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---------- for surely shalt thou now, DEFENCE OF THE PRESENT For they misdeeds, thy garb of stone assume : STATE OF THE STAGE. which seems to imply, that the tumuli
(To the Editor of the Mirror.) under consideration, were also among the Greeks, appropriated to persons of infa. SIR,_In the last number of your mous character. And that this must second volume, I read an article 6 On have been the case too with the Romans, the Present State of the Stage;" fearing to a certain extent, is sufficiently clear it might not be noticed, and by that from the following anonymous epitaph means suffer such assertions to go uncon. on a notorious robber:
tradicted, is the only reason I can assign
for so humble an individual as myself Monte sub hoc lapidum tegitur Balista sepultus ;
opposing your more fluent correspondent Nocte, die, tutum carpe, viator, iter.
G. W. assigns as the chief reason of
veral of the recent productions of the
dramatic writers. Now, Sir, I am not so
blind an advocate for the stage as to deny THE BUT AN' THE BEN. *
there is not plenty of room for improve
ment. Indeed, what individual thing can (For the Mirror.)
be named where there is not ? Turn to what Our farmers now brag o their blue sklatet subject we may, whether professions or na. biggins,
tions, or extending our views to the actions An' follow the fashion like high gentle fouk
of previous ages, we shall perceive in the Gie me my bit bield wi' its straw theckit riggin, An' muckle mou'd lum to tak off the peat
whole of them, however grand and noble smoke.
a part may be—that there will always be There is na a man in the fair land o' Fyvient found a deficiency. Is it then to be exOn hill-head or brae-side, on green-haugh or pected when every thing else fails in glen,
this respect that the stage should be pure Mair happy than me wi' my thriftie wee wifie,
and faultless! I perfectly agree with Wha bide in a bield o'a But an'a Ben.
G. W., that such exhibitions as Tom
and Jerry,” are a disgrace to the drama;
although I am aware that many able An'a' her delight is to please her ain Patie, arguments are opposed to my opinion
Wi' mind an'wi' manners sae leesome anʼlithe. but, then, is the whole to be condemned
because a part is faulty! As I before
state of purity. Besides, how trifling My frien's feast fu' weel in the But an' the
can be the effect of these paltry producBen.
tions, when on the other hand they are To my youngest bairn aft I sing diddle de diddie, opposed by the grandeur of tragedy. Let
Oraiblins some sang coft the last market day, An' there are waur tists than mysel at the fiddle,
those who have read “ Pizarro," those At scrapin a Scottish jig, reel, or strathspey.
who have studied in the closet, or ad. Tho' sometimes I may be downhearted an' dowie, mired in the theatre, the character of the
For wha can ken pleasure an'never ken pain, noble-minded Rolla- let those bear wit. The physic that fizzes i'the barmy ale bowie, ness to the assertion, whether one single Drives dool frae the fowk o' the But and the representation of that drama would not Ben.
be sufficient to efface all the effects arising Ahint my laigh housie blooms nae branchin' bower,
from such insipid exhibitions as above But a divot-dyked yard for my cabbage an' noticed, while Shakspeare is known; kail,
while his plays are acted on our stage, no Perhaps here an' there springs an anterin flower,
one need fear any revolution in our habits That courts the kind kiss o' the soft summer gale.
from such dramatic trifles. To all who Dk e'enin frae labour low'st to luve an' leisure,
are capable of understanding, (and thank What happiness purer can mortal man ken, heaven, few are now to be found who While the prospect o' past and the present gies are not). What a grand moral must his pleasure,
Richard III., Hamlet, Othello, &c. &c.
furnish. The characters of Othello and Fitzroy Square.
Iago are alone sufficient to disclose to our "A But an'a Ben' is the designation gene
view nearly the whole of the different rally used in Scotland for a co
passions which the human breast im. ketch.
bibes. Having said thus much, I will + Fyvie is the name of a very fair and fine country in the north-west part of the county of conclude with the opinion of 6 La Aberdeen.
