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Few of our readers will require our aid to enable them to repeat the remainder of these well-known lines.
dftw and Water.
In the whole compass of nature, what two things are more opposite than Fire and Water 1 yet, strange to say! like other almost equal contrarieties, they have not always been in a state of hostility. There has been a time, when, like rogues and policemen in private, or brawling barristers out of court, they were very good friends, and capable of enjoying a little social converse. Once, indeed, upon such good terms were these usually jarring elements, that, for the sake of commutual pleasure and accommodation,theyproposed (and actually realized) the idea of taking together a journey of amusement and recreation. Some of our readers will naturally suppose, that the gratification derivable from two companions so discordant in their nature, could not be very exquisite, nor of any long duration; forgetting how long even the best wives and most tyrannical husbands, and the tenderest husbands and most termagant wives, are sometimes found to agree, and abide comfortably together,—forgetting, in a word, that contradiction is the soul of discourse, the spring of repartee, and the unfailing source of fresh and varied vivacity.
Animated with these cordial principles, Fire and Water proceeded on their journey. Their very starting was a signal lor altercation, and all the graces of contradiction, supported by the fairest flowersof sophistry, were called into play. Fire, instigated by a warm imagination, begau with energy the colloquial contest; but Water, though apt enough, after a while, to be heated into a ferment, was at first perfectly cool. Fire, irritated at the sullen insensibility of Water, soon burst out in terrific flashes; Water, aware of her power to quench his wrath at pleasure, bore it very calmly, and contented herself with reflecting on him, from her unruffled surface, the blaze of his own vexation. This brought Fire to the point: instead of cracking, glaring, and flaming, in all the vanity of impertinent and empty tirade, he condescended to resort to argument, a practice not usual to disputants of his constitution, and which extremely well suited the sober temperature of Water, who applauded his resolve. Fire had now moderated his fervonr, but not his pride; and determining, at all events, to have the advantage in the subject, if not in the subtlety of his reasoning, undertook to prove the superior utility and value
of hi« sparkling properties, over those of his dull, flaccid antagonist. First, he insisted that he was the invigorating principle in the great frame of nature; he claimed title to primogeniture, and asserted his inseparable relationship to light,and boasted of being primeval to the sun. Water allowed him all his vaunted excellencies, and owned her own frigid and insipid nature, as compared with his strength and brilliancy; but begged to remind him, that though he was a useful servant to nature and to man, yet when their master, he was the merciless destroyer of both. Fire, glowing with indignation, said, that if he consumed some things, he warmed others into life, and that neither animation nor vegetation could subsist without his aid. Water begged leave to remark, that if his influence was quicker and more lively than, hers, he could not deny that she was more careful of her offspring: that even at the deluge of Deucalion, she did not destroy a single inhabitant of her realms; and that, while millions of her finny children live in her nutritive embraces, nothing can thrive, or even subsist, in Fire. Fire, burning at this last reflection, disdained to submit any longer to argument, protested against the falsity of the assertion, and boldly advanced, as a vanquishing fact, the fable of the fire-bred salamander, that breathes, and sports, and revels amid his flames. Water, alarmed at the red rage into which Fire had put himself, forbore to observe, that the salamander had no existence save in his own ardent imagination; that the story was a romance, like the tales of the phoenix, the mermaid, and other entia rationis. She ventured, however, to affirm, that she was the life-blood of nature, the germinating juice of the universe, the prolific sustenance of the world; that her element constituted more than half of this sublunary globe, and was not only habitable to a large portion of its living creatures, but sustained the floating castles of man, united nations in commerce and friendship, created and diffused wealth and human happiness through the various climes. The words human happiness were no sooner uttered, than Fire, flaming with the seuse of selfpredicted victory, seized the advantage offered him, and launching out on the subject of love, exclaimed, " Who inflames the soul with genial affection ? Who kindles the heart of the enamoured swain 1 Who warms to smiles and tender compliance the melting maiden? Who tips with^ame the darts of Cupid 1 Who lights the vivid torch of Hymen?" Water humbly observed, that, perhaps, Fire was sometimes a little too busy in kindling hearts, inflaming swains, and melting tender maidens j
