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Some are inclined to think, that the race of hermits is either extinct or never had any existence—unless, like the heathen mythology, in the imagination of the poet: we are not, however, of that opinion, but entertain a notion that recluses are a certain modification of the human species, some of which will always be found in different parts of the world. Apart from religious feelings, it is certain there are, at all times, a number of individuals formed by nature only for solitude and contemplation,—who are " not of this world,"—take no interest in its agitating pursuits of wealth, of power, and glory— and whose greatest happiness consists, in pursuing " the noiseless tenour of their way" in some " sequestered vale," where the dream of life is only interrupted by the murmuring brook or the song of the nightingale.
Granting such gentle spirits exist, it would not be inconsistent with the great object of society—of consulting the hap
piness of all its members—to provide for them a congenial retreat—not for penance and mortification—but for innocent seclusion from a world, in whose passions and conflicts they cannot sympathize,—. some
Deep solitudes and awful cells, Where heavenly-pensive contemplation dwell*. And ever-musing melancholy reigns.
We have been led into these reflections from the subject of our embellishment this week, which refers to the monastic establishments of the Romish church, and from a consideration, whether any reason o. utility, arising out of the nature of man, or the wants of the social state, could be assigned for their institution. The view we give above is certainly not consonant with the ideas usually formed of the wealth and architectural grandeur of the papal times: to speak plainly, Abbotsbury abbey appears not a whit better than an ordinary English barn; and, in outward appearance, is vastly inferior to Mr, Coke's stables, at Holkham. Abbotsbury abbey is situated in a fertile vale, eight miles from Weymouth, and derives it name from Orcupar Arkus, steward to Canute the Great. It was originally founded for secular canons; but in the reign of Edward the Confessor they were removed, and Benedictines placed in their stead. At the dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII., notwithstanding the meanness of its aspect, it was in great repute, having received many donations from devotees, which enabled the monks to rebuild the whole edifice, together with a fine church and chapel on the summit of an adjoining hill. The conventual church stood a little north of the abbey, parallel to that of the present parish church. An ancient low gate still remains on the north, opposite the vestiges of the abbey house, and a little to the west of the gate is a heap of ruins, where, according to the registry of the monastery, the nobility and gentry of these parts were interred.
The remains of St. Catherine's chapel appear on a round high hill; it has two porches; a turret at the west end, and windows all round. It is a strong handsome building, with a stone roof, arched in the inside, and esteemed a great curiosity, being one of the most venerable pieces of antiquity in this part of the kingdom. Its style of building seems to be that of Edward IV.
Spirit divine, with thee I'll trace
That being is to be pitied, who, immersed in the cares and perplexities of business, has neither the will nor the ability to take a flight in the regions of •imagination, whose soul is under the dominion and influence of the inexorable Mammon, where, like a mist upon a stagnant pool, "sedet, aeternumque sedebit."
This unhappy being has lost the best -privilege of mortals, the power of shaking off," like dew-drops from the lion's mane," all remembrance of the countless ills that flesh is heir to. Deaf are his ears to the soul-quickening strains of melody—blind are his eyes to the charms which Nature reveals to her enthusiastic worshippers—. like the Peruvian miners he has but two objects continually before him, earth and gold, the rest is darkness.
Not so the Reverist, he needs no intoxicating drug to enable his " mind's eye" to view the gorgeous visions, which pass in succession through his mind, as the clouds pass over the surface of the
moon, ." a moment seen, then gone for ever,"—he is the possessor of the philosopher's stone, the true elixir vitae; the splendours of the Eastern Tales to him are no fablas—^ha wanders with Sidney through the fields of his Arcadia, or with Raleigh in quest of El dorado,—he reviews the aerial beings called into existence by the magic touch of a Shakspeare, and the good genii whom Milton appointed to guard the unspotted "Lady" in Comus.
. The powers of song
He leaves not uninvok'd; and in stilt groves
Three Voluntaries for the Org-Qn or Pianoforte. Composed by Thomas Adams, organist of St. George's, Camberwejj.
