Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Advance she won't return she daren't helt

Infectious are her fears,
And all agree, spouse, children, maid,

Spite of vett'rinos jeers,
To farm themselves

upon
the

spot
For half a dozen years!
Thus every town its tribute has

Of England's superfluity;
And to that town the English are

Not pattern, but annuity.
But in return, the gain they gain

Is threefold in their eye-
For travellers they glorious live!

And travellers they die !
And travellid fools of either sex,

Too often have at home,
The local rank of wise and learn'd

'Mongst those who never roam!-pp. 221, 222. The Picturesque Annual is unfortunately devoted with another of its colleagues, reviewed in our last journal, to the illustration of French scenery.

We say unfortunate, because we really cannot agree with either the writers or the artists, that the objects found in France or even upon its coasts, are of that extraordinary value which this constant recourse to it necessarily involves. Mr. Roscoe in the work alluded to has abundantly supplied us with French legends and descriptions of localities, which certainly ought to have been sufficient for one year at all events, and we trust that the hint will not be lost to the editors in succeeding years. We are, however, not the less disposed to honour the merits

displayed in the beautiful engravings which adorn this volume. They consist of twenty highly spirited and exquisitely finished views of the most remarkable places on the sea-coasts of France, particularly on the western side, and therefore include those which are most familiar to English travellers. We have Calais, Dieppe, Havre, with several views of Mont St. Michel, and St. Malo, of Abbeville, Eu, Treport, Chalean de Dieppe, Harfleur, Caen, Fecamp, &c., all from the drawings of Clarkson Stanfield, and engraved

in their best style by some of the most favourite of our artists. The letter-press consists of Travelling Sketches, in which the scenery of the country, its manners, and customs are described, and which too often, perhaps, are interspersed with antiquities and allusions to legendary records, that cannot be deemed altogether amusing to general readers. The horrible story of the voyage from Havre of the Rodeur, is enough to throw energy enough into the dullest neighbourhood. The story of M. Cabieux is also full of interest. The descriptions are varied in many places so as to alternate the subjects in such a way as to make the transition very agreeable ; but the disproportion of good materials furnished in the tour, to which the editor was obliged to confine himself, are scarcely to be made attractive by any efforts of genius and ingenuity.

In the Chameleon we have what may be regarded as an extreme example of the degeneracy of the existing race of Annuals. This we lament to know is partly the result of the bad state of health of the editor, who certainly has the credit of having done and meant well by this publication. The present number contains a great variety of smaller poems, and some serious dissertations, such as those on the “Laws Relative to Literary Property," and " the Influence of Commerce on Civilisation.” There is inserted in this volume, a series of verses to which the name of the Sextuple Alliance is given, and which purport to have been written by six different individuals. The whole appears to have been written by the editor at an early age, and when it first came out excited a good deal of observation. The purpose, however, for which we introduce the mention of it here, is to enable us to bring forward a very remarkable letter by Sir Walter Scott, in which we see him in the most amiable of his aspects. The letter is deeply instructive, and should be well weighed by many to whom at this moment it will still apply.

From Sir WALTER Scott to the Author of the Sextuple Alliance.

SIR-Owing to my residence here, and to your packet being left at my house in Castle Street, I was rather late of receiving it, and have to apologize for not sooner making my acknowledgment. I am very often favoured with such communications, and, as I hold it a point of conscience to express myself candidly to the authors, they are sometimes, naturally enough, hurt at what I must needs say, that they have rather the love of poetry, than the power of producing it-two very different matters, though generally confused. You, sir, I think, have both, and it is with no little pleasure that I pay this tribute to your genius; and frankly am of opinion that the Sextuple Alliance shows a very great power both of thought and expression, and must be read with pleasure by all who love to see the first efforts of talent. I do not quite like the name, as, till the preface is read, which men seldom read till they end the book, it leads one to expect something of a different character. I take the liberty also to notice some slips in grammar, which you ought to study with much anxiety, because such occurring in this are faults of which all men can judge, and, like a small speck on a white dress, though bearing no proportion to the whole, are yet very discernible. Page 17, line 5, for instance, you use the accusative in, stead of the nominative-him for he; and page 6, line 2, you use who instead of whom. You will think these criticisms pedantic, but yet much accuracy in these matters is necessary to success, in a period when there is really so much good poetry going. Hence people grow fastidious.

Indeed, if it is your object to prosecute literature, with the high objects expressed in your loose leaf, you will find extreme labour necessary. Men do not rise by writing a great deal, so much as by a careful course of previous study, which has both its toils and privations, and also its honours and rewards. If you are fortunately within the reach of informing your mind, which is the case with most people in the present state of society, do

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

not omit a moment in which you can' make some progress, however little, in that most necessary task; and think every moment withdrawn from pleasure and idle company a step in your path to fame. Another circumstance I may as well hint at: do not trust to literature for your actual support in life, but follow out your own profession, whatever that be, man, fully and attentively, for independence is necessary to enable you to treat with booksellers, and even then you are obliged to humble yourself to do task-work for the passing day. If you attend to this, hint, you will one day thank me for it. I am, sir, with best wishes, your most obedient servant,

• WALTER SCOTT,' 'Abbotsford, Melrose, 14th April.'

The New Year's Gift of Mrs. Watts, in its pretty decorations, and its familiar narratives, is a work that merits very strongly the patronage of parents, who desire to give their children the benefits of an early opportunity to acquire taste in the fine arts and useful information for after-life. It is impossible almost to do justice to the vast good which, in the silence of the drawing-room, is effected in society by those pretty aids to the cultivation of the mind. We ever regard them with great interest, because they uniformly afford the security of the purest morals, and the most exalted principles being inculcated by them.

