Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

Gilpin's Forest Scenery, edited by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. 2 vols. '

WITH the very best intentions, no doubt, toward his author and the subject, we must reluctantly say that Sir Thomas Lauder has done all he can to spoil his book. In the first place, he strives to diminish our confidence in the principles of Gilpin's directing taste, by opening his book with a disquisition founded on Alison, in which he says; by not having his guidance, Gilpin has never been able clearly to expound his system to his readers. Accordingly, Sir Thomas has the kindness to take us out of the hands of the Vicar of Boldre, and place us under his own protection, before we set offin our search after the Picturesque. Secondly, he has gone, on what we must call a principle, which we think absolutely and entirely wrong, of making Gilpin's a scientific treatise:—and Lastly, he has interpolated the text on all occasions, with the introduction of huge masses of his own disquisitions, in a manner that at least has the merit of novelty; for we never, in ancient or modern times, recollect to have met with it. Now, we are fair critics, and persons anxious for information; and we cheerfully acknowledge that, if Sir Thomas had, from his love of Gilpin's elegant and entertaining treatise, given us an edition, with some judicious and select notes, or well-arranged appendices, he would have done a favour to the

lovers of Gilpin, and credit to himself. It is true that Gilpin's information as a botanist, or more accurately speaking, as a dendrologist, was confined; a few mistakes, therefore, with regard to trees, and a few incorrect opinions, are to be found in these, as in his other volumes: his observations as a traveller had been much confined ; and in the few weeks of the summer in which he was let loose from the bondage of his school at Cheam, the only opportunity presented itself to him of exploring new districts, and following Nature, which he loved, into her coyest and deepest recesses. After he relinquished his school to his son, he was appointed to the vicarage * of Boldre, where a sense of duty and advancing age alike detained him. Whatever, therefore, was the imperfectness of Gilpin's observations on subjects connected with natural history, and in truth they were very unimportant, it arose from want of leisure and opportunity. In this way, we think, his giving the superiority of beauty and picturesque effect to the Yew over the Cedar of Lebanon t arose from his not having seen some of the very finest specimens in England of the latter, while he was familiar with the venerable and consecrated yews; which are found in Hampshire and in the eastern side of Kent. He has made a mistake, in separating the Cluster Pine from the Pinaster, which certainly must have been the same tree; because the Corsican," and other pines from the shores of the Mediterranean, which resemble the Pinaster, have only been lately introduced. He had also too great a fondness for the Scotch Fir, whose cold blue is often extremely out of harmony with the tints of the landscape. With Exotic Trees he was but trivially acquainted; but he possessed a truly picturesque eye, and a light, graceful, and easy style, and often a happiness of expression, that make his volumes superior to those of any other writer on the subject. The interpolations of Sir Thomas Lauder would have been more suitable to a scientific treatise, than to Gilpin's ; nor are they properly connected with it. What has a botanical list of American Oaks, from Michaux and others, to do with Gilpin's remarks on the venerable and shattered giants of our native forests, and the wild and magnificent forms that they assume in extreme age : What have the extracts of the manner in which the wild horses are caught in the Pampas of South America, to do with the shaggy grey forest ponies? And because Gilpin mentions the different varieties in the beauties of a landscape, from atmospherical changes and the gradations of light, Sir Thomas enters into a long digression on phenomena produced by unequal refraction, and witnessed by Mr. Scoresby in the Arctic Seas. We also feel that the commentary, though too diffuse and too scientific for Gilpin's work, which is a work of taste, and not of science, is not accurate or complete enough to be depended upon as a guide to the knowledge of the subjects treated on ; and most of it is to be found in some popular treatises lately published. The story that the author tells of a late famous improver of grounds, (who he is who is alluded to our readers may guess is too good to be omitted :–

* Mr. Gilpin was a schoolmaster at Cheam, and his son succeeded him. Colonel Mitford, the historian of Greece, was his scholar, and presented him with the vicarage of Boldre.

t Some of the finest specimens of the Cedar of Lebanon in England, are in Suffolk. Those at Campsey Ash are unrivalled as a group. There is a very magnificent one at Lord Calthorpe's, near Bury. That at Colonel Bullock's, near Witham, is also very fine. There is one fine tree in the collection that is in the grounds of the decayed and dilapidated mansion belonging to Colonel Strutt, near Hatfield, in Essex. The air near London does not seem to agree with this tree. The two noble brethren at Chelsea are dying; the size of their heads annually diminishing. The one opposite the church of Hammersmith is in premature decay; for we believe the age of the Cedar may extend to a period we cannot reckon; while none planted in England can be older than 200 years at most; a Cedar, therefore, that decays at 150 or 200 years, must find an uncongenial soil or climate.

f One of the finset Yew trees we know is in Selborne churchyard, in Hants. The Isle of Thanet abounds with yews, most venerable, magnificent, and gigantic, whose age cannot be reckoned.

