Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Meanwhile tidings of this truly dreadful tragedy were | Saxons, first against the Britons, and then against thembrought to Offa, who in an ecstasy of grief "shut to' selves, all trace of the martyr and the place of his the door of his chamber, and forbade all access to his sepulchre had been lost. presence. There lie remained in strict seclusion for How to overcome this, Offa was at a loss to divine, many days, and, when he again came forth, his first act when heaven, we are told, again interposed in was giving command that the guilty Drida should be behalf of the repentant king, and suddenly there “stood thrown headlong into a well! An awful death! just over" the summit of the bill of Holmehurst, a “ray of retribution for her many crimes ! But, whether Otta fire,” like the wondrous star, which, as a beacon light, were actuated by right feeling-whether he sacrificed led the wise men of the east to the lowly manger of his consort to a stern sense of kingly duty, knowing that Bethlehem. With exceeding gladdess, the bishops who "mercy but murders, sparing those that kill,” is very accompanied Offa, (after having fasted, prayed, and disdoubtful.

tributed abundant alms,) proceeded to open the ground, “ To show an unfelt sorrow is an ofice,

whereon the miraculous light shed its encouraging Which the false man does easy."

beam; and there, to their inexpressible joy, they beheld And the king's after conduct seems to prove that his the bones they had so earnestly sought, still resting unignorance of the wicked designs of his wife was only molested in the same coffin in which Germanus had feigned ; and his subsequent grief and indignation af placed them 314 years before. At this “most joyful fected, on finding how hateful in the eyes of his subjects sight,” all present, with one accord, “list up their was the crime coinmitted. For, hardly was the latter sen

voice and wept.” And a strange and most moving tence against his hapless partner executed, than he sight must that have been, of a warlike prince surseized the inheritance of her victim, and joined the rounded by a vast multitude of the great, the noble, and kingdom of East Anglia to that of Mercia.

Fearful the fair, all mingling with his, their tears of gratitude testimony against himself,-going well nigh to prove, and joy! All distinctions were for the time unheeded, that, for the much coveted “parcel of ground," he had

or forgotten; and the haughty Thane, with the despised been willing the once loved Drida should steep her hands Briton,—the cloistered monk, with the worldly courtier, in blood, in order that he might reap the advantage,

the blue-eyed beauty of high descent, with the low-born while she was made to pay the penalty! O closely daughter of the serf, ---cach and all joined with the woven tissue of dark sins! Soon did they rise like monarch and the slave in paying honour to the Saint ! mocking demon forms to haunt his noonday path and His remains were raised from the ground and carried in midnight couch. “ Uncasy lies the head that wears

solemn procession to a little chapel without the walls of an” ill-got “crown," and sleep forsook the monarch's Verulam ; which, from its insignificance and secluded eyes, and peaceful slumber his eyelids. Each night in position, had escaped the ruthless hands of the destroyhis soul's bitter anguish did he cry

ing Saxons, This cell the king decorated in every “ Better be with the dead,

possible way, and there, on the first of August, 791, five

hundred and seven years after his death, with a circlet Than in the torture of the mind to lie In restless ecstasy !”

of gold bound around his fleshless skull, bearing his name To “cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff honourable resting place. . . . Having chosen from the

and title, the martyr was consigned to a temporary, but which weighs upon the heart,”—a sense of untold guilt, Monastery of Bec, in Normandy, a monk named Willegod, Ofta sought the confessional, and with the priestly abso- of piety and wisdom, to be appointed to superintend the lution received command to build a stately monastery, building of the monastery he had vowed to erect, and to and endow it with rich lands in expiation of his crime. take the government of it when completed, Offa with To this he willingly acceled, giving, moreover, a tithe of great pomp laid the foundation stone thereof, on the all his “ worldly goods” to “ Holy Church," and undertaking for his soul's health” a pilgrimage to Rome. very spot where Alban had laid down his life for the

truth, and where his remains had been discovered by This he accomplished in 191, when he renewed his the light vouchsafed from heaven. Kneeling on the promise of erecting a building, worthy to be dedicated | bare ground, with hundreds prostrate around him, the to God and his Saints. On returning to his native land, he turned all his concluded by commending the house about to be built

king pronounced the prayer of dedication, which he thoughts towards the means he should adopt for per to the protection of “ Thee, O Jesus! and to thee, formning his solemn engagement, and prayed carnestly O martyr Alban! and to thee, o Willegod! with maleto God, that, “as he had often delivered him from dietions on all who shall disturb it, and blessings on all the danger and assaults of his enemies, and from the who shall be its benefactors !" traps and snares of his wife, so he would vouchsafe to

(To be continued.) grant him further light and information to enable him to complete his vow of founding a monastery!"

