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8. GIBBON CONVICTED OF A BULL. “ According to Plutarcb, Romulus allowed only three grounds of a divorce-drunkenness, adultery, and false keys. Otherwise, the husband who abused bis supremacy forfeited half his goods to the wise, and half to the goddess Ceres, and offered a sacrifice (with the remainder) to the terrestrial deities." See Decline and Fall, ch. xliv. note h. It would be difficult to find the remainder of that man's property who had already forfeited two moieties of it. Drunkenness is not mentioned by Plutarch at all ; and he plainly implies that all divorces require an offering of expiation to the terrestrial deities.
9. Fontenelle. Fontenelle was perhaps the only man who felt and confessed a diminution of his intellectual powers in old age. He well knew how necessary memory is to the understanding, and consequently to the supply of wit. Memory collects ideas, the understanding arranges them, and judgment determines the propriety of their union. An extensive and prompt memory is necessary to present to our choice a number of ideas, for the mind to apply and use at pleasure. In speaking of the loss of his memory late in life, he said, “ I am on the point of removing into another country, and memory is sent off before, with the heavy baggage."
10. A SINGULAR Fact. It may be mentioned as an historical singularity, that all the English kings who married French princesses, incurred the displeasure of their subjects, and suffered violent deaths; as Edward II., Richard II., Henry VI., and Charles I.
11. LONGEVITY. It would seem that in very hot but dry countries, mankind attain to a greater age than in the temperate zones. The following extraordinary instance of longevity is related by M. Humboldt, as having occurred within bis own observation. While he was at Lima, a Peruvian Indian died at the age of 147, having been married for ninety years to the same woman, who had lived to the age of 117. Till be attained to the age of 130, this venerable personage used to walk three or four leagues every day ; but for the last twelve years of his life he had lost his sight.
12. À WHIMSICAL INTRODUCTION. Boswell, in his Journal of a Tour, &c. relates that Cooke, the translator of Hesiod, &c. introduced Foote to a club in the following singular manner :-“ This is the nephew of the gentleman who was lately hung in chains for murdering his brother."
13. A WOMAN WHO HAD TWENTY-FIVE HUSBANDS. Evelyn, in his Memoirs, mentions the case of a woman in the Netberlands who had been married twenty-five times, and who was then prohibited from marrying again; “ yet it could not be proved,” he says " that she bad ever made any of her husbands away, though the suspicion had brought her divers times to trouble."
14. COLERIDGL. With extensive learning, an unbounded vigor of imagination, and the most ready command of expression both in verse and prose, this author has been uniformly deficient in the perseverance and the sound sense which were necessary to turn his exquisite talents to their proper usc. He has only produced in a complete state one or two small pieces, and every thing else, begun on a larger scale, has been flung aside, and left unfinished. This is not all: although commanding the most beautiful poetical language, he has every now and then thought fit to excbange it for the gratuitous pleasure of introducing whole stanzas of quaint and vulgar doggrel. These are the passages which render learning useless, and eloquence absurd; which make fools laugh, and malignant critics “ dance and leap ;" but which excite, in readers of taste, grief and astonishment, as evidence of talent misapplied, and genius furnishing arms against itself to low-minded envy.
15. ANTIQUITY OF THE Marine COMPASS. Du Halde, in his History of China, adduces some evidence to shew that the compass was known and used in that country as early as the 22d. cycle, or 1040 years before Christ; and the observation of Sir George Staunton, in the Account of his Embassy to China, that the magnet is one of the attributes of their Neptune, and is placed in one of the hands of the idol, is not a little curious.
16. DUEL IN BALLOONS. A very extraordinary duel took place in Paris about cighteen years since. M. de Granpree and M. Le Pique having quarrelled about Mademoiselle Tirevit, a celebrated opera dancer, who was kept by the former, but had been discovered in an intrigue with the latter, a challenge ensued. Being both men of elevated mind, they agreed to fight in balloons. Each, attended by a second, ascended his car, loaded with blunderbusses, as pistols could not be expected to be efficient in their probable situation. When they had mounted to the height of about 900 yards, M. Le Pique fired his piece ineffectually ; almost immediately after, the fire was returned by M. Granpree, and penetrated his adversary's balloon ; the consequence of which was, its rapid descent, and M. Le Pique and his second were both dashed to pieces on a house top, over which the balloon fell. The victorious Granpree then mounted aloft in the grandest style, and descended safe with his second, about seven leagues from the spot of ascension.