GENT. MAG. Vol. 1. 3 E

402 Review.—Gilpin's Forest Scenery, by Sir T. D. Lauder. [April,

“The Duke of Gordon, being desirous to improve the scenery of Gordon Castle, in

vited a certain landscape-gardener from England. The gentleman was delicate and indolent—the weather was gloomy and unfavourable for some eight days or so—and he preferred the comforts of a book and an easy chair in the drawingroom, to the raw damps which prevailed abroad. But, as he thus lacked exercise of limb out of doors, he made up for the want of it by exercise of jaw within ; and the Duke's venison, and hock and claret, suffered seriously from his daily attacks. But ten days enjoyment of this Castle of Indolence had not gone over his head, when certain alarming twinges in his great toe taught him, one evening, that an old monitor was about to revisit him, to remind him of the infinite nothingness and vanity of all human happiness, and next day he was laid up in bed with a swinging fit of the gout. Some weeks of great suffering and of gradual convalescence brought him again to his great chair, and by degrees he became so far well as to be able to return to his venison and claret ; and finally, one clear, sunshiny day, he ventured forth on crutches into the lawn before the castle. Then, levelling his opera glass silently around him for some time, he at last begged to know in what direction lay the course of the river Spey, and, on this being explained to him, ‘Ha!” said he, gravely, ‘I thought so 1' and then, pointing to a grove of magnificent old forest trees, which stood at some distance in the Park, ‘We must open a view in that direction : your Grace will please to order those trees to be cut down before next season, when I shall have the honour of revisiting Gordon Castle, to judge of the effect of their removal before going further.' Next morning, this Tastemonger took his departure. The noble trees which he had condemned, bowed their heads before the axe, as many noble heads have been bowed before, under the sentence of judges no less unworthy and merciless. The seasons revolved, and so did the wheels of the Taste-monger's carriage, which brought him back to Gordon Castle, where the same scene of sloth, easy chair, eating, venison, hock, claret, gout-admonitory and gout-mordant, recovery, and revisitation of the ground took place. Now it happens that the Spey opposite Gordon Castle, acts against lofty friable

* We consider the Corsican Pine to be the most beautiful which we possess: it is richer in its foliage than the Pinaster, and taller and more vigorous than the Stone Pine. The Cembro Pine is handsome, but does not grow to a large size. We have

a handsome Pinus Mugho in our garden.

The richest garden in England for Pines is banks, of a light, red-coloured mortar, which are perpetually crumbling down; and though these were, at the time we speak of, for the most part hidden by the younger and more distant woods towards the boundary of the Park, yet it so happened (whereas no part of the water of the Spey was visible) the Taste-monger had no occasion even to use his opera-glass to discern a broad streak of blood-red bank, which, being higher than the rest, was seen towering most offensively over the delicate greens of the offscape, like a troop of heavy dragoons breaking over the hedge. ‘We must throw a clump up in that direction,’ said the Taste-monger, waving his hand towards the place with a very important air. ‘We must have a clump on that gentle swell, to shut out yon hideous brickfield.” “A clump,' exclaimed the Duke, with horror in his eyes, ‘why, my good sir! on that very gentle swell grew those goodly trees which you ordered to be cut down last year; and if you choose to satisfy yourself of the fact, you may go yonder to look at the roots which are remaining.” The gentleman was silent ; the Duke left him to his own meditations; and the result was, that he had shame enough left to desire his carriage to be got ready, and to order it to transport him whence he came, an order which his Grace took no measures to thwart or to retard.”

that of Paine's Hill, near Cobham ; from the specimens there Mr. Lambert's, splendid book was chiefly composed. They were planted by the Hon. Mr. Hamilton, who planted 250 Cedars of Lebanon in the grounds, when they were yet scarce trees.—Ed.

This is a good story, well told.

Memorials of a Tour in Greece, chiefly Poetical. By Richard Monckton Milnes. 8vo.

WE wish this gentleman’s poetry had not been so like that of Mr. Alfred Tennyson, nor his prose so much resembling that of Jean Paul; and his book, which wants neither talents nor knowledge, would have been amusing. But it is marvellously affected from the beginning to the end; from the dedication to Mr. Hallam, to the stanzas to the anonymous lady of his heart; and in one poem there is too manifest an imitation of Wordsworth's HartLeap-Well.

