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part of this effect, arises perhaps from the novelty, not of the scene itself, but of the written description of such a scene. Our eyes may be daily conversant with the object, but we never, before, saw it in a book. It has occurred numberless times to the memory, but has never been portrayed in words, and the portrait may thus be qualified to captivate merely from its novelty.
Nothing can be more common or more vile than a pigsty embosom, ed in a grove of nettles, facing a duck-pond, bridged over by an old board plashing as you step along it. I should assuredly turn my eyes away from such a scene, should it present itself in all the vividness of nature : Yet, I remember, I was very much pleased with a landscape of this kind in a celebrated poet.
Every boy is familiar with the odd effect which an evening sun produces on his shadow as he walks opposite an'upright surface; the monstrous size, the uncouth proportions, and the whimsical changes which take place, as the surface changes from vertical to horizontal, engages the wondering attention of every child, but the man has seen it so often that he is weary of wondering. It solicits his eye in vain. And yet, I remember, the description of this very incongruity forms an exquisite passage in the Task of Cowper.
There is nothing in popular stories, which is commonly read with more interest, than the adventures which the hero meets with in a -stage-coach, though this is but a dull scene in real life, and one which we rather labour to avoid or are impatient to terminate, than hasten to enjoy. A German fabulist has given interest and novelty to the sound of a coffee-mill; though I, for my part, have heard it, twice a day, for years together. Campbell in his last poem, mentions, as circumstances of desolation in a cottage whose tenants had been murdered by savages:
The band is gone that cropt its flowers ;
For that very
Why am I affected most by the unheard tolling of the clock? For many years I have scarcely passed an hour without hearing a clock that stands upon the first landing on my stair-case. reason, perhaps, I am pleased with the image in the poem ; and I am much less struck with the uncropped powers and the cold hearth, because they occur less frequently.
Doubtless however, much depends on the talents of the painter or describer.
Common objects he frequently groupes in an uncommon
Though he pictures an ordinary scene, he selects and holds forth those lineaments and features which the eye or ear is apt to overlook. It is like viewing the morning star through a telescope, by which we are enabled to sce, what we never saw before, as often and as intensely as we have gazed at it., The world that we look at through the poet's optics is so much our world that we recognize it easily again, but is still in many respects a world different from ours.
We have often heard the minute drops from off the eves, after a shower, and frequently seen a rustic girl busy in piling the tanned hay-cock in the meadow, but those objects seen through Milton's eyes, have a grace, and novelty, which the parting shower and the hay-field never perhaps possessed in the eyes of the actual observer.
But let ine return from this digression, if it be one, and resume the difficulties of people who must write, when they have nothing to say. From these difficulties a scribbler is entirely exempt, because he is not studious either of method, consistency, or instructiveness in what he writes. He strips not the feather from his quill, but suffers it to move lawless, and volatile along. The ready instrument of every thought that is not too quick for its agile movements, it covers pages, while the plodding votaries of good sense are scarcely able to finish lines. But rare and happy is that scribbler whose most hasty effusions are marked by novelty and elegance: in whose wildest rhapsodies there exists a latent order, which indicates a mind so habitually clear ceptions, so thoroughly disciplined in writing that it cannot, in its most heedless moments, be forgetful of propriety, and cannot blunder though jt labours to avoid correctness.
CORRESPONDENCE-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Your correspondent Inquirer, in the last number of The Port Folio, speaking of Brydone's Tour through Sicily and Malta, says he has “heard it confidently asserted by a literary character, that it is an absolute fabrication.” This assertion is totally without foundation. Patrick Brydone, Esq. of Lennel House, in Berwickshire, is well known to be the author of the work alluded to; and that he visited the countries he describes there can be no doubt. Mr. B. was accompanied in
his tour by his ward, colonel Fullarton, who is frequently mentioned under the initial letter of his name.
I believe Mr. Brydone is still alive. The poet Burns, in his tour through the southern part of Scotland, in the summer of 1787, visited him at Lennel House, carrying a letter from Mr. Henry M.Kenzie, the celebrated author of The Man of Feeling, &c. but his biographer has given us no particulars respecting his visit.
