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Suggested by reading Stanzas by Miss Camilla Toulmin, in
made way, with a wonder which was almost awe, for the tall, aristocratic figure-habited in the precise, wide-skirted, snuff-colored Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, entitled "What dost thou whisgarments, and close-fitting knee-breeches of per, murmuring shell?" October 21, 1843. another century-which stooped, as if bent to the earth by weighty thoughts.
His characteristic reserve displayed itself even upon his death-bed. When he felt his end approaching, he insisted upon being left quite alone, and dismissed his only attendant and nurse from his presepce. In the middle ages, his strange manner, lonely habits, and philosophical pursuits combined, would have doomed him to the tortures of a sorcerer.
In all his methods of research he was eminently great. An accomplished mathematician, he brought into experimental philosophy the perfection of demonstration and the accuracy of detail which belong to exact sci
His writings form a remarkable contrast with those of most chemical philosophers of his period. Simple and comprehensive, theory never found a place in them as fact, nor hypothesis as theory. Nowhere are the vague expressions, the loose notions, the "cooking and trimming processes," which deformed the discoveries of that day, to be metwith in the publications of Cavendish. He had been brought up in the phlogistic faith; but so little are his writings tainted with the extensive errors of Stahlianism, that they may be read at this time with very few corrections, and the mere alteration of nomenclature, as illustrations of the doctrines of Lavoisier or Davy. His articles of belief were drawn up from a true view of facts, and, as such, still remain a part of the gospel of the chemical philosopher.
A VISIT TO GENERAL TOM THUMB.-We paid a visit to this wonderful epitome of human nature during the past week, at his residence, in Graftonstreet, Bond-street, and our pleasure was greatly increased by being tête-a-tête with such a duodecimo of mankind. He received his visitors with the grace of a finished courtier, sang, danced, and gave an imitation of the French Emperor with exquisite fidelity. Numbers of the haut ton were present, who expressed the greatest admiration at his intelligence, vivacity, and beauty of person. The General has been honored with an invite to the noble mansion of the Baroness de Rothschild, in Gunsbury Park; a distinguished circle were present on the occasion, and the highest satisfaction was expressed by the company assembled. On taking leave, a splendid purse, lined with gold, was presented to the tiny wonder, by the noble hostess; since which he has visited the American minister, Mr. Everett, accompanied by his patron, Mr. Barnum, and a party of distinguished foreign noblemen.-Court Journal.
From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.
AND dost thou ask me, maiden fair,
"Tis mine to tell of treasures bright
"Tis mine to tell of countless troops
Who takes his pastime in the waves;
"Tis mine to pour in Fancy's ear
'Tis mine to tell of fearful nights,
And oh! 'tis mine to tell of rocks
And still 'tis mine to tell of those
THE HIGHLANDS OF ETHIOPIA.
From the Court Journal.
The Highlands of Ethiopia. By Major Harris. 3 vols. Longman.
THERE are people in the world so wrapped up in the dull routine of daily life, that they believe romance has been banished by gas-lights and policemen. They cannot be brought to understand that there are yet adventures to be found at this day as wonderful as those recorded in fairy tales, and perils as striking and as various as ever hero of romance encountered in the veritable days of chivalry. If such people dread to have their settled notions disturbed, let them not take up this book by Major Harris. It is, beyond comparison, the most interesting in its narrative, and the most startling in the facts it reveals, of any work of travel issued for some years past.
The author was sent on a mission, with a suitable retinue, to the court of a Christian monarch, whose dominions, situated in the heart of Ethiopia, have long remained unvisited. The interest commences from the instant that Major Harris lands on the African shore, at Tajura. The march of the expedition across the desert is well told, and opens a succession of scenes to our view as novel as they are vivid. Scarcely had they well commenced their journey, before they came to Lake Assal, or the Great Salt Lake.
The supply of water brought proved insufficient, and the whole company became tormented with burning thirst; some ran to the edge of the lake, and tasted the water, but it took the skin from their lips. There was no remedy for their distress; and during the afternoon, they rested in this miserable plight, shielding themselves as they best could from the scorching rays of the sun. With the evening, they resumed their march; they knew there was water in abundance at a distance of sixteen miles, but many labored under the conviction that that distance they should never pass. Their path wound over sheets of rugged and broken lava, and was so narrow that rarely more than one person could pass at a time. We must find room for a short passage descriptive of
THE HORRORS OF A NIGHT MARCH.