The observations on Ithaca, on the Vale of Tempe, and on the Pass of. Thermopylae, are interesting; though we wish the author had entered into more minute details on the composition of Grecian scenery, and especially of its trees and woods, and had given us a comparison of it with those of the more sublime features of the Italian or Helvetian landscape. It is, however,

to the poetry of the book that we are more peculiarly to look for the outbreakings of Mr. Milnes's genius; and as we feel his enthusiasm kindle, and his classic recollections return upon him, we may well expect the admirer of Shelley and of Keats to give us “strains of a higher mood,” when himself is dwelling in the land of song.

We must however confine ourselves to two specimens, which will give the author's manner of expression and thought. We think the latter very Tennysonian.


I saw a weird procession glide along
The vestibule, before the Lion Gate,
A man of god-like limb, and warrior state,
Who never look'd behind him, led the
Next a pale girl, singing sweet sorrow,
My eyes, who ever pointed to a fleck -
Of ingrained crimson on her marble neck;
Her a fierce woman, arm'd with knife

and net, Close followed, whom a youth pursued with smile [while

Once mild, now bitter mad, himself the

Pursued by those foul shapes, gory and grey,

Dread family I saw, another day;

The phantom of that youth, sitting alone,

Quiet thought-bound, a stone upon a Stone.

TO —

Beloved, close this weary-wandering book,
Let us forget it ever held a line,
Let me repose upon thy loving look,
For I am thine again—nothing but

For sights half seen, and thoughts half followed out, "And feeble memories, how can I repine * Having one bliss, on which I dare not doubt, [thine. For I am thine again—nothing but

Or if my spirit learn'd some things right, Nortoiled in vain within the Past's rich mine; It is, that it may take a nobler flight, And worthier to be thine—nothing but thine.

Thy presence is the homestead of my heart, [shrine, My own true country, my familiar I know no other world than what thou art Since I am thine again—nothing but thine.

The Support of Government essential to the preservation and purity of Religion. A Sermon by the Rev. W. Harness. 1834.

THIS is a very earnest, affectionate, and well written appeal in behalf of the National Church, against the doctrines of the ignorant and the interested, who are for destroying the banks through which the waters of Christianity have so long poured their stream of fertility and health, and for letting them flow as chance, or caprice, or interest may command; when all would either be lost and swallowed up in quicksands and deserts; or flooding the depths of the vallies, and the luxuriance of the plains, raise up a rank unwholesome vegetation, that would poison the land. Ti Kaivov, ri kaivov, —“give us something new”—is the cry of the present day. Old things have passed away : every book, every speech, every newspaper, every mouth, is filled with theory : the Senate is em. ployed month after month in debating on rival theories: the Manufacturers are crying out for Corn theories: the Radicals for Government theories : the Dissenters and the godless crew for Church theories. Taxes have become too heavy; laws too strict; property too exclusive; government too despotic; rank too insolent; fortune too unequal; labour too oppressive ; cities too gloomy and confined ; machinery too powerful; and even advice too insulting—for the regenerated people to bear : and so to insure a perfect, universal, and essential justice, the rich are to lay down their property, the laws are to be re-adjusted to a more indulgent scale; the taxes, pledged by the faith of the State, to them who helped it in its extreme need, are to be annulled; labour is to be easy, voluntary, pleasurable, only to be considered as salutary to health, not necessary to subsistence; rank is to be remodelled, and raised on the only real virtue that is recognised—the virtue of the artisan and mechanic : (the present possessors being the lowest and most degraded in the scale of existence); and as it is exceedingly insulting and improper for one man to give advice to another man, his equal, or more than equal (because the rich never can be equal to