This prayer, we are assured, (though, it must be confessed, on somewhat doubtful autliority,) was answered by

Poetry. the voice of an angel, who, when the king was sojourning at Bath, not long after appeared by his bedside in (In Original Poetry, the Name, real or assumed, of the Author,

is printed in Small Capitals, under the title; in Selections it is the stillness of night, and bade him raise from the printed in Italics at the end.) ground the remains of the blessed martyr Alban, place them in a noble shrine, and raise above it the stately

SONVET. edifice he proposed erecting. Thus was obviated the great difficulty he had hitherto met with in the choice Light dwells with shadows! mountains frown o'er vales ! of a fitting site for the monastery, and the selection of Rocks have their bases hidden from our view; a Saint, on whom to bestow the honour of its dedication. The lightest airs precede the heaviest gales; No sooner had morning dawned than he despatched The hottest suns provoke the earliest dew! missives to the nobles and prelates of his kingdom,

Slips which shake out their white-winged spreading sails commanding them to meet him at Watlingcester, on a

Feel most the blasts that in their wake pursue ; day appointed. A goodly company of all ranks, sexes,

Love's sweetest strain some long-lost joy bewails ; and ages, accompanied the king on his journey, and, as

The toil of many is the gain of few.

Our fairest hopes, to full fruition growu, they neared the place of their destination, they saw, to In forms substantial lose ideal grace, their great astonishment and delight, a bright and

And, as we seek to clasp in our embrace beaming light shining over it. This they regarded as

The full robed image, it lath turned to stone ! a favourable omen; but another difficulty still awaited Thus fade our joys! and, as long years roll on, them, for, during the devastating wars carried on by the Their shadows measure our declining sun!

ΜΕΤΑ.

THE VISION OF ST. JOHN'S EVE.

BY ANNABEL C

Now the fluttering sails at rest,
The vessel on the water's breast,

Rocketh to and fro;
Then they bear her to the shore,
Which she never may leave more,

While their hearts are woe.
Then she knoweth well the shore,
And she knows that never more

Will her steps return
From beneath its shining sky,
To the home for which her eye,

Evermore doth yearn.
Bright the sun, and bright the sky,
Passing fair unto her eye

Everything is there;
Field, and flower, and blossoming tree,
And the widely spreading sea,-

All are strangely fair.
For it is the land that shone
When the eve of good St. John

Told what should betide;
Then, as changed the night for day,
Gently passed her soul away ;-

So the maiden died.

Miscellaneous.

“I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own, but the string that ties them."-Montuigne.

PAINFUL DUTIES OF THE SCHOOLMASTER.

MAIDEN, o'er thy young blue eye
Droops thine eyelid heavily;

Deep thy guileless sleep;
Better were it far could thou
Ever slumber on as now ;-

Thou wilt wake to weep.
Softly on thy forehead white
Falls the moonbeam's hallowing light,

Ev'n as the soul within ;
As that light is pure and fair,
Like the souls of angels are,

Thou art free from sin.
"Tis the eve of good St. John;
Spirits gaze thy sleep upon,

Though thou know'st it not;
And they bear thy soul away
Far, without or stop or stay,

To a distant spot.
Bright the sun, and bright the sky,
Passing fair unto thine eye

Everything is there;
Field, and flower, and blossoming tree,
And the widely spreading sea, -

All are strangely fair.
Fairer secmed they to her then
In her sleep than haunts of men,

Shining wondrously;
And she felt-- she knew not why-
Gazing on them froin on high,

