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more intricate than the rest, was referred to every person in the office for an explanation, but without success : at length the compositor on the work, priding himself on his ability at decyphering the mystical letters, found out the word to be “ cordial gin;" whence the phrase went: “ This medicine is to be taken in cordial gin." The original word was cardialgria, or the heart burn, a disorder rather produced than allayed by the cordial above alluded to.
When the work of a compositor is extremely incorrect, the operation of changing the wrong letters for the right is attended with the danger of wounding and destroying the tender face of the contiguous letters. The drawing them out is performed by a sharp pointed bodkin, which enters the shoulder of the letter, and thus it is raised to be changed. I forget the name of the master printer, who made this apposite exclamation, upon seeing two very bad compositors correcting a foul proof of that size of type called Small Pica, “ O small pica! small pica! how art thou crucified between two thieves !"
THE TEA TREE IN BLOSSOM.
THE ingenious Mr. Capel Loft, of Troston Hall, near Bury, has recent. ly informed the publick, that he has had a tea tree in blossom in his parlour ever since the 18th of December last, notwithstanding the extreme severity of the weather; and though on the 21st of that month, at half past nine in the morning, the thermometer within doors in a southern aspect was at 28.
The following is bis description of the same :
“ Petals 6 (one smaller and shorter than the rest) concave, obtusely heartshaped. Stamens very numerous (probably above 200) with golden summits. The whole appearance of the flower like the single broad leaved myrtle; but longer and more brilliant, from the multiplicity of the stamens, texture of the petals, stronger colour, not quite so white. Calyx: stellate, quinquetid, about one fourth the length of the petals.
“ T'he scent of the flower delicaie and evanescent; resembling that of fine green tea dried.
“ There seems little doubt that this charming plant would bear a warm and sheltered exposure in the southwest of our island, like the broad leaved myrtle. Its affinity to the myrtle is indeed very striking; so much, that many species having been lately transferred from the genus Myrtus to other genera, so that it is now very thin, I doubt whether this might not be annexed to it under the denomination of Myrtus Thea, changing its elegant generick name, which it ought not who?ly to lose, into its specifick. Fond as I am of plants, I have never till now seen it in bloom.
“ It is long in coming into blossom. The buds appeared early in September. The season of its flowering renders it peculiarly valuable. And had the weather been mild, I have no doubt that in some few days it would have been covered with bloom.
“ The flowers proceed from near the extremities of the branches, on solitary footstalks, some opposite, others alternate. My plant is near three feet high, and came from Mr Mackie, nurseryman, of Norwich, the year before this. In close, moist weather it requires air, and some heat, lo absorb the damp: otherwise its blossoms fall without opening. This I expe. rienced last year.
“I cannot imagine that its beauty in a good green house would be at all inferiour even to the myrtle itself. It seems to form the intermediate link, in the botanical chasm between the myrtle and the orange.
" It is curious, that plants of so extensive use as the coffee and tea trees (the coffee, perhaps, one of the greatest blessings, among those that are not really necessaries of life, that Providence has indulged to mankind, considering its beneficial qualities in use as well as its agreeable) should be among the most elegant of plants in foliage and blossom ; and the coffee in fruit also. It is impossible not to rejoice that the present cheapness of coffee, though it is to be feared a short-lived cheapness, has made it, to a considerable degree, the beverage of the poor. It is strengthening, where tea is not; it is cven nutritive, while lea certainly is not. Tea, however, moderately taken, and not too hot, may be regarded as not only innocent, but salutary. It is favourable to temperance and to tranquillity of mind. And perhaps, of all our daily repasts, it constitutes the most generally and unexceptionably agreeable, from which even reading is not excluded, and where conversation can be most itself.”
Mr. Loft then remarks that the tea tree was first introduced into England by Mr. Ellis, about 1768. It was first treated as a stove plant; and its first flowering in this country was in the stove of the duke of Northumberland. Ile thinks the coffee tree may also, in time, be brought to endure the greenhouse without being contined to the stove.
AN ORIGINAL SONG BY BURNS.
To the Editor of the Universal Magazine.
