Зображення сторінки


[ocr errors]

In Reikie sounds the town-guard's drum no Girdles it in a space that may be smelt ! more,

So we go on, I fear to little good Nor cadie plies, nor “wha wants me" is near, Meanwhile the rivals one another pelt! Her Luckenbooths now choak the common Oh, for one hour of him who knew no feud, shore,

Th' octogenarian chief, the kind old Sandy And “ Gardeloo" but seldom meets the ear.

Wood! Those days are gone-but wenches still are

here : Lands fall, flats empty-nature doth not die, Nor yet forget how Reikie once was dear, Notes to Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. With her cheap clarets' bright festivity, Revel of tappet-hen, high-jinks, and mut

Canto V. ton-pie!

Chiefly Written by Mr H.
But unto us she hath a spell beyond

Her lands of fourteen stories, long array
Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms 'des.

lese “ I stood, Edina, on thy bridge of sighs,

For who that passes but has sighed or Above the Provostless city's waning sway:

bann'd,go. Ours is a trophy which will not decay, The reason given in the text for affixing With all the Bailies-- Brodie, Thomas the appellation of “ bridge of sighs" to the

bridge commonly called the North Bridge, Leith-pier will ne'er be worn or swept away, wbich joins the old and new town of EdinThe key-stones of the arch! Though, to be

burgh, may be the true one ; for the hideous sure,

building alluded to, which, like Satan's What now I would be at, sounds, I must

Pandemonium, lately “ rose like an exown, obscure !

halation" out of the North Loch, has been The beings of the wynd are not of clay,

more sighed over and execrated by the good Or stone, or lime, or mortar ; they create

people of Edinburgh, than any thing which And multiply false keys, or else the ray

has happened in our day, if we except the Of more insidious eloquence: that which fate publication of that unparalleled piece of Prohibits to dull life in this our state blasphemy and scurrility called the Chaldee Of moral bondage, is by such supplied,

MSS. A more accurate investigation, leadFine spirits exiled, pilloried, or late

ing to a very curious historical illustraTucked up! No matter! Leith-pier will tion, will, however, point out a more pro

bable explanation of this term. It is perThe longest, giving air and exercise beside. haps not generally known to the inhabitants

of this renowned city, that there are certain This the best refuge for our youth and age- dungeons called " pozzi,” or whatever So Hope will tell you—80 will Gregory; other delicate name you may choose to give An old idea peopling many a page,

them, sunk in the thick walls of the bridge, As well as that which grows beneath mine which, from the groans that issue from eye:

them, may well get the name of the Bridge Yet these are truths whose strong reality

of Sighs. You descend to them by a narOutshines our fairy-land : good news, good row trap-stair, and crawl down through a news,

passage half-choked by rubbish, to the To hypochondriacs, such whose fantasy

depth of two stories below the level of the Those strange quack-medicines constantly street. If you are in want of consolation amuse,

for the general extinction of Cloacinian pa. Which Solomon and Co. are skilful to in

tronage in Edinburgh, perhaps you may fuse.

find it there, though scarcely a ray of light I too have swallowed such—but let them go

glimmers into the narrow gallery which leads They came like truth, and disappeared like

to the cells; and the places of confinement dreams:

themselves are totally dark. A small hole And whatsoe'er they were—they're but so so:

in the lower wall admits the damp air from I could replace them if I would, still teems

the loch below, and serves for the deposition My mind with many a nostrum drug, which

of the prisoners' food. A wooden cross bar,

raised about two feet from the ground, is Such as I sought for, and at moments found:

the only furniture. There are many cells Let these too go for waking reason deenis

in the same line; but there are some beSuch overweening phantasies unsound,

neath the others, and respiration is some. And other Doctors call, all whom may

what difficult in the lower holes. Only one Heaven confound !

prisoner was found when the Magistrates

descended to inspect these hideous recesses, Monro once ruled, and Gregory now reigns; and he is said to have been confined sixteen George Bell now feels the pulse which John minutes. But the inmates of the dungeons Bell felt;

had left traces of their repentance, or of Dispensaries, Infirmaries, and chains their despair, which are still visible, and Purge, slash, and clank where'er the city's belt may perhaps owe something to recent in


