And now the Goddess founds her silver shell,
And shakes with deeper tones the inchanted dell;
Pale, round her grassy throne, bedew'd with tears,
Flit the thin forms of Sorrows, and of Fears;
5 Soft Sighs responsive whisper to the chords,
And Indignations half-unsheath their swords.
"Thrice round the grave CIRCÆA prints her tread,
And chaunts the numbers, which disturb the dead;
Shakes o'er the holy earth her sable plume,
10 Waves her dread wand, and strikes the echoing tomb!
--Pale shoot the stars across the troubled night,
The timorous moon withholds her conscious light;
Shrill scream the famish'd bats, and shivering owls,
And loud and long the dog of midnight howls!--
[Circæa. l. 7. Enchanter's Nightshade. Two males, one female. It was much celebrated in the mysteries of witchcraft, and for the purpose of raising the devil, as its name imports. It grows amid the mouldering bones and decayed coffins in the ruinous vaults of Sleaford-church in Lincolnshire. The superstitious ceremonies or histories belonging to some vegetables have been truly ridiculous; thus the Druids are said to have cropped the Misletoe with a golden axe or sickle; and the Bryony, or Mandrake, was said to utter a scream when its root was drawn from the ground; and that the animal which drew it up became diseased and soon died: on which account, when it was wanted for the purposes of medicine, it was usual to loosen and remove the earth about the root, and then to tie it by means of a cord to a dog's tail, who was whipped to pull it up, and was then supposed to suffer for the impiety of the action. And even at this day bits of dried root of Peony are rubbed smooth, and strung, and sold under the name of Anodyne necklaces, and tied round the necks of children, to facilitate the growth of their teeth! add to this, that in Price's History of Cornwall, a book published about ten years ago, the Virga Divinatoria, or Divining Rod, has a degree of credit given to it. This rod is of hazle, or other light wood, and held horizontally in the hand, and is said to bow towards the ore whenever the Conjurer walks over a mine. A very few years ago, in France, and even in England, another kind of divining rod has been used to discover springs of water in a similar manner, and gained some credit. And in the very last year, there were many in France, and some in England, who underwent an enchantment without any divining rod at all, and believed themselves to be affected by an invisible agent, which the Enchanter called Animal Magnetism!]
--Then yawns the bursting ground!--two imps obscene
Rise on broad wings, and hail the baleful queen;
Each with dire grin salutes the potent wand,
And leads the sorceress with his sooty hand;
Onward they glide, where sheds the sickly yew
20 O'er many a mouldering bone its nightly dew;
The ponderous portals of the church unbar,--
Hoarse on their hinge the ponderous portals jar;
As through the colour'd glass the moon-beam falls,
Huge shapeless spectres quiver on the walls;
25 Low murmurs creep along the hollow ground,
And to each step the pealing ailes resound;
By glimmering lamps, protecting saints among,
The shrines all tremble as they pass along,
O'er the still choir with hideous laugh they move,
30 (Fiends yell below, and angels weep above!)
Their impious march to God's high altar bend,
With feet impure the sacred steps ascend;
With wine unbless'd the holy chalice stain,
Assume the mitre, and the cope profane;
35 To heaven their eyes in mock devotion throw,
And to the cross with horrid mummery bow;
Adjure by mimic rites the powers above,
And plite alternate their Satanic love.
Avaunt, ye Vulgar! from her sacred groves
40 With maniac step the Pythian LAURA moves;
Full of the God her labouring bosom sighs,
Foam on her lips, and fury in her eyes,
Strong writhe her limbs, her wild dishevell'd hair
Starts from her laurel-wreath, and swims in air.--
45 While twenty Priests the gorgeous shrine surround
Cinctur'd with ephods, and with garlands crown'd,
[Laura. l. 40. Prunus. Lauro-cerasus. Twenty males, one female. The Pythian priestess is supposed to have been made drunk with infusion of laurel-leaves when she delivered her oracles. The intoxication or inspiration is finely described by Virgil. Æn. L. vi. The distilled water from laurel-leaves is, perhaps, the most sudden poison we are acquainted with in this country. I have seen about two spoonfuls of it destroy a large pointer dog in less than ten minutes. In a smaller dose it is said to produce intoxication: on this account there is reason to believe it acts in the same manner as opium and vinous spirit; but that the dose is not so well ascertained. See note on Tremella. It is used in the Ratafie of the distillers, by which some dram-drinkers have been suddenly killed. One pint of water, distilled from fourteen pounds of black cherry stones bruised, has the same deleterious effect, destroying as suddenly as laurel-water. It is probable Apricot-kernels, Peach-leaves, Walnut-leaves, and whatever possesses the kernel-flavour, may have similar qualities.]
Contending hosts and trembling nations wait
The firm immutable behests of Fate;
--She speaks in thunder from her golden throne
50 With words unwill'd, and wisdom not her own.
So on his NIGHTMARE through the evening fog
Flits the squab Fiend o'er fen, and lake, and bog;
Seeks some love-wilder'd Maid with sleep oppress'd,
Alights, and grinning fits upon her breast.
55 --Such as of late amid the murky sky
Was mark'd by FUSELI'S poetic eye;
Whose daring tints, with SHAKESPEAR'S happiest grace,
Gave to the airy phantom form and place.--
Back o'er her pillow sinks her blushing head,
60 Her snow-white limbs hang helpless from the bed;
While with quick sighs, and suffocative breath,
Her interrupted heart-pulse swims in death.
--Then shrieks of captured towns, and widows' tears,
Pale lovers stretch'd upon their blood-stain'd biers,
65 The headlong precipice that thwarts her flight,
The trackless desert, the cold starless night,
And stern-eye'd Murder with his knife behind,
In dread succession agonize her mind.
O'er her fair limbs convulsive tremors fleet,
70 Start in her hands, and struggle in her feet;
In vain to scream with quivering lips she tries,
And strains in palsy'd lids her tremulous eyes;
In vain she wills to run, fly, swim, walk, creep;
The WILL presides not in the bower of SLEEP.
75 --On her fair bosom sits the Demon-Ape
Erect, and balances his bloated shape;
[The Will presides not. 1. 74. Sleep consists in the abolition of all voluntary power, both over our muscular motions and our ideas; for we neither walk nor reason in sleep. But, at the same time, many of our muscular motions, and many of our ideas, continue to be excited into action in consequence of internal irritations and of internal sensations; for the heart and arteries continue to beat, and we experience variety of passions, and even hunger and thirst in our dreams. Hence I conclude, that our nerves of sense are not torpid or inert during sleep; but that they are only precluded from the perception of external objects, by their external organs being rendered unfit to transmit to them the appulses of external bodies, during the suspension of the power of volition; thus the eye-lids are closed in sleep, and I suppose the tympanum of the car is not stretched, because they are deprived of the voluntary exertions of the muscles appropriated to these purposes; and it is probable something similar happens to the external apparatus of our other organs of sense, which may render them unfit for their office of perception during sleep: for milk put into the mouths of sleeping babes occasions them to swallow and suck; and, if the eye-lid is a little opened in the day-light by the exertions of disturbed sleep, the person dreams of being much dazzled. See first Interlude.]
