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mindful of the presaged danger than of decorum,. running to and fro with bare feet and dishevelled tresses, with their children in their arms, visiting the churches and bathing the altars with their tears, exclaiming, "Mercy, Lord! Have pity be
"The evening was, howeyer, more serene than ordinary my servants after supper retired to rest: but I thought it best to observe how the moon looked, and opening the window I remained at it till it set about midnight behind San Martino, looking dim and surreunded with clouds. Barring the window, I laid myself on the bed, and after lying awake a considerable time, I was falling into a sound sleep when I was roused by the rumbling of an earthquake, which not only burst open the windows and extinguished the light which I was accustomed to keep in my chamber, but shook the walls to the foundations. The calm of sleep being thus changed into fear of instant death, I went out into the cloisters where we groped about for each other in the dark, and exhorted one another to patience and fortitude. The brothers and the prior, David, (a most holy man) who had risen to chaunt matins, terrified at the tremendous storm came with devout prayers and tears, and with crosses and relics and a number of lighted torches to the place where I was. This gave me a little courage, and I went with them into the church where we all threw ourselves on the ground and implored the mercy of heaven, expecting from time to time that the church would fall upon us. The terrors of that infernal night would take too long to narrate, and though the truth would much exceed anything I could say, yet my words would appear incredible.
"What bursts of water!-What wind!-What flashings of lightning !-What awful re-echoing of the heavens -What fearful trembling of the earth!What horrible roaring of the sea!-and what groans of the assembled populace! It seemed as if by magic art the duration of that night had been doubled; but at last the morning arrived, which we knew rather by conjecture than by any light it afforded. The priests
then robed themselves to celebrate mass, whilst we not daring to raise our eyes to heaven, prostrate on the earth continued to sigh, and pray, and weep. Day at length appeared, but scarcely less obscure than night; the wailings in the higher part of the town beginning to cease, we could hear frightful cries from the Strand. We also heard a number of horses prancing through the streets, we knew not what for. Exchanging despair for hardiness I mounted on horseback, determined to see what was going on, or to die. Great God! when was such a sight ever seen! The most aged mariners had never heard of or seen anything like it. In the middle of the bay an immense number of wretches were seen tossed about by the waves, who whilst they endeavoured to gain the shore were driven by their fury against the rocks, and appeared like so many eggs broken in pieces. All this space was full of drowned or drowning persons, and the shore was strewed with corpses and shattered limbs; some with arms and legs broken; some with their brains and some with their entrails protruding. Nor were the shrieks of the men and women who inhabited the falling houses close to the sea, less terrific than the roaring of the sea itself. Where the day before we had gone to and fro on a dusty path, was now a sea more dangerous than the straits of Messina. The ocean seemed no longer to observe the bounds which God has prescribed it; respecting neither the works of man nor those of nature, that immense causeway, which, as Virgil says, "projects to break the rolling tides," was covered by the waves, as well as the whole
of the lower town. You could not pass in the streets without the risk of being drowned. More than a thousand Neapolitan cavaliers came from all sides to the spot where we were, as if to assist at the obsequies of their country. This brilliant troop re-assured me a little. "If I perish," thought I, "it will at least be in good company." But at the instant in which I was making this reflexion, a terrible cry was set up around, that the ground on which we stood was beginning to be submerged: the water had sapped the foundation, and we retired in haste to the upper part of the town. Certainly it was beyona measure awful to mortal eyes, to behold the raging of the heavens and the fury of the sea. A thousand mountains of water seemed to come from Ischia to Naples, neither black, nor azure, as in common tempests, but of a dazzling whiteness. The young queen now came out of her palace bare-footed, and with her hair flowing loose about her, at the head
of an immense troop of ladies in the same penitential
disarray, and visited in turn all the churches of the Virgin Mother of God.
"But it was not the virgin who was supposed at last to have calmed the fury of the elements. In the evening the storm ceased, when St. Nicholas, St. George, and St. Mark, shewed a fisherman at Venice a boat filled with demons endeavouring to enter the port, who, at the command of the saints disappeared, and a calm immediately ensued, as by their evil agency a **n had been raised. The malice of these imps of effected no irreparable injury on shore, but it otherwise at sea. Not a vessel in the port of
Naples escaped, except one galley of malefactors, destined to be sent on the first expedition against Sicily, the forlorn hope of Naples."
We may fairly conclude that Petrarch and his brilliant band of cavaliers resorted to the palace of Joanna on the cessation of the storm: she was not likely otherwise to have thought of his letters patent, on the eve of the this agitating day, and she was still less likely to sign them previous to her devout pilgrimage. Passing from one extreme to another, it is not unlikely that the halls of Castelnovo, were the scene of more real gaiety that evening, than they had been since the death of good Robert.
The damage sustained by the merchants at Naples from this storm, was estimated at forty thousand ounces of gold: the Venetian and Genoese trade was also so much injured by it, that silk and spices, and the products of the trade of the Levant, rose from fifty to a hundred per cent.
THE work upon which this abstract is founded, is the Life by Siebenkees, translated by Ludger. A work had appeared by Muller, written in a style of florid romance, —an unmeasured laud-to which Mr. I. obviously wrote in opposition. Thus he has fallen into the opposite extreme, and would make Bianca the scapegoat for all the censures due to the intrigues and follies with which she was any way connected. It will be seen that we have taken a very different view of the subject; which we leave to the facts to justify.