17. The EGYPTIANS NOT BALD, AND WHY. The Egyptians, if we believe Herodotus, book iii. ch, xii, seldom went bald, and the reason which he assigos is, that they shaved their heads from childhood, and thus hardened them in the sun. It is not easy to say how a man with his head shorn, could ever become bald.
THE WAR SONG.
To the charge,--to the charge,-'tis for England and home,
To the charge,---to the charge,---and the day is our own,
THE LOVER'S SEAT.
“ From thence it is a short walk to the Lover's Seat.”
“ Wilt thou meet me at the stone seat on the cliff? I will be there at the moon rising,” said Alured, pressing Ina fondly to his heart. The place was difficult to reach-it was distant from her home---the way to it was dreary and unfrequented, yet she did not hesitate to promise what the unfortunate youth requested. “Holy Mary, guard me, as I truly promise thee !” she exclaimed, with fervour. Alured imprinted a burning kiss upon her cheek, and instantly leaped into the boat which awaited him. The rowers plied manfully at their task, and a few minutes placed a considerable distance between them and the shore. Ina watched the boat, until it seemed but as a speck upon the ocean; she then arranged her mantle, and the hood, which was the covering of her head, and took the way to her father's house.
Ecgfrid, the father of Alured, was a man of importance amongst the Saxons; and by the possession of ten hides of land, having thereon a church, a kitchen, and a bell house, was entitled to the rank of a thegn, or thane. His house, or rather hall, for so the residence of the nobles was called, stood boldly conspicuous on the Sussex coast, near the ancient port of Hastings, and was equally celebrated for the romantic beauty of its situation, and the truly English hospitality which every way-faring man was certain of receiving there. In the latter particular it was indeed unrivalled, especially in the strength of its ale, to the potency of which the addled brains of many a rustic oft times gave testimony: no wassail drink of new year's eve, no gossip's bowl, not even a cup of old canary, “and that is a marvellous searching wine,” ever played its part more effectually than this long remembered barley drink was wont to do. The hall was erected upon the brow of a steep cliff, the base of which was washed by the sea; but towards the land the approach was rendered easy by a gentle long continued ascent. The building was massy, ponderous, and inelegant—without ornament or convenience---lofty, but irregular---and calculated either for a residence or a place of defence, being provided with loop-holes for the discharge of bolts from cross bows.
It was within sight of this mansion that on Michaelmas Day, 1066, the Norman Aeet, consisting of upwards of one thousand ships, anchored in the bay of Pevensey, and William, afterwards surnamed “the Conqueror,” stepped upon the shore with sixty thousand followers. The wind had for a long time detained these invaders in the port of St. Valori; but upon the eve of the feast of St. Michael, who was the patron saint of Normandy, William directed the relics of St. Valori to be carried in solemn procession through the streets; and such was the effect of this pious march, that the wind instantly changed, their sails were at once filled, and the whole armament proceeded to the English shore, under the protection of a consecrated banner, which had been presented to William by the Pope, together with a golden Agnus Dei, and a ring, in which was one of St. Peter's hairs.
The expedition had been so long threatened, and so long delayed, that the English falsely imagined that William had abandoned his pretensions ; or at any event, that he would not prosecute them until the following year. The fleet which had been cruizing for several months along the English coast, was in consequence discharged, and the Norman duke effected his landing without even a shew of opposition. Ecgfrid, who was personally connected with Harold, the English king, viewed ship after ship discharge its cargo, but was in no condition to oppose them; the soldiers had been, in fact, all withdrawn, to assist in the repulse of some Norwegian invaders who had landed on the banks of the Humber, and over whom Harold obtained a complete victory a few days before William landed.