Rolls in their marble orbs his Gorgon-eyes,
And drinks with leathern ears her tender cries.
Arm'd with her ivory beak, and talon-hands,
80 Descending FICA dives into the sands;
Chamber'd in earth with cold oblivion lies;
Nor heeds, ye Suitor-train, your amorous sighs;
Erewhile with renovated beauty blooms,
Mounts into air, and moves her leafy plumes.
85 --Where HAMPS and MANIFOLD, their cliffs among,
Each in his flinty channel winds along;
With lucid lines the dusky Moor divides,
Hurrying to intermix their sister tides.
[When there arises in sleep a painful desire to exert the voluntary motions, it is called the Nightmare or Incubus. When the sleep becomes so imperfect that some muscular motions obey this exertion of desire, people have walked about, and even performed some domestic offices in sleep; one of these sleep-walkers I have frequently seen: once she smelt of a tube-rose, and sung, and drank a dish of tea in this state; her awaking was always attended with prodigious surprize, and even fear; this disease had daily periods, and seemed to be of the epileptic kind.]
[Ficus indica. l. 80. Indian Fig-tree. Of the glass Polygamy. This large tree rises with opposite branches on all sides, with long egged leaves; each branch emits a slender flexile depending appendage from its summit like a cord, which roots into the earth and rises again. Sloan. Hist. of Jamaica. Lin. Spec. Plant. See Capri-ficus.]
Where still their silver-bosom'd Nymphs abhor,
90 The blood-smear'd mansion of gigantic THOR,--
--Erst, fires volcanic in the marble womb
Of cloud-wrapp'd WETTON raised the massy dome;
Rocks rear'd on rocks in huge disjointed piles
Form the tall turrets, and the lengthen'd ailes;
[Gigantic Thor. l. 90. Near the village of Wetton, a mile or two above Dove-Dale, near Ashburn in Dirbyshire, there is a spacious cavern about the middle of the ascent of the mountain, which still retains the Name of Thor's house; below is an extensive and romantic common, where the rivers Hamps and Manifold sink into the earth, and rise again in Ham gardens, the seat of John Port, Esq. about three miles below. Where these rivers rise again there are impressions resembling Fish, which appear to be of Jasper bedded in Limestone. Calcareous Spars, Shells converted into a kind of Agate, corallines in Marble, ores of Lead, Copper, and Zinc, and many strata of Flint, or Chert, and of Toadstone, or Lava, abound in this part of the country. The Druids are said to have offered human sacrifices inclosed in wicker idols to Thor. Thursday had its name from this Deity.
The broken appearance of the surface of many parts of this country; with the Swallows, as they are called, or basons on some of the mountains, like volcanic Craters, where the rain-water sinks into the earth; and the numerous large stones, which seem to have been thrown over the land by volcanic explosions; as well as the great masses of Toadstone or Lava; evince the existence of violent earthquakes at some early period of the world. At this time the channels of these subterraneous rivers seem to have been formed, when a long tract of rocks were raised by the sea flowing in upon the central fires, and thus producing an irresistable explosion of steam; and when these rocks again subsided, their parts did not exactly correspond, but left a long cavity arched over in this operation of nature. The cavities at Castleton and Buxton in Derbyshire seem to have had a similar origin, as well as this cavern termed Thor's house. See Mr. Whitehurst's and Dr. Hutton's Theories of the Earth.]
95 Broad ponderous piers sustain the roof, and wide
Branch the vast rain-bow ribs from side to side.
While from above descends in milky streams
One scanty pencil of illusive beams,
Suspended crags and gaping gulphs illumes,
100 And gilds the horrors of the deepen'd glooms.
--Here oft the Naiads, as they chanced to play
Near the dread Fane on THOR'S returning day,
Saw from red altars streams of guiltless blood
Stain their green reed-beds, and pollute their flood;
105 Heard dying babes in wicker prisons wail,
And shrieks of matrons thrill the affrighted Gale;
While from dark caves infernal Echoes mock,
And Fiends triumphant shout from every rock!
---So still the Nymphs emerging lift in air
110 Their snow-white shoulders and their azure hair;
Sail with sweet grace the dimpling streams along,
Listening the Shepherd's or the Miner's song;
But, when afar they view the giant-cave,
On timorous fins they circle on the wave,
115 With streaming eyes and throbbing hearts recoil,
Plunge their fair forms, and dive beneath the soil.--
Closed round their heads reluctant eddies sink,
And wider rings successive dash the brink.--
Three thousand steps in sparry clefts they stray,
120 Or seek through sullen mines their gloomy way;
On beds of Lava sleep in coral cells,
Or sigh o'er jasper fish, and agate shells.
Till, where famed ILAM leads his boiling floods
Through flowery meadows and impending woods,
125 Pleased with light spring they leave the dreary night,
And 'mid circumfluent surges rise to light;
Shake their bright locks, the widening vale pursue,
Their sea-green mantles fringed with pearly dew;
In playful groups by towering THORP they move,
130 Bound o'er the foaming wears, and rush into the Dove.
With fierce distracted eye IMPATIENS stands,
Swells her pale cheeks, and brandishes her hands,
[Impatiens. l. 131. Touch me not. The seed vessel consists of one cell with five divisions; each of these, when the seed is ripe, on being touched, suddenly folds itself into a spiral form, leaps from the stalk and disperses the seeds to a great distance by it's elasticity. The capsule of the geranium and the beard of wild oats are twisted for a similar purpose, and dislodge their seeds on wet days, when the ground is best fitted to receive them. Hence one of these, with its adhering capsule or beard fixed on a stand, serves the purpose of an hygrometer, twisting itself more or less according to the moisture of the air.
The awn of barley is furnished with stiff points, which, like the teeth of a saw, are all turned towards the point of it; as this long awn lies upon the ground, it extends itself in the moist air of night, and pushes forwards the barley corn, which it adheres to; in the day it shortens as it dries; and as these points prevent it from receding, it draws up its pointed end; and thus, creeping like a worm, will travel many feet from the parent stem. That very ingenious Mechanic Philosopher, Mr. Edgeworth, once made on this principle a wooden automaton; its back consisted of soft Fir-wood, about an inch square, and four feet long, made of pieces cut the cross-way in respect to the fibres of the wood, and glued together: it had two feet before, and two behind, which supported the back horizontally; but were placed with their extremities, which were armed with sharp points of iron, bending backwards. Hence, in moist weather, the back lengthened, and the two foremost feet were pushed forwards; in dry weather the hinder feet were drawn after, as the obliquity of the points of the feet prevented it from receding. And thus, in a month or two, it walked across the room which it inhabited. Might not this machine be applied as an Hygrometer to some meteorological purpose?]