The precise light in which we should view the reputation of Bianca Capello is, at the present time, rather difficult to determine. While, on the other side, she is assailed with the bitterest reproaches by her opponents, her friends obscure their own defence of her by adulatory exaggeration. Much, however, that is urged against her, is referable rather to the perverted morals of the time, than to any personal deficiency of rectitude. She was one against many; and yet even her greatest enemies cannot charge her with deeds so bad as many a well-famed princess has committed; on the other hand, her artfulness, with one exception alone, is always of a very equivocal nature, and very like a charming kindliness and candour. If she made use of art, at least she had taste, wisdom, and confidence enough in goodness, to base her cunning upon kindness and endearment. It is an easy but a very dangerous and uncertain plan, to test human action by motives, rather than consequences; particularly when the heart that felt those motives, and the face that betrayed them, has long ceased to be, and we have no eye-witness to interpret that countenance but such as could neither see, nor speak disinterestedly. Her most credible defamer, her brother-in-law, Cardinal de' Medici, is at least stained with prejudice, inconsistency, and ingratitude.
Bianca Capello descended from the Venetian house of the Capelli, and spent her early days in strict confinement to her father's palace, as was then customary with the ladies of Venice. The nobles of Italy in those days, sometimes augmented their substance by thrifty commerce. The Salviati, a celebrated Florentine family, so trading, held a counting-house in Venice, in the neighbourhood of the Capelli palace. In this counting-house was one Buonaventuri, a man addicted to intrigue; the beauty of the young Bianca caught his eye, and he pursued her. At church he spoke to her, representing himself as a partner in the house he served, and obtained her affection. It is rather to be imagined that that affection, as astonishment is said to be, was the effect of novelty upon ignorance; for Buonaventuri was a heartless man not calculated to inspire a genuine attachment. May not this, by the way, have paved a road for Francesco's advances afterwards? Their meetings continued till Bianca found herself unable to conceal them much longer. Taking some of her jewels with her, she absconded from
Venice, with Buonaventuri, to whom she was married. Of course he had already been obliged to apprise her of the deception he had originally practiced upon her. They sought refuge in Florence.
For some time Bianca lived as secretly as she could, dreading the displeasure of her family, and the Venetian government. Francesco de' Medici was then Regent; his father, the Grand Duke, having withdrawn himself, in his old age, from all participation in public affairs. By some means, for it is by no means certain how, he obtained a sight of Bianca; her beauty quite ensnared
him; and her art, (and most probably that consisted in her real kindness and engaging disposition,) made a constant lover of one naturally weak, impetuous, and fickle. It has been asserted that he saw her one day as he was passing the house in which she lived, some casual disturbance in the streets having drawn her to the window. The story is, however, very apocryphal. It appears that Bianca for some time resisted Francesco's advances. Her husband, as we have before said, was a heartless fellow, and had cruelly deceived her at the first. It is little likely that she could really feel much lasting affection for him; he was coarse and cowardly. Francesco, on the contrary, has given many testimonies of having a sincere and most durable attachment to Bianca; partly attributable, no doubt, to her own attractiveness. This love he made known to her. It is to be remembered that Bianca was young, undefended from the threatened vengeance of her family and the Venetian State, poor, and in restraint. The connexion offered her with Francesco, would be a defence against her dangers, it held out to her acceptance, power, enjoyment, and freedom; the manners of the time, in her country especially, presented little in the way of obstacle to such a connexion; and accordingly Bianca Capello became the mistress of Francisco
At first the affair was kept a secret, for about this time, one of those curses of royal life, a political marriage, was in treaty, between Francesco and Joanna, the sister of the Empress Maximilian. The reviving power of the Medici had excited the jealously of the neighbouring princes, and a marriage of the kind was necessary to preserve the importance of the family.. When however the prince was married, and caution was no longer necessary, the concealment was less carefully preserved, and ultimately Bianca was introduced at court. Although the dutchess never appears to have been quite reconciled to her consort's infidelity, she shared with others in yielding to the effects of Bianca's fascination, though both irritable and violent by nature. At last however her passion was too much even for Bianca's art, and meeting her one day on the Lungarno, she was about to desire her attendants to throw her into the river. A gentleman represented to her that this murderous impulse was suggested by the devil, and she being very superstitious, she was struck with repentance.
Buonaventuri, made indolent by the honors accorded him by the prince, was so indiscreet as to boast of the favors of a lady of high family, two of whose paramours had already paid the price of their lives for a similar mistake. He was assassinated by her relations; and the lady herself was the same night slain in her bed. To the last, though little regarded by him, nay, treated always with ingratitude, and roughness, Bianca always shewed a lively consideration for her husband's welfare; and had he listened to her representations, he might have avoided his fate. Repeated insolence and insult, not a single transgression, had drawn upon him the revenge of the insulted parties.
