Зображення сторінки

more been given to humanity, sorrow would have had felling whole trees for our fires, and preparing, if nemore power over it. The limitation thus given to our cessary, a space for our tents. In less than ten mioutes knowledge is likewise the limitation of our pangs. We our three lodges would be pitched, each with such a pay, in oversights which occasion much trouble, for the blaze in front, as virtually imparted a new sense of enspeedy replacement of sighs by smiles. A beautiful joyment to all the young campaigners, while through compromise it is in our nature, which gives us Memory the crackling flames were to be seen the requisite numto preserve past ideas, and enable us to accumulate ber of pots and kettles for our supper. Our beds were them in the mind, yet at the same time plants a prin- next laid, consisting of an oil-cloth spread on the bare ciple by which the seams of care are obliterated, and earth, with three blankets and a pillow, and, when octhe machine continually re-arranged for new and happy casion demanded, with cloaks and greatcoats at discreexperiences. From none but a Divine Source could have tion; and whether the wind howled or the rain poured, come a decree so beneficent towards us mortals—mak- our pavilions of canvas formed a safe barrier against ing us feel as if Heaven itself rocked the cradle of our the weather. While part of our crews, comprising all life, dried our tears, and hymned us into rest. Poor the landsmen, were doing duty as stokers, and cooks, children we are all—mere breath that has come from and architects, and chambermaids, the more experienced the true Source of Power. Oh, let us keep ever in voyageurs, after unloading the canoes, had drawn them view, as essential to one of the greatest maxims sent us on the beach with their bottoms upwards, to inspect, thence, besides being needful to our deliverance from and, if needful, to renovate, the stitching and the gumall trouble, that there is nothing like this—to FOR- ming; and as the little vessels were made to incline on GET! !

one side to windward, each with a roaring fire to leeward, the crews, every man in his own single blanket,

managed to set wind, and rain, and cold at defiance, SIR GEORGE SIMPSON'S OVERLAND JOURNEY almost as effectually as ourselves. ROUND THE WORLD.

• Weather permitting, our slumbers would be broken An overland journey to India is performed by sea, with about one in the morning by the cry of, “ Lève, lève, the exception of the narrow Isthmus of Suez; but an lève!” In five minutes-wo to the inmates that were overland journey round the world is a vastly different slow in dressing !-the tents were tumbling about our thing. In the latter, the traveller traverses three con ears; and within half an hour the camp would be tinents-Europe, Asia, and America—and crosses the raised, the canoes laden, and the paddles keeping time Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But Sir George Simpson, to some merry old song. About eight o'clock, a conin addition to this, paid a flying visit to the Sand- venient place would be selected for breakfast, about wich Islands, in the middle of the North Pacific, and three-quarters of an hour being allotted for the multicoasted along the opposite American shores for a dis- farious operations of unpacking and repacking the equitance of some 25 degrees. The idea of such a journey page, laying and removing the cloth, boiling and frying, bewilders the imagination. The exploits of the circum- eating and drinking; and while the preliminaries were navigators seem nothing in comparison ; and one feels arranging, the hardier among us would wash and shave, disposed to place Sir George at the head of all adven- each person carrying soap and towel in his pocket, and turers of his class. But when we remember, as re- finding a mirror in the same sandy or rocky basin that member we must, the changed circumstances of the held the water. About two in the afternoon we usually world even since the most recent of preceding expedi- put ashore for dinner; and as this meal needed no fire, tions-when we find that our hero' traversed the two or at least got none, it was not allowed to occupy more oceans by means of steam--that he found the savages than twenty minutes or half an hour.' of America tamed at least into submission—the mur.

