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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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are large and prominent, glistened with the lustre of the pearl, or rather of the emerald, whose luminous transparency they seemed to emulate. The pupil is a fine black, and above each eye is a semilunar mark of the richest garnet. The body, nearly transparent, or of a pellucid green, is glossed with all the variety of prismatic tints, and thickly dotted with brown. At almost every effort of respiration, the little creature tossed its arms in apparent agony, and clung more firmly to the finger; while the dark-brown spots upon the body alternately faded and revived, diminishing in size till they were scarcely perceptible, and then appearing again as large as peas, crowding, and becoming confluent nearly all over the body. At length, the animal being detained too long from its native element, became enfeebled, the colours faded, the spots decreased in size, and all its pristine beauty vanished with the last gasp of life."

W.G.C.


THE OSTRICH.

The Ostriches in the Gardens of the Zoological Society would be truly a noble pair, were it not for an unnatural curve in the neck of the male, in consequence, it is said, of its having formerly swallowed something more than usually bulky and hard of digestion.


MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.

Russian Burial Ground

RUSSIAN BURIAL GROUND.

Mr. James's popular Journal of a Tour in Russia, &c., has supplied the above illustration of honours paid to the dead in that country. The Cut represents one of the Cemeteries of the government of Tchernigoff. Mr. James describes it as planted around with trees, and studded thick with wooden crosses, oratories, and other permanent marks of reverence. The general appearance of piety with which these grounds are kept up, their sequestered situation apart from any town, the profound veneration with which they are saluted by the natives, added to the dark and sepulchral shade of the groves, lend them an interest with which the tinsel ornaments of more gorgeous cemeteries can in no degree compare.


ANCESTORS.

Some nations pay particular attention to the memory of their ancestors. The Quojas, a people of Africa, offer sacrifices of rice and wine to their ancestors, before they undertake any considerable action; and the anniversaries of their death are always kept by their families with great solemnity; the king invokes the souls of his father and mother to make trade flourish and the chase succeed. But the Chinese have distinguished themselves above all other nations, by the veneration in which they hold their ancestors. Part of the duty, according to the laws of Confucius, which children owe their parents, consists in worshipping them when dead. They have a solemn and an ordinary worship for this purpose, the former of which is held twice a year with great pomp, and is described as follows by an eye witness:—The sacrifices were made in a chapel, well adorned, where there were six altars, furnished with censers, tapers, and flowers. There were three ministers, and behind them two young acolites: he that officiated was an aged man, and a new Christian. The three former went with a profound silence, and made frequent genuflexions towards the five altars, pouring out wine; afterwards they drew near to the sixth, and when they came to the foot of the altar, half bowed down, they said their prayers with a low voice. That being finished, the three ministers went to the altar; the priest took up a vessel full of wine, and drank; then he lifted up the head of a deer, or goat; after which, taking fire from the altar, they lighted a bit of paper, and the minister of ceremonies turning towards the people, said, with a high voice, that he gave them thanks in the name of their ancestors, for having so well honoured them; and in recompense he promised them, on their part, a plentiful harvest, a fruitful issue, good health and long life, and all those advantages which are most pleasing to men.

The Chinese have also in their houses a niche, or hollow place, in which they put the names of their deceased fathers, to which they make prayers and offerings of perfumes and spices at certain periods.

A.V.


THE SELECTOR;
AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.


HISTORY OF POLAND.

This volume, a goodly octavo, will be peculiarly acceptable at the present season. It presents a lucid view of Polish history, from the earliest period to the present eventful moment; and, as a passage of immediate interest, we quote the following character of the President of the National Government of Poland:

This illustrious personage, Prince Adam Czartoryski, is the eldest son of the late prince of the same house, and is descended from the family of Jagellon, the ancient sovereigns of Lithuania. His father was long known, not only as a nobleman of the first rank in Poland, but as one of the most accomplished scholars in Europe. Such was his reputation, that at the period of the last vacancy in the throne of Poland, Poniatowski (afterwards king) was deputed by the diet to propitiate the Empress Catherine, to second the election of Czartoryski; but the deputy's handsome form found such favour in the licentious eyes of the modern Messalina, that he ceased to urge the suit of the diet, and returned the avowed nominee of his imperial mistress. Prince Czartoryski's claims on the throne, popularity, and consequent influence, rendered him odious to the court of St. Petersburg, and when the last act of spoliation was perpetrated, his lands were ravaged, his beautiful Castle of Pulawy destroyed, and a sentence of extermination pronounced against him, unless he would consent to send his two sons, one the subject of this notice, and the other Prince Constantino Czartoryski, as hostages to St. Petersburg. To avoid this wretched alternative, the prince and his princess, who still survive, consented to the separation, and the two young noblemen, were placed under the eye of those who were deemed worthy, by the Autocrat, of reforming their principles. The talents displayed by both brothers soon obtained for them the admiration of the court; and as it was of great importance to gain them over, every mark of imperial favour was heaped upon them by the Emperor Alexander, with whom, from infancy, they had established terms of the utmost familiarity. The elder brother held for a long time the portfolio of the Foreign Office, and, in his official capacity, accompanied his imperial master to the scenes of some of his most serious disasters. During Napoleon's invasion, Prince Constantino was in Poland, and confiding in the integrity of the then master of the destinies of Europe, and breathing naught but freedom for his country, he joined the banners of the invader, and raised a regiment at his own expense to aid in the cause of liberation. At Smolensk he received a severe wound, from the effects of which he has never yet recovered. He resides at Vienna.

The influence of Prince Adam Czartoryski proved to be singularly useful to Poland after the downfall of Napoleon. He interposed, and interposed successfully, between the anger of Alexander and his suffering country; and, on the establishment of the kingdom of Poland, was appointed the curator of all the universities, both there and in the incorporated provinces. These duties he sedulously discharged, until he was superseded by the notorious Count Novozilzoff. From this period he has lived in retirement, faithfully performing all the duties of private life. The promotion of agriculture, science in all its branches, and kindly offices among mankind, constituted his occupations until recent events drew him from his privacy. The first call was made by the Russian functionaries, as stated in the text, for the purpose of self-protection! the second was that of his devoted country, when a government was essential to success. He was chosen not only one of the five members of the executive body, but its president, a station which he still honourably fills. Into his new office he has carried all the unostentatious and disinterested virtues that adorned Pulawy, and there is little doubt that if (and no one suspects that such will not be the case) the independence of Poland be fairly won, the choice of his country will point to him as its sovereign. Having finished his academical career at the University of Edinburgh, he early acquired a strong taste for English institutions and for Englishmen, and of this he gave substantial proof by devoting 250l. a-year to the exclusive purchase of English books. His revenues are enormous; but his liberality is unbounded; and, as it is a rule in his munificent establishment to provide liberally for the families of all his dependants, his means are comparatively restricted, but his personal wants are few; and that he is ready to accommodate himself to circumstances, was well shown by his only observation on hearing of the confiscation of his large property in Podolia by Nicholas. "Instead of riding, I must walk, and instead of sumptuous fare, I must dine on buck-wheat."3 Such is a faint outline of this illustrious man's character. Were it only for the admirable example of such an individual guiding the reigns of the government of a devoted people, it is most ardently to be hoped that Poland may triumph over her enemies, and be raised to that rank from which she was degraded only by the basest of treasons.—Fletcher's History of Poland.

As the pronunciation of the Polish language is attended with some difficulty, the author of this work has, in his advertisement, subjoined the following hints, taken principally from the "Letters Literary and Political on Poland, Edinburgh, 1823."

