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gentlemen, who yet shewed him all possible esteem and respect?" he answered, "I can hardly name a polite family, where the conversation ever turns upon the things of God. I hear much frothy and worldly chitchat, but not a word of Christ; and I am determined not to visit those companies, where there is not room for my Master, as well as for myself." —An excellent hint.
Answer to a Query, on the Division of the Earth in the Days of Peleg.
Mr. Editor. Sir,—In answer to Query No. 10, col. 865, respecting the Division of the Earth, I would recommend E. W. to read the 6th chap, book 1, of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, where he can obtain the information required.
On referring to Josephus, E. W. will find, that the Division of the Earth, mentioned Gen. x. 25, does not refer to any violent convulsion of nature, through which the surface of the globe was broken into islands and continents, as some have imagined, but to a simple division of territory among the descendants of Noah, as their families began to multiply. This was the first postdiluvian division that ever took place, and it became worthy of being thus recorded, as it laid the foundation of the first nations that ever appeared in the world.
TO PROCURE GAS.
By pursuing the following plan, it is said, light from gas may be obtained, sufficient for the use of a family, at a very trilling expense:
An old tea-kettle, half filled with coals, and placed on the fire, so that the bottom may be always in contact with red coal, will distil gas enough to burn for three or four hours, at the end of a tin tube, four feet long, and half an inch diameter, extended from the mouth of the kettle to the table, and having a small degree of curvation at tho burning end.
The great obstacle to the introduction of this kind of domestic light is, the expense and balk of the apparatusnecessary to purify the gas. This, however, may be got over, by fining it in the dry way, which is this:—fill a vessel, of any form whatever, with tow that has been oiled or greased, and free from water: the vessel should be air-tight. Insert the tube from the mouth of the kettle into the bottom of the vessel, and about an inch high on the inside. Put a tube in the top of the same vessel, to permit the escape of the gas, extending it to whatever part of the chamber the gas is to be burned. It will be purified by this process, without going through water; it will be literally wiped by the tow, and burn with almost as little smoke as any that is purified in the wet way.
Circumstances will dictate improvements—a receptacle must be provided for the tar that the tow collects, which may be done by enlarging the tow vessel at bottom. The vessel, if four feet long, and two inches square, may be made ornamental, and hung over the mantle piece every night. The same tow always answers by only squeezing it, which may be necessary not more than once a month.
A cast-iron glue pot, to which a tin cover is to be fitted, having a hole, with a small tube, projecting, is the best and simplest retort to be met with. The apparatus once bought, is never attended with additional expense, so that light may be said to cost a family comparatively nothing, that is obtained by this simple contrivance.
OBSERVATIONS ON LORD BYRON AND WORDSWORTH.
Mr. Editor. Sir,—Having read with considerable pleasure, the two papers that have appeared in your Magazine, on Lord Byron and Mr. Wordsworth, and thinking that any observations relating to these great men, will probably be perused with interest by the majority of your readers, I venture to offer a few remarks on the subject, which I hope will be free from those angry feelings, which appear to have dictated the letter of your correspondent, "Aristarchus."
A French writer has observed, in some introductory observations to a translation of Lord Byron's Poems into that language, "That one reads with interest these strange compositions, sparkling with beauties, the author of which derives a noble inspiration from the wanderings of a melancholy and disordered imagination, disdainful of every species of restraint. —He is deficient in the judgment which would enable him to conceive and arrange a plan. He rarely evinces that deep sensibility, which evidently comes from the heart, and certainly reaches to it. A sombre misanthropy dominates over his imagination; yet a cold contempt for mankind—for life— for all terrestrial things—and a satiety which extends to all objects, do not prevent him from giving utterance^ to grand and beautiful thoughts, which escape, as if by fits and starts, from the gloom in which his mind seems enveloped. The perusal of his poems, though seductive, has no great influence on the heart. No one can find himself better or happier, in consequence of his communication with the works of this distinguished English nobleman." If these remarks be founded on a sober and rational investigation of those qualities that strike us on the perusal of his works, as I think they are, the "rapid sale" of them, and their "enormous price," will be sufficiently accounted for, on the ground of their "seductive influence on the heart." This, at the same time, is but a sorry compliment to the public taste, which is now, according to those who are eminently qualified to pronounce an opinion, in a vitiated state, owing, as much as any thing, to Lord Byron's works.—And what can be said of that Poetry that merely captivates the heart—that makes us neither " better" nor " happier?" What benefit can possibly be received from it, beyond that of passing a few idle hours in its perusal, it not being calculated, either to "reform the manners," or "correct the life." It may do very well for those who never care how their days pass away,—who look not farther than present gratification; —but for those who value time,—who think of the benefit they ought to experience by the perusal of any work, his Poems will be scarcely read, except in the dearth of others better fitted to answer the end we ought to have in
view, in employing our time in this manner,—present gratification, and future usefulness and improvement.