Motte,” and which is supported by the
most eminent men this country has pro ST. WINIFRED'S WELL.
To the Editor of the Mirror. suppressed, I believe the world, bad as it SIR,_In your last account of St. is now, would be ten times more wicked.” Winifred's Well, there is a deviation or
G. S. two from your usual correctness, which I
beg leave to point out, for the sake of
precision and information, trusting that ON THE MONTH OF JANUARY. your candour and kindness will not allow
the readers of the Mirror to remain long (For the Mirror.)
in mistake ; it states that the Well gives
the name to the town, hence we would JANUARY is the name of the first month suppose the town's name to be Winifred, of the year, according to the computation but such is not the case. The Well is now used in the west. The word is de- mostly called Holy-well, which is the rived from the Latin Januarius, a name real name of the town. The account also given it by the Romans, from Janus, says, that the spring pours forth twentyone of their divinities, to whom they one tons of water each minute ; the fol. attributed two faces; because, on the lowing extract I take from a minute deone side the first of January looked scription of it, given to me on the spot, a towards the new year; and, on the other, short time back : “ One circumstance towards the old one. The word Janua- asserted of this spring, which to some rius may also be derived from janua, may seem incredible, will at any time be gate; in regard to this month being the demonstrated to the curious. By the first, which is, as it were, the gate of the
gauge, the bason will hold about 240 tons year. January and February were intro- of water, which, when emptied, is filled duced into the year by Numa Pompilius; again in less than two minutes. The Romulus's year beginning in the month experiment was tried for a wager on of March. The Christians, heretofore, Tuesday, the 12th July, 1731. Mr. fasted on the first day of January, by Price the rector of Holy-well, Mr. Wil. way of opposition to the superstition of liams, Mr. Wynne, Dr. Taylor, and the heathens, who, in honour of Janus, several other gentlemen being present, obseryed this day with feastings, dancings, when to the surprise of the company, the masquerades, &c. January is clad in Well filled again in less than two white, the colour of the earth at this minutes. The bason is six feet deep and time, blowing his nails. The old pro- yet the water is so clear that a pin may
“ Janiveer freez the pot by the be seen at the bottom.”
“ If the grass grow in Janiveer, A second bason is formed outside for it grows the worse for't all the year.” use of male bathers, dresses being always But Ray in his collection of proverbs, provided on the spot, by a person who says, “ There's no general rule without rents the premises and derives a handsome some exception; for in the year 1667, profit in the summer season. the winter was so mild, that the pastures I remain, your's &c. T. TENNENT. were very green in January, yet was there scarce ever known a more plentiful crop of hay than the following summer.”
THE SHORTEST DAY. " Stern winter's icy breath, intensely keen
To the Editor of the Mirror. Now chills the blood, and withers every green; Bright shines the azure sky, serenely fair, MR. EDITOR,--The pleasure and ine On driving snows obscure the turbid sky." formation derived from the perusal of the
And Cowper has beautifully described Mirror, has induced me to request as a frost scene at this period, thus favour, the insertion of an explanation
why the Almanacks for the present years " Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high (Fantastic misarrangement) on the roof;
have the shortest day on the 22nd of Large growth of what may seem the sparkling December, instead of, as is usual, the
21st ; it having given rise to much curious And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops That trickle down the branches, fast congeald,
arguments without arriving at any satisShoot into pillars of pellucid length,
factory reason, is the motive of 'my reAnd prop the pile they but adorned before.
