Page images
PDF
EPUB

therefore, that it will not be thought so now, although the life of the mother is still spared, her recovery being yet doubtful, and the great expence of a severe illness indefinitely prolonged, exceedingly distressing.

The Editor flatters herself that many of the subscribers to the former little volume, which is now out of print, and which met with so much favour from them and from the public (six hundred copies more than the number subscribed for having been sold) will again come forward to patronize the present.* If she does not deceive herself, they will not repent of their kindness, being persuaded that they will recognize in this second publication the same pious resignation, the same interesting sensibility, the same humility of spirit which distinguished the first, improved by a greater variety of ideas, and ex. pressed in more correct and appropriate language; they will clearly perceive, that the intelligent teacher of little children has possessed greater opportunities for the improvement of original genius than the obscure cook-maid, educated by the frugal hand of charity.

A specimen of the intended selection will be subjoined, and a subscription of five shillings opened by Messrs. Johnson, St. Paul's Church-yard; Hatchard, Piccadilly; Mawman, Poultry; and by Longman and Co. Paternoster-row.

If it does not infringe on the plan laid down for conducting your ingenious Magazine, you will, by inserting the above in your next number, greatly oblige,

Sir, your obedient servant,

C. CAPPE. York, July 23d, 180

* The former little volume was so much liked in America, that a new edition has been printed there. + See Poetry.

BIRDS SINGING BY NIGHT.

To the Editor of the Athenaum. Sir,

YOUR correspondent L. H. (p. 152) takes notice that, on the 14th of July last, at half past two in the morning, several birds were heard singing, and the Lark and the Chimney Swallow were observed upon the wing. Give me leave, therefore, to inform him, through the channel of your useful and entertaining miscellany, that on the 12th of the same month, at a quarter before three A.M. I heard the Song Thrush, Turdus Musicus, as well as the Blackbird, Turdus Merula, at Hackney, in Middlesex.

I remain, Sir, yours, &c.

S.R. London, Aug. 6th, 1808.

ON DR. SMITH'S INTRODUCTION TO BOTANY.

To the Editor of the Athenaum. Sir,

AS I have no doubt but that every one of your readers, interested in botanical researches, must have felt equal pleasure with myself in the perusal of Dr. Smith's Classical Introduction to Botany, I conclude no apology will be necessary for intruding on their attention some observations suggested by that excellent work.

It has been long, and certainly very justly regretted, by many of the most able botanists now existing, that some plan for the simplification of those parts of the Linnean system, on all sides confessedly admitted to be deficient in precision and accuracy, has not been projected on grounds compatible with the principles on which Linnæus constructed his method. It was with a view to this desirable object that his intelligent successor in the botanical chair at Upsal, Sir Charles Thunberg, projected the improvement which generally goes under his name. But as this, by the reduction of one very natural class, Gynandria, and the exclusive abolition of the principle on which the three most defective classes of Linnæus are formed, that of the diclinous nature of the plants which compose them, annihilates some very obvious features of the sexual system, it has been but very partially adopted, either in this country or abroad.

Aware of the ground on which alone any justifiable alteration could be made, Dr. Smith has suggested an improvement which, while it sufficiently removes the objections of those who urge the expediency of a reformation of the Linnean system, at the same time preserves the principles on which the founder of it.constructed his scheme. The great and unquestionably justly-founded objection to this part of the Linnean method is, that a number of plants in the other classes have diclinous flowers, as well as those composing the classes constructed on this principle, thus creating a confusion extremely embarrassing, and in many instances attended with insuperable difficulty to the

young botanist. To obviate this objection, Dr. S. proposes to remove from these classes to those in which they will range, according to the number or situation of their stamens, all those diclinous plants whose male and female flowers do not differ in structure, and forming those which do, into one class, under the title Diclinia. This principle, which will in an easy and intelligible manner guide the student to the arrangement of every plant in its natural situation in the system, has in fact been in part adopted in the Flora Britannica, a work the conclusion of which every

classical student of the botany of this country is most anxiously anticipating.* In his future works, especially his long pro

jected * In the preface to the above-cited Introduction to Botany, Dr. S. has anRounced his intention of publishing an English Flora, which will, in the present improved state of the science, be a most acceptable addition to the botanical works calculated for the use of the fair sex,

jected edition of the Systema Vegetabilium,* it is to be wished Dr.S. would put his suggested reformation in full execution.

I cannot conclude without availing myself of the opportunity which the mention of this subject affords me, of suggesting to the learned author the utility of adding to the fourth volume of his Flora, instead of the customary generic index, a more detailed one on the plan of Dr. Withering's, embracing the specific names. And it would be of material advantage to the science, if he were to distinguish by italic characters not merely the general synonyms, but also the former names of those plants removed in his work to other genera. The utility of this plan will be particularly apparent in the mosses which have undergone so material a revolution in this respect.

* See Preface to his Edit. of Linn. Flora Lapponica. There is not at this moment a greater desideratum in science than a complete and accurate edition of this valuable work, for the accomplishment of which no one cnjoys such important sources of information as its intended editor, the possessor of the Linnean Museum, and the founder and president of the society established to illustrate and apply its contents.