Their course through Lake Superior was to some exderers of Cook a comparatively civilised and somewhat tent impeded by ice; but they at length arrived at luxurious people—and the deserts of Siberia the track Fort-William, at its extremity, and exchanged their of a regular commerce-our surprise diminishes, while vessels for two smaller canoes, better adapted for the our interest increases. In fact, we know of no book shallower and more intricate river navigation that was more suggestive than the one before us of proud and to follow. The following is a picture on the route :elevating thoughts-more conclusive, when taken as a The river, during the day's march, passed through whole, of the rapid advancement of mankind in their forests of elm, oak, pine, birch, &c. being studded with glorious but indefinite career. *

isles not less fertile and lovely than its banks; and Sir George, accompanied by some other gentlemen many a spot reminded us of the rich and quiet scenery connected with the service of the Hudson's Bay Com- of England. The paths of the numerous portages were pany, left Liverpool on the 4th of March 1841, and on spangled with violets, roses, and many other wild the 20th arrived at Boston. From Montreal he em- flowers; while the currant, the gooseberry, the raspbarked on the St Lawrence in light canoes, with the berry, the plum, the cherry, and even the vine, were Earls of Caledon and Mulgrave, who visited the wilds abundant. All this bounty of nature was imbued, as of America to enjoy the amusement of hunting. The it were, with life by the cheerful notes of a variety of nature of this part of the route may be collected birds, and by the restless flutter of butterflies of the from the following picturesque description :- To begin brightest hues. Compared with the adamantine deserts with the most important part of our proceedings--the of Lake Superior, the Kaministaquoia presented a perbusiness of encamping for our brief night-we se- fect paradise.' Here is another, for the sake of conlected, about sunset, some dry and tolerably clear spot; trast :-On the morrow, towards noon, we made a short and immediately on landing, the sound of the axe portage from the Macan to a muddy stream falling into would be ringing through the woods, as the men were Lac la Pluie. As we were passing down this narrow

and shallow creek, fire suddenly burst forth in the * Narrative of a Journey Round the World during the Years woods near us. The flames, crackling and clamber1841 and 1842. By Sir George Simpson, Governor-in-Chief of the ing up each tree, quickly rose above the forest; within a Hudson's Bay Company's Territories in North America. London:

few minutes more, the dry grass on the very margin of

Colburn. 1847.

the waters was in a running blaze; and before we were ing him about, and pulling his hair, which was so dif. well clear of the danger, we were almost enveloped in ferent from their own flowing locks; and at length clouds of smoke and ashes. These conflagrations, often they came to the conclusion that Pierre Bungo was the caused by a wanderer's fire, or even by his pipe, deso- oddest specimen of a white man that they had ever late large tracts of country, leaving nothing but black seen.' and bare trunks, and even these sometimes mutilated Leaving Fort Carlton on the 19th of July, they eninto stumps-one of the most dismal scenes on which the joyed a buffalo hunt, which appears to be a game of eye and the heart can look. When once the consuming mere slaughter ; and then come into play the science element gets into the thick turf of the primeval wilder- and art of curing what has been killed. Sometimes ness, it sets everything at defiance; and it has been dried meat is preferred, the bones being taken out, and known to smoulder for a whole winter under the deep the 'flesh hung up in the sun; but if pemmican be snow.'

the order of the day, the lean, after being dried, is After traversing Lac la Pluie, Sir George was pre- pounded into dust, which, being put into a bag made sented with a letter, congratulating him on his arrival, of the hide, is enriched with nearly an equal weight of and soliciting an audience. The letter was written in melted fat.' On this food the traveller lives very well; English, and in good set terms, by one of about a hun- although occasionally there are scenes of famine as well dred Salteaux warriors ; but as soon as a favourable as repletion. In the year 1820, when wintering at answer was received, his red children'set themselves Athabasca Lake, our provisions fell short at the estabto work to 'pelt away at him with their incantations.' lishment, and on two or three occasions I went for three Gathering round a fire, they endeavoured to bend his whole days and nights without having a single morsel mind to their wishes by charms, rattles, and burnt to swallow; but then, again, I was one of a party of offerings, and closed the performance by marching eleven men and one woman who discussed three ducks round the circle, singing, whooping, and drumming. and twenty-two geese at a sitting. On the SaskatThe object of these literary savages was to obtain a chewan the daily rations are eight pounds of meat arenewal of the abolished gift of rum!