Mr. Adams, who, we believe, was" a pupil of Dr. Busby's, has, in the pieces before us, evidently endeavoured to mingle with the necessary solemnity of church composition, some portion of that refinement which characterises the chamber music of the present day. While in this object Mr. A. has considerably succeeded, the science inseparable from the organ, and the dignity attached to the sacred purpose to which the " king of musical instruments " is so appropriately applied, have not been neglected. The lighter movements are pleasant and cheering, without savouring of secular levity, and the fugues, both in their themes, and the style in which they are conducted, are theoretical and masterly. We do tot know any province of composition in which the public are so scantily supplied as in that of good church voluntaries ; and therefore we were glad to see this publication.
Paer's Favourite Overture to Agnes. Arranged for the piano-forte, by S. I\ Rimbault.
This pleasing playful overture is particularly calculated for piano-forte adaptation, and Mr. Rimbault has fully availed himself of the opportunity it afforded of producing from its subject matter an agreeable and useful practice for young performers. The movements are happily contrasted. The passages are well disposed for the hand, and the effect is more showy than the execution is difficult. The publication is accompanied with parts for a flute, a violin, and a violoncello, which are printed on separate sheets; and the whole forms a morceau well worthy the attention of piano-forte amateurs, I
LISBOITTN 1821, 1822, AND 1823.
SJUbieSo and OLntftsiii.
LISBON IN THE YIA1S 1821, 1822, AMD 1823. BY MARIANNE BAILLIE, 2 VolS.
12mo. London, 1824.
Is it consistent with the gallantry and refinement of the age to subject the productions of Ladies to the ordeal of criticism 1 This, we apprehend, must depend upon another postulata: if they claim an equality with the other sex—and we never heard of a female worthy of the name who did not—they must certainly abide by the same rules and regulations, and be under the superintendence of the same literary police. In the days of chivalry their bright eyes would doubtless obtain them in literature, as in other pursuits, peculiar privileges; and we certainly shall on all occasions endeavour to cherish such a quantum sufticit of the generous feeling of that polished period, as will enable us, when we do encounter a fair adventurer in the field of authorship, to treat the gentle aspirant with all the indulgence compatible with a tolerably fair discharge of our duties. With this preemiam we shall enter on our functions.
Mrs. Baillie, we must premise, is not one of those overpowering intellects, which we have sometimes heard of, and into whose presence even the lords of the creation cannot obtrude, without feeling a certain degree of awe and self-humiliation. She does not rank among philosophers, like madame de Stael, nor is her genius so rampant and aspiring as that of lady Morgan, nor her feelings so holy and devout as those of Mrs. Hannah More—and we should imagine her texture would be much too feminine to sustain the heroic trials of a Hutchinson, or La Rochejaqueleine. In short, we should collect from the Letters before us, that the writer is an amiable, affectionate, and domestic creature, very fond of little children—if pretty, and even of grown persons, when there is about them something sentimental and romantic —with a mind awake to the beauties of nature—a fine landscape—a clear blue sky — the setting sun — a murmuring brook—or the wide-spread ocean. TJie result of these gentle and agreeable sensibilities are two volumes of innocent prattle about matters of no "great pith or moment," yet, upon the whole, entertaining, anil such as we can safely recommend to those whose time and money are of no vital importance.
Mrs. B. sojourned two years and a half in Portugal, and of course, in that time, had an opportunity of observing more closely the manners of the people than those steam-voyagers, who seem rather to
fly than travel through the Countries they visit. The Portuguese, we are told, have an amiable custom of saluting every stranger who passes them, either in walking or riding; the upper classes bow courteously, and the lower generally exclaim, "Viva!" Superstition is well known to be predominant in Portugal. The carriers, it is said, refrain from greasing the wheels of their vehicles, that their creaking noise may "keep off the evil spirits from men and beasts." A belief in omens, lucky and unlucky days, is general, and the cards, dice, and other venerable modes of penetrating into futu*rity, are commonly resorted to. The common people are much horrified at the idea of our clergy being allowed to marry: the former minister of the English factory maintained a tolerable reputation, till it was ascertained he was about to return to this country for the purpose of entering into wedlock. His successor arrived, accompanied with his wife, who for a long time was considered a sort of abomination in the land; and she could not appear abroad without being pointed and gazed at with displeased curiosity by the populace, as the " English padre's wife,"
Mechanic arts are at averylowebb, and the people appear to desiderate the benefit of some of our cheap illuminati. Portuguese carpenters are the most awkward and clumsy artisans imaginable; the way in which the doors and other wood-work belonging to good houses are finished would, in the opinion of our author, only suit the rudest ages. Their carriages of all kinds, their agricultural implements, their cutlery, locks, and keys are "ludicrously bad." Mrs. B. inquires what can be the reason of this backwardness; a query which we think we could answer, had we not resolved to refrain from all serious disquisition on the present occasion.