and, in Support of her position, instanced the cases of certain theatrical and other heroes and heroines, who have figured in the fane of the amorous god, without reaching the temple of Hymen. Fire, too hot to restrain his impetuosity, exclaimed, with a torreut of sparks issuing from his mouth, "That, madam, was thy fault; the flames I lit up, thy coldness damped; and they expired, hissing your disgrace, not mine." At this moment, the disputing travellers were overtaken and joined by a personage who said little, but took the liveliest interest in the subject of their altercation. Some of the remarks made by Water seemed to afford her pleasure; but when Fire spoke, she trembled. At length, after prolonging their contest till both were tired, they appealed to the stranger for her opinion, engaging to abide by her decision. She gracefully bowed assent, and, with the utmost delicacy in her voice and manners, said, "In my opinion, both of you are partly right and partly wrong. When under due restriction, you are the most propitious agents of nature, and constitute the great and indispensable blessings of the human race; but when you transcend the just bounds of your power, you are as destructive as you ought to be beneficial. By your excesses, all things suffer, less or more. When you ravage the natural world, ruin and devastation attend your progress, and men and animals are the sufferers; but when the virtue-destroying ardour of one, or the lovekilling coldness of the other, invades the .moral world, / am the hopeless victim." "Thou the hopeless victim 1" said Fire and Water, both speaking together, "Pray then inform us who thou aTt V "My name is Reputation"
Though, since Christmas day, the pantomimic treats prepared for the lovers Of annual fun and frolic, have so engrossed the public attention as almost to throw the dramatic muse into the back ground, her appropriate consequence has only been reduced to a state of secondary consideration, and that but for a limited period. Bad puns and bad pantomimes are equal provocations to laughter; but neither one nor the other will bear much repetition; good sense and rationality are sure of soon resuming their wonted sway. The talisraanic sceptre of Harlequin has not, however.even during his yet uninterrupted reign, wholly subdued the charmful influence of wit and humour, song and sentiment, good precept and diversity of character; scenic sense and reflection have, ia a degree, relieved "the loud.
laugh that speaks the vacant mind," and allowed us a portion of that purer pleasure which springs from the concord of sweet sounds, moral remark, and the faithful imitation of the lineaments of nature.
At Drury Lane, Wallack.mrs.west, andMits.BunN have displayed their usual excellence of acting in the distinct and striking characters of Holla, Cora, and Elvira; Der Freischutt has been repeated without any diminution of effect; in the Siege of Belgrade, Sapio's taste, and pleasing though not powerful voice, have imparted to the Serashier all the original attractions of the character; and while Harley's Leopold has continued to infuse a liveliness into the piece, Miss Stephens, by her twofold excellence in singing and acting, has preserved all the native sweetness and simplicity of Lilta. Terry's first appearance in Falstnjfdtew, and very deservedly, a crowded house. If he did not characterise the round, puffy, jeering, jolly libertine, wilh all that richness of humour he derives from the judgment and skill of Dowton, he threw into the part much of what was contemplated by the knight's great poetic creator, and rendered the round-bellied rakehell highly diverting. Harley's Master Slender was a natural performance, Horn's Ftnton was masterly, Miss Stephens sustained Mrs. Ford with appropriate spirit, and Miss J. Paton was scarcely less successful in dime Page.
At Covent Garden, Kemule's Romeo has been as impassioned as the youthfulness of the character required, and as correct as his judgment and experience entitled his audience to expect. Jones'b Mrrcutio was lively, and Miss F. H. Kelly gave to Juliet all her softness and feeling. With Cooper's Inkle, and Miss Tree's Yarico, in the opera that takes its title from those characters, we were highly pleased; but especially with the latter, to whose voice and style of execution, the melodies assigned to Yarico are peculiarly adapted. The Inconstant has been enacted with considerable effect, and the three Fosters, in A Woman never Vexed, have had excellent representatives in Bennett, Kemrle, and Coopen, while Miss Chester's Agnes Walsted was of a description to maintain the high credit her talents deserve, and have obtained. These various instances of merit, together with the admirable manner in which Miss Paton acquits herself in Hatha, in Der Frcischutz, fill up the measure of Covent Garden's demand of our eulogium; and considering that, at that house, there has been no other novelty than the Dragon of Want ley, and that, at Drury Lane, the attractions of The Fatal Dowry have been suspended by the sudden and serious indisposition of Mr. Macready, both theatres have proceeded with tolerable eclat, and been honoured with audiences scarcely less crowded than satisfied.
