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satellites of that planet appear eclipsed about 84 minutes sooner than they should, according to astronomical tables: and, on the contrary, that when the earth is in the opposite point of its orbit, those eclipses occur about 84 minutes later than the tables alone would have led us to expect them. Thus it appears, that light occupies about 164 minutes in passing over a space equal to the diameter of the earth's orbit, that is, in passing over about 190 millions of miles. This gives us the astonishing velocity of 200,000 miles per second! How exceedingly minute must the corpuscles be, that their impression upon the eye, and even upon substances generally, should not be, in all cases, injurious, and even dangerous !
37. Dr. Hyde's MSS.--- It appears from the British Biography, that Dr. Hyde, at the time of his death (1703), was projecting, among other profoundly learned works, the publication of “The Theological, Mathematical, Medical, and Physical Works of Zoroaster, or Zerdusht, in Persian and Latin.” Vol. vii., p. 82.
Can any of my readers inform me what has become of the above valuable manuscripts? Surely they have not been destroyed.
May yield a balm (tho' deep my sorrow);
And cast its halo round the morrow;
It turns not from thy soothing spell,
Since joy has breath'd its long farewell!
O'erwhelmiog ev'ry sense and feeling ;
A death-chill o'er its misery stealing ;
Religion sheds, at Friendship’s bier,
When all was boundless brightness, here.
By Madness---(hopeless Madness) proffer'd;
'Till Reason check'd the hand which offer'd ;
Charm me by thy redeeming pow’rs,
And let me wake to tranquil bours.
And pray'd that life and soul might sever ;
And hail'd Despair, enthron'd for ever
Dear maid !) care-worn moments prove,
THE THEATRES AND THEATRICAL REPRESENTATIONS
OF THE ANCIENTS. In considering the dramas of the Greeks and Romans, we are often very much misled, not only by our ignorance of the manners of those nations, and the " object, end, and aim” of their theatrical representations, but also by a want of acquaintance with the buildings in which they were performed. We are apt to associate in our minds the theatres of our own day, with all stage exhibitions; and in judging of the effect of the dramas of Eschylus, Euripides, or Sophocles, we ignorantly consider how far they are suited to the altered manners of the present time, and the different construction of our theatres. Nothing can be more unjust; it would be as ridiculous to complain that a painting intended to represent the glare of noon-day, does not pourtray the calm beauty of moon-light.
The theatrical representations of the ancients were, it is well known, of a religious character, and in the first instance were merely hymns sung in honor of a particular divinity. Thespis, to relieve the band of singers, or chorus, as they were termed, introduced an actor, who related the adventures of some of their heroes. It is probable that even this part of the representation was set to music, and sung after the manner of recitative. Sometimes one person was employed to recite or sing the part, and another to perform the corresponding action or gesticulation; and to such perfection was this latter branch of the theatrical art carried, that some actors were said to represent all passions and emotions so accurately, by mere gesticulation, that speech was entirely unnecessary. Hence the origin of pantomimic performances. Music, however, always accompanied the action; and when the improving hand of Æschylus produced dramas more nearly approaching to our notions, reducing the singing of the chorus to make room for the recitation, and making the recitative the principal part of the performance; even then the stage continued to retain a great portion of its solemnity, and was essentially a solemn and religious exhibition. This fact will explain how different the feelings of the Greeks must have been, when approaching the theatre, to those we now entertain upon similar occasions; and how erroneously they judge, who contrast scenic representations of so grave a character, with modern tragedies written for an entirely different purpose.
The ancient dramas were performed in the day time; and not beneath the mimic clouds which the ceilings of modern theatres display, but under the wide-spread canopy of heaven. Their theatres were generally built in the shape of a semicircle, and furnished with seats of stone, disposed in lines parallel to the curved wall of the building, and rising gradually one above another. At the top of the wall, the building was quite open; the Romans, indeed, sometimes threw over a slight temporary covering, to protect the audience from the rays of the sun; but we do not learn that the Greeks permitted
any covering at all. The size of their theatres was immense, and suited well with the dignity of the performance : strangers used to flock to witness dramatic representations, which took place only on solemn occasions, and a large building was necessary to contain the concourse which was drawn together. That all might hear, it is well known the players used masks, which were so constructed, as greatly to increase the powers of the voice, and assist the singers.. The different kinds of performances were, tragedy, which is the most ancient drama; comedy, which at first was a satire upon living persons; and the mimes, burlesque parodies on tragedy and comedy.
