself with a great deal of pleasure among several thickets and bushes that were filled with a great variety of birds, and an agreeable confusion of notes, which formed the pleasantest scene in the world to one who had passed a whole winter in noise and smoke. The freshness of the dews that lay upon every thing about me, with the cool breath of the morning, which inspired the birds with so many delightful instincts, created in me the same kind of animal pleasure, and made my heart overflow with such secret emotions of joy and satisfaction as are not to be described or accounted for. On this occasion, I could not but reflect upon a beautiful simile in 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.
"'Those who are conversant in the writings of polite authors, receive an additional entertainment from the country, as it revives in their memories those charming descriptions, with which such authors do frequently abound. I was thinking of the foregoing beautiful simile in Milton, and, applying it to myself, when I observed to the windward of me a black cloud falling to the earth in long trails of rain, which made me betake myself for shelter to a house which I saw at a little distance from the place where I was walking. As I sat in the porch, I heard the voices of two or three persons, who seemed very earnest in discourse. My curiosity was raised when I heard the names of Alexander the Great and Artaxerxes: and as their talk seemed to run on ancient heroes, I concluded there could not be any secret in it; for which reason I thought I might very fairly listen to what they said. After several parallels between great men, which appeared to me altogether groundless and chimerical, I was surprised to hear one say, that he valued the Black Prince more than the duke of Vendosme. How the duke of Vendosme should become a rival of the Black Prince, I could not conceive: and was more startled when I heard a second affirm with great vehemence, that if the emperor of Germany was not going off, he should like him better than either of them. He added, that though the season was so changeable, the duke of Marlborough was in blooming beauty. I was wondering to myself from whence they had received this odd intelligence; especially when I heard them mention the names of several other great generals, as the prince of Hesse, and the king of Sweden, who, they said, were both running away. To which they added, what I entirely agreed with them in, that the crown of France was very weak, but that the marshal Villars still kept his colours. At last one of them told the company, if they would go along with him he would show them a Chimney-sweeper and a Painted Lady in the same bed, which he was sure would very much please them. The shower which had driven them as well as myself into the house, was now over; and as they were passing by me into the garden, I asked them to let me be one of their company. The gentleman of the house told me, if I delighted in flowers, it would be worth my while; for that he believed he could show me such a blow of tulips as was not to be matched in the whole country. I accepted the offer, and immediately found that they had been talking in terms of gardening, and that the kings and generals they had mentioned were only so many tulips, to which the gardners, according to their usual custom, had given such high titles and appellations of honour. I was very much pleased and astonished at the glorious show of these gay vegetables, that arose in great profusion on all the banks about us. Sometimes I considered them with the eye of an ordinary spectator, as so many beautiful objects varnished over with a natural gloss, and stained with such a variety of colours as are not to be equalled in any artificial dyes or tinctures. Sometimes I considered every leaf as an elaborate piece of tissue, in which the threads and fibres were woven together into different configurations, which gave a different colouring to the light as it glanced on the several parts of the surface. Sometimes I considered the whole bed of tulips, according to the notion of the greatest mathematician and philosopher that ever lived, (sir Isaac Newton,) as a multitude of optic instruments, designed for the separating light into all those various colours of which it is composed. I was awakened out of these my philosophical speculations, by observing the company often seemed to laugh at me. I accidentally praised a tulip as one of the finest I ever saw, upon which they told me it was a common Fool's Coat. Upon that I prasied a second, which it seems was but another kind of Fool's Coat. I had the same fate with two or three more; for which reason I desired the owner of the garden to let me know which were the finest of the flowers, for that I was so unskilful in the art, that I thought the most beautiful were the most valuable, and that those which had the gayest colours were the most beautiful. The gentleman smiled at my ignorance: he seemed a very plain honest man, and a person of good sense, had not his head been touched with that distemper which Hippocrates calls the [greek], Tulippomania, insomuch, that he would talk very rationally on any subject in the world but a tulip. He told me, that he valued the bed of flowers, which lay before us, and was not above twenty yards in length and two in breadth, more than he would the best hundred acres of land in England; and added, that it would have been worth twice the money it is, if a foolish cookmaid of his had not almost ruined him the last winter, by mistaking a handful of tulip roots for a heap of onions, and by that means, says he, made me a dish of porridge, that cost me above a thousand pounds sterling. He then showed me what he thought the finest of his tulips, which I found received all their value from their rarity and oddness, and put me in mind of your great fortunes, which are not always the greatest beauties. I have often looked upon it as a piece of happiness, that I have never fallen into any of these fantastical tastes, nor esteemed any thing the more for its being uncommon and hard to be met with. For this reason, I look upon the whole country in spring time as a spacious garden, and make as many visits to a spot of daisies, or a bank of violets, as a florist does to his borders or parterres. There is not a bush in blossom within a mile of me which I am not acquainted with, nor scarce a daffodil or cowslip that withers away in my neighbourhood without my missing it. I walked home in this temper of mind through several fields and meadows with an unspeakable pleasure, not without reflecting on the bounty of Providence, which has made the most pleasing and the most beautiful objects the most ordinary and most common.'"
Charlock. Rhaphanus Rhafaristrum.
Dedicated to St. Athanasius.