LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
|Vol. XVII. No. 494.
||SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 1831.
EXETER HALL, STRAND.
We rejoice to see the site of Burleigh House partly occupied by the above Building. Its object is to afford accommodation for the meetings of Philanthropic Societies—so that whatever may be the olden celebrity of the spot, it is reasonable to expect that its present appropriation will be associated with the most grateful recollections.
This building is, perhaps, the most perfect erection of its kind in England. The approach from the Strand is remarkably modest: it is by a very narrow, though very chaste, door-way, situated between two Corinthian columns and pilasters. Within the door is a hall, with two flights of steps, which afterwards unite, and lead up to the entrance of the great hall itself; the hall below leads into a broad passage, which extends to the farther extremity of the building, opening right and left into various offices. On entering the door of the great hall, a vast and splendid room is presented to view, with scarcely a single interruption to the eye throughout its whole extent, capable of containing, with comfort, more than 3,000 persons. The floor is covered with substantial oak seats, equal to the accommodation of 2,500 persons. The greater portion of these are situated on a gentle rise, to permit a perfect view of the platform on which the proceedings take place. The platform is raised about six feet from the floor, and extends the whole breadth of the room, curving inwards, the extremities bending towards the audience: it contains seats for nearly 300 individuals. Behind this gallery again, are very capacious recesses, which will hold from three to four hundred persons. The lower part of the walls of the room is quite plain, the architect, probably, regarding the audience as a sufficient ornament in that quarter, though the rising of the seats would obscure carved-work if it were there. The windows are at a considerable height from the ground, and are of dimmed glass, with a chaste and classical border. The ceiling, which is at a noble height, is beautifully laid out in squares, with borderings and rosettes. An oblong opening occurs in the centre, with massive beams stretching across, presenting to view an erection in the roof, a form of construction, probably, necessary to so immense a mass of roofing, and serving also for the purposes of ventilation, as it contains windows at each end. There are four pillars near the end of the hall, rising to the ceiling, the capitals of which, as also those of some pilasters at the upper extremity of the hall, are exquisitely carved in straw-coloured marble. Behind the platform are numerous and convenient committee-rooms. The word "Philadelpheion," which may be rendered "loving brothers," is carved in Greek capitals over the entrance in the Strand.1
Exeter Hall has been erected by subscription, by a public company established for the purpose.
WILLS OF SHAKSPEARE, MILTON AND BUONAPARTE.
(To the Editor.)
The last wills and testaments of the three greatest men of modern ages are tied up in one sheet of foolscap, and may be seen together at Doctors Commons. In the will of the "Bard of Avon" is an interlineation in his own handwriting—"I give unto my wife my brown best bed, with the furniture." It is proved by William Byrde, 22nd July, 1616.
The will of the Minstrel of Paradise is a nuncupative one taken by his daughter, the great poet being blind.
The will of Napoleon, to whom future ages, in spite of legitimacy, will confirm the epithet "le grand," is signed in a bold style of handwriting; the codicil, on the contrary, written shortly before his death, exhibits the then weak state of his body.
(For the Mirror.)
The earth displayed its robe of gorgeous hues,
And o'er the tufted violets softly stole
The downy pinions of the fragrant wind,
Which tuned the brook with music; there were clouds
O'er the blue heaven dispersed in various shapes,
And touch'd with most impassive light, whereon
The heart might dwell and dream of future bliss;
And as the sound of distant bells awaked
The echoes of the woods, they raised the thoughts
To worlds more bright and beautiful than ours!
The spring has waved her sunny wing
Upon the verdant earth,
And winds from distant, places bring
The festal tones of mirth;
The sky appears an azure field,
With clouds emblazoned like a shield.
A golden light has touched the woods,
And o'er the silent dell
A languid breathless quiet broods,
Scarce broken by the swell
Of streams that whisper through the air,
As if they were awaked to pray'r.
Survey the lovely scene around,
The river beams in gold,
Its rippling waves with song resound,
And rainbow light unfold,
And as the flow'rs unclose their eyes,
Their hue seems coloured by the skies.
The mould'ring church on yonder slope,
Perchance by heaven designed
To consecrate the heart with hope,
In ivy-wreaths is shrined:
Its rural tombs are green with age,
And types of earthly pilgrimage.
On this delightful vernal day,
In scenes so rich and fair,
The spirit feels a hallow'd ray
Kindling its essence there;
And Fancy haunts the mourner's urn,
"With thoughts that breathe, and words that burn."
(For the Mirror.)
All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity.—JOHNSON.
In a former number I gave some observations on apparitions, and I shall here continue my remarks.
The argument that was used by Dr. Johnson was founded on premises that are as inadmissible as his conclusion, viz. that the popular opinion in favour of the reality of apparitions could only obtain universal credence by its truth. This is very plausible, but destitute of foundation. Does the learned doctor mean to deny the universality of errors? does he mean to call the whole body of the learned and enlightened cavillers? and that because they are not willing to consent to his monstrous opinion? To reverse the argument, does he mean to deny the truth of the Scriptures, or is he bold enough to assert that they have received universal credence? So much for the arguments wielded by Dr. Johnson, who has not been unaptly termed the Colossus of Literature. The idea that departed spirits revisited the earth, probably took its rise from the opinion of