I am, Sir, yours, &c. July 27, 1809.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO,
NEW-YORK, August 1809. DEAR SIR,
I can certainly have no objection to the use you propose to make of the anecdotes you refer to if you can think them of sufficient importance to merit public notice : you have stated them in substance, but have not in all respects retained the manner or point with which they were originally expressed by Dr. Beattie. In my first interview with him in the spring of 1793, after receiving me with great hospitality, for which he was always distinguished, but for which I was also indebted to the friendship of Dr. Gregory,t by whom I was introduced
• This gentleman forms one of the groupe seen on the mantle of Coila;, in Burns's poem of The Vision.
Brydone's brave ward, I well could spy
To hand him on,
And hero shone.
The Vision, Duan 1.
† The present professor of the theory and practice of "physic in the Uni versity of Edinburgh.
to his acquaintance, he spoke of Scotland and the prejudices whiclı Dr. Johnson's character of it was calculated to excite.
In reply to a remark I made upon the illiberality and incorrectness of the Tour to the Hebrides, Dr. Beattie observed, “Sir, Dr. Johnson travelled through this country both deaf and blind.” He then made some remarks on the government of the United States and the administration of Gen. Washington, observing, that "he entertained so exalted an opinion of his talents and virtues; such was the veneration he felt for that distinguished character, that excepting tocross the Atlantic he would go to the world's end for the pleasure of an interview with him.”
The day following, such was the pleasure he experienced in giving pleasure to others, he requested me to accompany him in his favourite walk to the sea coast on the East side of Aberdeen. There, among other objects of his notice, he directed my attention to some very uncommon vitrifications, and to a plant, the “arundo arenaria” of Linneus, which grows spontaneously on the sea shores of Great Britain, and which by its jointed and creeping root retains its situation, and thereby prevents the sands from being washed away, and by the same wonderful provision any further inroads of the sea are prevented.
In his Minstrel you perceive he has inconsciously drawn his own character :
“ Meanwhile whate'er of beautiful or new
our return, speaking of Mareschal College and of his duties there as the Professor of Moral Philosophy, be remarked that his labours had become irksome, and the more so as they were now in some degree new to him; for he had had an interval of ease in which he had been relieved by the assistance of his son who was then no more.
Although about two years had elapsed since the death of young Beattie, I perceived this to be a theme very near his heart, and though painful yet grateful to his feelings; for he seemed unwilling to change the subject. Thus with all the acquirements of the head he still retained the more delightful qualities of the heart. In the language of his Hermit, “ He thought like a sage while he felt as a man.”. I am dear sir, yours sincerely,
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
PERHAPS there is no science, which blends more intimately the pleasing with the useful, than that which makes us acquainted with the figure and the laws of motion of the globe, which we inhabit ; together with the relative position, and natural and artificial boundaries of the continents, countries, islands, seas, rivers, mountains, &c. with which its surface is diversified. It is a study, which at once amuses the imagination, exercises the memory, and strengthens the judgment; and is of primary importance in the education of youth, before the latter faculty is so far unfolded as to render the pupil competent to more severe studies.
Mr. Locke, in his treatise entitled, “Some thoughts concerning Education,” observes“ Geography, I think, should be begun with ; for the learning of the figure of the globe, the situation and boundaries of the four parts of the world, and those of particular kingdoms and countries being only an exercise of the eyes and memory, a child with pleasure will learn and retain them; and this is so certain, that I now live in the house with a child, whom his mother has so well instructed in this way, in geography, that he knew the limits of the four parts of the world, could readily point, being asked, to any country on the globe, or any county in the map of England, knew all the rivers, promontaries, straits, and bays in the world, and could find the longitude and latitude of any place before he was six years old. These things that he will thus learn by sight, and have by rote, are not all, I confess, that he is to learn upon the globes. But yet they are a good step and preparation for it, and will make the remainder much easier, when his judgment has grown ripe enough for it; besides that it gets so much time now, and by the pleasure of knowing things, leads him insensibly to the gaining of languages.”
This science is not only of importance to be taught to children, but adults will derive great advantages from its cultivation. Scarce a page in history can be read, and its import understood without the assistance of maps. They are indispensably necessary in order to enable us to
comprehend the causes and calculate on the consequences of the won| derful events, which are now developing on the grand theatre of Eu
rope. Editors of newspapers, and of other political and scientific periodical publications, whose duty it is to convey to the American public correct information on the abovementioned subjects will find themselves lost in a wilderness of conjecture without the assistance of accurate maps, to be referred to whenever they hazard an opinion upon artie