head, whereas in other districts, our people have been On reaching Red River settlement, they had accom sent on long journeys with nothing but a pint of meal plished a voyage of two thousand miles. This was and some parchment for their sustenance.' founded by Lord Selkirk in 1811, in pursuance of his Fort Edmonton is the capital of a district as large as plans of British emigration; but after his death, in 1820, England, yet containing a population of less than sevenit received no encouragement from government. The teen thousand natives. Leaving this place, the ground census, notwithstanding, numbers at present five thou- began to rise more perceptibly, and the scenery to assand souls; and the population, consisting of Scotch sume a wilder character, while even the willow and Highlanders, Orkneymen, and half - breeds from the poplar disappeared, and nothing was to be seen but Swampy Crees Indians, doubles itself every twenty the black, straight, naked stem of the pine, shooting up years. · Fort Garry, the principal establishment in the to an unbroken height of eighty or a hundred feet; place, is situated at the forks of the Red River and the while the sombre light, as it glimmered along numberAssiniboine, being about fifty miles from Lake Winipeg, less vistas of natural columns, recalled to the imaginaand about seventy-five from the frontier; and it occu- tion the gloomy shades of an assemblage of venerable pies, as nearly as possible, the centre of the settlement. cathedrals.' At length, about seven hours of hard work This, which is the official residence of the governor of brought us to the height of land, the hinge, as it were, the colony, is a regularly-built fortification, with walls between the eastern and the western waters. We breakand bastions of stone. Nearly opposite, on the right fasted on the level isthmus, which did not exceed fourbank of the united streams, is the Roman Catholic teen paces in width, filling our kettles for this our cathedral. The principal Protestant church is about lonely meal at once from the crystal sources of the two miles further down, on the left bank.

Columbia and the Saskatchewan, while these feeders of In the immediate neighbourhood of this last-men-two opposite oceans, murmuring over their beds of tioned place of worship stands the Red River Academy mossy stones, as if to bid each other a long farewell,

a large and flourishing school, kept by Mr and Mrs could hardly fail to attune our minds to the sublimity Macallum, for the sons and daughters of gentlemen of the scene.' in the service. Below Fort Garry many respectable The descent of the mountains towards the Pacific is dwellings, most of them of two storeys, belong to the beautifully described, but with little of human interest, wealthier class of inhabitants. The lower fort, which if we except the scantiness of the travellers' supplies is about four times the size of the upper establishment, of food, only indifferently assisted by boiled moss and is in process of being enclosed by loopholed walls and cakes of hips and haws,' and of an almost tasteless bastions. This is my own head-quarters when I visit bulb called kamma. These delicacies are gathered and the settlement; and here also resides Mr Thom, the prepared by the women, while the men occasionally do recorder of Rupert's Land-so named in the royal worse than lounge. “In one tent a sight presented charter.'

itself which was equally novel and unnatural. SurFrom this place their journey lay over a series of rounded by a crowd of spectators, a party of fellows plains, diversified by a constant succession of small were playing at cards, obtained in the Snake Country lakes, and occasionally sand-hills, but terminating near from some American trappers; and a more melancholy the settlement of Carlton in scenes like this :- In the exemplification of the influence of civilisation on barafternoon we traversed a beautiful country, with lofty barism could hardly be imagined, than the apparently hills and long valleys, full of sylvan lakes, while the scientific eagerness with which these naked and hungry bright green of the surface, as far as the eye could savages thumbed and turned the black and greasy reach, assumed a foreign tinge under an uninterrupted pasteboard. After passing Fort Colvile, they enprofusion of roses and blue-bells. On the summit of one barked on the Columbia, and suffering much from the of these hills, we commanded one of the few extensive heat, arrived in due time at the embouchure of the prospects that we had of late enjoyed. One range of river in the Pacific. heights rose behind another, each becoming fainter as it Sir George now proceeded on a long voyage along the receded from the eye, till the farthest was blended, in coast to Sitka, and here the character of the savages almost undistinguishable confusion, with the clouds, appears to change. In the fleet that swarmed around while the softest vales spread a panorama of hanging us we observed two peculiarly neat canoes, with fourcopses and glittering lakes at our feet.' Here a story is teen paddles each, which savoured very strongly of told of certain unsophisticated savages who had never honeymoon. Each carried a young couple, who, both seen Europeans before, and who were greatly puzzled in dress and demeanour, were evidently a newly-married by the appearance among the strangers of a negro. pair. The gentlemen, with their “arms around their This man they inspected in every possible way, twist-dearies 0,” were lavishing their little attentions on the

