Зображення сторінки

Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?
Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden

By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade,
Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue which at sunrise play'd ? Perhaps thou wert a Priest-if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles. Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,

Has hob-a-nobb'd with Pharoah glass to glass;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doff'd thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when arm'd,

Roman soldier maul'd and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm'd,

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :-
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations; The Roman empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled. Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,

O'erthrew Osiris, Orns, Apis, Isis,
And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confess'd,

The nature of thy private life unfold :-
A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,

And tears adown that dusky cheek have rollid :

Have children climb'd those knees and kiss'd that face? What was thy name and station, age and race?

Statue of flesh-immortal of the dead!

Imperishable type of evanescence ! Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,

And standest undecay'd within our presence,
Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment morning,
When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning.
Why should this worthless tegument endure,

If its undying guest be lost for ever?
O let us keep the soul embalm’d and pure

In living virtue, that when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
The immortal spirit in the skies may bloom.

New Monthly Magazine.


Rings, says the acute and learned Whitaker, are derived to us from a cnstom, as universal as the love of ornament among the nations of the earth, and common to the Romans, the Gauls, and the Britons; while the mode of wearing them is wholly Roman among us at present,

and has always been so since the Roman conquest. This we may collect from several circumstances, little in themselves, independent of each other, but uniting in one testimony. The Romans wore rings even so familiarly upon their thumbs, that, among many evidences of the bodily hugeness of the emperor Maximius the elder, his thumb is recorded to have been so large as to bear upon it his queen's right hand bracelet for a ring. We correspondently find “ upon rebuilding the abbey church of St. Peter, Westminster, by King Henry II),” that “the sepulchre of Sebert, king of the East Angles, was opened, and therein was found part of his royal robes, and his thumb-ring, in

which was set a ruby of great value." We also know

an alderman's thumb-ring” to have been an object familiar to the eyes of Shakspeare*. This practice continued among us long after the days of Shakspeare; an alderman's thumb-ring continued to be noticed for its singularity as late as the middle of the seventeenth centuryt. But the Romans also placed the ring upon one of their fingers, the large statues in bronze of emperors and empresses at Portici, having each of them à ring upon the fourth finger; and Pliny informing us “ that the custom was originally to wear it upon the finger next to the least,” as we see in the statues of Numa and Servius Tullius. The custom of the kings was thus revived by the emperors, and continued very late. But in the interval between the revived and the original custom, the ring was put by the Romans on the fore-finger, “the very images of the gods," says Pliny, “ carrying it on the finger next the thumb," and a Roman monument remaining, in which a man appears actually putting a ring upon the fore-finger of a woman in the act of marrying her. We accordingly use rings upon both these fingers at present. But we denominate the fourth particularly, just as the Romans and Saxons did, the ring-finger, as being that on which the ring is placed in marriages; while the native Britons, like the Gauls, wore the ring upon the middle-finger, the very finger which alone was excepted by the Romans; thus, in 1012, on removing the bones of Dunstan at Canterbury, by four men who had been the depositors of his body before, in what is called a mausoleum, and who now opened it; “ they found the bones more valuable than gold and topazes, the flesh having been consumed by length of time; and recognized that ring put upon his finger when he was committed to the grave, which he himself is reported to have made in his

*“When I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle's talon in the waist; I could have crept into an alderman's thumb-ring.

Henry IV. part I. act 11. + An alderman's thumb-ring is mentioned by Brome in 1640; in the Northern Lass," 1632; and in “ Wit in a Constable,” 1640.

tender years.” The bones were then transferred to Glastonbury, and one hundred and ninety-two years afterwards again found there; the explorers coming to “a coffin of wood, bound firmly with iron at all the joints," opening this, seeing the bones within, “ with his ring upon a particular bone of his finger; and to take away all semblance of doubt, discovering his picture within the coffin, the letter S, with a glory on the right side of the coffin, the letter D, with a glory on the left.” The ring was put upon the finger of a bishop at his burial, because a bishop always wore a ring in his life; and because he wore it, as Queen Elizabeth wore one through life with the same reference to kingdom, in token of his marriage to his diocese.


SYLPH-LIKE, and with a graceful pride,
I saw the wild Louisa glide
Along the dance's glittering row,
With footsteps soft as falling snow.
On all around her smiles she pour’d,
And though by all admired, adored,
She seem'd to hold the homage light,
And careless claim'd it as her right.
With siren voice the lady sung:
Love on her tones enraptured hung,
While timid awe and fond desire
Came blended from her witching lyre.
While thus, with unresisted art,
The enchantress melted every heart,
Amid the glance, the sigh, the smile,
Herself unmoved and cold the while,
With inward pity eyed the scene,
Where all were subjects—she a queen!

Again I saw that lady fair;
Oh! what a beauteous change was there!

[ocr errors][merged small]

In a sweet cottage of her own
She sat, and she was all alone,
Save a young child she sung to rest
On its soft bed, her fragrant breast.
With happy smiles and happy sighs,
She kiss'd the infant's closing eyes,
Then, o'er him in the cradle laid,
Moved her dear lips as if she pray'd.
She bless'd him in his father's name:
Lo! to her side that father came,
And, in a voice subdued and mild,
He bless'd the mother and her child!
I thought upon the proud saloon,
And that Enchantress Queen; but soon
Far-off Art's fading pageant stole,
And Nature fill'd my thoughtful soul!



“Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which, in all tongues,

are called Fools." --Shakspeare.

In this country, we read that fools were considered as necessary personages, not only at court, but in most families of consequence. It was the pride, perhaps, of our ancestors, in general, to be able occasionally to triumph over their less acute or less fortunate fellowcreatures ; they, therefore, felt much pleasure from the continual presence of these objects of derision. The court fools were authorised characters, who used, without regard to persons or circumstances, to afford amusement by their wit; and there are numerous wellauthenticated instances of their giving reproofs to the sovereign, upon foibles at which no other subject dared to hint.

The accounts of the household expenses of our sovereigns contain many payments and rewards to fools, both foreign and domestic, the motives for which do not

« НазадПродовжити »