quest; the cause appears to me generally Here grotto within grotto safe defies The sunbeam. There emboss'd and petted wild unknown, the explanation will therefore
be useful. The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes
is by some asserted to be Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain an error of the printer, in not placing a The likeness of some object seen before." crotchet, shewing it to belong to the pre
Cowper, Taskv. ceding line ; by others, that it occurs
century. I have made much inquiry Queen Elizabeth,” says the writer, “about concerning it among the wise men of the the year 1570 and odd, one John Pain, a east, but it remains a matter of astonish- citizen, invented a mill to grind corn, ment to all ; your interpretation will which he got recommended to the Lord therefore oblige a constant reader. Mayor for the use of Bridewell. This
M. T. mill had two conveniences; the one was,
that it would grind a greater quantity SPIRIT OF THE
considerably than other mills of that sort
could do; and the other (which would
render it useful to Bridewell) was, that
work at it, if they had but use of either;
and, accordingly, these mills were termed As the theory of prison discipline be. hand-mills, or foot-mills. comes better understood, the mode of " This mill he shewed to the Lord punishing offenders will be less repugnant Mayor, who saw it grind as much corn to feeling, though equally conducive to with the labour of two men, as they did the great object--reformation. Among then at Bridewell with ten-that is to other improvements, it has been disco- say, two men with hands, or two men vered, that to the indolent no punishment with feet, two bushels the hour. If they is so severe as hard labour; and modern were lame in their arms, then they might engineers have been employed on the best earn their livings with their legs; if lame means of compelling prisoners to work. in their legs, then they might earn their For this purpose a machine has been in- livings with their arms. One mill would vented, called the tread-mill, which has grind twenty bushels of wheat in a day; obtained unprecedented notoriety, and so that by computation it was reckoned, been adopted in several prisons in Lon- that one of these would supply a thousand don, and various parts of the country. persons.". It resembles the fabled punishment of From this account of the tread-mill of Sisyphus, who was compelled to the in- the sixteenth century it will be seen, that, terminable labour of rolling to the top of considering the rude state of the mecha. a hill a large stone, which no sooner nical arts at the period, Mr. Pain must reached the summit than it fell down, and have been a mechanist of more than ordi. his labour was to be renewed. In the nary ingenuity.-Percy Hist., Part IV. tread-mill, the prisoners ascend an end. less flight of stairs, and by their combined STATE OF CRIME IN THE weight acting upon a stepping board,
METROPOLIS. produce the same effect that a stream of NOTHING is more common than to talk water does upon a water-wheel. Although of the good old times of our ancestors, the latter might very easily have sug, who manifested equal regret that the good gested the tread-mill, yet it was boasted old times had passed long before they as a new invention, until it was disco were born : and we might trace the same vered to be but an adaptation of the Chi- lamentation backward from one generanese tread-wheel, which is used for the tion to another, to the earliest formation purpose of raising water.
of civilized society : hence it may be in. The tread-mill is not, however, new ferred, that this beau ideal of perfection, even as an instrument of prison discipline; the “ good old times,” never existed but but has been used in England two centu- in the imagination; and, that vice and ries and a half ago, though the circum- virtue, good and evil, in each age, are stance has escaped all who have written more equally balanced than is generally on the subject. The tread-mill of the imagined. Moralists declaim against the sixteenth century had, indeed, an advan increasing depravity of the times, and tage over that of the present day; it was legislators add new penal laws to the staa combination of the tread-mill and the tute book; yet, if we refer back to our hand-crank-mill, which has been sug- early history, we shall find the same catagested as its substitute by Sir John Coxe logue of crimes prevailing; and although, Hippisley, as less prejudicial to the health. in consequence of the increased population
In Seymour's “ Survey of the Cities of the metropolis, and the inseparable of London and Westminster,” a work evils attending a large community, crime said to have been written by John Mott- and depredations may be more frequent, ley, the son of Colonel Mottley, there is yet moral, humane, and benevolent insti. a description of this mill so explicit, that tutions have increased in an equal prothere was no necessity to adopt the idea portion; and if vice abounds more in from the Chinese, when we had it so London than formerly, “
grace abounds much nearer home. “ In the time of much more” also.