The actors in these several kinds of drama were distinguished by their feet the mimes played bare-footed; the tragedians wore the cothurnus, or buskin, a kind of shoe, covering the foot and mid-leg; it was tied under the knee, and was of a purple color. Comedians, on the contrary, performed in a sandal, or light shoe, called the sock.
RECOLLECTIONS OF LONDON,
COMMUNICATED BY A FRIEND JUST RETURNED TO THE COUNTRY.
REFLECTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS. To give a just enumeration of the mass of objects which London contains, would be to fill volumes, instead of forming, which is my present intention, a useful companion and guide to the stranger. I must, therefore, content myself with noticing such particulars as will be found the most interesting and attractive to the new comer, or to those persons, whose inconvenient distance, or whose avocations in life, prevent their visiting the British metropolis.
It will necessarily happen that many of those who have passed much of their lives in this great city, look upon its opulence and its multitudes, its extent and variety, with indifference; but those who live at a distance, let them come indeed from any quarter of the globe, are immediately distinguished by a kind of dissipated curiosity, and are at a loss to divide their attention amongst the thousands of objects that present themselves on all sides. They may exclaim with Socrates, as he was passing through the fair at Athens ..." How many things are here that I do not want."
London is stretched along the banks of the Thames, and distant from the sea about sixty miles. It may be said to consist of three principal divisions :- the city itself; the city of Westminster; and the borough of Southwark. To measure from Poplar to Hydepark-Corner, the Western extremity, it is at least seven miles; but contemplating the great increase of buildings in the vicinity, and taking into the account the new streets, and rows of houses branching out in every direction, for miles round, the mind is lost at the magnitude of the whole.
Considering the variable state of the air and climate, London is, perhaps, the most healthy city in Europe. The tide flows at least fifteen miles higher than London ; and this circumstance in the Summer season, affords the opportunity so often enjoyed by numberless parties of pleasure, of sailing to many delightful spots up the water; forming, as it were, a panoramic view on each side of the Thames. Kew and Richmond bave frequent visitors in this way; and Sion House, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, presenting itself between the two places, charms the beholder more than words can express.
But to return to the city. From the great commercial consequence of London, and the activity in it, which never slumbers, it is no exaggeration to call it so vast a magazine of stores, that the whole world is supplied from it. Its wealth and grandeur are beyond idea great, and the innumerable avocations of the industrious citizens, “who polish life by useful arts;" the varied neatness of the retail shops, and the loaded warehouses of the merchants, cannot fail to excite astonishment. Thousands of shops, indeed, seem crowded with goods, of which it is difficult to tell the use; and many of the arts by which so much wealth is heaped together, are of such a minute and seemingly superfluous nature, that it creates wonder how they meet with sufficient encouragement.
Mixing, as I often did, with the thousands that swarm the streets, I, on my return home one day, indulged in the following meditation : “ He that contemplates," said I, “the extent of this wonderful city, must find it difficult to conceive by what method such plenty is maintained in the markets, and how the inhabitants are so regularly supplied with the necessaries of life. I cannot also sufficiently admire the secret concatenation of society, that links together the great and the mean, the illustrious and obscure ; for, it seems, he that will diligently labor in London, in whatever occupation, will obtain the sustenance and protection which he is entitled to enjoy. In the midst, therefore, of this universal hurry, no man ought to be so little influenced by example, or so void of honest emulation, as to stand a lazy spectator of incessant labor; or please himself with the mean occupation of a drone, while the active swarms are buzzing about him. No man is without some quality, by the due application of which he might deserve well of the world; and whoever has but little in his power, should be in haste to do that little, lest he be confounded with him that can or will do nothing."