V. M. Aug, 2, 1808.

[ocr errors]

POETIC METAPHOR.

To the Editor of the Athenæum. Sir,

YOUR judicious and temperate Magazine intermixes the lighter and more elegant objects of poetry and polite literature with the abstruser disquisitions that contribute to the wide and variegated circle of human knowledge. From this persuasion have I now ventured to offer the few subsequent lines on the subject of my present address.

It occurred to me, on reading Gray's Ode, relative to the Pleasures of Vicissitude, that this generally accurate poet had not preserved the integrity of a metaphor there introduced in the verses which follow:

Smiles on past Misfortune's brow,

Soft Reflexion's hand can trace;
And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw

A melancholy grace.

I think it palpable that, by the adjunct past, Misfortune is converted from a person to an attribute, from a metaphor to a word. By eking out the metre with this word, Misfortune no longer considered as an image: and yet, had it been unaccompanied, would have been liable to no objection.

With far more propriety, the recollection of past times may be exemplified in one instance from the Altamira of Benjamin Victor; a work that very little revision might adapt to the modern stage, unless

its

its horrible catastrophe had not justly operated in Garrick's exclusion of its performance. I know not if the idea be original ; but, in the first scene of this piece, the memory of departed friendship is represented by departed sunshine, which

Gleam'd back from the pale moon, lends form to midnight
That else were utter darkness.

This thought is, in my opinion, possessed of a pleasing melancholy, which excellently agrees with its subject. Under this head, an example from Theobald's Double Falsehood may, perhaps, be consistently included, which has attracted Mr. Gifford's notice in a comment on the Duke of Milan. Of an exalted character it is said, that

None but himself can be his parallel :

respecting which Mr. G. affirms, that it may be justified by similar expressions in antient and modern authors. This circumstance I beg leave to doubt, or, at least, its foundation in the principles of sound criticism. I am well aware that a person may be said to possess no equal in this world but himself; as in Seneca, Herc. Fur.

Quæris Alcidæ parem?
Nemo est, nisi ipse:

Yet let me observe, that the expression parallel, which pre-supposes some antagonist to confront the hero, has the effect of splitting him into two distinct natures; a sort of inferior Geryon, or a two-headed Janus.

Were I to attempt a discrimination between style and diction, metaphor would be referred to the former, and mere expression to the latter : although it is not my intention to assert, that no other characteristics are inherent in these qualities. Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric divides the original attributes of style into elegance, music, vivacity, animation. The two former belong clearly to diction, as separated from style: we talk of an elegant, a nervous expression, and a gay, animated, or pompous style. That style is capable of the same epithets as diction is perfectly correct; because it is the superior quality in which the other is comprised. In confirmation of this remark ve may, perhaps, note, that, if any single expression be transferred to a sense which is usually employed in another, it partakes of the nature of metaphor; as in Fletcher's allusion to Virgil's impressive verse,

Quæsivit cælo lucem, gemuitque reperta.

The English poet has it, on one who is recovering from a swoon,

See, he gathers up his sprite,

And begins to hunt for light. Thus, too, when Echo is made to lament the death of Bion, because

she

she no longer μιμείαι τα σα χίλεα, or Milton speaks of Lydian airs, as being

Married to immortal verse,

we immediately acknowledge that, in all these instances, beautiful and appropriate as they may be, they are only consistent with the style of poetry, in which, according to an acute critic,* tropical and figurative expression is a prominent attribute. With this latter qualification

prose also accords, but to inferior extent, and in a lesser degree.

Our standard poets could supply many other interesting passages; but as these cursory observations would not probably atone for a far-, ther detail of illustration, I hasten to conclude, Sir, yours, respectfully,

D. L. S. Tower-hill.

Bishop Hurd. Idea of Universal Poetry.

OMNIANA.

107. Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar has been worse used in doggrel than even poor As-in-præsenti himself. But scurvily as he has been berhymed for his conquest of Jerusalem, etymologists have as scurvily explained his name, and invented a story to explain their explanation. They say, he was exposed when an infant under a tree; a she goat gave him suck, and an owl hooted at noon day from the boughs above: this unusual noise excited the attention of a leper who was passing by; he turned aside to the tree, saw the child, and preserved him; and, in memory of these circumstances, named him Nabuchodonosor; Nabug signifying in Chaldee an owl, codo a she goat, and nosor a leper.

108. Omens. The Atlas, a three-decker, was launched in 1782. When they came to ship her bowsprit, the figure stood so high that it was necessary to cut away part of the globe upon his shoulders, and that part happened to be America. Sailors remarked this as ominous at the time, and the event has not weakened their belief in omens.

An omen of heavier import was noticed when the new standard was first hoisted on board the Royal William at Spithead, after the union with Ireland. A gale of wind blew it from the mast-head, and the flag was lost. It was said, that when her sheet-anchor was weighed after the gale, the flag was found twined round its Aukes. This was a pious fraud : they who invented it, endeavoured to counteract a superstition in others, which they were conscious of in themselves.

These omens, which are not generally known, deserve to be recorded; the first because it has been fulfilled, the second because it will

not

« EelmineJätka »