[ocr errors]

genuity. Some of them appear to have of on his hands to acquire or to repeat ; " and, fended against, and others to have belonged said the poor fellow, “ look at my breeks and to, the sacred body, from the indecencies at me; I am starving.” This speech was more and blasphemies, or from the churches and affecting than his performance, which habit belfries, which they have scratched upon the alone can make attractive. The recitative walls. The reader may not object to see a was shrill, screaming, and monotonous, and specimen of the records prompted by so ter the fisherman behind assisted his voice by rific a solitude. As nearly as they could be plugging his finger into one side of his copied by more than one pencil, four of mouth, and making his cheek sound “buck” them are as follows:

as he drew it out. The chairman used a 1

quiet action, something like the regular jolt “ Trust no other,

of a chair ; but he became too much interNot even your brother

ested in his subject altogether to repress his Can give thee assistance.

vehemence. The verses to which my noble Here goes ! keep your distance !

friend so elegantly alludes are the following: James Craigie."

“ Glasgow for bells, 2

Linlithgow for wells, “ Speak no word ;

Edinburgh for writers and wh_es." Hold in your breath ;

Many, amongst the lower classes, these Press hard

men informed us, are familiar with this inFor life or death.

teresting and most comprehensive stanza, John Buchan of the College Kirk." which, for rapid sketching, is equal to any 3

thing in our language. Friends and foes may say as they please,

STANZA 4. So help me God! I shall here have my ease.

so Provostless city.Pauperibus æque prodest, locupletibus æque,

Vates, I remember being taught at HarÆque neglectum pueris senibusque nocebit. row (I owe all to the benevolent birch of Dr Th. Lamb. Stud. Log. 1817.

Joseph Drury), signifies a prophet as well For a more scientific and statistical view

as a poet. It is in the former character

that I speak here. Edinburgh has still her of this subject, see the leading article of Con

Provost and her Bailies, but “ how long ?” stable's Scotch Magazine for March,

All the law proceedings on this interesting STANZA 2.

question, as well as every scrap that has been " She looks like old Cybele on Mount Ida, spoken or written on the subject of the new Rising with her tiara of proud towers.

buildings on the Bridge of Sighs, shall ap. An old writer, describing the appearance

historical illustrations. of the old town of Edinburgh, has made

Brodie." use of the above image, which could not Thanks to the acumen of the Scotch, we be poetical were it not true,—as Boileau's know as little of Brodie as ever.

The hy“creaking lyre, that whetstone of the teeth, pothesis which carried many along in its monotony in wire,” has it" Rein n'est current, viz. that he is still alive, is run out; beau que le vrai.”

and we have thus another proof that we can

never be sure that the paradox, the most STANZA 2.

singular, and therefore having the most “ Mother of lawyers, writers, clerks, and agreeable and authentic air, will not give whes."

way to the established ancient prejudice. This line alludes to a very curious old It seems however certain, in the first place, rhyme which the author of Childe Harold that although Brodie was born, lived, and and another English gentleman, the writer was hanged, we have no proof that he was of this notice, heard when they were rowed buried. The Grey-friars and the Westto Pettycur with two singers, one of whom ķirk may indeed resume their pretensions, was a chairman, and the other a fisherman and even the exploded Calton-hill may again The former placed himself at the bow, the be heard with complacency. That deliber. latter at the stern of the boat. A little after ate duties were performed round a carcase leaving the pier of Leith they began to sing, deposited in one of these three places of and continued their exercise until we arrived interment, twelve hours after the execution, off Inchkeith. They gave us, among other we have incontestible proofs,-but who essays, “ The Death of Sir Patrick Spence, knows whether it was not the body of one and " Wat ye wha’s in yon town," and did who died of the plague, or of the typhus not sing English but Scotch verses. The fever? Did any one see the mark of the chainman, however, who was the cleverer rope round the neck? There was indeed a of the two, and was frequently obliged to false key and a forged note thrown into the prompt his companion, told us that he could grave along with it; but that may have translate the original. He added, that he been done out of mere malice. It does not could sing alniost three hundred stanzas, appear that even Bailie Johnston could but had not spirits (fuirntosh was the word bring ocular proof (though he were to prohe used) to learn any more, or to sing what duce the skeleton) that this was the identi, he already know. A man must have idle time cal Brodię.