Francesco greatly desired a son. He had said that he would, rather than none, welcome even an illegitimate son. Bianca had only borne a daughter to her husband (who afterwards married a Tuscan nobleman.) The Grand-Dutchess had only had daughters. Bianca artfully feigned herself indisposed, and finally produced a child as her own; which, however, was the child of a poor woman, procured by Bianca's agents. Many. suspected the fraud. Francesco was delighted; and even when some years afterwards Bianca confessed the deception, he still persisted in looking upon the child as his own. Bianca's object in this deception is not very clear; nor is it at all defensible. If she desired fraud, as long as her husband continued to believe to provide a male heir to Francesco, why confess the her? Most probably, her object was merely to please him, without proposing any definite end to be gained; she felt herself sure of his regard, the wish not to risk losing it by detection, with which she was continually threatened, enforced by regret at having ever deceived him, made her rather forestall her enemies, and tell him with her own lips the worst he could hear; making the friend, accuser, and culprit all in one, and drowning the deceit in greater ingenuousIf she were artful, this was always the drift of If she struggled, and conquered it, was always with kindness, and womanly gentleness. She has been accused of some tyrannical and bloody deeds in conducting the fraud,-of making away with her own agents, but there is not a credible word in the evidence of that kind, and such proceedings were quite inconsistent with the genius of her alleged artfulness. Don Antonio, the child, was legitimated many years afterwards, by Francesco. His legitimation was revoked by Ferdinand on his accession to the throne, but presently restored; and Ferdinando ultimately procured him the grand prior-ship of the order of Malta.
ness. her art.
In the year 1578 the Grand-Dutchess died. She had not long been dead, when Francesco determined to fulfil a vow he had made during his life-time, to wed Bianca. His decision was much opposed by his confessor, and many of his friends; but he more regarded Bianca's smiles and tears, than the etiquette of courts of priesthood. His determination was strengthened by the tender and solicitudinous care with which she nursed him through a fit of illness. On the morning of the fifth of June, 1579, Bianca entered his apartment, to ask, if he wished to eat; "No," said he, "I feel no appetite." "Well," replied Bianca, "accept
at least this egg from me as a present; eat it, it will certainly do you good." Francesco ate the egg, and said to her: "I feel a great deal better and thank you for your present. I have been a debtor to you this long while, and that debt I now, in return for your kindness, discharge. Here, take my hand; you are my wife." They were on the same day secretly married. The marriage was kept very private during the mourning for the late Grand-Dutchess. Nobody was surprised at Bianca's having apartments assigned her in the palace, because a report prevailed, that she had been appointed governess of the young princesses.
At the expiration of the proper time it was publicly announced. Cardinal Ferdinando seems to have received intelligence of this marriage some time before it was publicly known. He had, indeed, long suspected this step, from his brother's aversion to a match with another princess, and his reconciliation with Bianca. But he had not been apprised of their actually having contracted a matrimonial connection till towards the middle of the year 1579. The illness of his brother at that time called him to Florence, when he perceived that Bianca never left the Grand-Duke, whom she attended with the most assiduous perseverance. The Cardinal having asked him the cause of this particular attachment, the Grand-Duke confessed that they were secretly married. Ferdinando concealed his resentment, and returned to Rome, as soon as the recovery of his brother would permit his departure, without ever disclosing to any one his opinion on the subject.
Francesco and Ferdinando had never agreed; on the contrary, their quarrels were frequent and bitter. Francesco was an inconsiderate impulsive person; Ferdinando proud and irascible; not unkind, but hard, and little softened by sentiments of affection. It was undoubtedly to Bianca's interest to keep friends with Ferdinando; but it must have required more than common temper to do so, even following her interest, with so headstrong and ungrateful a person as the Cardinal. As soon as Bianca was in power, she sought his friendship. The Cardinal, on his part, did not hold back; and many were the benefits that he derived from her kindness. Her intercession often procured him money from his brother, wherewith to make a figure. Her gentleness and quick kindness made them many times reconciled; nay, almost her last act was reuniting the dissevered brothers. And yet the Cardinal denied her virtues, persecuted her very corpse, and blazoned her failings, after her death. Pride is said to be the meanest of passions. The Cardinal's pride made him ungrateful, cowardly, and mean. He accepted favours from the hand he abused, he strove to injure when his interest was not at stake, and forgot every benefit received, when hostility was his readiest way to aggrandizement.
After her marriage, Bianca was created a "Daughter of the Republic," by the Venetian senate, a title which put her upon an equality with the princesses of Italy, and crowned as such with a ducal crown; and shortly after crowned Grand-Duchess of Tuscany. Her marriage was immediately followed by a fresh reconciliation between the Grand Duke and his brother, brought about entirely by her address. Still Ferdinando feared lest Bianca should now present Francesco with a legitimate heir; for the surviving son of Joanna, a very weakly boy, was the only barrier between him and the throne, in case of Francesco's decease. A very delicate and important disputed treaty with the court of Mantua, concerning a marriage between Vincenzio, the Duke of Mantua's son, and the princess Eleonora of Tuscany, was among the things to which her address gave a happy conclusion. It was ever her policy to conciliate every one, and gain her ends by persuasion and gentleness. If this were art, a little more such would hardly make politicians less humane, or every body less happy.
Her married life was past in this way, varied only by hopes and doubts of having a son, which her husband ardently desired. Her cleverness in resolving political discords, and uniting angry powers, obtained for her the admiration of Pope Sixtus V., who was about to pay the court of Tuscany a visit, out of compliment to her, when his intentions were frustrated by the death of Francesco (on the 15th August, 1587,) of an intermittent fever, followed in a few hours by her own, of the like disorder. Francesco was aged forty, Bianca forty-five.