Sh Akspe A Ee.—A discovery has just been made extremely interesting to the admirers of the drama, and indeed to every English gentleman and scholar. We allude to the recent discovery of the long-buried small Shakspearian octavo, now in the hands of Messrs. Payne and Foss, of Pall-mall. This exhumated curiosity, so fortunately brought to light, is said to have been in the hands of sir Thomas Hanmer; yet we do not find that commentator noticing any such circumstance in any part of his edition of Shakspeare. The volume contains the scarce editions of no fewer than eleven of the great poet's plays, among which is what may be deemed his own original, ungarbled Hamlet. The examination of this piece, which constitutes the principal drama in the volume, would afford no small gratification to the critical reader, were it only on account of the new light it is calculated to throw on the taste, not the genius, of the imperishable author; and its tendency to rescue his muse from the charge of puny puns, and objectionable impurities. Its very title is worthy of notice, as illustrating the dramatic propensity, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, not only in London, but in our national seats of learning : — " The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, by William Shake-speare. As it has been diverse times acted by his highnesse seruants, in the Cittie of London; as also in the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where. At London, printed for N. L. and John Trundell, 1603."
The advantage we have already hinted at, as regarding the taste and moral fame of the Bard of Avon, from the unexpected appearance of this volume, is evident. Its contents strongly confirm the opinion entertained by all his ablest annotates, that most, if not the whole, of the loose jests and ribaldry so often found in his scenes, are the licentious interpolations of the comedians of his time, introduced in compliment to the vulgar taste of the public; and the constant repetition of which gradually procured them a permanent station amid the genuine text of the poet, with which they became incorporated, and, of course, very soon confounded.
Hamlet, as presented to us In this early, and, no doubt, original edition, is considerably shorter than are the copies of that drama subsequently printed; a strong argument in favour of the supposition, that the original text has been polluted with the admixture of the trash of the author's brother players. From a variety of indirect evidences, it seems pretty clear that they and their immediate successors never scrupled to foist into the scenes of Shakspeare, as well as1 into those of other distinguished dramatists, whatever low and idle conceits occurred to their own debauched fancy. Besides, it is difficult to imagine that, coarse as were the ideas, and unchastened as were the manners and language of the English people in Shakspeare's time, a mind elevated as his, would grovel with the grossierete of the vulgar; that a muse, which delighted to soar to the regions of exalted and purified sentiment, would descend to the sty of Epicurus, and mingle, with the most paltry puns, the dregs of false witticism, and the refuse even of lasciviousness. For the sake of the immortal author, and for that of society, -we hope to see a republication of those eleven plays, precisely as the text stands in the volume they now occupy; that the fame of our beloved Shakspeare, as a moralist, may be redeemed, that his commentators may be justified, and that the public, which fondly dwelling on his praise, may exclaim, Paulo majora canamus.
A Mechanics• Institution has been formed at Alnwick, of which the duke of Northumberland is patron and lord Grey president.
A society for the discussion of literary and scientific subjects has recently been established in the town of Nottingham: the rev. R. R. W. Almond is president, and a highly respectable committee have undertaken the management for the ensuing year.
The Leeds Mechanics' Institution held their first meeting on the 10th instant in the hall of the Philosophical Society. The attendance was very numerous, and the lecture-room, which will contain from three to four hundred persons, was quite filled. By far the greater number of the auditors were workmen and small tradesmen, and several opulent and enlightened gentlemen sanctioned the meeting with their presence.
The members of the Norfolk and Norwich Institution are about to form a museum of natural history in Norwich.