pear in

Secondly, Brodie was very tender of his nine inches and a half."-After having life, and very prudent in his schemes ; and reigned more than thirty years at the head it is well known that he had contrived some of his profession, he died full of years and little machinery, by which the alternate ris. honours, and was buried. Strangely enough ings and fallings of the rope might be obvimust it sound, that though there are still many ated, and even the first hangman of the age excellent medical practitioners in Edinburgh be deceived. Brodie's love of life was cer- of the name of Wood (not to mention the retainly not Platonic. The happiness which bel quack apothecary who migrated to Man. he longed to possess did not lie in another chester, and called himself Dr Lignum), world, and that he looked upon any such there is not one Sandy among them.” vain expectation as either too shadowy, too much of mind, and too little of matter, for As these notes would run out to his taste, may be perhaps detected in at least much too great a length for the poem six places of his own letters. In short, his to which they are appended, it is prolove for life was neither Platonic nor pocti. cal,--and if, in one passage (he understood

posed to publish the remainder in two Italian, for he lived much with fiddlers) he

large quarto volumes, on the model of

.. speaks of “ amore veementissimo ma unico

Dr Drake's Shakspeare and his times. ed onesta,"-he confesses, in a letter to a

H. friend, that it was guilty and perverse, that it absorbed him quite, and mastered his heart.



FISH, AND GREAT SEA SERPENT. Thomas Muir retired to Fontainbleau immediately on being carried into France, MR EDITOR, after his unsuccessful attempt to escape from I AM a sea-faring man, and have, in Botany Bay to America, and, with the excep- my time, seen sights, the mention of tion of his celebrated visit to Paris in com

· which would appear incredible to a pany with Tom Paine, he appears to have passed his last years in that charming soli.

mere landsman, but I confess that tude. He was in a state of great pain from your learned correspondent W. makes his wound for some months previous to his me stare at his apparently well-audeath, but was at last, one morning, found thenticated stories of sea monsters, hidead in his library chair, with his hand rest- therto supposed to have only lived in ing upon “ The Rights of Man." The the imagination of poets, or the superchair is still kept among the precious relics stitious fancy of ancient historians. of Fontainbleau; and from the uninter And first, If such a sea monster as rupted veneration that has been attached to

the kraken do really exist, - a monster every thing relative to this great man, from the moment of his death to the present time,

resembling a floating island, with nuit has a better chance of authenticity than merous arms, equal in length and size even the chair on which the great Napoleon, to the masts of ships,-of such imat the same place, signed his first abdication, mense size that the Norwegian fisherand which has been waggishly termed his men, (but no other,) do constantly Elba-chair.

'endeavour to find out its resting place, STANZA 8.

(which they know, it is said, by the " Oh, for one hour of him who knew no feud, shallowness of the water,) to catch the Th' octogenarian chief, the kind old Sandy fishes that lie round it, as a bank, Wood!

I say, if such a monster has been playThe reader will recollect the exclamation ing its accustomed pranks, during unof the Highlander, Oh, for one hour of numbered years, is it not very remarkDundee!"_Sandy Wood (one of the de- able, that not one out of seven hunlightful reminiscences of old Edinburgh) was at least eighty years of age when in high

dred British ships, (exclusive of forepute as a medical man, he could yet divert reigners,) which have crossed and rehimself in his walks with the “ hie schuil crossed every part of the North Sea, laddies," or bestow the relics of his universal even to polar regions, perhaps four, benevolence in feeding a goat or a ráven. or even six, times in one year, should There is a prophecy of Meg Merrilies, in have all been so extremely unfortuwhich these ancients are thus alluded to. nate, (or, I ought rather to say, for“ A gathering together of the powerful shall