the poor, in the endowments of mind, or the virtues of the heart); and as it is morally absurd to pay a man for giving you advice which you do not want, and which he in fact is not capable of giving; consequently,the National Church is to be destroyed;" and its mis-appropriated millions, and enormous revenues, hitherto the unlawful prey of pampered priests, are to be distributed to the general wants of a free, virtuous, equal, moral, noblemindgd community. Mr. Harness is blind enough to think that there may possibly be some little fallacy, some fond delusion, in these gay and glittering visions ofterrestrial blessedness; and as regards that branch of the question that concerns the Church, he is really simple enough to imagine that both Church and State have much and long profited by their mutual connexion; and what is more wonderful, his congregation, to the infinite surprise of all moral and thinking persons, not only seem to agree with him, but are so much interested in his statements, so much persuaded by his arguments, so much affected by his earnestness, and so much attached to him, from a long experience of the singleness of his views, the disinterestedness of his conduct, the gentleness of his manners, the rational and scriptural character of his piety, and the blameless innocence of his life, that they absolutely wish to retain him as their teacher and their friend; and they have so identified their views of religion, and the necessity of the connexion between Church and State with his, and set the seal of their approbation on his arguments, that they have requested him to give them a wider circulation through the press, than they could otherwise have. The Discourse is well argued, and very elegantly expressed ; and the main point, viz., that a most entire and intimate union ought to exist between a government and the religious faith it upholds, is proved by the Will of God,

* All the above assertions, complaints, and demands, are to be found in numerous volumes which the press every day is spawning from the rich revolution-beds of Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, and the Royal Exchange.

by the authority of Scripture, and by the experience of mankind, bearing witness to the advantages which it produces, and to the evils which attend their separation.

Madden's Travels in Turkey, Egypt, and Nubia, &c. 2 vols.

Mr. MADDEN is not a learned or scientific traveller; he has not the knowledge of Clarke, or the science of Humboldt; he is not a painter, a scholar, a geologist, a statist, or botanist; but he is a very observing, sensible man, and gives us an account of what he has seen with good taste and good feeling. Sometimes he is superficial, but never dull; and if sometimes we regret that his observations and inquiries are not more profound, we at least always acknowledge that entertainment and instruction are to be found in his pages.

Mr. Madden’s Travels open with a description of the slave markets at Constantinople. He is surprised at what has often struck us with astonishment, how the Turks manage to maintain their numerous harems. There is seldom want of luxury or loveliness in them; yet a pipe-maker, whose whole stock is not worth 60 dollars, will give 300 for a Sciote girl, and clothe six times as many women as would send a mechanic in England to the workhouse. Franks are not permitted to enter the slave bazaar, but Mr. Madden got entrance as a hakkem, or doctor. The Greek and Georgian girls are in the galleries; the black women of Sennaar, and the copper-coloured beauties of Abyssinia, below. The last are remarkable for their elegance and symmetry, and sell for 30l., while a black will not fetch 16l. The account of the Turkish courtships, and the interior of the Harem, is very amusing. Turkish ladies (joy be to their husbands !) never learn to write. They are wooed therefore by signs. A clove stuck into an embroidered handkerchief is the commencement of courtship. When married, the Turkish ladies are much honoured by being permitted to wait on their husbands, and, like our English ladies, feel great pleasure resulting therefrom. One brings rose

water to perfume his beard—another bears a looking glass, with a motherof-pearl handle—another carries an embroidered napkin—and all stand before him as he eats; and when he has done, they begin; and show their good breeding and high finish, by only eating with the finger and thumb. Then come sweetmeats, and bottles of rosoglio, of which the Turkish ladies will take four glasses in ten minutes. Then, when the ladies have drunk enough, they hand their master's coffee, and shampoo his feet for hours together, which is beyond all doubt the greatest and highest pleasure earth affords. They then take their spinets, and play, or show their new silk gowns, and then the handkerof is thrown; and so, good night! The conversation of the harem, Mr. Madden says, is generally on the same topics as those on which ladies in other places discourse, only a little regulated by local circumstances. – ‘Scandal,” that sweetens English tea, does the same kind office to Turkish coffee. Who was seen showing her face in the street 2—who worked a purse for a stranger ?—who was thrown into the Bosphorus on the preceding night?—whether to-morrow they will ride in their coach drawn by cows, or row in their gay cacique? This is the discourse that sweetens life on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Having thus taken a glimpse of the amusements of the ladies, let us now see how a Turkish gentleman passes the day, and how far he conjugates the verb , s'ennuyer – differently from us Franks.

“The grandee perambulates with an amber rosary dangling from his waist; he looks neither to the right or left. The corpse of a Rayah attracts not his attention; the head of a slaughtered Greek he passes by unnoticed. He causes the trembling Jew to retire at his approach; he only shuffles the unweary Frank who goes along and it is too troublesome to kick him. He reaches the coffee-house before noon: an abject Christian salaams him to the earth, spreads the newest mat for the effendi, presents the richest cup, and cringes by his side, to kiss the hem of his garment, or at least his hand. The coffee, peradventure, is not good. The effendi storms, the poor Armenian trembles; he swears by his father's beard he

« PreviousContinue »