All vowels are sounded as in French and Italian; and there are no diphthongs, every vowel being pronounced distinctly. The consonants are the same as in English, except

w, which is sounded like v, at the beginning of a word; thus, Warsawa—Varsafa; in the middle or at the end of a word it has the sound of f, as in the instance already cited; and Narew—Nareff.

c, like tz, and never like k; thus, Pac is sounded Patz.

g, like g in Gibbon; thus, Oginski.

ch, like the Greek [Greek: ch] or k; thus, Lech—Lek.

cz, like the English tch in pitch;—thus, Czartoryski pronounce Tchartoryski.

sz, like sh in shape; thus, Staszyc like Stashytz.

szcz, like shtch; thus, Szczerbiec like Shtcherbietz.

rz, like j in je, with a slight sound of r; thus, Rzewuski—Rjevuski.


WHITE'S BAMPTON LECTURES.

Dr. Dibdin has prefixed the subsequent Note to one of these Lectures (Character of Christ compared with that of Mahomet), which he has reprinted in vol. iii. of the Sunday Library:—

"Of all the sermons preached in this, or in any other country, THESE are perhaps the most celebrated; or, if this observation require qualification, the only exception may be in favour of those of the Petit Carême of MASILLON. For three successive terms, the church of St. Mary's, at Oxford, was crowded with an auditory breathless in admiration of the splendour of diction and vividness of imagery manifested in these discourses. The subject treated of—'A Comparison of Mahometanism and Christianity in their History, their Evidences, and their Effects'—was new and striking in the pulpit of the University Church. A great deal of highly wrought expectation, from more than a whisper spread abroad of the sources whence the chief materials had been derived, preceded their publicity; and the preacher, although by no means remarkable for elegance of manner, or ductility and melody of voice, applied his whole energies to the task of giving power and effect to his delivery. He succeeded, greatly beyond his own expectations; and the University rung with his praises. The fame which ensued was merited; for the public, till then satisfied with the tame polish and cold invective of BLAIR, became delighted by the union of such harmony of language, skilfulness of argument, and singularity of research, as were blended in these lectures. Yet it may be questioned, not only whether a display of similar talent would now receive the like applause, but whether many subsequent courses of Bampton lectures have not rendered a more essential service to Christianity.

"But, extraordinary as was the result of the preaching of these Bampton lectures, perhaps a more extraordinary history belongs to their composition; and posterity will learn, with wonder, and perhaps with mingled pity and contempt, that the measures resorted to by the Laudian Professor of Arabic, in order to impose upon his best friend and most able coadjutor, DR. PARR, form such a tissue of petty artifice and intrigue as scarcely to be believed. The whole plot, however, is minutely and masterly developed in Dr. Johnstone's Life of Dr. Parr, vol. i. p. 216-281, to which I refer the curious reader for some very singular particulars. The facts, as there delineated, are simply these:—A secret correspondence was carried on between Professor White and Mr. Badcock, a dissenting minister of Devonshire, who furnished the greater part of the materials of these lectures; which materials, copied out by Professor White, with a few emendations and additions, were sent to Dr. Parr as the exclusive composition of the Professor. Several of the lectures are wholly Badcock's, by the express admission of Dr. White; and the undeniable evidence of a douceur of 500l. from the Professor to Mr. Badcock, is a sufficiently solid proof of the value in which the former held the labours of the latter. There could be no violation of any great moral feeling in the transaction thus simply considered; for the labourer was worthy of his hire; but the evasive subtleties and shuffling subterfuges by which the literary intercourse was stubbornly denied, and attempted to be set aside, by Professor White, is matter of perfect astonishment! In the mean while, Dr. Parr steadily continued his critical labours, believing that the Professor sought no aid but his own. He revised, added, and polished at his entire discretion; and while it is allowed that one-fifth at least, of these lectures are the work of his learned hand, he undoubtedly gave to the whole its last and most effectual polish. The history which belongs to his discovery of the collateral aid of Badcock, is curious and amusing; but can have no place here. It does great credit to the head and heart of Dr. Parr. Thus the reader will observe that no small interest is attached to the volume from which the ensuing extracts are made: a volume, full, doubtless, of extensive and learned research, and exhibiting a style remarkable alike for its consummate art and harmonious copiousness."


WEALTH OF HENRY VII.

The hoard amassed by Henry, and "most of it under his own key and keeping, in secret places at Richmond," is said to have

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