That her soul was free.
Then there came the morning pale,
Stealing through the curtain's veil

To her paler face:
And she woke, while on her brow
That strange dream hath even now

Left its cloudy trace.
Then she knew her doom was scaled,
And her gentle spirit steeled

Quietly to bear;
For she knew, if in that night
The soul bore anywhere its flight,

It died within the year.
When her mother saw her face,
Where there lay the cloudy trace

Of her boding drean,
Much she marvelled that her child
Thus had lost her spirits wild,

And so sad should seem.
Much she marvelled, day by day,
As she saw her fade away,

And she grieved sore;
For her laugh’s clear ringing sound,
That even the deep spirit found,

She heard never more.
Day by day, and week by week,
Paler grew the maiden's cheek, -

Paler, paler still ;
Patiently she bore her lot,
Patiently,—she murmured not

Against a higher will.
Thus she passed on towards the tomb,
In her youth's rich early bloom,

And no moan she made:
Never mourned she that the light
Of her day must die ere night,-

Must so early fade.
They bear her to a southern shore,
Trusting there may bloom once more

Roses on her cheek; Fairest roses those would be, They on earth could ever see,

The roses on her cheek.

There is neither fortune nor fame to be acquired in fulfilling the laborious duties of a village schoolmaster. Doomed to a life of monotonous labour, sometimes requited with ingratitude and injustice by ignorance, he will often be oppressed with melancholy, and perhaps sink under the weight of his thankless toil, if he do not seek strength and courage elsewhere than in the views of immediate and personal interest. He must be sustained and animated by a profound sense of the moral importance of his labours. He must learn to regard the austere pleasure of having served mankind, and secretly contributed to the public weal, as a price worthy of his exertion, which his conscience pays him. It is his glory to aspire to nothing above his obscure and laborious condition, to make unnumbered sacrifices for those who profit by him, to labour, in a word, for man, and wait for his reward from God.-Guizot.

To be humble to superiors, is duty; to cquais, is courtesy; to inferiors, is nobleness; and to all, safety : it being a virtue, that, for all her lowliness, commandeth those souls it stoops to.-Sir Thomas More.

N.B.-- A Stamped Edition of this Periodical can be forwarded free of postage on application to the Publisher, for the conven nience of partics residing at a distance, 23. 6d. per quarter.

CONTENTS.
Page

Page German Peacant tending An Account of the Life and

Cattle, (Illustration by Writings of Madame Gui-
Weigall)

161 zot (continued).............. 168 A Visit to the New Ilouses The Glass Manufacture, of Parliament....... 162 (continued)

170 Frank Fairlegh; or, Old A Chronicle of St. Albans. 172 Companions in New

POETRY: Scenes, Chap. V.-Wo- Sonnet.....

175 man's a Riddle....

164 The Vision of St. John's Rambles in Belgium, No.

Eve....

176 VIII.-Antwerp..

166 | MISCELLANEOUS............... 176

PRINTRD by Richard Clar, of Park Terrace, Highbury, in the Parish of

St. Mary, Islington, at his Printing Ottice, Nos. 7 and 8, Bread Street Hill, in the Farish of St. Nicholas Olave, in the City of London, and published by THOMAS BOWDLER SHARPE, of No. 15, Skinner Street, in the Parish of St. Sepulchre, in the City of London.-Saturday, July 10, 1847.

London Magazine:

A JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT AND INSTRUCTION

FOR GENERAL READING.

No. 90.)

JULY 17, 1847.

-UNSTAMPED, 14d.
STAMPED, 24d.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Swansea Bay. FROM A PAINTING BY E. DUNCAN, ESQ., IN THE NEW BRITISH WATER-COLOUP EXHIBITION.

VOL. IV.