Many stories were circulated concerning the manner of her death; some saying that she had attempted to poison the cardinal in a tart; that the cardinal suspecting, she was obliged to eat of it herself, in order to save her fame, and that her husband ate with her. Others said the cardinal himself had poisoned the tart, and as soon as the poison had taken effect, had locked his brother and sister into a bed-room, suffering no one to enter to assist them. These reports are however all groundless, and on their face absurd, and inconsistent with the the characters of the parties concerned. Thus died Bianca Capello, originally a private gentlewoman, then the wife of a man of obscure origin, then the mistress of the regent prince, and eventually his wife, and dutchess, and one of the most influential personages among the petty states of Italy. were the means she possessed to attain this eminence? Not family importance.-Not wealth.-Not fame, and high estimation. Was it beauty in the first instance? -Granted; but beauty is transient, and produces no lasting impression of any kind. It was then her good
sense, her ready perception of difficulties, and the means to overcome them, supported by an unfailing patience and a happiness of temper, that outlasted every opposing passion in the struggle for power. She conciliated the hostile, subdued the haughty, fixed the fickle, cheered the discontented, and reconciled the quarrels of all around by means of this inexhaustible store of kindleness, which was perpetually called upon, and always given out with liberal and urgent bounty.
FRIENDS AND BOYHOOD.
[We anticipate the feelings of tenderness and respect which the reader will experience in seeing the name which is appended to the following (we believe) original verses. No sickness can extinguish the kindly fire of his nature.]
Talk not of years! 'twas yesterday
The green is gay where gowans grow,
Have we not found that fortune's chace
But seize your glass-another time We'll think of clouded days
I'll give a toast-fill up, my friend! Here's "Boys and merry plays !"
Spenser's Stanza.-It is somewhat remarkable that, notwithstanding Dr. Johnson's objections to the Spenserian stanza, and his presumption of its unfitness for popularity, the best poems of the best poets since that dictum was delivered, have been written in that same despised stanza ! I need only mention "Childe Harold," "Gertrude of Wyoming," and "The Revolt of Islam." Others might be enumerated, such as Burns's "Cottar's Saturday Night;" Shenstone's exquisite "School-mistress," which will keep his name alive; and Beattie's "Minstrel," which, as long as there are young and romantic minds, will find admirers, for it is beautifully descriptive of the yearnings and strugglings of young intellect. Added to these again are Keats's "Eve
St. Agnest," written in the very spirit and warmth of Shakspeare's "Romeo and Juliet;" Wordsworth's noble Laodamia," and John Clare's "Village Minstrel." C. W. Philosophy in Trifles.-Those persons who cannot find pleasure in trifles are generally wise in their own opinion, and fools in the opinion of the wise: they neglect the opportunity of amusement, without which the rugged road of life would be insupportably tedious. I think the French are the best philosophers, who make the most they can of the pleasures, and the least they can of the pains of life; and are ever strewing flowers among the thorns all mortals are obliged to walk through; whereas, by much reflection, the English contrive to feel and see the thorns double, and never see the flowers at all, but to despise them; expecting their happiness from things more solid and durable, as they imagine: but how seldom do they find them! Lady Luxborough's Letters.
Apparent Idleness not always such. Pardon me for differing with you in opinion, you are not the idle man of the creation. You may be busied to the benefit of society without stirring from your seat, as much as the mischievous man, with seeming idleness, may be busied in the destruction of it. You give innocent pleasure to yourself, and instruction as well as pleasure to others, by the amusements you follow. Your pen, your pencil, your taste, and your sincere unartful conduct in life (which are things that make you appear idle) give such an example as it were to be wished might be more generally followed-few have the capacity, fewer the honesty to spend their time so usefully, as well as unblameably. Lady Luxborough's Letters to Shenstone.
his body, and eked out the pension which he received from Government oy working as above stated. One day, having been out delivering coals at a house in the town, he is supposed, while taking some refreshment, to have held his handkerchief to the fire, for, on returning to the coal-yard, in taking it out of his hat, it suddenly burst into a flame. He looked upon it as an omen, cried out, "I am a dead man ;" went home, took to his bed, and in a few days expired.
Death from a Frightened Imagination.--We have all heard of the Italian jester who perished with the mere fear of being executed, and of the criminal, who died in the same manner under the belief that he was being bled to death.-The following similar instance of mortal sensibility is believed to be new to the reading public: About thirty years ago, a man, named Whitwam, was employed in a coal-yard at Taunton, who had been, during the greater part of his life, a soldier in the 33rd regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Webster, and was very actively engaged throughout the American
He had been wounded in almost every part of
True National Spirit. Testimony of an enlightened Frenchman to the merits of England and Germany.The true greatness of a people does not consist in borrowing nothing from others, but in borrowing from all whatever is good, and in perfecting whatever it
appropriates. I am as great an enemy as any one to artificial imitations; but it is mere pusillanimity to reject a thing for no other reason than that it has been thought good by others. With the promptitude and justness of the French understanding, and the indestructible unity of our national character, we may assimilate all that is good in other countries without fear of ceasing to be ourselves. Placed in the centre of Europe, possessing every variety of climate, bordering on all civilized nations, and holding perpetual intercourse with them, France is essentially cosmopolitan; and indeed this is the main source of her great influBesides, civilized Europe now forms but one great family. We constantly imitate England in all that concerns outward life, the mechanical arts, and physical refinements; why, then, should we blush to borrow something from kind, honest, pious, learned Germany, in what regards inward life and the nurture of the soul?-Victor Cousin's Report on the State of Public Instruction in Prussia.