With rage and hate the astonish'd groves alarms,
And hurls her infants from her frantic arms.
135 --So when MEDÆA left her native soil
Unaw'd by danger, unsubdued by toil;
Her weeping sire and beckoning friends withstood,
And launch'd enamour'd on the boiling flood;
One ruddy boy her gentle lips caress'd,
140 And one fair girl was pillow'd on her breast;
While high in air the golden treasure burns,
And Love and Glory guide the prow by turns.
But, when Thessalia's inauspicious plain
Received the matron-heroine from the main;
145 While horns of triumph sound, and altars burn,
And shouting nations hail their Chief's return:
Aghaft, She saw new-deck'd the nuptial bed,
And proud CREUSA to the temple led;
Saw her in JASON'S mercenary arms
150 Deride her virtues, and insult her charms;
Saw her dear babes from fame and empire torn,
In foreign realms deserted and forlorn;
Her love rejected, and her vengeance braved,
By Him her beauties won, her virtues saved.--
155 With stern regard she eyed the traitor-king,
And felt, Ingratitude! thy keenest sting;
"Nor Heaven," She cried, "nor Earth, nor Hell can hold
"A Heart abandon'd to the thirst of Gold!"
Stamp'd with wild foot, and shook her horrent brow,
160 And call'd the furies from their dens below.
--Slow out of earth, before the festive crowds,
On wheels of fire, amid a night of clouds,
Drawn by fierce fiends arose a magic car,
Received the Queen, and hovering flamed in air.--
165 As with raised hands the suppliant traitors kneel
And fear the vengeance they deserve to feel,
Thrice with parch'd lips her guiltless babes she press'd,
And thrice she clasp'd them to her tortur'd breast;
Awhile with white uplifted eyes she stood,
170 Then plung'd her trembling poniards in their blood.
"Go, kiss your sire! go, share the bridal mirth!"
She cry'd, and hurl'd their quivering limbs on earth.
Rebellowing thunders rock the marble towers,
And red-tongued lightnings shoot their arrowy showers;
175 Earth yawns!--the crashing ruin sinks!--o'er all
Death with black hands extends his mighty Pall;
Their mingling gore the Fiends of Vengeance quaff,
And Hell receives them with convulsive laugh.
Round the vex'd isles where fierce tornados roar,
180 Or tropic breezes sooth the sultry shore;
What time the eve her gauze pellucid spreads
O'er the dim flowers, and veils the misty meads;
Slow, o'er the twilight sands or leafy walks,
With gloomy dignity DICTAMNA stalks;
[Dictamnus. l. 184. Fraxinella. In the still evenings of dry seasons this plant emits an inflammable air or gas, and flashes on the approach of a candle. There are instances of human creatures who have taken fire spontaneously, and been totally consumed. Phil. Trans.
The odours of many flowers, so delightful to our sense of smell, as well as the disgreeable scents of others, are owing to the exhalation of their essential oils. These essential oils have greater or less volatility, and are all inflammable; many of them are poisons to us, as these of Laurel and Tobacco; others possess a narcotic quality, as is evinced by the oil of cloves instantly relieving slight tooth-achs; from oil of cinnamon relieving the hiccup; and balsam of peru relieving the pain of some ulcers. They are all deleterious to certain insects, and hence their use in the vegetable economy being produced in flowers or leaves to protect them from the depredations of their voracious enemies. One of the essential oils, that of turpentine, is recommended, by M. de Thosse, for the purpose of destroying insects which infect both vegetables and animals. Having observed that the trees were attacked by multitudes of small insects of different colours (pucins ou pucerons), which injured their young branches, he destroyed them all intirely in the following manner: he put into a bowl a few handfuls of earth, on which he poured a small quantity of oil of turpentine; he then beat the whole together with a spatula, pouring on it water till it became of the consistence of soup; with this mixture he moistened the ends of the branches, and both the insects and their eggs were destroyed, and other insects kept aloof by the scent of the turpentine. He adds, that he destroyed the fleas of his puppies by once bathing them in warm water impregnated with oil of turpentine. Mem. d'Agriculture, An. 1787, Trimest. Printemp. p. 109. I sprinkled some oil of turpentine, by means of a brush, on some branches of a nectarine-tree, which was covered with the aphis; but it killed both the insect and the branches: a solution of arsenic much diluted did the same. The shops of medicine are supplied with resins, balsams, and essential oils; and the tar and pitch, for mechanical purposes, arc produced from these vegetable secretions.]
185 In sulphurous eddies round the weird dame
Plays the light gas, or kindles into flame.
If rests the traveller his weary head,
Grim MANCINELLA haunts the mossy bed,
Brews her black hebenon, and, stealing near,
190 Pours the curst venom in his tortured ear.--
Wide o'er the mad'ning throng URTICA flings
Her barbed shafts, and darts her poison'd stings.
[Mancinella, I. 188. Hyppomane. With the milky juice of this tree the Indians poison their arrows; the dew-drops, which fall from it, are so caustic as to blister the skin, and produce dangerous ulcers; whence many have found their death by sleeping under its shade. Variety of noxious plants abound in all countries; in our own the deadly nightshade, henbane, hounds-tongue, and many others, are seen in almost every high road untouched by animals. Some have asked, what is the use of such abundance of poisons? The nauseous or pungent juices of some vegetables, like the thorns of others, are given them for their defence from the depredations of animals; hence the thorny plants are in general wholesome and agreeable food to graminivorous animals. See note on Ilex. The flowers or petals of plants are perhaps in general more acrid than their leaves; hence they are much seldomer eaten by insects. This seems to have been the use of the essential oil in the vegetable economy, as observed above in the notes on Dictamnus and on Ilex. The fragrance of plants is thus a part of their defence. These pungent or nauseous juices of vegetables have supplied the science of medicine with its principal materials, such as purge, vomit, intoxicate, &c.]
[Urtica. I. 191. Nettle. The sting has a bag at its base, and a perforation near its point, exactly like the stings of wasps and the teeth of adders; Hook, Microgr. p. 142. Is the fluid contained in this bag, and pressed through the perforation into the wound, made by the point, a caustic essential oil, or a concentrated vegetable acid? The vegetable poisons, like the animal ones, produce more sudden and dangerous effects, when instilled into a wound, than when taken into the stomach; whence the families of Marfi and Psilli, in antient Rome, sucked the poison without injury out of wounds made by vipers, and were supposed to be indued with supernatural powers for this purpose. By the experiments related by Beccaria, it appears that four or five times the quantity, taken by the mouth, had about equal effects with that infused into a wound. The male flowers of the nettle are separate from the female, and the anthers are seen in fair weather to burst with force, and to discharge a dust, which hovers about the plant like a cloud.]