ladies, to the obvious satisfaction of both parties. The Spaniards, are a disgrace not only to Europe, but to brides were young and pretty, tastefully decked out with human nature. • When the incursions of the savages beads, bracelets, anklets, and various ornaments in their have appeared to render a crusade necessary, the alcade hair, and, above all, with blankets so sweet, and sound, of the neighbourhood summons from twelve to twenty and clean, that they could not be otherwise than new. colonists to serve, either in person or by substitute, on The bridegrooms were smart, active, handsome fellows, horseback; and one of the foreign residents, when all as fine as a holiday, and more particularly proud of nominated, about three years before, preferred the altertheir turbans of white calico.' The following is extremely native of joining the party himself, in order to see curious :—' In addition to the mode of dressing the hair, something of the interior. After a ride of three days, the people of this coast have several other peculiarities, they reached a village, whose inhabitants, for all that which appear to indicate an Asiatic origin. In taking a the crusaders knew to the contrary, might have been woman to wife, the husband buys her from her father as innocent in the matter as themselves. But, even for a price as his perpetual property; so that, if she without any consciousness of guilt, the tramp of the separate from him, whether through his fault or her horses was a symptom not to be misunderstood by the own, she can never marry another during his life. savages; and accordingly, all that could run, compris. Again, with respect to funerals: the corpse, after being ing of course all that could possibly be criminal, fled kept for several days, is consumed by fire, while the for their lives. Of those who remained, nine persons, widow, if any there be, rests her head on the body till all females, were tied to trees, christened, and shot. dragged from the flames, rather dead than alive, by her with great difficulty and considerable danger, my inrelatives. If the poor creature recovers from the effects formant saved one old woman, by conducting her to a of this species of suttee, she collects the ashes of her short distance from the accursed scene ; and even there deceased lord and master, which she carries about her he had to shield the creature's miserable life by drawing person for three long years; and any levity on her part a pistol against one of her merciless pursuers. She during this period, or even any deficiency in grief, ultimately escaped, though not without seeing a near renders her an outcast for ever.' Here is a true Ara- relative, a handsome youth, who had been captured, bian trait:-* If a stray enemy, who may find himself in slaughtered in cold blood before her eyes, with the outthe vicinity of one of their camps, can proceed, before ward and visible sign of regeneration still glistening on he is recognised, to the chief's lodge, he is safe, both in his brow. Yet the Spaniards of the Pacific are very person and in property, on the easy condition of making different beings among themselves. Of the women, a small present to his protector. The guest remains as with their witchery of manner, it is not easy, or rather long as he pleases, enjoying the festivity of the whole it is not possible, for a stranger to speak with imparvillage ; and when he wishes to depart, he carries away tiality, inasmuch as our self-love is naturally enlisted in his property untouched, together with a present fully favour of those who, in every look, tone, and gesture, equal to what he himself may have given.' The savages have apparently no other end in view than the pleasure along the whole coast live well, having no want of fish, of pleasing us. With regard, however, to their physical berries, seaweed and venison.