Venetian Horsemanship.-Venice being a city built in the sea, with canals for streets, the other Italians joke the inhabitants on their ignorance of horsemanship, as we joke sailors in England. In Mr. Shepherd's Lite of Poggio Bracciolini, it is related that Antonio Lusco, a friend of Poggio's, in the course of a journey to Vicanza overtook a Venetian, in whose company he rode to Siena, where they took up their lodgings for the night. The inn was crowded with travellers, who, on the ensuing morning, were busily employed in getting their horses out of the stable, in order to pursue their journey. In the midst of the bustle, Lusco perceived his Venetian friend booted and spurred, but sitting with great tranquility at the door of the inn. Surprised at seeing him thus inactive, he told him, that if he wished to become a fellow traveller for that day's journey, he must make haste as he was just going to mount; on which the Venetian said, "I should be happy to accompany you, but I do not recollect which is my horse, and I am waiting till the other guests are gone in order that I may take the beast which is left."
The above is given as a fact. The following is a caricature, in the style of our Irish jokes.
As a Venetian (says Poggio,) was journeying to Trivigi on a hired horse, attended by a running footthe servant received a kick from the beast, and in the first emotion of pain took up a stone and threw it at the agressor; but missing his aim, he hit his master on the loins. The master looking back, and seeing his attendant limping after him at some distance, asked him why he did not quicken his pace. The servant excused himself by saying that the horse had kicked him, on which his master replied, "I see he is a vicious beast, for he has just now given me a severe kick on the back."
A. of Birmingham, on Cricket and other Games, in The lines beginning "When Israel's car," will be inserted the first opportunity. Also the article "On a Stone;" and the "Remarks on the Metropolis" suggested by accompanying a boy to school. Several other papers will be read forthwith, and the authors replied to in our next.
Our cordial thanks are returned to C., to *, to C. W., H. B. D., Orlando, W. H. C., T. R., A constant Reader and Friend, Z., W. D., An Invalid. Hugh Mc'G., G. E. I., A. M. P., and our Norfolk friend J. B., whose invitation we should gladly accept, especially this fine weather, if time and circumstances were as accommodating as he is.
We are obliged by the suggestions of W. M. T., and have thought much on that and similar projects; but must postpone its consideration for the present.
By some chance, which we much regret, the first note written some weeks ago by our fair correspondent I. H. was overlooked.
We are sorry we could not see the "wrestling." Perhaps our correspondent will give us another op portunity.
The "Addison" who translated Anacreon is not the celebrated Addison.
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BREAKFAST IN SUMMER. "Breakfast in Summer!" cries a reader, in some narrow street in a city: "that means, I suppose, a breakfast out of doors, among trees; or at least, in some fine breakfast-room, looking upon a lawn, or into a conservatory. I have no such breakfast-room; the article is not written for me. However, let us see what it says:-let us see whether, according to our friend's recipe,
Editor. Hallo-what is that you are saying? --Oh you "intend nothing personal." Well, it is luckily added; for look you-we should otherwise have "heaped coals of fire on your head." The want of faith we complain of is not the want of faith in books and fancies, but in us and our intentions towards thyself; for how camest thou to suppose that we intended omitting thy breakfast,-thy unsophisticated cup of bohea, and most respectable bread and butter? Why, it is of, and to such breakfasts, that we write most. The others, unless their refinement be of the true, universal sort, might fancy they could do without us: whereas those that really can do so, are not unwilling to give us reception, for sympathy's sake, if for nothing else. To enjoy is to reciprocate. We have the honour (in this our paper-person) of appearing at some of the most refined breakfast-tables in the kingdom, some of these being at the same time the richest, and some the poorest, that epicure could seek or eschew; that is to say, unintellectual epicure; and when such a man is found at either, we venture to affirm that he misses the best things to be found near him. It does not become us to name names; but we may illustrate the matter by saying, that, had it been written forty years back, we have good reason to think that the intentions of the London Journal would have procured it no contemptuous welcome at the breakfast-table of Fox with his lords about him, or Burns with his "bonnie Jeanie❞ at his side. Porcelain, or potter's-clay, silver or pewter, potted meats, oatmeal, or bacon, are all one to us, provided there is a good appetite, and a desire to make the best of what is before us. Without that, who would breakfast with the richest of fools? And with it, who that knows the relish of wit and good humour, would not sit down to the humblest fare with inspired poverty?
Now the art of making the best of what is before us, (not in forgetfulness of social advancement, but in encouragement of it, and in aid of the requisite activity or patience, as the case may require), is one of the main objects of this publication; and as the commoner breakfast seems to require it most, it is to such tables
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the present paper is chiefly addressed,—always supposing that the breakfaster is of an intelligent sort; and not without a hope of suggesting a pleasant fancy or so to the richest tables that may want it. And there are too many such !-perhaps because the table has too many "good things" on it already,-too much potted gout, and twelve-shilling irritability.
Few people, rich or poor, make the most of what they possess. In their anxiety to increase the amount of the means for future enjoyment, they are too apt to lose sight of the capability of them for present. Above all, they overlook the thousand helps to enjoy. ment, which lie round about them free to every body, and obtainable by the very willingness to be pleased, assisted by that fancy and imagination which nature has bestowed, more or less, upon all human beings. Some miscalled Utilitarians, incapable of their own master's doctrine, may affect to undervalue fancy and imagination, as though they were not constituent properties of the human mind, and as if they themselves, the mistakers, did not enjoy even what they do by their very assistance! Why they have fancies for this or that tea-cup, this or that coat, this or that pretty face! They get handsome wives, when they can, as well as other people, and when plain ones would be quite as "useful!" How is that? They pretend to admire the green fields, the blue sky, and would be ashamed to be insensible to the merits of the flowers. How can they take upon them to say where the precise line should be drawn, and at what point it is we are to cease turning these perceptions of pleasure and elegance to account?