POETA nascitur non fit. To no one can that maxim be with greater propriety applied than to Burns, the ever lamented Scottish bard. The nation, and the literary world in particular, are indebted to Dr. Currie of Liverpool, for a judicious selection of the works of that unfortunate son of genius; but there are many smaller pieces, the early effusions of his vigorous mind, which deserved to be drawn from their concealment; and, I am convinced that the following pathetick piece, would have obtained a prominent place in Dr. Currie's selection, had he ever experienced the pleasure of its perusal. It is one of those wild flowers which spring spontaneous in the soil of genius: and if a wanderer chance not to pass where it flourishes, it blooms unheeded, its sweets are unenjoyed, and it is left to waste its beauties on the desert air. During a visit to a gentleman in the neighbourhood of the country, where Burns first “ warbled his wood notes wild,” I was anxious to obtain every information respecting that highly favoured but ill fated son of the muses. Amongst others the following anecdote was related to me. Burns being in company with some of his jovial companions, the conversation turned on the old song, to the tune of Hey tutti tait, to which Bruce led on his troops at the battle of Bannockburn, the words of which are as follows :
“ l'in wearin awa John, I'm wearin awa John,
Burns, on a sudden, sunk into a deep musing, and taking a blank leaf from his pocket book he wrote the following: which for pathos and simplicity will not yield to any of his productions:
I'm wearin awa John, like snow weather, when it thaws John,
We'll meet and we'll be fain John in the Land of the Leal.*
Yours, &c. February 12th, 1809.
SKARLOTZ, THE BILLIARD PLAYER. DURING the time the two emperours were at Erfurth, among the variety of singularities collected for the gratification of Alexander, there was introduced to his notice Peter Skarlotz, a person who was formerly a schoolmaster at Aix-la-Chapelle, and eminent for his knowledge of the mathema:icks, which he taught there with considerable éclat, but whose incomparable adroitness at billiards suggested to him the wiser policy, in this age of dissipation, to relinquish science, and follow a more profitable pursuit. He therefore transferred the energies of his mind to the dexterity of his hands, and is, without doubt, the best billiard player in Europe. Alexander, who himself plays exceedingly well, condescended to afford him an opportunity of manifesting his skill, by taking vast odds, but was beat every game. Skariotz then displayed his astonishing powers, in going through a game of his own invention, with four balls, when he establįshed his fame for ever, by the surprise and wonder he excited with mace and queue. To add still more to the fame of this singular phenomenon, both his arms are diminutively short. He received splendid tokens from both the emperours, of their approbation and astonishment, especially Alexander, together with commands to repair to Petersburgh.
The following anecdote of Rhodolph, emperour of Germany, and an old woman, is
recorded in Coxo's History of the House of Austria.
Being at Mentz in 1288, he walked out early in the morning, dressed as usual in the plainest manner, and, as the weather was cold, entered a baker's shop to warm hiniself. The mistress, unacquainted with his person, pee.
* We trust in the accuracy of our correspondent's information: and though the above has merit enough to have been written by Burns, yet we do not think it so decidedly characteristical as R. H.--Editor.
vishly exclaimed : “ Soldiers ought not to come in poor women's houses.' “ Do not be angry, good woman,” returned the king of the Romans, with great complacency, “ I am an old soldier, who have spent all my fortune in the service of that rascal Rhodolph, and he suffers me to want, notwithstanding all his fine promises.” “ As you serve," rejoined the woman, “that fellow who has laid waste the whole earth, and devoured the poor, you have deservedly incurred all your misfortunes." She then virulently abused the king of the Romans, adding, with great bitterness, that she and all the bakers in the town, except two, were ruined by his means; and compelled him to depart, by throwing a pail of water on the fire, which filled the room with smoke and vapour.
Rhodolph, on sitting down to dinner, ordered his hostess to convey a boar's head and a bottle of wine, to her neighbour, the baker's wife, as a present from the old soldier who had warmed himself in the morning by her fire, and then related the anecdote with much humour. When thus apprised of her mistake, the woman was greatly terrified, and approaching the table, entreated forgiveness in the most suppliant manner. Rhodolph consented, on condition that she would repeat her abusive expressions ; with which the woman faithfully complied, to the amusement and laughter of all who were present.