charms, as distinguished from the adventitious accomAccording to the whole tenor of my journal, this plishments of education, it is difficult even for a willing labyrinth of waters is peculiarly adapted for the powers pen to exaggerate. Independently of feeling or motion, of steam. In the case of a sailing vessel, our delays their sparkling eyes and glossy hair are in themselves and dangers would have been tripled and quadrupled sufficient to negative the idea of tameness or insipidity; ---a circumstance which raised my estimate of Vancou- while their sylph-like forms evolve fresh graces at every ver's skill and perseverance at every step of my pro- step, and their eloquent features eclipse their own ingress. After the arrival of the emigrants from Red herent comeliness by the higher beauty of expression. River, their guide, a Cree of the name of Bras Croche, Though doubtless fully conscious of their attractions, took a short trip in the Beaver. When asked what he yet the women of California, to their credit be it spoken, thought of her--" Don't ask me," was his reply; "I do not “ before their mirrors count the time," being, on cannot speak : my friends will say that I tell lies when the contrary, by far the more industrious half of the I let them know what I have seen; Indians are fools, population. In California, such a thing as a white serand know nothing ; I can see that the iron machinery vant is absolutely unknown, inasmuch as neither man makes the ship to go, but I cannot see what makes the nor woman will barter freedom in a country where proiron machinery itself to go.” A savage stands nearly as visions are actually a drug, and clothes almost a supermuch in awe of paper, pen, and ink, as of steam itself; fuity; and accordingly, in the absence of intelligent and if he once puts his cross to any writing, he has assistance, the first ladies of the province, more partirarely been known to violate the engagement which cularly when treated, as they too seldom are by native such writing is supposed to embody or to sanction. To husbands, with kindness and consideration, discharge him the very look of black and white is a powerful all the lighter duties of their households with cheerful“medicine." A dreadful system of slavery prevails on ness and pride. Nor does their plain and simple dress the north-west coast. “These thralls are just as much savour much of the labour of the toilet. They wear the property of their masters as so many dogs, with a gown sufficiently short to display their neatly-turned this difference against them, that a man of cruelty and foot and ankle, in their white stockings and black ferocity enjoys a more exquisite pleasure in tasking, or shoes, while, perversely enough, they bandage their starving, or torturing, or killing a fellow-creature, than heads in a handkerchief, so as to conceal all their hair in treating any one of the lower animals in a similar except a single loop on either cheek ; round their shoulway. Even in the most inclement weather, a mat or a ders, moreover, they twist or swathe a shawl, throwing piece of deer-skin is the slave's only clothing, whether over all, when they walk or go to mass, the “ beautiful by day or by night, whether under cover or in the open and mysterious mantilla.” air. To eat without permission, in the very midst of • The men are generally tall and handsome, while an abundance which his toil has procured, is as much their dress is far more showy and elaborate than that of as his miserable life is worth ; and the only permission the women. ... Implicit obedience and profound respect which is ever vouchsafed to him, is to pick up the are shown by children, even after they are grown up, offal thrown out by his unfeeling and imperious lord. towards their parents. A son, though himself the head Whether in open war, or in secret assassination, this of a family, never presumes to sit, or smoke, or remain cold and hungry wretch invariably occupies the post of covered in presence of his father; nor does the daughter, danger.' These slaves are often subjected to the most whether married or unmarried, enter into too great frightful cruelties.

familiarity with the mother. With this exception, the From Sitka Sir George retraced his path to Van- Californians know little or nothing of the restraints of couver, and thence proceeded to Monteray in California. etiquette : generally speaking, all classes associate to. The horrors still perpetrated in this country by the gether on a footing of equality; and on particular occa

sions, such as the festival of the saint after whom one sick and weakly probably remain at home ; many of is named, or the day of one's marriage, those who can the new-comers too, unmarried, when attacked in Lonafford the expense give a grand ball, generally in the don by slow consumption—the most fatal disease at the open air, to the whole of the neighbouring community.' ages of 15 to 35-return to their father's house to die; The Californians, in fine, are happy, hospitable, indo- so that the mortality of the great city is made to appear lent, and ignorant; and their dominion, in the opinion in the returns lower at those ages than it is. If we of Sir George Simpson, is destined very soon to fall out take children under 5 years of age, where neither these of their nerveless hands into those of either the English disturbing causes nor occupation interfere, the deleteor Americans.