New Steam Carriage.—It appears that a locomotive machine, upon an entirely new principle, will be exhibited, in the course of a. fortnight, on the Chelten
ham and Gloucester rail-road; and is intended to ply regularly between that city and the coal-wharf of Mr. Newmarch, by whom the experiment will be made with the first carriage that has yet started upon the same construction, as it is formed without a boiler, and consequently without the slightest risk of explosion.
Canal Of Amsterdam.—Great Britain may be justly said to have taken the start of every country in Europe, as regards the construction of national works, combining utility with vastness of design. Our Caledonian canal we have been in the habit of considering as unrivalled in extent and dimensions, being capable of bearing a large frigate from the German Ocean to the western side of Scotland; but the new canal of Amsterdam, forming a communication from the ocean to that great commercial city, exceeds in depth and dimensions any similar work in Great Britain. A 44-gun frigate appears to have already made the passage with success; and it also appears there is sufficient capacity for even a ship of 80 guns. The projected canal from Portsmouth is calculated for ships of the line, and, if executed, might vie with this canal of Amsterdam, in depth and width, and in length would exceed it in the proportion of 100 to 50 miles.
The Chiuese, it appears *from recent experiments, have a mode of adulterating black tea, by means of sandy particles, or minute crystals of magnetic iron; sometimes to such a degree, that parts of the leaves may be lifted by a magnet. These particles may occasionally be detected at the bottom of a tea-cup.
So little wind prevails in Italy, that not a windmill is to be seen in any part of it. There were two in Venice once, but they were demolished, on account of the insufficiency of wind.
Mademoiselle Garnerin lately made an aerial ascent at Rome. The prince^ and princess of Lucca, and the foreign ambassadors, were among the spectators. When she had been a quarter of an hour in the air Mademoiselle Garnerin cut the rope of the parachute, and descended safely in an enclosure of the Villa Borghese.
©targ of ©ccurttncMf.'
Jan. 10.—The Gold Mines!—The sound is certainly enough to make one's mouth water, and no wonder the rage for embarking in these speculations increases. Last Saturday a share in the Real del Monle mine, on which only 30/ had been paid, sold for 1200/.! Was this now a bond fide sale, or only a puff to enhance the market price] No doubt there is great
scope for adventurers in South America: under the government of Old Spain, and till lately, the New States have been too unsettled for strangers to embark their property; the mines were never half wrought; they wanted capital, machinery, and perseverance, all of which will now be supplied by this country, and the effect will be to increase their productiveness amazingly. Yet the thing is sure to be overdone, and scores, in their golden dreams of El Dorado wealth, will be ruined!
A busy winter expected in town—rents getting high at the West End, from demand for houses.—It seems there is no truth in the report about captain Laing going out to explore the source of the Niger.— One ought to be cautious in trusting the newspapers.
12.—The Lord Chancellor. — In passing through Lincoln's Inn—met lord Eldon just comingout of chancery. One of his attendants put a tin case, like a cash-box, into the carriage. I wonder whether it contained his lordship's doubts, which he was taking home to resolve after dinner. He looks uncommonly well of his years. It is surprising the toil and labour some men get through in the course of their lives. Southey tells us, that John Wesley rode one hundred thousand miles on horseback; for half a century he was constantly employed in praying, preaching, reading, writing, and travelling, from five o'clock in the morning till bed-time, yet his health was good, and he lived to quite a patriarchal age. The chancellor's labours in the senate, the cabinet, and the courts of law have been prodigious: what a number of perplexed questions must have been agitated in his mind for the last sixty years! his brain must be like a sieve, otherwise, so much matter could not possibly filtrate through it. But of all Herculean prodigies of modern days, Dundas Cochrane is the greatest. I should really like to see this phenomenon : he must have a pair of legs as long as the statue that bestrode Rhodes' harbour! Looking at the length of a man's stride, is it possible to conceive that any man, by a mere repetition of them, could get his body, beside making sundry offsets by the way, from the Oural mountains to Kamtschatka; the thing appears incredible, but I must see the Captain's shape.