The first requisite towards enjoying a breakfast, or anything else, is the willingness to be pleased; and the greatest proof and secrity of this willingness, is the
willingness to please others. "Better" (says a venerable text)" is a dinner of herbs, where peace is, than a stalled ox vith contention." Many a breakfast, that has every er means of enjoyment, is turned to bitterness, by unwilling discordant looks, perhaps to the great misery of some persons present, who would give and receive happiness, if 'at any other table. Now breakfast is a foretaste of the whole day. Spoil that, and we probably spoil all. Begin it well, and if we are not very silly or ill-taught persons indeed, and at the mercy of every petty impulse of anger and offence, we in all probability make the rest of the day worthy of it. These petty impulses are apt to produce great miseries. And the most provoking part of the business is, that for want of better teaching, or of a little forethought, or imagination, they are sometimes indulged in by people of good hearts, who would be ready to tear their hair for anguish, if they saw you wounded or in a fit, and yet will make your days a heap of wretchedness, by the eternal repetition of these absurdities.
It being premised then that persons must come to breakfast without faces sour enough to turn the milk, (and we begin to think that our cautions on this head are unnecessary to such readers as take in the London Journal) we have to inform the most unpretending breakfaster-the man the least capable of potted meats, partridges, or preserves, that in the commonest teaequipage and fare which is set upon his board, he possesses a treasure of pleasant thoughts; and that if he can command but the addition of a flower, or a green bough, or a book, he may add to them a visible grace and luxury, such as the richest wits in the nation would respect.
"True taste," says one of these very persons, (Mr. Rogers in his notes to a poem,) "is an excellent economist. She delights in producing great effects by small means." This maxim holds good, we see, even
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amidst the costliest elegancies; how much more is it precious to those whose means are of necessity small, while their hearts are large? Suppose the reader is forced to be an economist, and to have nothing on his breakfast table but plain tea and bread and butter. Well; he is not forced also to be sordid, or wretched, or without fancy, love, or intelligence. Neither are his tea-cups forced to be ill shaped, nor his bread and butter ill cut, nor his table-cloth dirty and shapeliness and cleanliness are in themselves elegancies, and of no mean order. The spirit of all other elegance is in them, that of selectness,―of the superiority to what is unfit and superfluous. Besides, a breakfast of this kind is the preference, or good old custom, of thousands who could afford a richer one. It may be called the staple-breakfast of England; and he who cannot make an excellent meal of it, would be in no very good. way with the luxuries of a George the Fourth, still less with the robust meats of a huntsman. Delicate appetites may reasonably be stimulated a little, till regularity and exercise put them in better order; and nothing is to be said against the innocencies of honies and marmalades. But strong meats of a morning, are only for those who take strong exercise, or who I ave made up their minds to defy the chances of gout and corpulence, or the undermining pre-digestion of pilltaking.
If the man of taste is able to chuse his mode of breakfasting in summer time, he will of course invest it with all the natural luxuries within his reach. He will have it in a room, looking upon grass and trees, hung with paintings, and furnished with books. He will sit with a beautiful portrait beside him, the air shall breathe freshly into his room, the sun shall colour the foliage at his window, and shine betwixt their checquering shadows upon the table; and the bee shall come to partake the honey he has made for him.
But suppose that a man capable of relishing all these good things, does not possess one of them,-at least can command none that require riches. Nay, suppose him destitute of every thing but the plainest fare, in the plainest room, and in the least accommodating part of a city. What does he do? Or what, upon reflection, may he be led to do? Why, his taste will have recourse to its own natural and acquired riches, and make the utmost it can out of the materials before it. It will shew itself superior to that of thousands of ignorant rich men, and make its good-will and its knowledge open sources of entertainment to him unknown to treasures which they want the wit to unlock. Be willing to be pleased, and the power will soon come. Be a reader, getting all the information you can; and every fresh information will paint some common-place article for you with brightness. Such a man as we have described will soon learn not to look upon the commonest table or chair without deriving pleasure from its shape or shape-ability; nor on the cheapest and most ordinary tea-cup, without increasing that gratification with fifty amusing recollections of books and plants and colours, and strange birds, and the quaint domesticities of the Chinese.
For instance, if he breakfasts in a room of the kind just mentioned, (which is putting the case as strongly as we can, and implics all the greater comforts that can be drawn from situations of a better kind,) he will select the snuggest or least cheerless part of the room, to set his table in. If he can catch a glimpse of a tree from any part of a window, (and a great many more such glimpses are to be had in the city than people would suppose) he will plant his chair, if possible, within view of it; or if no tree is to be had, perhaps the morning sun comes into his room, and he will con
trive that his table shall have a slice of that. He will not be unamused even with the Jack-o'-lantern which strikes up to the ceiling, and dances with the stirring of his tea, glancing and twinkling like some chuckling elfin eye, or reminding him of some wit making his brilliant reflections, and casting a light upon commonplaces. The sun is ever beautiful and noble, and brings a cheerfulness out of heaven itself into the humblest apartment, if we have but the spirit to welcome it.
But if we have neither tree nor sun, and nobody with us to make amends, suppose it winter time, and that we have a fire. This is sun and company too, and such an associate as will either talk with us, if we chuse to hear it; or leave us alone, and gives us comfort, unheard. It is now summer time however, and we had better reserve our talk of fires for colder weather. Our present object is rather to point out some new modes of making the best of imaginary wants, than to dilate upon luxuries recognized by all.