rious influence on health, of London in its present state, But we must here break off, hoping to follow our. will appear undisguised in all its magnitude.' In this traveller next week in his voyage across the Pacific. case it appears that, in the seven years 1838-44, the

deaths of children under 5 years of age in London BILLS OF MORTALITY.

amounted to 139,593, while in the ratio of the outlying

district above referred to, it would have been 80,632. Tax Registrar-General's Report for the first quarter of In a fact so startling as a loss in excess of nearly 59,000 the present year has just been placed before us. The infant lives in seven years, we have an unmistakeable statements it contains are of so important a nature, argument in favour of improved sanitary regulations. that we believe them to be deserving of wider publicity The comparison is carried still further, so as to inin a summary form. The quarterly returns do not clude the whole number of deaths; and we learn that, comprise the whole country, but are taken from 117 instead of the inhabitants of London “measuring out districts, 36 of which are in London and its suburbs, the whole period of the present existence allotted to the other 81 include a few agricultural districts, and them,” it is found that in seven years 139,593 perished the principal towns and cities of England—of which, in infancy (under 5 years of age); 40,828 in youth (5 taken altogether, the population in 1841 was nearly to 25); 109,126 in manhood (25-65); and that only 7,000,000.

52,453 attained the age of 65 and upwards. Instead of It has usually been observed that more deaths occur death “coming upon them like a sleep," when the fain the winter than in the summer quarter; but from culties are dulled by age and slow decay, it convulses June to September of last year, the deaths exceeded tender infancy, falls with burning fevers upon man in those of any other quarter in the preceding seven years; his prime, snatches away the mother with the babe but in the quarter ending March 1847, the number of still upon her breast.' Thus, with a population of deaths is stated to have been 56,105, being 6035 above nearly 2,000,000 in 1844, we find that the total excess the average of any corresponding quarter. Various of deaths in London, to say nothing of sickness, was causes have been assigned for this excessive mortality : nearly 100,000. One hundred and thirty-four persons among others, the long duration of a low temperature, die every day in London; but were the great city as and the high price of provisions. In all the returns, healthy as the surrounding districts, the number would there is a large amount of deaths from inflammation of be diminished by 38. After some remarks on the apathe lungs and air-tubes, and typhus fever, the certain thy of local authorities, and an exposure of the fallacy attendant on misery and destitution in crowded neigh- that London cannot be surpassed' for health and cleanbourhoods. The fatal effects of the immigration of the liness, the Registrar states that, of the 36 metropolitan starving Irish into the Lancashire towns is shown in districts, the city within the walls stands ninth on the the increased mortality—the deaths in Liverpool were sanitary scale, and without the walls, including White1134 more than in the winter quarter of 1846. This, chapel, stands last, the unhealthiest of the 36 ;' and, according to the Registrar's statement, is 'solely attri- supposing the mortality to be represented by a shaded butable to the many thousands of Irish paupers who map, would be the darkest-coloured. *A general idea, have landed here within the last three months, bringing he continues, may, however, be formed of the distri. with them a malignant fever, which is here very pro- bution of the poison which causes death. According perly called "the Irish fever;" and many hundreds of to the latest researches, it is not a gas, but a sort of them were suffering from diarrhea and dysentery when atmosphere of organic particles, undergoing incessant they arrived, which will account for so many deaths transformations; perhaps, like malaria, not odorous, from those causes. Everything which humanity could although evolved at the same time as putrid smells ; devise, and money carry out for their cases, has been suspended like dust, an aroma, vesicular water in the adopted by the Select Vestry; but so many thousands air, but invisible. If it were for a moment to become of Irish are continually pouring in, and their habits are visible, and the eye could see it from a central eminence, so disgustingly filthy, that little can be done as yet to such as St Paul's, the disease-mist would be found to stay the great mortality amongst them. Perhaps there lie dimly over Eltham, Dulwich, Norwood, Clapham, is not a parallel case to Liverpool for the last two Battersea, Hampstead, and Hackney ; growing thicker months in the history of the country.'