And fell LOBELIA'S suffocating breath
Loads the dank pinion of the gale with death.--
195 With fear and hate they blast the affrighted groves,
Yet own with tender care their kindred Loves!--
So, where PALMIRA 'mid her wasted plains,
Her shatter'd aqueducts, and prostrate sanes,
[Lobelia. I. 193. Longiflora. Grows in the West Indies, and spreads such deleterious exhalations around it, that an oppression of the breast is felt on approaching it at many feet distance when placed in the corner of a room or hot-house. Ingenhouz, Exper. on Air, p. 14.6. Jacquini hort. botanic. Vindeb. The exhalations from ripe fruit, or withering leaves, are proved much to injure the air in which they are confined; and, it is probable, all those vegetables which emit a strong scent may do this in a greater or less degree, from the Rose to the Lobelia; whence the unwholesomeness in living perpetually in such an atmosphere of perfume as some people wear about their hair, or carry in their handkerchiefs. Either Boerhaave or Dr. Mead have affirmed they were acquainted with a poisonous fluid whose vapour would presently destroy the person who sat near it. And it is well known, that the gas from fermenting liquors, or obtained from lime-stone, will destroy animals immersed in it, as well as the vapour of the Grotto del Cani near Naples.]
[So, where Palmira. I. 197. Among the ruins of Palmira, which are dispersed not only over the plains but even in the deserts, there is one single colonade above 2600 yards long, the bases of the Corinthian columns of which exceed the height of a man: and yet this row is only a small part of the remains of that one edifice! Volney's Travels.]
(As the bright orb of breezy midnight pours
200 Long threads of silver through her gaping towers,
O'er mouldering tombs, and tottering columns gleams,
And frosts her deserts with diffusive beams),
Sad o'er the mighty wreck in silence bends,
Lifts her wet eyes, her tremulous hands extends.--
205 If from lone cliffs a bursting rill expands
Its transient course, and sinks into the sands;
O'er the moist rock the fell Hyæna prowls,
The Leopard hisses, and the Panther growls;
On quivering wing the famish'd Vulture screams,
210 Dips his dry beak, and sweeps the gushing streams;
With foamy jaws, beneath, and sanguine tongue,
Laps the lean Wolf, and pants, and runs along;
Stern stalks the Lion, on the rustling brinks
Hears the dread Snake, and trembles as he drinks;
215 Quick darts the scaly Monster o'er the plain,
Fold after fold, his undulating train;
And, bending o'er the lake his crested brow,
Starts at the Crocodile, that gapes below.
Where seas of glass with gay reflections smile
220 Round the green coasts of Java's palmy isle;
A spacious plain extends its upland scene,
Rocks rise on rocks, and fountains gush between;
Soft zephyrs blow, eternal summers reign,
And showers prolific bless the soil,--in vain!
225 --No spicy nutmeg scents the vernal gales,
Nor towering plaintain shades the mid-day vales;
No grassy mantle hides the sable hills,
No flowery chaplet crowns the trickling rills;
Nor tufted moss, nor leathery lichen creeps
230 In russet tapestry o'er the crumbling steeps.
--No step retreating, on the sand impress'd,
Invites the visit of a second guest;
No refluent fin the unpeopled stream divides,
No revolant pinion cleaves the airy tides;
235 Nor handed moles, nor beaked worms return,
That mining pass the irremeable bourn.--
Fierce in dread silence on the blasted heath
Fell UPAS sits, the HYDRA-TREE of death.
Lo! from one root, the envenom'd soil below,
240 A thousand vegetative serpents grow;
In shining rays the scaly monster spreads
O'er ten square leagues his far-diverging heads;
Or in one trunk entwists his tangled form,
Looks o'er the clouds, and hisses in the storm.
[Upas. l. 238. There is a poison-tree in the island of Java, which is said by its effluvia to have depopulated the country for 12 or 14 miles round the place of its growth. It is called, in the Malayan language, Bohon-Upas; with the juice of it the most poisonous arrows are prepared; and, to gain this, the condemned criminals are sent to the tree with proper direction both to get the juice and to secure themselves from the malignant exhalations of the tree; and are pardoned if they bring back a certain quantity of the poison. But by the registers there kept, not one in four are said to return. Not only animals of all kinds, both quadrupeds, fish, and birds, but all kinds of vegetables also are destroyed by the effluvia of the noxious tree; so that, in a district of 12 or 14 miles round it, the face of the earth is quite barren and rocky, intermixed only with the skeletons of men and animals; affording a scene of melancholy beyond what poets have described or painters delineated. Two younger trees of its own species are said to grow near it. See London Magazine for 1784, or 1783. Translated from a description of the poison-tree of the island of Java, written in Dutch by N.P. Foereh. For a further account of it, see a note at the end of the work.]
245 Steep'd in fell poison, as his sharp teeth part,
A thousand tongues in quick vibration dart;
Snatch the proud Eagle towering o'er the heath,
Or pounce the Lion, as he stalks beneath;
Or strew, as marshall'd hosts contend in vain,
250 With human skeletons the whiten'd plain.
--Chain'd at his root two scion-demons dwell,
Breathe the faint hiss, or try the shriller yell;
Rise, fluttering in the air on callow wings,
And aim at insect-prey their little stings.
255 So Time's strong arms with sweeping scythe erase
Art's cumberous works, and empires, from their base;
While each young Hour its sickle fine employs,
And crops the sweet buds of domestic joys!
With blushes bright as morn fair ORCHIS charms,
260 And lulls her infant in her fondling arms;
[Orchis. l. 259. The Orchis morio in the circumstance of the parent-root shrivelling up and dying, as the young one increases, is not only analogous to other tuberous or knobby roots, but also to some bulbous roots, as the tulip. The manner of the production of herbaceous plants from their various perennial roots, seems to want further investigation, as their analogy is not yet clearly established. The caudex, or true root, in the orchis lies above the knob; and from this part the fibrous roots and the new knob are produced. In the tulip the caudex lies below the bulb; from whence proceed the fibrous roots and the new bulbs; and I suspect the tulip-root, after it has flowered, dies like the orchis-root; for the stem of the last year's tulip lies on the outside, and not in the center of the new bulb; which I am informed does not happen in the three or four first years when raised from seed, when it only produces a stem, and slender leaves without flowering. In the tulip-root, dissected in the early spring, just before it begins to shoot, a perfect flower is seen in its center; and between the first and second coat the large next year's bulb is, I believe, produced; between the second and third coat, and between this and the fourth coat, and perhaps further, other less and less bulbs are visible, all adjoining to the caudex at the bottom of the mother-bulb; and which, I am told, require as many years before they will slower, as the number of the coats with which they are covered. This annual reproduction of the tulip-root induces some florists to believe that tulip-roots never die naturally, as they lose so few of them; whereas the hyacinth-roots, I am informed, will not last above five or seven years after they have flowered.