The manners of females towards each other are represented as extremely carressante, and kissing seems as general in Portugal as flagellation in Russia. A part of what follows represents a state of primitive simplicity, with a description of which it will, perhaps, be best to trust our fair author.
"The women wear scarcely any pettii coats even in winter, and some of the lower classes none whatever, contenting themselves with the chemise, covered only by the gown. The latter never wear mghtcaps, md, many still continue the ancient fashion of sleeping in a state of nature, considering clothes during the night as equally unwholesome and uunecessary. Both sexes adopt this practice. My informant went one morning lately to visit a lady in Lisbon: upon entering the room, she (being still in bed) invited her visitor to sit down by her side, and, arising from her pillow, embraced her; the latter started involuntarily back, for the lady was perfectly unclothed 1"
Beauty is rare among the inhabitants of Lisbon, and in families of rank it is still less frequent. Mrs. B. explains this degeneracy in the latter by the invariable custom among the fidalgos of marrying only with the families of each other, and very frequently of intermarrying with their near relations. By this means they preserve the purity of their blood, and perpetuate the defects of their persons from generation to generation. One of the late kings of Portugal was united to his aunt for the former reason.
AH the royal family have hitherto been approached on the knee only: when they go abroad, every body, no matter how illustrious their rank, are under the necessity of descending from their carriages or horses and humbly saluting them as they pass, to which they seldom return even the slightest inclination of the head. A lady related to Mrs. B. an anecdote strikingly characteristic of that tenacionsness of etiquette which is so deeply imbued in the education of princes, that they can rarely forego its observance even in their adversities. Entering into one of the state apartments, the king observed chairs placed there, which is an unusual circumstance. "What is all this? what is all this?" To which the attendants replying that they were intended for the use of the Cortes when they came to pay their duty to his majesty, he quickly rejoined, " The Cortes! take them away instantly; no person shall ever use a chair in my presence!"
A CRAND BALL.
A splendid entertainment was given to king John at his restoratiou, in the Portuguese assembly rooms; where our author was placed amidst a crowd of ladies, who were arranged in rows three and four deep—the gentlemen all standing—waiting the arrival of the king. At length the noise of his heavy coach was heard, resembling the dull lumbering sound of a hearse; then a thundering roll of drums and the loud pealing of bells; and while the musicians in the gallery played up the constitutional hymn, the directors went forth in a body, to receive the sovereign at the foot of the stairs, from whence they conducted him into an antechamber, to rest for a few minutes upon a gold and
crimson velvet throne, erected for the purpose. The king was dressed in a scarlet uniform covered with diamonds, and rendered more ceremonious by a sort of scarf drapery depending from his shoulders, bearing the ribbons of the prinipal orders. The celebrated don Miguel, of revolutionary memory, is represented as a thin slight youth with pale and rather elegant features, from which, however, every ray of intelligence seemed banished: solemn, upright, and immovable, when once seated he had the air of a statue or an automaton. Six chamberlains stood ranged behind the regal group, dressed in scarlet coats embroidered with gold, with outrageously long waists, which made them appear all back and stomach. Their various orders, stars, and collars really dazzled the eye, and they appeared altogether so loaded with finery, and so stiff with embroidery, that they could hardly turn their heads, or make use of their limbs; perfect specimens of the ancient courtier—stiffened, cramped, confined, and unnatural. The dress of the ladies was splendid, and their jewels of incredible beauty and value. The moment the royal party had placed themselves on their elevated seats at the top of the ball-room, the dancing commenced.