round Newington, Lambeth, Marylebone, Pancras, This statement reminds us of the documents written Stepney; dark over Westminster, Rotherhithe, Berby eye-witnesses of the plague in its sweeping visita- mondsey, Southwark; and black over Whitechapel and tions two centuries ago. The number of deaths in the the city of London without the walls. The district of metropolitan districts is 15,289, also a greater number St Giles's would be a dark spot in the midst of surthan in any previous corresponding quarter. The re- rounding districts ; St George's, Hanover Square, and St port states, that although the causes are to a certain James's in Westminster, would be lighter than Maryleextent accidental, and, as we may hope, transitory, it bone and St Martin-in-the-Fields ; part of the city of is evident that the health of towns in England is at London within the walls would present a deep contrast present stationary, not to say retrograding.' As regards to the city without the walls. This disease-mist, arisclimate, London is shown to be no worse off than the sur- ing from the breath of two millions of people, from open rounding parishes, and the excess of deaths is traced to bewers and cess-pools, graves and slaughter-houses, is atmospheric impurity. A comparison drawn between continually kept up, and undergoing changes. In one the metropolitan districts and an outlying district com season it is pervaded by cholera, in another by influprising Blackheath, Eltham, Sydenham, and Lewisham, enza; at one time it bears small-pox, measles, scarlashows the deaths in London to have been more nume- tina, and hooping-cough among young children; at rous by 97,872, in the seven years' ending 1844, than another it carries fever on its wings. Like an angel of they would have been had the mortality not exceeded death, it has thus hovered for centuries over London. the ratio of the country districts. A considerable But it may be driven away by legislation. If this genepart,' we are informed, of the population of London is ration has not the power to call the dead up from their recruited from the country, immigrants entering chiefly graves, it can close thousands of graves now opening. at the ages of 15 to 35, in a state of good health. The | The poisonous vapour may yet clear away from Lon

don, and from all the other towns of the kingdom : some of the poets is not the spring of the calendar; and, in of the sunshine, pure water, fresh air, and health of the fact, country, may be given to the grateful inhabitants of

* Their cowslips, stocks, and lilies of the vale, towns by the parting voice of the legislature.'

Their honey-blossoms, that you hear the bees at,
Their pansies, daffodils, and primrose pale

Are things we sneeze at !'

The origin of the hallucination is obvious enough; We have now got into what the calendar terms summer, although it is more difficult to account for its continu. and are able to look back, with thankfulness that it is ing so long-for Thomson and Burns reproducing the over, on what the poets call spring. Summer, indeed, errors of Shakspeare and Milton. As for the tribe of deserves some compliment at our hands; for it is far poetasters, whose wooing of the muse usually combetter than the promise with which it sets out. Even mences with 'Hail, spring !' it is not more wonderful in the 'sweet south' of London, Love, whose month that they should keep together than the flock of sheep is ever May,' begins operations with a procession of the truth, have not only stolen our best thoughts, but

they find so indispensable. The ancients, to confess chimney - sweepers, who, in the midst of showers of they have palmed upon us their own seasons : that is sleet, leap round a leaping bush to keep themselves the whole secret. Anacreon might very well sing his warm, while everybody else is cowering over the fire. divine ode to the rose, while invoking the wreathed The exercise, however, has no doubt some effect, as well spring;' neither was there anything out of the way in as the music and the shouts. The year by and by his exclaiminggrows warm, and the heart merry; and as the poor

•When spring begems the dewy scene,

How sweet to walk the velvet green, tawdry damsel of the procession, in muslin and spangles,

And hear the zephyr's languid sighs, vanishes down some murky court, “in thick air,' the

As o'er the scented mead he flies!' true goddesses of the season come forth and light up Horace, in like manner, may be justified in the welcoming the world with beauty.

he gives to spring, and Catullus applauded for his poetiBut we have not a word to say for spring. Instead cal description of the season in the farewell to Bithynia. of the winds of March taking the air with beauty,' But these poets sang of the climate of Greece and Italy; they take nothing but tiles and chimney-pots, hats and and we in England have no more right to their zephyrs, umbrellas; and the voice of the April bird' was never butterflies, and roses, than to represent their grapes as heard by the very oldest inhabitant, except from a cage. growing in ripe clusters from our quickset hedges. Yet hear Miss Landon