Suppose then, that neither a fire, the great friena in-doors, nor sunshine, the great friend out of doors, be found with us in our breakfast room,-that we could neither receive pleasure from the one, if we had it, nor can command a room into which the other makes its way,-what ornament is there,-what supply of light or beauty could we discover, at once exquisite and cheap-that should furnish our humble board with a grace, precious in the eyes of the most intelligent among the rich? Flowers.-Set flowers on your table, a whole nosegay, if you can get it,— —or but two or three, or a single flower,-a rose, a pink, nay, a daisy. Bring a few daisies and butter-cups from your last field-walk, and keep them alive in a little water; aye, preserve but a branch of clover, or a handful of flowering grass, one of the most elegant as well as cheap of nature's productions,—and you have something on your table that reminds you of the beauties of God's creation, and gives you a link with the poets and sages that have done it most honour. Put but a rose, or a lily, or a violet on your table, and you and Lord Bacon have a custom in common; for that great and wise man was in the habit of having the flowers in season set upon his table,—morning, we believe, noon, and night; that is to say, at all his meals; for dinner, in his time, was taken at noon; and why should he not have flowers at all his meals, seeing that they were growing all day? Now here is a fashion that shall last you for ever, if you please, never changing with silks, and velvets and silver forks, nor dependent upon the caprice of some fine gentleman or lady, who have nothing but caprice and change to give them importance and a sensation. The fashion of the garments of heaven and earth endures for ever, and you may adorn your table with specimens of their drapery,-with flowers out of the fields, and golden beams out of the blue ether.
Flowers on a morning table are specially suitable to the time. They look like the happy wakening of the creation; they bring the perfumes of the breath of nature into your room; they seem the representations and embodiments of the very smiles of your home, the graces of its good-morrow, proofs that some intellectual beauty is in ourselves, or those about us, some house Aurora (if we are so lucky as to have such a companion) helping to strew our life with sweets, or in ourselves some masculine mildness not unworthy to possess such a companion, or unlikely to gain her.
Even a few leaves, if we can get no flowers, are far better than no such ornament,-a branch from the next tree, or the next herb market, or some twigs that have been plucked from a flowering hedge. They are often, nay always, beautiful, particularly in spring when their green is tenderest. The first new boughs in spring, plucked and put into a water-bottle, have often an effect that may compete with flowers themselves, considering their novelty, and indeed
Leaves would be counted flowers, if earth had none. (There is a verse for the reader, and not a bad one, considering its truth). We often have vines (such as they are,-better than none) growing upon the walls of our city houses,- -or clematis, or jessamine,-perhaps ivy on a bit of an old garden-wall, or a tree in a court. We should pluck a sprig of it, and plant it on our breakfast table. It would shew that the cheap elegancies of earth, the universal gifts of the beauty of nature, are not thrown away upon us. They shad
dow prettily over the clean table-cloth or the pastoral milk, like a piece of nature brought in doors. The tender bodies of the young vernal shoots above-mentioned, put into water, might be almost fancied clustering together with a sort of virgin delicacy, like young nymphs, mute-struck, in a fountain. Nay, any leaves, not quite faded, look well, as a supply for the want of flowers,-those of the common elm, or the plane, or the rough oak, especially when it has become gentle with its acorn tassels, or the lime which is tasseled in a more flowery manner, and has a breath as beautiful. Ivy, which is seldom or never brought in doors, greatly deserves to be better treated, especially the young shoots of it, which point in a most elegant manner over the margin of a glass or decanter, seeming to have been newly scissared forth by some fairy hand, or by its own invisible quaint spirit, as if conscious of the tendency within it. Even the green tips of the fir-trees, which seem to have been brushed by the golden pencil of the sun, when he resumes his painting, bring a sort of light and vernal joy into a room, for want of brighter visitors. But it is not necessary to a loving and reflecting spirit to have any thing so good as those. A bit of elm-tree or poplar would do, in the absence of any thing rarer. For our parts, as far as ourself alone is concerned, it seems to us that we would not be mastered by the blackest storm of existence, in the worst pass that our pilgrimage could bring us to, as long as we had shelter over our heads, a table with bread and a cup of tea upon it, and a single one of these green smiles upon the board, to shew us that good-natured Nature was alive.
Does any reader misgive himself, and fancy that to help himself to such comforts as these would be "trifling?" Oh, let him not so condescend to the ignorance of the proud or envious. If this were trifling, then was Bacon a trifler, then was the great Conde a trifler, and the old Republican Ludlow, and all the great and good spirits that have loved flowers, and Milton's Adam himself, nay, heaven itself; for heaven made these harmless elegancies, and blessed them with the universal good will of the wise and innocent. To trifle, is not to make use of small pleasures for the help and refreshment of our duties, but to be incapable of that real estimation of either, which enables us the better to appreciate and assist both. The same mighty energy which whirls the earth round the sun, and crashes the heavens with thunderbolts, produces the lillies of the valley, and the gentle dew-drops that keep them fair.
