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The author's style is terse, lively, and unaffected. What is true to life, and regards matters on which all educated persons are inquisitive, must please.
The Book of Symbols; or, a Series of Essays illustrative and explanatory of Ancient Moral Precepts. IN this volume seventy-four of the Pythagorean Precepts, which separately head each chapter, are explained, and their symbolical meaning unfolded. The collection is adopted from Dacier, and the author says, that in most cases he has followed his interpretation. These symbolical sayings are in themselves very curious indeed, especially considering their antiquity, and they are full of deep prudential wisdom. It would not be an unprofitable task to illustrate them entirely from the sacred writings, as the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, &c. and thus to bring under one head the results of sacred and profane wisdom. As to the sixty-ninth Symbol, “Palmam ne plantato ” — Plant not the palm-tree—we think the meaning is, that when the palm grows and flourishes in abundance, the inhabitants could, without labour, live upon its fruit: it would therefore lead to indolence and its fatal consequences; also forgetfulness of agriculture, and its labours; and to the ultimate impoverishment of the country, and deterioration of the character of the inhabitants. As to the famous Enigma (Symbol xxxix), that “Fabis abstineto l’’—abstain from beans !—we gave in our review of Mr. Wilkinson’s Thebes what we believe to be the most probable solution, and we see that the author has adopted the same explanation from Dr. Pritchard, but in what book he does not say; but probably his Egyptian Mythology. It is this—“In the nymphaea nelumbo, which shews its flowers above the surface of the water, the Egyptians found an allusion to the sun rising from the bottom of the ocean; and it is on the bean of this plant that the infant Harpocrates is represented as reposing. The fruit of the plant is the Cyamus, or Egyptian bean, so celebrated by Herodotus. In this passage,” says the author, “we have found at length an explanation of
that mysterious passage in Pausanias, for the temple to which he alludes was sacred to the Sun, and the Cyamus or bean, being typical of the sun, had no relation to the worship of Ceres. We may observe that it was not the common bean from which Pythagoras desired his disciples to abstain, but the mystical fruit of the nymphaea melumbo, or sacred plant of Egypt.” Now in 1795, before Dr. Pritchard’s work was published, the Abbé Correa wrote to Sir James Smith of Norwich, “I wish to ascertain if the bean of the Mareotis and Tritonia Palus—to eat which was a sin to the Egyptians, they being under the influence of Triton, a cruel deity, were the seeds of the Nelumbo P” If, then, this is the plant alluded to in the Pythagorean precept, to the Abbé Correa alone is the honour due of having discovered it. See further discussion on the subject in Sir J. Smith's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 224, 232, and the letters of Mr. F. Sayers of Norwich, who seems to dissent from it, and thinks the Nelumbo was introduced into Egypt in the time of Alexander. It does not exist there now ; but it may be seen in the Botanical Garden at Kew, and at the Duke of Northumberland's at Syon.
The Pictorial Pocket Guide to Ripon and Harrogate; with Topographical Observations on Studley Royal, Brimham Rocks, Hackfall, and the Monastic Remains of Fountains and Bolton. By John Richard Walbran. 12mo. pp. 106. IT is so seldom that Guides, and more especially Guides to what are called Watering-places, or places of popular resort, are any thing more than puff-paste, the congregated eulogy of a set of caterers for the recreation of the invalid or the idle, garnished with the most superficial assertions of combined ignorance and self-conceit, that it is a particular gratification to meet with a book of the kind really founded upon sober historical research, and composed with competent judgment. The work before us possesses these merits in an extraordinary degree; more so, indeed, than it would be reasonable in all cases to expect; for it is but justice to a laborious and erudite author that he should be allowed to deposit his treasures in a cabinet worthy of their cost, in the same way that a valuable picture should be handsomely framed, and a precious jewel richly set. We cordially hope Mr. Walbran will not be disappointed of that satisfaction. In the present case, he has favoured the public in the first instance with an epitome of his labours, which will be developed more fully in his proposed “History of the Wapentake of Claro, and Liberty of Ripon.” The Harrogate Guides have always been respectable. This may be placed to the credit of Hargrove, a bookseller in the neighbouring town of Knaresborough, whose first impression of the History of Knaresborough and Harrogate was published we believe in 1782, and was repeated in many editions. The present little book, however, is greatly in advance of all its predecessors. It possesses, in fact, the advantages of a careful abridgement as contrasted with a superficial sketch. With respect to the erection of the Minster of Ripon, Mr. Walbran has made an interesting discovery. It has generally been attributed to Archbishop Thurstan, who presided over the see of York from 1114 to 1139.