Our first attempts, however, in building the lofty " "Twas the first month of spring.

rhyme,' were mere school exercises; and, in spite of Like a green fan spread the horse-chestnut leaves,

the evidence of our own senses—in spite of our chatterA shower of yellow bloom was on the elm,

ing teeth and blue lips-the imagery we found in the The daisies shone like silver, and the boughs

originals we copied has remained to this day an integral Were covered with their blossoms, and the sky Was like an augury of hope, so clear,

part of our poetry. So beautifully blue.'

A great deal has been said and done about the rec

tification of the calendar: is it not surprising that no What a pity that all this is—gammon! Fans of leaves— man of mould has yet arisen to set the poetical year to yellow bloom-silver daisies-blossom-covered boughs— rights, and thus earn for himself a niche in the temple and cerulean skies, in the cold, shivery, gusty, gloomy, of fame next to those of Julius Cæsar and Pope Greasthmatic month of February, when the ground is one gory? The two cases are precisely similar. In the mass of mud where it is not covered with snow! On former, it was found that natural and artificial time did the 14th of the same month, we are told,

not correspond; and as it was easier to alter the calendar * The breath of the morning is flinging

than the sun, a law was made that a certain day, reA magic on blossom and spray;

puted to be such and such a day, should no longer be And Cockneys and sparrows are singing

itself, but another. Thus the world hopped on to a In chorus on Valentine's Day.'

new computation of mortal time, without suffering any But the curious thing is, that it is not the Cockneys inconvenience ; for although a lady's eyes, we are told, and sparrows alone that mistake the season, but even have the property of misleading the morn,' the alterathe poets whose reputation rests upon their close ob- tion in the almanac had not the slightest effect upon servation of nature. Hear Thomson, for instance

the revolutions of the earth. The poetical year is in --Forth in the pleasing spring

like manner at variance with nature, and legislation Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.

is imperiously demanded. We would have all poets Wide flush the fields, the softening air is balm ; strictly charged to remember that spring, in these Echo the mountains round: the forest smiles;

islands, is the season for high winds, snow, sleet, and And every sense, and every heart is joy.'

rain, coughs, colds, and influenzas; and forbidden acOne would think, too, that the inspired ploughman cordingly to introduce into it birds, bees, and flowers, ought to know something practically of spring; but tender tales and shepherds' reeds. There is to be no whatever his knowledge might be, he makes the Queen song but the milkmaid’s; and that is to be sung only of Scots assert that on the approach of that season,

in the streets and lanes of London, to the tune of • Nature hangs her mantle green

Me-oh!' A lady may shiver in this season, but On every blooming tree,

not sigh; for it is manifestly in opposition to the cusAnd spreads her sheets of daisies white

toms of the stable sex to exhibit any external appear. Out o'er the grassy lea;'

ances contrary to real sentimentsthat the sun cheers the crystal streams and azure skies ;

‘June in her eyes-in her heart January." that the laverock wakes the merry morn, the merle Lovers are not to be set walking in the damp grounds makes the woodland echoes ring, and the mavis

sings of April, coughing their tender secrets into each other's the day to sleep; and that the whole world is bright with the lily, the primrose, and the buds of the haw- ears; and indeed the birth of the tender passion should thorn and sloe. After this, it is no wonder that the be postponed till near the end of the following month, fanciful ear of Coleridge should detect

if not the beginning of June. In fine, Addison's warn

ing to the fair to avoid the insidious softness of May, . The murmuring Of wild bees in the sunny showers of spring?'

is henceforward to be considered obsolete; and no lady

need think herself obliged to assume an air of coldness It would be easy to multiply quotations of this kind; in the presence of her admirer, till she has left off her but the fact is well known to all readers, that the spring | boa.

« НазадПродовжити »