It is to be lamented, that so many of the public buildings, including the fine old churches, &c. are so locked up, as it were, in courts and alleys, that strangers may traverse the whole metropolis without the least knowledge that such edifices exist ; but when
seen from either London, Southwark, Blackfriars, or Westminster Bridge, the forest of spires, towers, and steeples, which then presents itself, with the shipping on the river, forms a spectacle, such as other nations must envy, but cannot equal.
Of the local government of the city, to begin with the Chief Magistrate, we read that in 1214, King John granted a charter, conferring the liberty of choosing a MAYOR ONmually. He was to be presented to the King for approval. In the 37th of Henry III. a new charter was gained, permitting the presentation to be made to the Barons of the Exchequer; and to this day the practice is continued. Of the powers and privileges of the Lord Mayor, it is stating them sufficiently to observe, that he represents the King in the civil government of the city; and although the office is elective, his supremacy does not cease on the death of the King ; on the contrary, he is then considered the chief officer in the kingdom, and takes his place accordingly in the privy-council till the new Sovereign is proclaimed.
The Election of the new Lord Mayor takes place on the 29th of September, when two of the senior Aldermen below the Chair, are elected by the Livery, and returned to the court of the Mayor and Aldermen, by whom one of them is declared Lord Mayor elect. On November 9, he enters upon his office, and proceeds in great state to Westminster, when his lordship takes the prescribed oaths before the Barons of the Exchequer, and then returns to the city with the same cavalcade; exciting great interest, and exhibiting more than ordinary display of municipal splendor. This the citizens denominate the Lord Mayor's show.
ALDERMEN. They are 26 in number, being one to each ward ; to the government of which he is more immediately to attend. This officer was appointed in the reign of Henry III., and from that period till 1394 the Aldermen were appointed annually ; after which, in the reign of Richard II. it was enacted by Parliament that they should " continue in office during life, or good behaviour." From that time, the office has been for life. In the management of the affairs of his ward, he has his deputy, chosen out of the Common Council; and in some wards that are very large, the Alderman has two deputies. The election of Aldermen, at which the Lord Mayor presides, is vested in those freemen who are resident house-holders; and if a poll be demanded, it terminates in three days.
COMMON COUNCIL. This body represents the Commons, and forms the third part of the city legislature, which resembles that of the government of the kingdom ; for as the latter consists of King, Lords, and Commons, so this is composed of the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen, and Common Council. From old records we learn, that prior to 1347, there were only two Common Councilmen returned for each ward; which being thought insufficient to represent the numerous body of the Commons, it was at that time agreed, that each ward should choose a number according to its dimensions ; since then, there has been no alteration *; the present number is 236 for the twenty-five wards that return Common Councilmen.---Bridge Ward Without is unrepresented, except by an Alderman.
SHERIFFS. Two officers of the City and Middlesex, so very ancient, as to owe their establishment to the time of the Saxons. They are chosen by the Liverymen of the several Companies on Midsummer Day, and enter upon their office on Michaelmas Day, having been sworn the day before at Guildhall. At the nomination, the Lord Mayor drinks to those whom he selects for the approbation of the Livery; but any person who can swear he is not worth 15,000l. may be excused from serving the office : they are, however, obliged, if qualified with respect to fortune, to serve, according to a by-law of 1748, under a penalty of 6001. (and 131. 6s. 8d. to the Ministers of the city prisons); 100l. of which is to be given to him who first agrees to fill the office.
Any gentleman of the city may be chosen an Alderman, without his serving the office of Sheriff, but he is obliged to be a Sheriff before he can be Lord Mayor.
According to Camden, the Sheriff is to collect the public revenues within his jurisdiction, to gather into the Exchequer all fines, to serve the King's writs of process, and by the posse comitatis to compel headstrong and obstinate men to submit to the decisions of the law; to attend the Judges, and execute their orders; to impanel juries, and to take care that all condemned criminals be duly executed.
RECORDER OF LONDON. This officer ought always to be (as in the present case he is) a learned lawyer, and well versed in the customs of the city. He is appointed by the
• By a recent resolution of the Court of Common Council, the number of Representatives for St Giles Without Cripplegate, has been increased from 4 to 8. (Ed.)