"The agonies of that dismal night set all efforts of description at defiance. Fanned by the fiery blast of the midnight sirocco, the cry for water, uttered feebly from numbers of parched throats, now became incessant; and the supply of that precious element brought for the whole party falling short of one gallon and a half, it was not long to be answered. A tiny sip of diluted vinegar, for a moment assuaging the burning thirst which raged in the vitals, again raised their drooping souls; but its effects were transient, and after struggling a few steps, overwhelmed, they sunk again, with husky voice declaring their resolution to rise no more. Horses and mules that once lay down, being unable from exhaustion to rally, were reluctantly abandoned to their fate, whilst the lion-hearted sol dier who had braved death at the cannon's mouth, subdued and unmanned by thirst, lay gasping by the way-side, and heedless of the exhortation of his officer, hailed approaching dissolution with delight, as bringing the termination of tortures which were not to be endured."
This mighty basin is one of the wonders of the world. Descending six hundred feet below the level of the sea, it extends for several miles, girded round by a chain of giant hills. The centre of the bottom was filled with water of the purest cerulean blue, unruffled as the surface of a mirror, which seemed set in a frame of frosted silver-for all around its circumference was a mighty edge of snow-white salt, the result of intense evaporation. Through this basin, and over the shore of salt, the route of our travellers lay. As they continued their descent, they lost sight of every living thing, and every sign of vegetation. Not a ripple played on the wa-plied to the faces and lips of the sufferers, and ters, not a wandering bird flew overhead. Mak- they revived; and at last, with the feelings of ing their way, as best they could, down steep men who approached the gates of paradise, or declivities, stumbling over huge rocks of basalt of those of the advanced guards of the Ten and volcanic lava, seeing all around them evi- Thousand who first exclaimed "The Sea, dences of some mighty convulsion of the earth, they reached a running stream, and freely and of an extinguished volcano, the travellers slaked their thirst. neared the margin of the lake.
The whole company must have perished, but that a wild Bedouin brought the fainting travellers a large skin of water. A little was ap
From Tajura to the frontier of the Christian At this time, it was noon; the sun was with- king's dominions is a distance of four hundred out a cloud, and shone with terrible effulgence miles. The whole way was, with slight excep upon the lake, which returned his rays as vivid- tions, a continued desert; and the only interruply as if it were one vast sheet of burnished steel. tions to the monotony of the march were such Scorched by the suffocating heat, the travellers incidents as we have described, or a quarrel prayed they might be visited with a breath of with some of the wild tribes of the Bedouins, or air. The hoped-for wind arose; but it was an encounter with a slave caravan, which occafound to aggravate their sufferings; it caught sionally in great numbers traversed the sandy the pulverized sand and salt, and whirled them waste. The majority of the slaves were very up into pillars, which were so illumined by the young, hardly escaped from childhood. They intense brilliancy of the sun as to appear on fire. travelled bare-footed and each male and female Sometimes these pillars burst over the cattle, in carried many days' provision and water. One creasing their distress. A horrid stench arose handful of roasted corn was their daily food. from the poisonous exhalations of the lake; cam-But as the company began the ascent of the els dropped down dead, and some of the escort Abyssinian Alps, which forms the frontier of fainted. But the worst remains to be told. | the kingdom they came to visit, the scene under
went a delightful change. They found all the vegetation of the temperate climes of Europe blooming in the utmost luxuriance, and entered a fertile and cultivated country.
They were favorably received by the monarch, who lived in rude magnificence. His kingdom was extensive, and his revenue ample. The strangers soon conciliated his favor by the presents they brought, and the ingenious arts of life they made known to him. He gave them free permission to visit every part of his kingdom; and thus the author was enabled to complete his account of this singular and interesting district of Africa. They shot the wild elephants, which had long been the terror of the rural population, designed and superintended the erection of a new palace for the king, which was inaugurated with great pomp, and made themselves in a hundred other ways useful both to the king and his people. In return, he concluded with them a solemn commercial treaty, which, by opening channels of enterprise and industry hitherto unknown to the population of this fertile country, will, it is hoped, tend to the gradual extinction of that inhuman traffic, which now forms the only commerce of the people.
prisonment and unused to the light of day. Linked together by chains worn bright by the friction of years, they feebly tottered to the foot of the throne, and fell prostrate before it. Then their chains were knocked off; they were pronounced free; and a place assigned them near the monarch's person. “My children," said the king, turning to the embassy, "you will write all that you have now seen to your country, and will say to the British Queen that, though far behind the nations of the white men, from whom the nation of Ethiopia first received her religion, there yet remains a spark of Christian love in the breast of the King of Shoa."