[ocr errors]

ART. X.The Chronology of History, containing Tables, Cal

culations, and Statements, indispensable for ascertaining the , Dates of Historical Events, and of Public and Private Events, from the Earliest Periods to the Present Time. By Sir HARRIS NICOLAS, K.C., M.G. 1 Vol. London: Longman, Rees,

& Co. 1833. This is the period of the year when men's minds are mostly directed to the consideration of the divisions of time, and when the reading of their almanacks require to be facilitated by the knowledge of some of the terms usually employed in these works. As this is a subject which we have not yet treated of, and as itis one of great practical value, we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded by the able author before us, of explaining to the reader many important points connected with chronology, ancient dates, eras, styles, &c. which are by no means universally or properly understood.

The periods called eras and epochs, are often mentioned in works on history, and no doubt often meet the eyes of persons who may not exactly comprehend their import. These periods, however, constitute an important source of knowledge, which will be manifest by adverting for a moment to their nature and object. The most ancient method that is handed down to us of computing time is that denominated the era of the Olympiads, which derive their name from the Olympic games of Greece, or those periodical sports which were held in ancient times at Olympia.

The first or earliest date of this era is the 776th, that number of years being the difference between the institution of those games and the birth of Christ. The progress of this era con sisted of a revolution of four years, and the year of the olympiads which corresponds with the birth of Christ is settled as the 195th. The computation of time by olympiads remained in practice to the year of Christ, 440. The directions for reducing the olympiads to the common era, as given by Mr. Nicolas, are to multiply the olympiad immediately preceding the one in question by 4, and add to the product the number of

years of the given olympiad. If before Christ, subtract the amount from 777, if after Christ, subtract 776 from the amount; and the remainder will be the beginning of the year required. The number of each month of an olympiad must be reckoned from July, because July is the first month.

The date of the foundation of Rome is the nextera of importance. A great difference of opinion has prevailed amongst historians as to the

year in which this event should be fixed. From the early annals of Rome, and from astronomical computations, Dr. Hales has shewn that Terentius Varro was right in determining it to be 753 years before Christ.

The Christian era which commenced on the 1st of January, in the middle of the fourth year of the 194th olympiad, and the 753rd of the building of Rome, was not introduced into Italy until the sixth century. In the seventh it was introduced into France, where it was not universally adopted until the eighth. After that it was gradually adopted in every other kingdom. In Spain, the Christian era was used in public instruments uniformly only after the middle of the fourteenth century, and in Portugal not until the beginning of the fifteenth.

About forty-five years before the birth of Christ, Julius Cæsar, reformed the Roman calendar: he ordained that the

year

of Rome 707 should consist of fifteen months, forming altogether 445 days; that the ensuing year, 708, should be composed of 365 days; and that every fourth year should contain 366 days, the additional day being introduced after the 6th of the calends of March, i. e. the 24th of February, which year he called Bissextile, because the 6th of the calends of March were then doubled. Julius Cæsar also divided the months into the number of days which they at present contain. The Roman calendar, which was divided into calends, nones, and ides, was used in most public instruments throughout Europe for many centuries.

This era is called the Julian, and is frequently alluded to in the history of Rome. To reduce the year of Rome to the year before Christ, the following is the method: if the year of Rome be less than 754, deduct the year from 751, in which case the difference is the year before Christ. If the year of Rome be not less than 754, deduct 753 from it, and the remainder will be the year after Christ.

The Alexandrian era of the creation of the world was fixed at 5502 years before Christ. This computation was continued until the year of our Lord 281, or of the Alexandrian era, 5786; but in A. D. 285, or A. Alex. 5787, ten years were subtracted, and that year was called 5777. To reduce the Alexandrian to the Christian era, 5502 must be subtracted from the Alexandrian era until A. Alex. 5786, and after that year by subtracting 5429. To ascertain the

year
of the Alexandrian era of any year

of our Lord after A. D. 285, 5192 must be added to the year of Christ; and if before A. D. 285, 5502 must be added.

The Hegira, or the Mahomedan calendar, begins on Friday the 16th of July, the date of Mahomet's flight from Mecca to Medina, and in 622 of Christ: but it is important for the reader of Arabian works to know that astronomers and historians assign the day to the 'I hursday before. In chronology and history, however, and in dating their public instruments, the Turks use months which contain alternately thirty and twenty-nine days, excepting the last month, which, in intercalary years, contains thirty days. The months of the hegira consist, like ours, of weeks, each day of which begins in the evening after sunset, and is termed by the catholic church ferial: thus, our Sunday is the first feria of the Arabian week, and our Saturday the seventh. The years of the begira are divided into cycles of thirty years, nineteen of which are termed common years, of 354 days each; and the eleven others intercalary, or abundant, from their consisting of one day more: these are the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 26th, and 29th. To ascertain whether any given year be intercalary or not, divide it by 30; and if either of the above numbers remain, the year is one of 355 days.

The Jews at present date from the creation of the world, which they consider to have taken place 3760 years and three months before the commencement of the Christian era.

Their year is luni-solar, consisting of either twelve or fourteen months each; and every month contains twenty-nine or thirty days. Their civil year commences with, or immediately after, the new moon following the autumnal equinox.

One of the most important, however, of the divisions of this work is that respecting the old and new style. It appears that in consequence

of the errors made in the Julian method of computation, by which much confusion prevailed amongst astronomers, Pope Gregory the Thirteenth undertook to reform the calendar, and an alteration, which, by his directions, was effected in the month of October, 1758, is the change which bears the name of the New Style. The change consisted of -striking off ten days from the year 1582, by calling what would have been the fifth of October the fifteenth of that year. This alteration was received in France, Portugal, and part of Italy on the same day as at Rome : in France, on the 10th of December, 1582; in Holland,

« AnteriorContinuar »