To return then to our flowers and our breakfasttable,—were time and place so cruel as not to grant us even a twig, still there is a last resource, and a rich one too,-not quite so cheap as the other, but obtainable now-a-days by a few pence, and which may be said to grow also on the public walls,-a book. We read, in old stories, of enchanters who drew gardens out of snow, and of tents no bigger than a nut-shell, which opened out over a whole army. Of a like nature is the magic of a book,—a casket, from which you may draw out at will, bowers to sit under, and affectionate beauties to sit by, and have trees, flowers, and an exquisite friend, all at one spell. We see it now before us, standing among the cups, edgeways, plainlooking, perhaps poor and battered, perhaps bought of some dull huckster in a lane for a few pence. On its back we read, in old worn-out letters of enchantment, the word Milton;" and upon opening it, lo! we are breakfasting forthwith
Betwixt two aged oaks
On herbs and other country messes Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses,
in a place which they call "Allegro." Or the word on the back of the casket is "Pope," and instantly a beauty in a "negligé" makes breakfast for us, and we have twenty sylphs instead of butterflies, tickling the air round about us, and comparing colours with the flowers, or pouncing upon the crumbs that threaten to fall upon her stomacher. Or "Thomson" is the magic name; and a friend still sweeter sits beside us, with her eyes on ours, and tells us with a pressure on the hand and soft low words, that our cup awaits us. Or we cry aloud "Theocritus !" plunging into the sweetest depths of the country, and lo! we breakfast down in a thick valley of leaves and brooks and the brown summer-time, upon creams and honeycombs, the guest of bearded Pan and the Nymphs; while at a distance on
his mountain-top, poor overgrown Polyphemus, tamed and made mild with the terrible sweet face of love, which has frightened him with a sense of new thoughts, and of changes which cannot be, sits overshadowing half of the vineyards below him; and with his brow in tears, blows his harsh reeds over the
Such has been many a breakfast of our own, dear readers, with poverty on one side of us, and these riches on the other. Such must be many of yours; and as far as the riches are concerned, such may be all. But how is this? We have left out the milk, and the bread, and the tea itself! We must have another breakfast with the reader, in order to do them justice.
From the 2nd to the 9th of July.
The following extract from Mr. Howitt's Book of the Seasons, requires no more introduction than a fine day itself. The luxuriance glows upon you at once, and remains fervid and beautiful to the last, like a proper piece of July.
Summer! glowing summer! This is the month of heat and sunshine; of clear, fervid skies, dusty roads, and shrinking streams; when doors and windows are thrown open-a cool gale is the most welcome of all visitors, and every drop of rain is worth its weight in gold! such is July commonly; yet it is sometimes, on the contrary, a very showery month, putting the haymaker to the extremity of his patience, and the farmer upon anxious thoughts for his ripening corn. Generally speaking, however, it is the heat of our summer. The landscape presents an air of warmth, dryness, and maturity; the eye roves over brown pastures, corn fields already white to harvest, dark lines of intersecting hedge-rows, and darker trees, lifting their heavy heads above them. The foliage at this period is rich, full, and vigorous; there is a fine haze cast over distant woods and bosky slopes; and every lofty and majestic tree is filled with a soft shadowy twilight, which adds infinitely to their beauty, a circumstance that has never been sufficiently noticed by either poet or painter. Willows are now beautiful objects in the landscape: they are like rich masses of arborescent silver, especially if stirred by the breeze, their light and fluent forms contrasting finely with the still and sombre aspect of the other trees.
Now is the general season of hay-making. Bands of mowers in their light dresses and broad straw hats, are astir long before the fiery eye of the sun glances along the horizon, that they may toil in the freshness of the morning, and stretch themselves at noon in luxurious ease by trickling waters, and beneath the shade of trees. Till then with regular strokes and a sweeping sound, the sweet and flowery grass falls before them, revealing, at almost every step, nests of young birds, mice in their cozy domes, and the mossy cells of the humble bee streaming with liquid honey; anon, troops of hay-makers are abroad, tossing the green swaths to the sun. It is one of Nature's festivities, endeared by a thousand pleasant memories and habits of the olden days, and not a soul can resist it.
There is a sound of tinkling teems and waggons rolling along lanes and fields the whole country over, aye, even at midnight, till at length, the fragrant ricks rise in the farm yard, and the pale, smooth-shaven fields are left in solitary beauty.
With the exception of a casual song of the lark in a fresh morning, and the blackbird and thrush at sunset, or the monotonous wail of the yellow hammer, the silence of birds is now complete; even the lesser reedsparrow, which may very properly be called the English mock-bird, and which kept up a perpetual clatter with the notes of the sparrow, the swallow, the white-throat, &c., in every hedge-bottom, day and night, has now ceased its song also.
Spring-flowers have given place to a very different class. Climbing plants mantle and festoon every hedge. The wild hop, the bryony, the clematis or traveller's joy, the large white convolvulus, whose bold but deliperiod of the year,-vetches, and white and yellow cate flowers will display themselves to a very late ladies' bed-straw invest every bush with their varied beauty, and breathe on the passers by their faint summer sweetness. The Campanula rotundifolia, the harebell of poets, and the blue-bell of botanists, arrests the eye on every dry bank, rock, and way-side, with its airy stems, and beautiful cerulean bells. There too we behold wild scabiouses, mallows, the woody night-shade, wood-betony and centaury; the red and white striped convolvulus also throws its flowers under your feet; corn-flelds glow with whole armies of scarlet poppies, cockle, and the rich azure plumes of the viper's bugloss; even thistles, the curse of Adam, diffuse a glow of beauty over waste and barren places.
But whoever would taste all the sweetness of July, let him go in pleasant company, if possible, into heaths