With that sentence the book concludes; and we are to understand that Major Harris yet remains in Shoa, to carry out the wise and Christian policy he has so happily commenced.
Of such a work it is poor to say that we thank the author for the entertainment it has afforded us. It offers higher ground for praise. We congratulate him, not only on the well-written, curious, and interesting book he has given to the world, but on his honorable and successful conduct of a mission which, whatever may be its effect on commerce, and in this way much may be anticipated from it, must have the effect of The last circumstance related is the most serving the interests of humanity, and of elevatinteresting. Never was a more affecting inci- ing the, British name. With nations, as with dent related in fiction. It had, from time imme- individuals, CHARACTER of itself is station and morial-the usage, indeed, was believed to be power. It was the reputation of this country for prior to the introduction of Christianity-been justice and disinterestedness that induced the the custom to imprison all those relations of the banded nations of Europe, when France alone reigning monarch who were in such a degree stood sullen and isolated, to place in the hand of of proximity to the throne, as to be likely to dis- England the sword required for the adjustment turb his reign. The reader, thinking of Rasse- of the Syrian question; and mightily as her force las and the Happy Valley, may conceive that was wielded, it excited no mistrust, because no their lot was not very unendurable. But the rational being doubted her intention to lay aside valley existed only in the fancy of Johnson; the her arms when the purpose for which they were victims of a tyrant's suspicion have seldom the taken up was fulfilled. This mission is comparhorrors of imprisonment mitigated by consideratively a slight circumstance, yet it will have ate treatment. The Abyssinian Princes were confined in dungeons, shut out from the light of day, and treated as though the blood that ran in their veins was a criminal offence. The king was naturally good-natured, and his disposition had been further softened by a terrific earthquake which destroyed great numbers of the people. The embassy took advantage of the moment when his heart was softened by affliction to press their suit. They were successful; and the monarch gave orders that the prisoners should be liberated, and signified his intention to assist himself at the ceremony.
its effect; for in its whole management the British character, under Major Harris's gallant and able auspices, is shown dauntless under dangers and difficulties, intrepid in pursuit of a worthy object, Christian in its counsels, beneficent in its actions, and wise, merciful, and civilizing in its policy.
THE AMOUNT OF CARBONIC ACID EXPIRED BY A If there were books on earth, as we know there MAN IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, has often been the are records in heaven, expressly reserved for the subject of investigation among philosophers. From commemoration of deeds of mercy, charity, and a paragraph in the Medical Times, we learn that good-will, what a shining page in them would M. E. A. Scharling, after careful experiment, arbe filled by the abolition of a barbarous and bru- rives at the following conclusions. 1st, Man extal custom, which had endured beyond the mem- pires variable quantities of carbonic acid at differory of man, and by the opening of the prison ent periods of the day; 2d, Every thing being doors to the unfortunate royal race of Abyssinia. otherwise equal, man burns more carbon when his The king was seated in his balcony of justice, appetite is satisfied than when fasting, and more when awake than when asleep; 3d, Men expire decked out for a gala day; the British embassy more carbonic acid than women-children burn stood around him, mingling with his officers of proportionally more carbon than men; and 4th, In state; the people assembled, scarcely compre-cases of illness or fainting, the quantity of carbonic heading the news they heard, for justice and acid expired is less than in the healthy state. M. Mercy were novel terms in their ears. At a word Dumas states that he burns rather more than one from the monarch, the state gaoler ushered in hundred and sixty-six grains of carbon in the fourseven of the royal race, men worn with long im-and-twenty hours.-Chambers's Ed. Jour.
CHRONICLES OF THE KINGS OF NORWAY. their family branches, according to what has
From the Athenæum.
The Heimskringla; or, Chronicles of the Kings of Norway. Translated from the Icelandic of Snorro Sturleson, with a Preliminary Dissertation, by Samuel Laing, Esq. 3 vols. Longman & Co.
THE name of Snorro Sturleson is so well known to all who have made northern antiquities their study, and his Chronicle has proved so rich a mine of information to writers who have directed their attention to Scandinavian 1: mythology and literature, as well as history, that it is rather surprising that no translation of the work should have heretofore appeared. We welcome, all the more heartily, the volumes before us, well pleased that the translation of so valuable a work should have been undertaken by so competent a person as Mr. Laing.