tunate ; for, had any one of these be made amidst the caves of the inhabitants

ships run upon this mass, it would of Dunedin,-Sandy is at his rest : they shall beset his goat, they shall profane his

have been fatal as a rock,) as never to raven, they shall blacken the buildings of

have seen one of such sea monsters. the infirmary : her secrets shall be examin. This is of itself, in my opinion, a suted : a new goat shall bleat until they have ficient refutation of all the narratives measured out and run over fifty-four feet of early voyagers,—the fictions record

ed in the sixteenth and seventeenth passing on their respective voyages, centuries,-or the inconsistent vagaries Aoating dead or alive on the sea, or of Norwegian fishermen.

driven, by various causes, either on Indeed, Mr Editor, it is a happy the coast of Scotland, its isles, or that circumstance for our country, that if of Norway. On the contrary, seldom such an animal as the kraken do exist, a year passes but there are numerous their numbers are not great, nor are instances of whales losing themselves, they capable of any great exertion and running on some of the aboveIf this species had an existence when mentioned coasts. I shall not agitate Pliny flourished, (which your corres this question farther; and therefore pondent seems to prove,) there either proceed to the examination of the comust have been no propagation since Tossal cuttle-fish, which shall not dethat period, or the passage over the tain us long. German Ocean (at least between Shet The cuttle-fish, though, according land and Norway,) must have been to Pennant, Shaw, and others, enorrendered, many years ago, impracti- mously large, bears no comparison to cable, by their natural mortality. The the mighty kraken ; nor can I well general depth of that channel is from see, from the description given of the 60 to 80 fathoms; and in no part, two monsters, how they can be identieven up to Spitzbergen, deeper than fied as the same species; the one be6 or 700 fathoms. Now, allowing ing an inhabitant of the Indian Ocean, that when Pliny wrote, there existed the other of the North Sea. ten couple of these animals that they The only thing like evidence in suppropagated only one male and one fe- port of the existence of the colossal male in sixty years—that they never cuttle-fish, (and that is of a most suswere killed by accident, nor by the picious kind,) is an account given by hand of man, (for so it appears,) but a Captain Dens, recorded in the works died a natural death at the good round of Denys Mertfort, and made use of age of two hundred years, what must by subsequent authorities, that the be the aggregate number lying dead, Captain, while in the African Seas, or now roaming at large on the north- lost three of his men by an attack ern ocean? As this question, how- from this monster, whilst employed in ever, involves much nicety of calcula- cleaning the ship's sides; and he adds, tion, I shall at present leave it to the “ that its arms were the thickness of determination of our worthy professor a mizen mast, with suckers of the size of Mathematics.

of pot-lids."

Pennant, it appears, The whale, which is the largest sea only affirms, “ that he was well asanimal, except the one in question, sured by persons of undoubted credit, that we know of, is generally sup- that in the Indian Seas it has been posed to have young every second or

found of such a size as to measure two third year; and the Greenland fishers, fathoms in breadth across the central aware of this fact, always make sure part,” &c. &c.—the remaining part of of the mother, (for the maternal af- the passage is too absurd to merit atfection is here exhibited in a very tention. Dr Shaw appears to have made striking point of view, which I have Captain Dens' account of this sea monmore than once witnessed,) by killing ster a subject of lecture, without the her young first. Allowing, however, support of ocular demonstration, or that the whale had been originally other testimonies sufficient to impress constituted like the kraken, at least us with any belief of its actual existso far as never to appear on the surface but in calm weather, (which is Now, Mr Editor, I was fifteen years seldom the case in these climates,) nor afloat in the Indian Ocean, and, duany of the species to have been killed ring that eventful period, visited alby man, and that the usual term of most every island, capital, creek, and their existence was two hundred years, course, from the Cape of Good Hope is it at all probable, or consistent with to the confines of the Molucca Islands, reason, to suppose, that out of one but never saw nor heard of this monhundred and fifty-seven thousand ster, nor any of the ravages of its fewhales, (about the average number rocity. It may, however, be asserted, killed by Europeans since 1600,) not and with some justice, that the evione of this multitude should ever have dence of seamen, relative to the wonbeen seen by ships passing and re- derful productions of nature, or other