The hyacinth-root differs from the tulip-root, as the stem of the last year's flower is always found in the center of the root, and the new off-sets arise from the caudex below the bulb, but not beneath any of the concentric coats of the root, except the external one: hence Mr. Eaton, an ingenious florist of Derby, to whom I am indebted for most of the observations in this note, concludes, that the hyacinth-root does not perish annually after it has flowered like the tulip. Mr. Eaton gave me a tulip root which had been set too deep in the earth, and the caudex had elongated itself near an inch, and the new bulb was formed above the old one, and detached from it, instead of adhering to its side.
The caudex of the ranunculus, cultivated by the florists, lies above the claw-like root; in this the old root or claws die annually, like the tulip and orchis, and the new claws, which are seen above the old ones, draw down the caudex lower into the earth. The same is said to happen to Scabiosa, or Devil's bit, and some other plants, as valerian and greater plantain; the new fibrous roots rising round the caudex above the old ones, the inferior end of the root becomes stumped, as if cut off, after the old fibres are decayed, and the caudex is drawn down into the earth by these new roots. See Arum and Tulipa.]
Soft play Affection round her bosom's throne,
And guards his life, forgetful of her own.
So wings the wounded Deer her headlong flight,
Pierced by some ambush'd archer of the night,
265 Shoots to the woodlands with her bounding fawn,
And drops of blood bedew the conscious lawn;
There hid in shades she shuns the cheerful day,
Hangs o'er her young, and weeps her life away.
So stood Eliza on the wood-crown'd height,
270 O'er Minden's plain, spectatress of the sight,
Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife
Her dearer self, the partner of her life;
From hill to hill the rushing host pursued,
And view'd his banner, or believed she view'd.
275 Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker tread
Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led;
And one fair girl amid the loud alarm
Slept on her kerchief, cradled by her arm;
While round her brows bright beams of Honour dart,
280 And Love's warm eddies circle round her heart
--Near and more near the intrepid Beauty press'd,
Saw through the driving smoke his dancing crest,
Heard the exulting shout, "they run! they run!"
"Great GOD!" she cried, "He's safe! the battle's won!"
285 --A ball now hisses through the airy tides,
(Some Fury wing'd it, and some Demon guides!)
Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck,
Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;
The red stream, issuing from her azure veins,
290 Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains.--
--"Ah me!" she cried, and, sinking on the ground,
Kiss'd her dear babes, regardless of the wound;
"Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou Vital Urn!
"Wait, gushing Life, oh, wait my Love's return!--
295 "Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from far!
"The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war!----
"Oh, spare ye War-hounds, spare their tender age!--
"On me, on me," she cried, "exhaust your rage!"--
Then with weak arms her weeping babes caress'd,
300 And sighing bid them in her blood-stain'd vest.
From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies,
Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes;
Eliza's name along the camp he calls,
Eliza echoes through the canvas walls;
305 Quick through the murmuring gloom his footsteps tread,
O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead,
Vault o'er the plain, and in the tangled wood,
Lo! dead Eliza weltering in her blood!--
--Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds,
310 With open arms and sparkling eyes he bounds:--
"Speak low," he cries, and gives his little hand,
"Eliza sleeps upon the dew-cold sand;
"Poor weeping Babe with bloody fingers press'd,
"And tried with pouting lips her milkless breast;
315 "Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake--
"Why do you weep?--Mama will soon awake."
--"She'll wake no more!" the hopeless mourner cried
Upturn'd his eyes, and clasp'd his hands, and sigh'd;
Stretch'd on the ground awhile entranc'd he lay,
320 And press'd warm kisses on the lifeless clay;
And then unsprung with wild convulsive start,
And all the Father kindled in his heart;
"Oh, Heavens!" he cried, "my first rash vow forgive!
"These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!"--
325 Round his chill babes he wrapp'd his crimson vest,
And clasp'd them sobbing to his aching breast.
Two Harlot-Nymphs, the fair CUSCUTAS, please
With labour'd negligence, and studied ease;
[Cuscuta. l. 327. Dodder. Four males, two females. This parasite plant (the seed splitting without cotyledons), protrudes a spiral body, and not endeavouring to root itself in the earth ascends the vegetables in its vicinity, spirally W.S.E. or contrary to the movement of the sun; and absorbs its nourishment by vessels apparently inserted into its supporters. It bears no leaves, except here and there a scale, very small, membranous, and close under the branch. Lin. Spec. Plant. edit. a Reichard. Vol. I. p. 352. The Rev. T. Martyn, in his elegant letters on botany, adds, that, not content with support, where it lays hold, there it draws its nourishment; and at length, in gratitude for all this, strangles its entertainer. Let. xv. A contest for air and light obtains throughout the whole vegetable world; shrubs rise above herbs; and, by precluding the air and light from them, injure or destroy them; trees suffocate or incommode shrubs; the parasite climbing plants, as Ivy, Clematis, incommode the taller trees; and other parasites, which exist without having roots on the ground, as Misletoe, Tillandsia, Epidendrum, and the mosses and funguses, incommode them all.
Some of the plants with voluble stems ascend other plants spirally east-south-west, as Humulus, Hop, Lonicera, Honey-suckle, Tamus, black Bryony, Helxine. Others turn their spiral stems west-south-east, as Convolvulus, Corn-bind, Phaseolus, Kidney-bean, Basella, Cynanche, Euphorbia, Eupatorium. The proximate or final causes of this difference have not been investigated. Other plants are furnished with tendrils for the purpose of climbing: if the tendril meets with nothing to lay hold of in its first revolution, it makes another revolution; and so on till it wraps itself quite up like a cork-screw; hence, to a careless observer, it appears to move gradually backwards and forwards, being seen sometimes pointing eastward and sometimes westward. One of the Indian grasses, Panicum arborescens, whose stem is no thicker than a goose-quill, rises as high as the tallest trees in this contest for light and air. Spec. Plant a Reichard, Vol. I. p. 161. The tops of many climbing plants are tender from their quick growth; and, when deprived of their acrimony by boiling, are an agreeable article of food. The Hop-tops are in common use. I have eaten the tops of white Bryony, Bryonia alba, and found them nearly as grateful as Asparagus, and think this plant might be profitably cultivated as an early garden-vegetable. The Tamus (called black Bryony), was less agreeable to the taste when boiled. See Galanthus.]
In the meek garb of modest worth disguised,
330 The eye averted, and the smile chastised,
With sly approach they spread their dangerous charms,
And round their victim wind their wiry arms.