As soon as a landing was effected, William collected his troops, and advanced with them to a short distance from the shore, where the camp was fixed, and the invaders began to scour the country for provisions. One of the first residences that attracted their attention, was that of Ecgfrid ; its situation, commanding an extensive view of the valley which was spread around it, seemed to point it out as a fit residence for the commander; who therefore rode towards it, with Eustace de Boulogne, Aimeri de Thouars, and some others of his companions in arms. The fatigues of the day, and the anxiety with which such a bold and important enterprise was of necessity accompanied, rendered sleep and refreshment necessary to all of them, and more than all to William, who had been most active, and was most anxious. But Ecgfrid's was no place either of refreshment or rest to them. The entrances were all closed and barricadoed; the turrets manned ; archers stationed at the loop-holes; and every thing prepared for defence. Ecgfrid had also caused a deep trench to be dug across the only way of entrance, and men were placed behind a hastily raised fortification, to give a check to the progress of any attacking force. William, upon his approach, sent forward a messenger to demand the surrender of Ecgfrid and his residence; but no answer was given to his repeated challenges, for this very simple and efficient reason, that there was not amongst the inmates of Eegfrid's residence any one person who understood French. William himself approached, and soon guessed the cause. Amongst the people who had been drawn together from curiosity to survey the Norman forces, one was soon found who consented to assume the office of an interpreter, and Ecgfrid was once more summoned " to open his gates."
“ To whom?" was the interrogative reply; and when that was answered, “ Tell this spurious duke," said the respondent, “ that this fortification is holden for Harold, King of England, to whom only will it be rendered.”
“ Harold !” exclaimed William, prompting the interpreter; “Harold is a perjured villain, and is not King of England, but by foul wrong done unto me.”
“Harold's men,” was the answer, “ will tell you smooth-chinned boys* another tale, ere long; but away with you, or we will send a troop of winged messengers amongst you, who will scatter your thick ranks :" at the same moment a single arrow from the nearest part of the building struck the Saxon interpreter to the ground, a voice exclaiming, “Thus be it to every craven knave who renders aid to an invader.”
The Normans immediately fell into rank, and would have rushed to the attack; but William, probably imagining that the place was more strongly defended than in reality it was, or wishing to reserve his strength for more important occasions, drew off his men, exclaiming, that he came not over to wage war with private men, but to obtain the kingdom, which was his due; and that he held it beneath the honor of a general who had the swords of sixty thousand brave men unsheathed in his cause, to waste time in subduing a paltry thane.
Thus foiled, William retreated to the sea shore, where a repast was spread for him on a large flat stone, which to the present day, in memory of this event, retains the appellation of “the Conqueror's Table."
Upon the appearance of Harold, who mustered his forces, and prepared to meet the invaders, Ecgfrid sallied forth from his untenable fortress, and joined the Saxon monarch with all the force he could muster. The result is well known :---the hostile armies met near the place now called Battle, and after an engagement contested from nine o'clock in the morning, until sunset, the Saxons were entirely routed. Harold lost his kingdom and his life, and England lay at the proud foot of “the Conqueror.” The carnage of the Saxons was dreadful : forced back by the Norman cavalry, they contested every foot of ground, and many a brave man fell, like Ecgfrid, upon the field, rather than yield the least advantage to his opponents. After the engagement, Ecgfrid's dead body was found covered with wounds, and lying upon a heap of enemies. A grave, dug hastily upon the field, received him and them; and they who would have shunned the touch of each other when alive, have long since dissolved into one common and undistinguishable mass.
The tyrannous manner in which William exercised the power that he acquired by this victory, and the subsequent submission of the principal Saxons, produced continual risings among the people. Scarcely a year passed without a rebellion. Goaded by oppression of the most horrible kind--stripped of their property, which was parcelled out amongst Normans, and not only ill treated but insultedmarked out by a peculiar mode of wearing their beards, which they were obliged by law to adopt, as a class who might be injured with impunity; it cannot be wondered that the wretched Saxons made various attempts to expel their Norman tyrants, and regain their
• The Normans were shaven, whereas the Saxons wore their beards long.