subjects peculiar to the countries they East and West Indies, as well as in have visited, is often unaccountably the southern parts of the coast of exaggerated; or, if near the truth, so America, many sea snakes, as they are perplexed with ignorance, that it is called, from six to twelve, and even extremely difficult to gather truth from fourteen feet in length, but very harmsuch authority. I conceive, however, less in their nature. In the year 1792, that if the ravages committed by the while at anchor at St Johns, Antigua, colossal cuttle-fish were nearly as fre- one of these snakes, which was about quent as the horrid ferocities of the six feet, as well as I remember, in shark, alligator, &c. its name and length, got on the ship's deck by terror would have been as frequently means of the cable, through the hawsein our mouths and minds, as the hole, which was taken up in the naked names and terrors of these enemies of hand, and heaved into its own elethe human race; but, so far from ment. this being the case, I do not recollect Had your correspondent repressed ever having heard, during the long Paúl Egede's absurd and irreconcileperiod I was in those seas, of the able fiction (for it deserves no other name ever being mentioned.

term), and a few others of the like · Whilst in the Red Sea, watching cast, our belief would have been greatthe motions of Bonaparte, I remember ly strengthened by the information often observing, as did also every offi- given by our transatlantic brethren; cer and man in the ship, an enormous but when we see so many absurdi, sea monster ; but so far from being ties mixed with facts, I really do not ferocious, like the cuttle-fish, when well know what to think of the whole, we made any attempt in our boats to when deliberately called on to give approach it, it continually disappeared. credit to such a table as, “ A hideous This fish (the name of which I never sea monster was seen, July 6th,” but ascertained,) was always to be disco- no year mentioned, “ which reared vered in the Red Sea, by vast flocks itself so high above the water, that its of gulls hovering over the spot where head overtopped our mainsail," which it lay. When perfectly calm, which must have been at least forty feet was there frequently the case, parti. above the surface of the sea. “ It cularly in the mornings, we used to had a long pointed nose, out of' which be highly amused by looking at this it spouted like a whale. Instead of monster lying basking in the rays of fins, it had great broad flaps like the sun, with the upper jaw of the wings ; its body seemed to be grown mouth, which had some resemblance over with shell-work,” perhaps in to the great porch door of an old ca- masonic order; " and its skin was thedral, but probably much larger, very rugged and uneven. It was hove back to the angle of 45° from the shaped like a serpent behind ; and perpendicular, whilst the lower jaw when it dived into the water again, it lay extended on the surface of the sea. plunged itself backwards, and raised In this position, while thousands of its tail above the water a whole ship's gulls (whether attracted by the odour length from its body." of its breath, or some other cause, I I shall only observe again, that it is know not) were flying immediately a most fortunate circumstance, that over the throat, making a dreadful these sea monsters are so very scarce noise, which was heard at a great dis- as not to be seen more than once or tance, the upper and lower jaws were twice in a whole century; for if more brought together like lightning, with numerous, the consequence would have a clay resembling the report of a great been most fatal to a great maritime gun, by which means some hundreds nation, like Great Britain. Our sea, of the teathered tribe were entrapped men, undoubtedly the most superstiinto the stomach. This operation was tious part of the whole community, repeated about every ten minutes, un- would very soon have lost all that til satisfied, when the animal disap- ardour and enterprise with which this peared.

brave and heroic body of men are so After what I have advanced against universally characterised ; our emithe existence of the kraken and cuttle- ' nence, foreign and domestic, would fish, it may be expected I should say soon have been annibilated, governsomething about the great sea serpent. ment bankrupt, and the nation a prey I have often witnessed, both in the to famine and civil discord. These

« НазадПродовжити »