Professor Porson, of Cambridge, a short time before his death, being in a mixed company, among which were many eminent literary characters, and particularly a poet, who had a very high opinion of his own talents, the conversation turned on some of his productions, when, as usual, he began to extol their merits." I will tell you, sir,” said the professor, “what I think of your poetical works: they will be read when Shakspeare's and Milton's are forgotten-[every eye was instantly fixed upon the professor) but not till then.”
The late lord George Germain was not more distinguished for his abili. ties than for his amiable disposition. Of this his domesticks felt the comfort, living with him rather as humble friends than menial servants. His lordship one day entering his house in Pall-mall, observed a large basket of vegetables standing in the hall, and inquired of the porter to whom they belonged, and from whence they canie.—Old John immediately replied: “ They are our's, my lord, from our country house.” “Very well,” said the peer. At that instant a carriage stopped at the door, and lord George, turning round, asked what coach it was? “ Our's," said honest John : " and are the children in it our's too?" said his lordship, laughing. “ Most cer. tainly, my lord,” replied John, with the utmost gravity, and immediately ran to lift them out.
Barrow meeting lord Rochester at court, his lordship, by way of banter, thus accosted him : “ Doctor, I am yours to my shoe tie.” Barrow, seeing his aim, returned his salute obsequiously, with “ My lord. I am yours to the ground.” Rochester, improving his blow, quickly returned it with " Doctor, I am yours to the centre:" which was as smartly followed by Barrow, with “ My lord, I am yours to the antipodes." Upon which, Roches. ter, scorning to be foiled by a musty old piece of divinity, as he used to call him, exclaimed: “Doctor, I am yours to the lowest pit of hell.” On which Barrow, turning on his heel, answered: “There, my lord, I leave you." VOL.1.
His private character was that of a libertine, and he was extremely vain of his person and his talents. The works of eminent geniuses (he would say) are few. They are those of Newton, Bacon, Leibnitz, Montesquieu, and my own
He left an only son, who suffered under Robespierre in 1799. On the scaffold he said to the people : “ Citizens, my name is Buffon."
Mr. Sheridan being informed that a certain dramatick writer never laughed at the performance of The School for Scandal, satirically exclaimed: “ It is surely very ungrateful in him ; for I never refused to laugh at his Tragedies.”
A gentleman once observed to Dr Johnson, that there were fewer vagrant poor in Scotland than in England, and as a proof of il, said there was no instance of a beggar dying in the streets there “ I believe you are very right there, sir,” says Johnson; “ but that does not arise from the want of vagrants, but the impossibility of starving a Scotchman."
Every object now faded from sight, WRITTEN BY WILLIAM CONGREVE,
While my thoughts were now fixed on THE DRAMATICK POET.
O'er my fancy they beamed such a light, (.Never before published.]
That I marked not the darkness above. FALSE tho' you've been to me and love,
How my heart beat its cell in my breast, I ne'er can take revenge,
As the form of a female I spied, So much your wonderous beauties move,
Till in rapture to feel myself blest, Tho'llament your change.
I resolved for a moment to hide, In hours of bliss we oft have met:
Then I heard how she eagerly sought, They could not always last;
To discover the nook where I lay, And though the present I regret,
Till I felt so transported, I thought I still am grateful for the past.
Her desires were increased by delay. But think not ** tho' my breast
Round the bower she repeatedly moved, A generous flame has warmed,
Like an angel that fancy creates, You c'er again can make me blest,
When I rushed and exclaimed,—“My beOr charm, as once you charmed.
loved!” Who may your future favours own
And it hoarsely replied: "Supper waits." Niay future change forgive, In love the first deceit alone Is what you never can retrieve.
SONNET UPON A SONNET, DISAPPOINTMENT. .
IMITATED FROM THE FRENCH, IMITATION OF MODERN POETRY. TOO cruel maid, who ordered me to write NOT a breeze crisped the leaves of the What mortals call a sonnet; I despair bower,
That fourteen lines my muse will e'er inNot a murmur was heard through the
dite : air,
However, four are made, and here they As with twilight approached the blest hour Love had tixed for a sight of my fair,
At first most grievously I racked my brain; Expectation had flushed every nerve, But making verses teaches one the While on tiptoe I listened around,
tradeNot a soul could my glances observe, Courage! I see my labour's not in vain,
Not a footstep was heard on the ground. For lo! my fair, the second stanza made.