So by Scamander when LAOCOON stood,
Where Troy's proud turrets glitter'd in the flood,
335 Raised high his arm, and with prophetic call
To shrinking realms announced her fatal fall;
Whirl'd his fierce spear with more than mortal force,
And pierced the thick ribs of the echoing horse;
Two Serpent-forms incumbent on the main,
340 Lashing the white waves with redundant train,
Arch'd their blue necks, and (hook their towering crests,
And plough'd their foamy way with speckled breasts;
Then darting fierce amid the affrighted throngs,
Roll'd their red eyes, and shot their forked tongues,--
345 --Two daring Youths to guard the hoary fire
Thwart their dread progress, and provoke their ire.
Round sire and sons the scaly monsters roll'd,
Ring above ring, in many a tangled fold,
Close and more close their writhing limbs surround,
350 And fix with foamy teeth the envenom'd wound.
--With brow upturn'd to heaven the holy Sage
In silent agony sustains their rage;
While each fond Youth, in vain, with piercing cries
Bends on the tortured Sire his dying eyes.
355 "Drink deep, sweet youths" seductive VITIS cries,
The maudlin tear-drop glittering in her eyes;
Green leaves and purple clusters crown her head,
And the tall Thyrsus stays her tottering tread.
--Five hapless swains with soft assuasive smiles
360 The harlot meshes in her deathful toils;
"Drink deep," she carols, as she waves in air
The mantling goblet, "and forget your care."--
O'er the dread feast malignant Chemia scowls,
And mingles poison in the nectar'd bowls;
365 Fell Gout peeps grinning through the flimsy scene,
And bloated Dropsy pants behind unseen;
Wrapp'd in his robe white Lepra hides his stains,
And silent Frenzy writhing bites his chains.
[Vitis. 1. 355. Vine. Five males, one female. The juice of the ripe grape is a nutritive and agreeable food, consisting chiefly of sugar and mucilage. The chemical process of fermentation converts this sugar into spirit, converts food into poison! And it has thus become the curse of the Christian world, producing more than half of our chronical diseases; which Mahomet observed, and forbade the use of it to his disciples. The Arabians invented distillation; and thus, by obtaining the spirit of fermented liquors in a less diluted slate, added to its destructive quality. A Theory of the Diabætes and Dropsy, produced by drinking fermented or spirituous liquors, is explained in a Treatise on the inverted motions of the lymphatic system, published by Dr. Darwin. Cadell.]
So when PROMETHEUS braved the Thunderer's ire,
370 Stole from his blazing throne etherial fire,
And, lantern'd in his breast, from realms of day
Bore the bright treasure to his Man of clay;--
High on cold Caucasus by VULCAN bound,
The lean impatient Vulture fluttering round,
375 His writhing limbs in vain he twists and strains
To break or loose the adamantine chains.
The gluttonous bird, exulting in his pangs,
Tears his swoln liver with remorseless fangs.
[Prometheus, l. 369. The antient story of Prometheus, who concealed in his bosom the fire he had stolen, and afterwards had a vulture perpetually gnawing his liver, affords so apt an allegory for the effects of drinking spirituous liquors, that one should be induced to think the art of distillation, as well as some other chemical processes (such as calcining gold), had been known in times of great antiquity, and lost again. The swallowing drams cannot be better represented in hieroglyphic language than by taking fire into one's bosom; and certain it is, that the general effect of drinking fermented or spirituous liquors is an inflamed, schirrous, or paralytic liver, with its various critical or consequential diseases, as leprous eruptions on the face, gout, dropsy, epilepsy, insanity. It is remarkable, that all the diseases from drinking spirituous or fermented liquors are liable to become hereditary, even to the third generation; gradually increasing, if the cause be continued, till the family becomes extinct.]
The gentle CYCLAMEN with dewy eye
380 Breathes o'er her lifeless babe the parting sigh;
And, bending low to earth, with pious hands
Inhumes her dear Departed in the sands.
"Sweet Nursling! withering in thy tender hour,
"Oh, sleep," She cries, "and rise a fairer flower!"
385 --So when the Plague o'er London's gasping crowds
Shook her dank wing, and steer'd her murky clouds;
When o'er the friendless bier no rites were read,
No dirge slow-chanted, and no pall out-spread;
While Death and Night piled up the naked throng,
390 And Silence drove their ebon cars along;
Six lovely daughters, and their father, swept
To the throng'd grave CLEONE saw, and wept;
[Cyclamen. 1. 379. Shew-bread, or Sow-bread. When the seeds are ripe, the stalk of the flower gradually twists itself spirally downwards, till it touches the ground, and forcibly penetrating the earth lodges its seeds; which are thought to receive nourishment from the parent root, as they are said not to be made to grow in any other situation.
The Trifolium subterraneum, subterraneous trefoil, is another plant, which buries its seed, the globular head of the seed penetrating the earth; which, however, in this plant may be only an attempt to conceal its seeds from the ravages of birds; for there is another trefoil, the trifolium globosum, or globular woolly-headed trefoil, which has a curious manner of concealing its seeds; the lower florets only have corols and are fertile; the upper ones wither into a kind of wool, and, forming a bead, completely conceal the fertile calyxes. Lin. Spec. Plant, a Reichard.]
Her tender mind, with meek Religion fraught,
Drank all-resigned Affliction's bitter draught;
395 Alive and listening to the whisper'd groan
Of others' woes, unconscious of her own!--
One smiling boy, her last sweet hope, she warms
Hushed on her bosom, circled in her arms,--
Daughter of woe! ere morn, in vain caress'd,
400 Clung the cold Babe upon thy milkless breast,
With feeble cries thy last sad aid required,
Stretch'd its stiff limbs, and on thy lap expired!--
--Long with wide eye-lids on her Child she gazed,
And long to heaven their tearless orbs she raised;
405 Then with quick foot and throbbing heart she found
Where Chartreuse open'd deep his holy ground;
[Where Chartreuse. l. 406. During the plague in London, 1665, one pit to receive the dead was dug in the Charter-house, 40 feet long, 16 feet wide, and about 20 feet deep; and in two weeks received 1114 bodies. During this dreadful calamity there were instances of mothers carrying their own children to those public graves, and of people delirious, or in despair from the loss of their friends, who threw themselves alive into these pits. Journal of the Plague-year in 1665, printed for E. Nutt, Royal-Exchange.]