We regret to have to conclude these gossiping little volumes, with rather a sickening description of the filth and nastiness still observable among the inhabitants of Lisbon. In the city Mrs. B. says every sort of impurity appears to be collected together. You are suffocated by the steams of fried fish, rancid oil, garlic, &c, at every turn, mingled with the foetid effluvia of decayed vegetables, stale provisions, and other horrors, which it is impossible to mention. Wretches, of a lower and mora squalid appearance than the most sordid denizens of St. Giles's, lie basking in the sun, near the heaps of impurity collected at the doors, while young women hang far out of the windows above, as if they were trying purposely to inhale the pestilence which contaminates the air beneath! Men and women, children and pigs, dogs, cats, goats, diseased poultry, and skeleton hogs, all mingle together in loving fellowship, each equally enjoying what seems to be their mutual element— dirt! To this account of the people we may add, on the authority of our fair countrywoman, that the nobility (unlike those of Spain, who, in the days of Cervantes, left the custom to the mobility) universally eat a great deal of garlic and aniseed; and, in consequence, the courtly whisper of the highest bred fidalgo differs not at all from the coarse breath of the
A, A, represents the flue of the furnace closed at the top: it communicates by the lateral passage B with the flue C, C. At E is a reservoir of water, the bottom of which is perforated with holes: the number and size of the holes will depend upon the quantity of smoke produced by the furnace. The smoke ascending through the chimney A, passes through the flue B, and is immediately condensed by the descending shower of cold water: the soot thus produced mixes with the water and escapes at the orifice C. From the condensation of the ascending column of hot air, the draught of the furnace is greatly increased.
ANHYDROUS SULPHUROUS ACID.
The discovery that many of the gases, generally termed permanently elastic, are cagab'e of condensation, will probably produce many important results in chemical philosophy. The fact had long been suspected; but the honour of demonstrating it is due to Mr. Farady. Since his ex
periments have been published, Mr. Busey has succeeded in reducing pure sulphurous acid to a liquid form; and also by means of the great degree of cold produced by its evaporation he liquified chlorine, cyanogen, and ammoniacal gas. The gas was obtained from equal parts of mercury and sulphuric acid: it was then passed into a vessel surrounded by a freezing mixture, in order to separate the aqueous vapour: it then traversed a long tube filled with fragments of muriate of lime, and was condensed in a flask surrounded by a mixture of two parts of pounded ice, with one of muriate of soda. In this state it is a colourless, transparent fluid, of the specific gravity of 1.45; it boils at the temperature of 14° of Fahrenheit. When poured upon the bulb of a thermometer, the mercury descended to 32° below zero, and then sank with great rapidity into the bulb: upon breaking the bulb, the mercury was found to be frozen in the same manner it froze alcohol of the specific gravity of 0.8: but the cold was not sufficiently intense to freeze pure alcohol or ether. When dropped slowly upon water, the surface of the water became covered with a thin coat of ice: but if poured in more rapidly, the acid sank to the bottom of the water: but evaporated suddenly when touched with the end of a glass rod, produc.ng a motion in the water resembling ebullition. Notwithstanding its great volatility, it is easily preserved in ordinary temperatures, from the circumstance of the cold, produced by its taking a gaseous form, being so intense as to cool down the mass of the fluid sufficiently to check materially the progress of evaporation.
It is almost a truism to affirm that any pursuit, which tends to augment the number or intensity of our enjoyments, without injury to ourselves or society, is entitled to encouragement. Painting and sculpture fall directly under this description; and a power to appreciate their beauties affords at once a delightful and improving exercise of the judgment, the feelings, and the imagination. With this truth before our readers, it is unnecessary to offer any apology for introducing the subject of the present article.
Many are deterred from cultivating a taste for the fine arts from the notion of its being a natural gift—an intuitive faculty; when by a moderate share of application most men might acquire sufficient knowledge of the principles of painting for all the purposes of sharing the enjoyments to be derived from the works of nature or the products of art.