Snorro Sturleson, was born in 1178, in Iceland, a country early and singularly distinguished for its literary tastes-a country in which the Scalds found their latest asylum, and which boasted a printing press, and a band of scholars, at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Snorro was a member of the privileged class, claiming descent from Odin, and consequently entitled to hold the hereditary office of Godar, which, although no longer including the functions of priest, still allowed its possessor to act as judge in the district where he resided. The early associations of Snorro were favorable to the future historian. He was fostered,-a phrase which signified education, rather than nursing, by John Loptson, the grandson of Sæmund Frode, the compiler of the older Edda, and in Loptson's family he continued to live until he married. He appears to have been rapacious, ambitious, and overbearing, and has been accused of betraying the independence of his country, by aiding in reducing it to a mere province of Norway. It is probable, as Mr. Laing remarks, that much more is laid to Snorro Sturleson's charge than is really his due. In 1221 he took his first journey to Norway, with a poem in honor of Earl Hakon Galin, who sent him a sword and armor. He paid subsequent visits to Norway; but in 1241, his three sons-inlaw came by night, and murdered him, on the plea that he had been convicted of treason. Indeed, from the memoir prefixed to this work, the historian appears a veritable type of his times-"a man rough, wild, vigorous in thought and deed, like the men he describes in his Chronicle."
been told me. Some of this is found in ancient family registers, in which the pedigrees of kings ed up, and part is written down after old songs and other personages of high birth are reckonand ballads which our forefathers had for their amusement. Now, although we cannot just say what truth there may be in these, yet we have the certainty that old and wise men held them to be true."
The work begins with the Saga of the Yngling family, from the days of the great founder of the Scandinavian dynasty, Odin, to Halfdan the Black; and it gives a rude description of northern Asia, where there is a river, "properly called by the name of Tanais, and which falls into the ocean at the Black Sea ;" and on the east of it was Asaheim; and here was the city so celebrated in northern mythology, Asgaard:
"In that city was a chief called Odin, and it was a great place for sacrifice. It was the custom there that twelve temple Godars should both direct the sacrifices, and also judge the people. They were called Diars, or Drotners, and all the people served and obeyed them. Odin was a great and very far travelled warrior, who conquered many kingdoms, and goʻsuccessful was he that in every battle the victory was on his side. It was the belief of his people that victory belonged to him in every battle. It was his custom when he sent his men into battle, or on any expedition, that he first laid his hand upon their heads, and called down a blessing upon them; and then they believed their undertaking would be successful. His people also were accustomed, whenever they fell into danger by land or sea, to call upon his name; and they thought that always they got comfort and aid by it, for where he was they thought help was near. Often he went away so long that he passed many seasons on his journeys."
The "laying his hand on their heads" seems to us to point out the Asiatic derivation of Odin and his followers, as much as their burning the dead; and the subjoined story, we think, is decisive. Hæner and Mimir had been sent as hostages from Asaheim:
"Now, when Hæner came to Vanaheim he was immediately made a chief, and Mimir came to him with good counsel on all occasions. But when Hæner stood in the Things or other meetings, if Mimir was not near him, and any difficult matter was laid before him, he always answered in one way-Now let others give their advice;' so that the Vanaland people got a suspicion that the Asaland people had deAt whose suggestion, or under what circum-ceived them in the exchange of men. They stances, this Chronicle of the Kings of Norway' was written, we cannot ascertain;-probably his love of tales of wild adventure prompted Snorro to set about the task of collecting the materials. What these were, and from whence derived, the following extract from his preface will show :
"In this book I have had old stories written down as I have heard them told by intelligent people, concerning chiefs who have held dominion in the northern countries, and who spoke the Danish tongue; and also concerning some of
took Mimir, therefore, and beheaded him, and sent his head to the Asaland people. Odin took the head, smeared it with herbs so that it should not rot, and sang incantations over it. Thereby he gave it the power that it spoke to him, and discovered to him many secrets."
This notion of a human head preserved by magical art, and giving oracular replies, is one of the most ancient Eastern superstitions. It takes its place both in Arabian and Jewish le- . gend; it was subsequently imported from the East by the earliest crusaders; and the reader
may probably remember, that the possession of such a head was made one of the charges in France against the unfortunate Templars. This is the account of the migration of Odin and his followers:
"There goes a great mountain barrier from north-east to south-west, which divides the Greater Sweden from other kingdoms. South of this mountain ridge it is not far to Turkland, where Odin had great possessions. But Odin having foreknowledge, and magic-sight, knew that his posterity would come to settle and dwell in the northern half of the world. In those times the Roman chiefs went wide around in the world, subduing to themselves all people; and on this account many chiefs fled from their domains. Odin set his brothers Ve and Vitir over Asgaard; and he himself, with all the gods and a great many other people, wandered out, first westward to Gardarige, [Russia] and then south to Saxland, [Germany.] He had many sons; and after having subdued an extensive kingdom in Saxland, he set his sons to defend the country. He himself went northwards to the sea, and took up his abode in an island which is called Odinsö in Fyen."