Bore her last treasure through the midnight gloom,
And kneeling dropp'd it in the mighty tomb;
"I follow next!" the frantic mourner said,
410 And living plunged amid the festering dead.
Where vast Ontario rolls his brineless tides,
And feeds the trackless forests on his sides,
Fair CASSIA trembling hears the howling woods,
And trusts her tawny children to the floods.--
[Rolls his brineless tide. l. 411. Some philosophers have believed that the continent of America was not raised out of the great ocean at so early a period of time as the other continents. One reason for this opinion was, because the great lakes, perhaps nearly as large as the Mediterranean Sea, consist of fresh water. And as the sea-salt seems to have its origin from the destruction of vegetable and animal bodies, washed down by rains, and carried by rivers into lakes or seas; it would seem that this source of sea-salt had not so long existed in that country. There is, however, a more satisfactory way of explaining this circumstance; which is, that the American lakes lie above the level of the ocean, and are hence perpetually desalited by the rivers which run through them; which is not the case with the Mediterranean, into which a current from the main ocean perpetually passes.]
[Caffia. l. 413. Ten males, one female. The seeds are black, the stamens gold-colour. This is one of the American fruits, which are annually thrown on the coasts of Norway; and are frequently in so recent a state as to vegetate, when properly taken care of, the fruit of the anacardium, cashew-nut; of cucurbita lagenaria, bottlegourd; of the mimosa scandens, cocoons; of the piscidia erythrina, logwood-tree; and cocoa-nuts are enumerated by Dr. Tonning. (Amæn. Acad. 149.) amongst these emigrant seeds. The fact is truly wonderful, and cannot be accounted for but by the existence of under currents in the depths of the ocean; or from vortexes of water passing from one country to another through caverns of the earth.
Sir Hans Sloane has given an account of four kinds of seeds, which are frequently thrown by the sea upon the coasts of the islands of the northern parts of Scotland. Phil. Trans. abridged, Vol. III. p. 540. which seeds are natives of the West Indies, and seem to be brought thither by the gulf-stream described below. One of these is called, by Sir H. Sloane, Phaseolus maximus perennis, which is often also thrown on the coast of Kerry in Ireland; another is called, in Jamaica, Horse-eye-bean; and a third is called Niker in Jamaica. He adds, that the Lenticula marina, or Sargosso, grows on the rocks about Jamaica, is carried by the winds and current towards the coast of Florida, and thence into the North-American ocean, where it lies very thick on the surface of the sea.
Thus a rapid current passes from the gulf of Florida to the N.E. along the coast of North-America, known to seamen by the name of the GULF-STREAM. A chart of this was published by Dr. Francklin in 1768, from the information principally of Capt. Folger. This was confirmed by the ingenious experiments of Dr. Blagden, published in 1781, who found that the water of the Gulf-stream was from six to eleven degrees warmer than the water of the sea through which it ran; which must have been occasioned by its being brought from a hotter climate. He ascribes the origin of this current to the power of the trade-winds, which, blowing always in the same direction, carry the waters of the Atlantic ocean to the westward, till they are stopped by the opposing continent on the west of the Gulf of Mexico, and are thus accumulated there, and run down the Gulf of Florida. Philos. Trans. V. 71, p. 335. Governor Pownal has given an elegant map of this Gulf-stream, tracing it from the Gulf of Florida northward as far as Cape Sable in Nova Scotia, and then across the Atlantic ocean to the coast of Africa between the Canary-islands and Senegal, increasing in breadth, as it runs, till it occupies five or six degrees of latitude. The Governor likewise ascribes this current to the force of the trade-winds protruding the waters westward, till they are opposed by the continent, and accumulated in the Gulf of Mexico. He very ingeniously observes, that a great eddy must be produced in the Atlantic ocean between this Gulf-stream and the westerly current protruded by the tropical winds, and in this eddy are found the immense fields of floating vegetables, called Saragosa weeds, and Gulf-weeds, and some light woods, which circulate in these vast eddies, or are occasionally driven out of them by the winds. Hydraulic and Nautical Observations by Governor Pownal, 1787. Other currents are mentioned by the Governor in this ingenious work, as those in the Indian Sea, northward of the line, which are ascribed to the influence of the Monsoons. It is probable, that in process of time the narrow tract of land on the west of the Gulf of Mexico may be worn away by this elevation of water dashing against it, by which this immense current would cease to exist, and a wonderful change take place in the Gulf of Mexico and West Indian islands, by the subsiding of the sea, which might probably lay all those islands int one, or join them to the continent.]
415 Cinctured with gold while ten fond brothers stand,
And guard the beauty on her native land,
Soft breathes the gale, the current gently moves,
And bears to Norway's coasts her infant-loves.
--So the sad mother at the noon of night
420 From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight;
Wrapp'd her dear babe beneath her folded vest,
And clasp'd the treasure to her throbbing breast,
With soothing whispers hushed its feeble cry,
Pressed the soft kiss, and breathed the secret sigh.--
425 --With dauntless step she seeks the winding shore,
Hears unappall'd the glimmering torrents roar;
With Paper-flags a floating cradle weaves,
And hides the smiling boy in Lotus-leaves;
Gives her white bosom to his eager lips,
430 The salt tears mingling with the milk he sips;
Waits on the reed-crown'd brink with pious guile,
And trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.--
--Erewhile majestic from his lone abode,
Embassador of Heaven, the Prophet trod;
435 Wrench'd the red Scourge from proud Oppression's hands,
And broke, curst Slavery! thy iron bands.
Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry,
Which shook the waves and rent the sky!--
E'en now, e'en now, on yonder Western shores
440 Weeps pale Despair, and writhing Anguish roars:
E'en now in Afric's groves with hideous yell
Fierce SLAVERY stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;
From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound,
And sable nations tremble at the sound!--
445 --YE BANDS OF SENATORS! whose suffrage sways
Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys;
Who right the injured, and reward the brave,
Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!
Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,
450 Inexorable CONSCIENCE holds his court;
With still small voice the plots of Guilt alarms,
Bares his mask'd brow, his lifted hand disarms;
But, wrapp'd in night with terrors all his own,
He speaks in thunder, when the deed is done.
455 Hear him ye Senates! hear this truth sublime,
"HE, WHO ALLOWS OPPRESSION, SHARES THE CRIME."
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears,
No gem, that twinkling hangs from Beauty's ears,
Not the bright stars, which Night's blue arch adorn,
460 Nor rising suns that gild the vernal morn,
Shine with such lustre as the tear, that breaks
For other's woe down Virtue's manly cheeks."
Here ceased the MUSE, and dropp'd her tuneful shell,
Tumultuous woes her panting bosom swell,
465 O'er her flush'd cheek her gauzy veil she throws,
Folds her white arms, and bends her laurel'd brows;
For human guilt awhile the Goddess sighs,
And human sorrows dim celestial eyes.
Bookseller. Poetry has been called a sister-art both to Painting and to Music; I wish to know, what are the particulars of their relationship?