The workmen in Little'Bridge-street Blackfriars, last week were busily employed in taking down the only remains left of the ancient wall of London. It required great manual labour, even with sledge hammers anj crow bars, to remove it.— Among the sand dug up from the bed of the river, for the foundation of the New London Bridge, a great number of very ancient silver and copper coins have been found.
Two ships have been lately built in sir Robert Wigram's yard, for the Colombian pearl fishery, with diving-bells, &c. and are nearly equipped; one is shortly expected to be launched, and the other also in the course of a few weeks, and will proceed to commence the pearl fishery.
Theweather.—Primroses were selling last Friday and Saturday in great abundance. Some say they heard the cuckoo yesterday; and a wren's nest was found last week with eggs in it, in the neighbourhood of Exeter. The Glasgow Chronicle says, bees last Friday were seen flying; and the blackbirds were singing, as if welcoming the'spring. Vegetation is going on in the field, and the usual spring flowers are making their appearance.
The number of committals to Newgate last year was nearly 2000; 700 prisoners were acquitted or discharged without trial. The number of executions was eleven.
14.—Duncan v. The Morning Advertiser.—The issue of this case to-day gives general satisfaction, and is a strong proof Of the general sense of the utility of police reports. The defendants had not justified; the judge declared that a verdict must pass for the plaintiff; yet, among a special jury of twelve London merchants, there was not one man who hesitated at all in finding a verdict for the newspaper proprietors. The Chronicle mentions a fact, which is decisive of the efficacy of the press as an (instrument of improvement. Crimes and indecency of all sorts are on the decrease in large towns, while they are increasing rapidly among our agricultural population. Public opinion acts powerfully in towns; the country is Withdrawn from its influence.
A shocking accident happened at Middleton colliery, in Yorkshire. One of the miners was just leaving work, and imprudently took off the top of his safety-lamp, when an almost instantaneous explosion was the consequence, which killed no less than twenty-three of the poor workmen on the spot.
Tiietheatres.—Every body is wondering why the theatres are not so crowded as formerly. Some trace the wane of dramatic interestto private boxes.to late dinner hours, and the flatness of the performances. 1 verily think it is none of these, or at least to no great degree. The truth is, the power of the imagination is gradually yielding to that of the judgment: we are more awake to realities ih&a fictions, and ghosts, witches, and knight-errantry, and things of that sort, appear rather ridicu
lous and uninteresting to the present reasoning age.
This I conceive to be the general cause, arising from the universal diffusion of philosophical knowledge; but another rea* son, subordinate to the former, may be assigned, in the extreme length of the entertainments. Our ancestors were a prosy, patient generation, and had far more indulgence for long stories and lengthy disquisitions, than their descendants. The moderns not only require their pleasures should be racy and pungent, but that they should pass in quick succession, and be extremely variegated. Now how is it possible for any man, possessed of locomotive power, and of a tolerable degree of mental activity, to sit out a whole evening at the theatre, without weariness, even with all the me'lange of song, play, and farce to arcuse him. Think of the horrors of being cramped for five hours in the pit, where one can neither cross their legs nor move their elbows without offence, with the additional comfort of a chilly air coming across the eyes—like a Tartarean blast! The boxes afford somewhat better accommodation, a little more liberty or so, and you may refresh yourself with a turn in the saloon; but even this, in my opinion, does not yield sufficient aliment and variety to keep up a long evening's amusement. The only way to render the theatres more attractive, is to shorten the entertainments, and let the subject of representation be more conformable to real life—which would correspond to the altered feelings and taste of the time.
SJanuarg XXII. St. Vincent.—
High Water, Morn. III. 5 m.—Aft. IV. 3 m.
St. Vincent was esteemed a most glorious martyr, as he actually seemed to glory in his sufferings. He was born at Ossa in Grenada, and was barbarously destroyed by order of the emperors Dioclesian and Maximian, in the year 304. There is an ancient admonition to note down whether the sun shines on St. Vincent's day:—
Remember on St. Vincent's day
The origin of this distich is unknown, but it may probably be from an idea that the sun would not shine unfavourably on' that day on which the martyrdom of the saint was inhumanly consummated by burning.
ANNIVERSARY CHRONOLOGY. 1800.
On this day died at Hampstead, George