MYSTERIES OF VEGETABLE LIFE. larity with which they are placed around the stem and

branches. Hundreds of little artistically constructed When the child plucks a cowslip from its sunny reservoirs meet the eye of him who examines the archibank, he pauses not to inquire respecting the secret tecture of many water-plants, or beholds with delight wonders of its growth, but goes merrily from brake to the fine air-tubes in stems appearing to the eye but a dell, increasing the number of his flowery cnptives, solid mass of vegetable. As much regularity and symand then hastening home, presents the rich bunch of metry can sometimes be detected in these cell systems, wild beauties to his little sister for a fanciful wreath. by the genius of some great architect.

as in the arrangement of a city, planned and erected With similar emotions may the man nurtured in the But these are not the only hollows which excite the school of Art behold the flowery kingdoms, as tribe admiration of the botanist : others exist throughout the after tribe emerges from the secure retreats where the most solid portions of plants, and in the heart of oak

Let the reader take up a echoes of the north wii.d have been unheard, and the exhibit their minute caves. keen frosts of winter unselt. He is content with gazing piece of deal, mahogany, or other wood, and ask, What

is this substance ? - What is its basis, that from which on the beautiful vision, and delights to enrich his it chiefly rises? Perhaps he has not hitherto suspected imagination with the bright images suggested by a that wood is but a mass of globes, that the trunk of a thousand delicate flower bells trembling in the evening tree is composed of myriads of spheres, so small that breeze, and seeming, in the ear of fancy, to utter a the dimensions of many are not equal to the 500th part fairy peal of melody. But there are also times when of an inch. Thus, in a fragment of wood about the size reason proposes her questions respecting these creations of a marble, ten millions of such minute circles may

exist. These cavities may be seen by the unaided eye, of the spring, and urges the mind to look beyond that in every piece of wood; in the hard mahogany of the veil of material beauty which so often hides the table or writing-desk, or in the trunk of a tree just wonderful workings of God from the eyes of men. It felled : it is, however, through the microscope that we is undoubtedly much easier to ponder with a soft and discern the full development of this vegetable celldreamy delight on the fascinations of the visible, than system, and ascertain that some of the walls of seedto go on a voyage of careful examination into those caves are formed from fine plates of vegetable matier, realms of natural science, which force not their myste

not more than the 2000th part of an inch in thickness.

The first element of vegetable life appears to exist in ries on our view, but quietly wait for the investigations such exceedingly minute cells,--for the whole growth of men. We must ever remember, that, if “the works of the largest oak may be traced to a dark speck, not of the Lord are great,” so is it declared, they are exceeding one 60,000th of an inch in diameter, placed in " sought out by all them who have pleasure therein." the middle of a hollow filled with transparent fiuid. Let us, therefore, at certain times turn from the luxury Vegetables not only arise from these atomic spheres, of seeing the beautiful, to the work of studying the but their whole substance is composed of such circular

Thus, the globular form appears diffused hidden wonders on which all the visible charm of through the universe, being found in the stars and nature depends. The various forms of vegetable life planets, in the atoms of fluids, (such as water, and must, at this season, attract the attention of all, from blood,) and in the organization of plants. A vegetable the peasant, passing in the grey dawn of the morning, may, therefore, be said to contain within itself a whole through lanes adorned with wild flowers, to the Queen, system, a universe, of globes, each being hollow, and who beholds the opening beauties of Windsor park and filled by some fluid, the workings of which are as forest.

necessary to the well-being of that particular plant, as

the movements of the heavenly bodies to the stability Amongst the mysteries of vegetable life must be of the solar system. The laws, too, which regulate the mentioned the system of air-cells, which the researches operations of these countless losts of botanical spheres, of botanists have detected. These are hollows found in are the same with those which determine the swcep of different parts of plants, and, being filled with air, a comet's path, or the movement of the sun and all doubtless contribute to preserve the vitality of the What are the causes which bind these vegetable globules

the planets round their common centre of gravity. vegetable, or increase its reproductive powers. Great together? which fill them with fluids of different kinds, numbers of such cells are found under what may be and form, from such almost invisible pulps, the mast called the skin of plants, and are execedingly numerous in the various aquatic species. Thus the graceful stem

of the hundred-gun ship, the rich colours of the tulip, of a Calla (or Arum). which appears but a mass of soft, mystery:

or the tints of the rose? These are questions involved in

we may elaborate our guesses, and utter, green, staiky substance, presents an elegant arrange with the solemn look of mystified gropers, the words — ment of air-cells into which the atmospheric gases pour Electricity!" Attraction !” and such like phrases ; their energies. Plants and animals have a resemblance but still the darkness lowers over our philosophy, nor in this respect; the lungs of the latter being but a does light appear in reply to our cabalistic mutterings. complicated machine to act upon the air, whilst the air. Thus the mind, whilst grasping at infinity, and looking cells of the former indicate a somewhat similar upon the circle of things created as a field for the viemechanism in some of our most delicate flowering tories of the understanding, finds her genius baffled by vegetables. Some may here exclaim against the use a weed turned up by the plough. The cells of a plant, of such an engineering term as “mechanism” in con- and the delicate structures of the vegetable membrance, nexion with the beauties of the floral kingdom. But puzzle the keenness which can detect the past history let us assure thee, lady or gentleman, as the case of the earth, and read the chronicles of a bygone world may be, that the most refined engineering, and the in the cleft recesses of the Andes or Himalayas. It highest mechanism, are developed by quiet violets in must, however, be evident, that the simplest vegetable their leafy nooks, and by the numerous flowers which is a most complex structure, and possessed of a magive a grace to ourdrawing rooms, or enrich our conserva chinery by which ail the singular prodnctions of flowers, tories. The mechanism of a steam-engine is not a more the diversity of colours, and the whole charmed circle appropriate expression, than the mechanism of a flower; of vegetable beauty, spring into a luxuriant and refor numerous are the contrivances by which life is im- joicing life. parted and preserved in a rose or a lily.

So extensive is the influence of the delicate tissue That these air-cells are connected in some important organization in plants, that botanists have been comway with the life of a plant, is evident from the regu- 1 pelled to classify the various kinds of such structure

observed in the thin membranes of vegetables. When, higher up in the opposite. From what principle do the interior of a branch or stem exhibits multitudes of these plant-fingers arise; what cause directs thein when fine lines, the tissue is called fibrous, and may be to turn to the right, and when to the left ? The question likened to a cord spun from a number of threads. These is one which a pratiling child may put to its nurse, but fibres are often not more than 1-10.000th of an inch in to furnish a sufficient reply has hitherto perplexed the thickness, and some are supposed to be hollow, and acutest thinkers. filled with a transparent fluid, which may bear the same some reader, unconscious of the grand mysteries to relation to the life of a plant as the blood of animals to which little things may supply the key, will probably their existence. The solidity of the fibrous threads exclaim, “ And why should man employ his lotty intelis asserted by some, and upon this delicate question lect, and waste his imagination, in meditating over the philosophers may debate with as much earnestness as twistings of a weed? What matters it whether the pea upon some more stirring problem in human history; | tendril turn east or west, north or south?” Let such but the reader will probably feel little desire to enter on a one learn that a high importance may in some way so abstruse a discussion. It is not, however, useless for attach to a fact, which man, with all his powers of rehim to know, that there is something in the leaf of a search, and the methods of the Baconian philosophy at cactus or a campamla which excites the curiosity, his disposal, cannot understand. Surely it is not a trifle while it bafiles the skill, of first-rate physiologists. It is which thus lists up its head before man in his own world, well to feel how closely around us the mysterious presses, and eludes his deepest scrutinies. Such studies would lest we forget the wonders of the Divine works, amid not be useless did they only tend to restrain our exagthe common things and pursuits of our daily life. gerated notions of the powers of the human intelleet, of