In our account of the Police, we have able reports on the state of crime in the noticed the state of society at different metropolis have been made by committees periods; and it would not be difficult to of the House of Commons, and much in. prove, that there are few offences com- teresting information has thus been obmitted, at the present day, which were tained. In one of these reports it is not frequent some centuries ago, except stated, that there are houses in London such as hare arisen from the altered state where boys are taught how to pick pockets, of society. We might, indeed, go much and other knavish arts ; and that a slang further and assert, that when the police language is used by the thieves and pickwas not so well organized as at present, pockets, is known to every reader of a offences were of a much more flagrant newspaper, as it has almost become necharacter. What atrocities in the pre- cessary to learn this vulgar tongue, in sent age can be compared to those of order to read the police reports that are “ The Black Boy Alley gang,” who so published. Schools for teaching thieves, late as the reign of George II. were the and the use of slang language, are not, terror of the whole city? Hogarth, in however, devices of modern times. one of his prints of the “ Idle and Indus Stowe relates, that at the July sessions trious Apprentice,” has depicted one of in 1585, the magistracy devoted great atthe scenes of this gang; but even his tention to the discovery and suppression faithful and powerful pencil has failed in of houses frequented by thieves ; and that giving a true picture of their diabolical Fleetwood, the recorder to the lord treadeeds. The gang occupied some miser- surer, with others of the bench, discoable tenements in Black Boy-Alley, Chick vered sixteen of these houses in London Lane, where the unwary were decoyed by and Westminster, and two in Southwark. means of depraved females, and when In one of these, an ale-house at Smart's gagged, that they should give no alarm, quay, Billingsgate, kept by a person of the wretches dragged their victims to one the name of Wotton, “ a gentleman born, of the depositories, like a lamb to the and once a merchant of good credit, but slaughter, and having robbed and mur fallen by time into decay,” the art of cutdered them, threw the dead bodies into ting purses and picking pockets was the ditch. To so alarming an extent had taught scientifically. Wotton had a rethis gang carried their atrocities, that go- gular academy of vice, in which crime vernment lent its aid to the ordinary was as methodically taught as the mecha. police, by means of which the principal nical arts. In order to give to the em. members of the gang were appre- bryo pickpocket the dexterity which was hended, and nineteen of them executed at requisite, a pocket with counters, and a one time.
purse with silver, were suspended ; each Some years ago the metropolis was of them was hung about with “hawk's much alarmed by a person indiscrimi- bells,” and a “ little sacring bell” at the nately stabbing several females as he met top. The pupil was taught to take out them in the night; he was designated the the counters and the silver without dismonster, on account of the abhorrence turbing the bells, and when he was enwith which his conduct was viewed. This abled to do this, he was deemed fit to crime has also, of late years, been frequent commence his infamous profession, and in Paris, where the offenders are called was admitted into the association of nyppiqueurs; but the offence is not of mo pers and foysters, as the cutpurses and dern date, for in the early part of the last pickpockets were called. Hollinshed, century it was much more prevalent, and who wrote at a still earlier period, notices was practised by a set of miscreants, de- the cant or slang language which was nominated Mohawks, who, in 1712, were used in his day by the beggars. suppressed by the government.
counterfeiting the Egyptian rogues, they Street robberies, which have always have devised a language among thembeen frequent in London, attained such a selves, which they name canting, a speech pitch in the autumn and winter of 1741, compact thirty years since of English, that government found it necessary to and a greate number of od words of their offer a large reward for their suppression. owne devising, without all order or rea. A sum of 1001. was given on the convic- son, and yet such as none but themselves tion of every person found guilty of mur. are to understand.” der, or assault, with any offensive weapon How little of novelty in crime then has or instrument, with the intent to rob. the present generation to answer for ? even Until government thus interfered, gangs blood-money conspirators, who, for the of street robbers patrolled the streets with sake of getting the reward of 401. for the cutlasses and fire-arms, bidding defiance conviction of any offender, accuse him to the police officers, several of whom falsely, were known so far back as the they wounded.