Poet. It has been already observed, that the principal part of the language of poetry consists of those words, which are expressive of the ideas, which we originally receive by the organ of sight; and in this it nearly indeed resembles painting; which can express itself in no other way, but by exciting the ideas or sensations belonging to the sense of vision. But besides this essential similitude in the language of the poetic pen and pencil, these two sisters resemble each other, if I may so say, in many of their habits and manners. The painter, to produce a strong effect, makes a few parts of his picture large, distinct, and luminous, and keeps the remainder in shadow, or even beneath its natural size and colour, to give eminence to the principal figure. This is similar to the common manner of poetic composition, where the subordinate characters are kept down, to elevate and give consequence to the hero or heroine of the piece.
In the south aile of the cathedral church at Lichfield, there is an antient monument of a recumbent figure; the head and neck of which lie on a roll of matting in a kind of niche or cavern in the wall; and about five feet distant horizontally in another opening or cavern in the wall are seen the feet and ankles, with some folds of garment, lying also on a matt; and though the intermediate space is a solid stone-wall, yet the imagination supplies the deficiency, and the whole figure seems to exist before our eyes. Does not this resemble one of the arts both of the painter and the poet? The former often shows a muscular arm amidst a group of figures, or an impassioned face; and, hiding the remainder of the body behind other objects, leaves the imagination to compleat it. The latter, describing a single feature or attitude in picturesque words, produces before the mind an image of the whole.
I remember seeing a print, in which was represented a shrivelled hand stretched through an iron grate, in the stone floor of a prison-yard, to reach at a mess of porrage, which affected me with more horrid ideas of the distress of the prisoner in the dungeon below, than could have been perhaps produced by an exhibition of the whole person. And in the following beautiful scenery from the Midsummer-night's dream, (in which I have taken the liberty to alter the place of a comma), the description of the swimming step and prominent belly bring the whole figure before our eyes with the distinctness of reality.
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she with pretty and with swimming gate,
Following her womb, (then rich with my young squire),
Would imitate, and sail upon the land.
There is a third sister-feature, which belongs both to the pictorial and poetic art; and that is the making sentiments and passions visible, as it were, to the spectator; this is done in both arts by describing or portraying the effects or changes which those sentiments or passions produce upon the body. At the end of the unaltered play of Lear, there is a beautiful example of poetic painting; the old King is introduced as dying from grief for the loss of Cordelia; at this crisis, Shakespear, conceiving the robe of the king to be held together by a clasp, represents him as only saying to an attendant courtier in a faint voice, "Pray, Sir, undo this button,--thank you, Sir," and dies. Thus by the art of the poet, the oppression at the bosom of the dying King is made visible, not described in words.
B. What are the features, in which these Sister-arts do not resemble each other?
P. The ingenious Bishop Berkeley, in his Treatise on Vision, a work of great ability, has evinced, that the colours, which we see, are only a language suggesting to our minds the ideas of solidity and extension, which we had before received by the sense of touch. Thus when we view the trunk of a tree, our eye can only acquaint us with the colours or shades; and from the previous experience of the sense of touch, these suggest to us the cylindrical form, with the prominent or depressed wrinkles on it. From hence it appears, that there is the strictest analogy between colours and sounds; as they are both but languages, which do not represent their correspondent ideas, but only suggest them to the mind from the habits or associations of previous experience. It is therefore reasonable to conclude, that the more artificial arrangements of these two languages by the poet and the painter bear a similar analogy.
But in one circumstance the Pen and the Pencil differ widely from each other, and that is the quantity of Time which they can include in their respective representations. The former can unravel a long series of events, which may constitute the history of days or years; while the latter can exhibit only the actions of a moment. The Poet is happier in describing successive scenes; the Painter in representing stationary ones: both have their advantages.
Where the passions are introduced, as the Poet, on one hand, has the power gradually to prepare the mind of his reader by previous climacteric circumstances; the Painter, on the other hand, can throw stronger illumination and distinctness on the principal moment or catastrophe of the action; besides the advantage he has in using an universal language, which can be read in an instant of time. Thus where a great number of figures are all seen together, supporting or contrasting each other, and contributing to explain or aggrandize the principal effect, we view a picture with agreeable surprize, and contemplate it with unceasing admiration. In the representation of the sacrifice of Jephtha's Daughter, a print done from a painting of Ant. Coypel, at one glance of the eye we read all the interesting passages of the last act of a well-written tragedy; so much poetry is there condensed into a moment of time.
B. Will you now oblige me with an account of the relationship between Poetry, and her other sister, Music? P. In the poetry of our language I don't think we are to look for any thing analogous to the notes of the gamut; for, except perhaps in a few exclamations or interrogations, we are at liberty to raise or sink our voice an octave or two at pleasure, without altering the sense of the words. Hence, if either poetry or prose be read in melodious tones of voice, as is done in recitativo, or in chaunting, it must depend on the speaker, not on the writer: for though words may be selected which are less harsh than others, that is, which have fewer sudden stops or abrupt consonants amongst the vowels, or with fewer sibilant letters, yet this does not constitute melody, which consists of agreeable successions of notes referrable to the gamut; or harmony, which consists of agreeable combinations of them. If the Chinese language has many words of similar articulation, which yet signify different ideas, when spoken in a higher or lower musical note, as some travellers affirm, it must be capable of much finer effect, in respect to the audible part of poetry, than any language we are acquainted with.
There is however another affinity, in which poetry and music more nearly resemble each other than has generally been understood, and that is in their measure or time. There are but two kinds of time acknowledged in modern music, which are called triple time, and common time. The former of these is divided by bars, each bar containing three crotchets, or a proportional number of their subdivisions into quavers and semiquavers. This kind of time is analogous to the measure of our heroic or iambic verse. Thus the two following couplets are each of them divided into five bars of triple time, each bar consisting of two crotchets and two quavers; nor can they be divided into bars analogous to common time without the bars interfering with some of the crotchets, so as to divide them.
3 Soft-warbling beaks ¦ in each bright blos ¦ som move,
4 And vo ¦ cal rosebuds thrill ¦ the enchanted grove, ¦
In these lines there is a quaver and a crochet alternately in every bar, except in the last, in which the in make two semiquavers; the e is supposed by Grammarians to be cut off, which any one's ear will readily determine not to be true.
3 Life buds or breathes ¦ from Indus to ¦ the poles,
4 And the ¦ vast surface kind ¦ les, as it rolls. ¦
In these lines there is a quaver and a crotchet alternately in the first bar; a quaver, two crotchets, and a quaver, make the second bar. In the third bar there is a quaver, a crotchet, and a rest after the crotchet, that is, after the word poles, and two quavers begin the next line. The fourth bar consists of quavers and crotchets alternately. In the last bar there is a quaver, and a rest after it, viz. after the word kindles; and then two quavers and a crotchet. You will clearly perceive the truth of this, if you prick the musical characters above mentioned under the verses.
The common time of musicians is divided into bars, each of which contains four crotchets, or a proportional number of t