The next class of tissue structure called the which we sometimes speak as if it were the lord of cellular, in which the whole substance of the plant is nature, and the diviner of surrounding mysteries. To composed of a countless host of minute cells, formed of be baffled by a fact in the history of a weed, must surely matter so delicate and transparent, that the finest pro recall our vaunting spirits to a juster apprehension of ductions of human art would resemble coarse canvass, their weakness than we are wont to cherish. But such if brought into comparison with these elegant memn studies are not so unworthy men of the highest knowbranes. Each cell is placed close to the next; and as ledge and the most comprehensive understanding as all generally possess a globular form, the shrub or tree some may suppose. Goethe, the great Gerinan poet, may be considered as consisting of an accumulation whose genius dwelt amid the strange life of the “ Faust, of spheres. This is most abundant in the more delicate and depicted the depths of tempied hearts, found in plants, and fruits; and he who crushes a strawberry this subject-the spiral tendency of vegetation-a theme may feel assured, that thousands of crystal vases have full of interest for his mind. One remarkable fact conbeen shivered by the act, and their rich tuid poured out nected with this spiral structure is the peuliar arrangeas wine from shattered bottles. These cells frequently ment of the leaves round the stems of many plants. If assume other forms than the spherical; sometimes exhi- the reader will examine the branch of an apple or pearbiting layers of little cubical bodies, resembling fairy: tree, and observe the position of the leaves, he will see like genis, cut into tiny plates, from which a poet might that a thread passed round the twig close by cach leaf, form a palace for Oberon or Titania. Often these cuvi- will form what is called a spiral. And the convolutions ties take a starry shape, and exhibit to the scrutinizing of these leaves follow a peculiar mathematical law, so naturalist an endless diversity of elegant outlines, that a certain number of turns make one spiral, upon whilst, at other times, he observes the tissue arranged which a fixed number of leaves is found. To express in the forın of columns, as if supporting the roof of this fact, botanists have called in the aid of arithmetical some minute floral temple. These various cells may fractions; thus in one species of digitalis, we find that be regarded as the laboratories of the piant, in which eight turns are made belore the spiral is completed, and the tluids are prepared by a wonderful system of silent that twenty-one leaves exist along the whole line of the and invisible chemistry. They are at first filled with a

convolution; to express this we write ; the upper line, clear liquid ; this changes into starch, and thus exhibits

21' a decisive proof, that powerful agencies have been ope- or numerator, denotes the number of windings round rating on the fluid. We soon find a resinous substance the stem in a spiral, and the bottom line, or denominain the cells, which is supposed to furnish the colouring tor, the number of leaves. Such a fraction, therefore, matter to the sap, and from it proceed the various oils represents one systum of spirals, many of which may and gummy matter supplied by many plants. Thus, in exist upon a branch. The reader may perhaps ask, millions of cells invisible to the human eye, a secret What is the difference between a turn and a spiral?" chemistry works through every spring, and summer, Suppose the first leaf of a spiral be observed, and the with unerring results, in all the regions of the globe. reader follows the leaves once round the branch till he We gaze with surprise at some development of human ar: comes exactly over the first leaf; if another leaf or bud when the metallurgist produces his bright metal from the be in that spot, then the spiral will be completed in one rude ore, or when the glass-worker brings his transparent turn ; but if not, let him continue to follow the leaf line production from a heap of ashes and sand ; but around till he again comes over the first bud; if a leat be in us, and beneath our very feet, in our lanes and gardens, that part of the stem, the spiral is finished in two turns. more wonderful phenomena exist, bearing powerful Thus the botanist forms his systems of spirals, which the witness to the all-glorious workings of God in the world mighty causes working in the silent deeps of nature of matter. What a witness to His ever present agency had previously produced. As we know not the causes are the delicate cells of plants, in which lle works as of these appearances in vegetation, neither can we at gloriously as in the more visible operations of the present say what peculiar results may hereafter flow celestial movements.

from the recognition of such laws. But the first great We may now notice a peculiarity in vegetation which object is to notice the facts in nature, then to extract a has excited the most searching inquiries of studious meaning which may lead to further discoveries. The botanists; we allude to the singular winding structure spirals and twinings of plants may be the key to unlock exhibited in many plants; so that the tissue tends to the recesses of some hidden power now working beneath grow in spirals, and produces a series of convolutions a thick veil, through which neither pinysiological nor on the stems and branches. The most careless man chemical skill can pierce. Whenever, therefore, the must have observed this in climbing shrubs, the tendrils reader observes the tendrils of a honeysuckle, or the of which generally wind in a fixed direction, some spirals along a pear-branch, he may feel that in such a species turning from left to right, others from right to simple fact he beholds the boundary line of human left, and a few present us with alternations of such con knowledge in that direction ; all beyond may be most volutions, twisting in one direction for a space, and marvellous, most overpowering in iis displays of the

8

66

« IndietroContinua »