“This noble work I have, however, had the pleasure to discover, is another of the many benefits which the see of York derived from the pontificate of the wealthy and talented Roger, who held it from 1154 to 1181. The chroniclers have recorded comparatively nothing of one whose generosity and piety in raising the ancient choir of York cathedral and the adjacent Collegiate Chapel of St. Sepulchre will now be dignified, at the distance of nearly seven centuries, by the edification of another most important work. It was fortunate, therefore, that in this instance he had evaded their neglect; and, in a record which he caused to be prepared, has himself notified,— “quod dedimus operi beati Wilfridi de Ripon ad acdificandam basilicam ipsius, quam de novo inchoavimus, mille libras veteris monetae.” With this treasure a noble pile was begun, as is still evident in those members of it which remain in the transepts and north-west portions of the choir.”
The nave was rebuilt, and, as Leland says, “made of a great widenesse,” at the beginning of the sixteenth
century. The last repair made about fifteen years ago, under the architectural advice of Mr. Blore, incurred an expense of 3000l. ; and the future maintenance of the fabric is provided by the act which has constituted Ripon a cathedral church. Mr. Walbran’s descriptive survey of the structure is minute and interesting. The same may be said of his description of the ruins of Fountains, including notices of various sepulchral and other relics which have been restored to light there. On the remaining topics mentioned in the title page, his information is equally precise and satisfactory, though his diction occasionally exhibits perhaps an excess of ornament.
Dissent, its Character, Causes, Reasons, and the way to effect its extension.
THIS book, though anonymous, is by Mr. Weaver. It is intended to give the history of dissent, and to enumerate the causes of its rise and continuance. It contains a sufficiently full account of the historical part of the subject; and for the other part we will give them in the author’s own words, (p. 110.)
“Now to bring the argument to a close. Here is the animus of the Church of England unscriptural—the headship and legislation are unscriptural — the discipline is unscriptural—the service-book is in four important and leading points unscriptural—the ministry is unscriptural— its assumed authority to decree rites and ceremonies is unscriptural—its exclusive spirit is unscriptural —and the tendency and ends of the points dissented from are unscriptural, being delusive and dangerous to souls; and these are the reasons of our dissent. Let the reader therefore judge whether we are not justified in such dissent, especially if, to close the whole, we add that to renounce our dissent or become members of the Church of England, or at least ministers of it, we must declare our assent and consent to all and every thing prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the Sacraments and other rights and ceremonies of the church. Wemust swear true and canonical obedience to the bishop ; we must subscribe to the one hundred and forty-one canons of the Church of England; we must scrupulously keep her fasts and festivals; we must assent and consent to the former manner of confirmatory bishops, priests, and deacons, as containing nothing contrary to the word of God; we must acknowledge the king or queen as supreme head of the church ; and must submit to parliamentary laws;–all these things we must do in order to have communion, as ministers, with the Church of England, and to participate in her benefits. And can we thus violate our consciences, and so surrender thus our souls to men ; and, what is the most important consideration of all, be unfaithful to our one master, Christ, and obey God rather than man—no, we dare not do so, we must dissent, and not only dissent, but enter our protest against such an unchristian and injurious system,” &c. In this last clause is the point and force of the whole argument concentrated ; for thus the constant, the violent, and the virulent attacks made on the established church, are defended. Her doctrines are unchristian, we cannot endure them ; but also her property and possessions are large and influential ; we cannot endure that either; “for, (v. p. 71,) this (power) has been very much increased of late years by the inclosure of waste lands, by the duties on foreign grain, and by the advancing state of society, in consequence of which the value of benefices has been augmented, and worldly gratification promoted;” and no doubt it was with a godly view of purifying and amending the gorged andapoplectic church that the ministers of dissent met at Manchester to pour forth their united prayers against the wickedness of the corn laws, and to persuade the multitude that these cruel laws were opposed to the designs of God and the spirit of his religion. Poems. By Frances Anne Butler, (late Fanny Kemble.) Reprint from the American Edition. WE should not bestow unmerited praise in this volume were we to say that it contained some poems of very superior merit, and almost all of elegance, correctness, and sweetness of poetic diction. We never wish to intrude on the privacy of personal feeling, or to inquire too accurately into the meaning of expressions which drop from the writer's pen relating to himself; but in these pages the sorrows and mental suffering are so openly and forcibly told that they cannot escape even casual observation, and indeed pervade the spirit of the whole. We must lament that they m
exist at all, and, existing, that they are drawn out of their concealment, and expressed in language of such melancholy beauty. Such subjects necessarily engage the reader's attention, because they awaken curiosity, and excite sympathy, and are connected with very natural and close associations; but, independently of these attractions, the poetry will sustain itself by its inherent qualities; by the marks of poetic talent and power, the vivida vis ingenii, and by a taste formed on the best and most correct models of composition. As regards the workmanship, they are very superior to most modern productions; and indeed there is little to observe on that head by way of critical censure, and, if we should say that the sonnets are not cast in their regular form and after prescribed models, it will only be saying that the author has taken the same advantages to escape the difficulty of this species of composition that others have, and which may be well allied to a language so inflexible as ours is compared to the Italian. We shall now extract a few of those that pleased us; and yet we leave behind a great number not at all inferior, and which have given way only to the absolute necessity of a very small selection. SONNET. I would I knew the lady of thy heart! She, whom thou lov'st perchance as I lov'd thee, She unto whom thy thoughts and wishes flee; Those thoughts in which alas I bear no part. Oh! I have sate and sighed, thinking how fair, How passing beautiful, thy love must be; Of mind how high, of modesty how rare; And then I’ve wept, I’ve wept in agony. Oh! that I might but once behold those eyes, That to thy enamour'd gaze alone seem fair; Once hear that voice whose music still replies To the fond vows thy passionate accents swear; Oh!"that I might but know the truth and die, Nor live in this long dream of misery.