reign of Edward III., as appears by a During the last ten years, many valu. statute of that monarch, which complains,
that " great damage and destruction" did glowing palace of sunlight, the flower. often happen by “ sheriffs, jailors, and starred earth, the glittering waters, the keepers of prisons, within franchises and ripening grapes, the chesnut copses, the without, who have pained their prisoners, cuckoo, and the nightingale,—such is the and, by such evil means, compelled and assemblage which is to me what balls procured them to become appellors, and and parties are to others. And if a storm to appeal harmless and guiltless people, come, rushing like an armed band over to the intent to have ransom of such ap. the country, filling the torrents, bending pealed persons, for fear of imprisonment the proud heads of the trees, causing the or other cause.”-Percy Histories. clouds' defending music to resound, and
the lightning to fill the air with splenTUSCANY.
dour ; I am still enchanted by the spec
tacle which diversifies what I have After all I have said of the delights of heard named the monotonous blue skies the south of Italy, I would choose Tus. of Italy. cany for a residence. Its inhabitants are In Tuscany the streams are fresh and courteous and civilized. I confess that full, the plains decorated with waving there is a charm for me in the manners of corn, shadowed by trees and trellised the common people and servants. Per- vines, and the mountains arise in woody haps this is partly to be accounted for majesty behind to give dignity to the from the contrast which they form with scene. What is a land without moun. those of my native country ; and all that tains ?. Heaven disdains a plain ; but is unusual, by divesting common life of when the beauteous earth raises her proud its familiar garb, gives an air of gala to head to seek its high communion, then every-day concerns. These good people it descends to meet her, it adorns her in are courteous, and there is much piquance clouds, and invests her in radiant hues. in the shades of distinction which they On the 15th of September, 18%, I make between respect and servility, ease remember being one of a party of pleaof address and impertinence. Yet this is sure, from the baths of Pisa, to Vico little seen and appreciated among their Pisano, a little town formerly a frontier English visitors. I have seen a country fortress between the Pisan and Florentine woman of some rank much shocked at territories. The air inspired joy, and being cordially embraced in a parting the pleasure I felt I saw reflected in the scene from her cook-maid ; and an Eng- countenance of my beloved companions. lishman think himself insulted because Our course lay beneath hills hardly high when, on ordering his coachman to wait enough for the name of mountains, but a few minutes for orders, the man quietly picturesquely shaped and covered with sat down; yet neither of these actions various wood. The cicale chirped, and were instigated by the slightest spirit of the air was impregnated with the perfume insolence. I know not why, but there of flowers. We passed the Rupe de was always something heartfelt and de- 'Noce, and proceeding still at the foot of lightful to me in the salutation that hills arrived at Vico Pisano, which is passes each evening between master and built at the extreme point of the range. servant. On bringing the lights the ser. The houses are old and surmounted with vant always says “ Felicissima sera, ancient towers; and at one end of the Signoria ;" and is answered by a similar town there is a range of old walls, weedbenediction. These are nothings, you grown ; but never did eye behold hues will say ; but such nothings have con more rich and strange than those with duced more to my pleasure than other which time and the seasons have painted events usually accounted of more mo- this relic. The lines of the cornice swept
downwards, and made a shadow that The country of Tuscany is culti. served even to diversify more the colours vated and fertile, although it does not we beheld. We returned along the same bear the same stamp of excessive luxury road; and not far from Vico Pisano as in the south. To continue my half. ascended a gentle hill, at the top of which forgotten simile, the earth is here like a was a church dedicated to Madonna, with young affectionate wife, who loves her a grassy platform of earth before it. home, yet dresses that home in smiles. Here we spread and ate our rustic fare, In spring, nature arises in beauty from and were waited upon by the peasant girls her prison, and rains sunbeams and life of the cottage attached to the church, one upon the land. Summer comes up in its of whom was of extreme beauty, a beauty green array, giving labour and reward to heightened by the grace of her motions the peasants. Their plenteous harvests, and the simplicity of her manner. After their Virgilian threshing floors, and looks our pic-nic we reposed under the shade of of busy happiness, are delightful to me. the church, on the brow of the hill.. The balmy air of night, Hesperus in his London Magazine.