smoothly, that all who heard were persuaded. He spoke every thing in rhyme, such as now composed, and which we call scald-craft. He and his temple gods were called song-smiths, for from them came that art of song into the northern countries. Odin could make his enemies in battle blind, or deaf, or terror-struck, and their weapons so blunt that they could no more cut than a willow twig; on the other hand, his men rushed forwards without armor; were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild bulls, and killed people at a blow, and neither fire nor iron told upon them. These were called Bersærkers. Odin could transform his shape: his body would lie as if dead, or asleep; but then he would be in shape of a fish, or worm, or bird, or beast, and be off in a twinkling to distant lands upon his own or other people's business. With words alone he could quench fire, still the ocean in tempest, and turn the wind to any quarter he pleased. Odin had a ship which was called Skidbladnir, in which he sailed over wide seas, and which he could roll up like a cloth. Odin carried with him Mimir's head, which told him all the news of other countries. Sometimes From this narrative we think it evident that even he called the dead out of the earth, or set Odin did not, as Mr. Laing seems to maintain, himself beside the burial-mounds; whence he actually colonize large tracts of uninhabited was called the ghost-sovereign, and lord of the country, but that he advanced upon northern mounds. He had two ravens, to whom he had Europe as a conqueror, whose superior know-taught the speech of man; and they flew far and ledge, rather than superior bravery, subjugated wide through the land, and brought him the the rude tribes that opposed him. The reader news. In all such things he was pre-eminently will observe, that Odin is here expressly stated wise. He taught all these arts in Runes, and to have "subdued an extensive kingdom in Ger- songs which are called incantations, and theremany," Saxland;] and that his rule was similar fore the Asaland people are called incantationto that of the Romans in Gaul and Britain, is smiths." proved by the assertion, that subsequently "he set his sons to defend the country." The fable which represents his sending Gefion across the sea, after he had arrived in Scandinavia, proves that even so far north, the land was already inhabited, for King Gylfe gives her a ploughgate of land; she from thence goes to Jotunheim, a strong city; and the subsequent contests of Odin with King Gylfe, also prove that there was already a powerful people in these northern fast
The whole of this extract is curious. Such, or very similar, would be the description the rude natives of the Polynesian Islands would give of their English visitants, passing over their prowess, their strength, and dwelling upon the wonders which their superior civilization enabled them to perform. That Odin pretended actually to supernatural powers, is, however, evident; and it is curious to observe, that each magic art, his power of changing his form, of composing magic songs, of paralyzing his eneThe minute description of Odin's deeds and mies, of calling up the dead, of understanding supernatural powers, is precisely what a sub- the language of birds, are all of Asiatic origin. jugated and awe-stricken people would relate Notwithstanding that peculiarity, the eating of of a conqueror, who possessed a degree of civil-horse-flesh as a religious rite-and which has ization far beyond what they had ever imagin- seemed, to many antiquaries, to point out Odin as a leader of one of the wandering Tartar
arts, especially the working in metals, the Scandinavians, at a very early period, were far superior to any of the wandering tribes who occupy the steppes of northern Asia.
"When Odin of Asaland came to the north.tribes-we incline to the opinion which conand the gods with him, he began to exercise and siders him as a prince of some more civilized teach others the arts which the people long people, perhaps one of the petty kings who afterwards have practised. Odin was the clev-fought for and were vanquished with Mithri erest of all, and from him all the others learned dates. Certain it is, that in many mechanical their magic arts; and he knew them first, and knew many more than other people. But now, to tell why he is held in such high respect, we must mention various causes that contributed to it. When sitting among his friends his countenance was so beautiful and friendly, that the spirits of all were exhilarated by it; but when he was in war he appeared fierce and dreadful. This arose from his being able to change his color and form in any way he liked. Another cause was, that he conversed so cleverly and
Odin, we are told, died in his bed, assuring his followers he was going to Valhalla. Odin was succeeded by his son Niord. To him succeeded numerous kings, most of whom came to untimely deaths. King On, however, was determined to postpone his visit to Valhalla, as long as possible. His unnatural plan affords