Whene'er I recollect the happy time
Tis wafted on the blackbird's sunset song,
Oh! turn those eyes away, for, though
I know their light is on my brow,
Yet once again, but once, before we sever,
But one more look from those dear eyes now shining [their last; Through their warm tears, their loveliest and But one more strain of hands in friendship twining, Now farewell all—save memory of the past.
LINES WRITTEN IN LONDON.
Struggle not with thy life—the heavy doom Resist not—it will bend thee like a slave; Strive not, thou shalt not conquer; to thy tomb Thou shalt go crush'd, and ground, tho’ ne’er so brave.
Complain not of thy life—for what art thou More than thy fellows, that thou should'st not weep 7 [brow; Brave thoughts still lodge beneath a furrowed And the way wearied have the sweetest sleep.
Marvel not at thy life—patience shall see
It was the harvest time, the broad bright moon Was at her full, and shone upon the fields, When we had toil'd the live-long day to pile In golden sheaves the earth's abundant treasure. The harvest task had given place to song And merry dance; and these in turn were chas'd By legend strange and wild, unearthly tales of elves and gnomes, and fairy sprites that haunt [day, The woods and caves; where they do sleep all And then come forth i' the witching hour of night, [sward. To dance by moonlight on the green thick The speaker was an ancient villager, In whom his oft-told tale awoke no fears, Such as he fill'd his gaping listeners with. GENT, MAG. Vol. XXIII.
Nor ever were there breaks in his discourse, Save when, with grey eyes lifted to the moon, He conjured from the past strange instances Of kidnapp'd infants,from theircradlessnatch'd And chang'd for elvish sprites; of blights and blains Sent upon cattle by the vengeful fairies. Of blasted crops, maim'd limbs, and unsound minds; All plagues inflicted by these anger'd sprites. Then would he pause and wash his story down With long-drawn draughts of amber ale; while all [tree, The rest came crowding under the wide oak Piling the corn sheaves closer round the ring, Whispering and shaking, laughing too, with fear; And even if an acorn tumbled from the boughs, Or grasshopper from out the stubble chirrup’d, Blessing themselves from Robin Goodfellow.
A LAMENT FOR THE WISSA HICCON. The water-fall is calling me, With its merry gleesome flow, And the green boughs are beck'ning me To where the wild flowers grow.
I may not go, I may not go,
The busy mill-wheel round and round
I may not go, I may not go,
The soft spring wind goes passing by
Nor where the sunshine warm and bright
Ah! that I were a thing with wings!
Practical Geology and Ancient Architecture of Ireland. By George Wilkinson, Architect. 8vo. pp. 348, with Tables.
THAT an architect should not pursue the study of geology must be a matter of surprise, and we cannot believe any one imbued with a love of his profession, and that desire for posthumous fame which has ever been the guiding star of the real artist, would remain ignorant of the practical part at least of that important branch of science; yet this author considers that the architect “is generally most neglectful of such a study, and contents himself with the possession of information with regard to the merchantable prices and qualities of the different stones which he finds in the stonecutter's yard, or which he sees others in the habit of using,” and truly does he conclude, “that it is not surprising if with equal ignorance he perpetuates what is bad, or practises by accident what is good.”
Mr. Wilkinson has dedicated the volume to two important subjects, first, the Geology of Ireland, and, secondly, the Ancient Architecture of the country. The sister-island it is well known possesses limestones of great value for building purposes, both constructive and ornamental, besides good sandstone and slates in great abundance. The value of these materials he has succinctly exhibited in a series of notices and tables arranged topographically, in which he shews the locality, the kind of stone, the distances, and observations on its nature and quality, as well as an appendix of tables containing the results of experiments, on various building stones, made with the view of testing their strength and solidity. Although this branch of the work constitutes
the larger portion of the volume, we