That Lord Byron is a man of a most exalted genius, few persons, I think, will venture to deny;— but that_ that genius is brought into action in a manner unworthy of its possessor, is a sad and solemn fact; sad, because of the effect it has on the morals of the country; and solemn, on account of the relation which it bears to his own individual person, so far as connected with the misapplied talents which he is in possession of, and for which, let him remember, he will have to render an account at the great day. But here, be it recollected, the noble Poet coincides with those persons, who think an hereafter a phantom of man's own creation. In one of his Poems, I do not now remember which, he says, death
Is the first dark day of nothingness,
Thus placing immortal man on a level with the beasts of the field, or the painted butterfly, who lives a day or two, spreads its wings to the sun, propagates its species, and mingles with "the clods of the valley." And then I would mention the immorality and licentiousness that are to be found in nearly all his writings;—where is the parent, who feels as a parent ought to feel, that can put his works, (say his last, Don Juan) into his library, and leave it open, for the perusal of his sons and daughters. A writer in a respectable monthly journal, at the conclusion of some remarks on Lord Byron, justly observes: "That when there is danger that some of the pernicious doctrines of this our froward favourite might have a corrupting influence on public opinion, it has been known how to inflict on them the correction they merited; and Lord Byron has received equally clear and convincing proofs of how much he can do with the people of England—and how little."
It may be known to you, what innumerable instances can be pointed out, of direct and wilful plagiarisms which Lord Byron has practised upon Poets, who are considered by many persons, and no doubt by himself, as beneath him. The Literary Gazette has laudably devoted several of its columns to this purpose, and those who read, whether friend or foe, cannot fail ol being struck with the marks of baseness that characterize the manner in which he has " traduced" those Poets, as Poets, and then stolen from their works, without the least acknowledgment. The Literary Gazette says, "It is an extraordinary fact, but no less strange than true, that there is scarcely a Poet, of any reputation, whom Lord Byron has found occasion to satirize (whether in his "English Bards" or "Don Juan") that he has not also taken occasion to plunder. Stale Scott—ballad-monger Southey— simple Wordsworth—drowthy Campbell—lewd Moore—raving Montgomery—turgid Coleridge—and even sonnetteering Bowles,* have furnished him with very many of the most popular passages in his writings; this is no vague and idle assertion, but a serious and incontrovertible charge, clearly established, by the adduction of the proofs upon which it is founded. Not content with an occasional brick from the poetical edifices of Messieurs Scott and Southey, (whom he has alternately complimented and abused,) his Lordship has sometimes carried away huge fragments of the building, cement and all, pillars and cornices; and, on one or two occasions, an entire wing; this sort of freemasonry is inconsistent with that generous indignation which the noble artificer has indulged, upon the imputed depredations of Lord Elgin, at Athens. It is one of the innumerable instances in which Lord Byron's theory differs essentially from his practice." And then they go on to establish their assertions, by pointing out plagiarisms as direct and pointed as possibly can be seen; to which I must refer your readers. This very circumstance will be sufficient to sink his Lordship in the estimation of those who have a regard to "originality of genius," and who do not wish to see one Poet borrowing from another, and endeavouring, at the same time, to lessen that Poet in the estimation of the public, by whose labours he is raising himself, with all the impudence and shamelessness that ever fell to the lot of one individual to possess.
981 Observations on Lord Byron and Wordsworth. 982
It is not so with Wordsworth ; there is nothing in his writings that can offend the most delicate ear, nothing that can corrupt the heart: they may
be perused with interest and profit by old and young, religious and profane. The father need not hide them from his daughter's eye, for there is every thing to be admired, and nothing to be dreaded, in their perusal: neither can there be adduced against him a charge, however remote, of plagiarism. His scenes from nature are as truly, as happily pourtrayed and exemplified, as ever any Poet's were; and with them there is mixed an inward something, that speaks the gratitude of his heart, and leads his readers to look "from nature, up to nature's God," and admire the goodness of Him, who "rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm." There is scarcely a single scene he has not described, at one time or other, so closely does he follow the object of his ardent love; it may well be said of him, that he "finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing." That Lord Byron, in some few parts of his works, displays greater powers than Wordsworth, I readily admit; but, at the same time, I assert, that in Wordsworth there is a longer continuance of those beauties than in Byron. The beautiful passages in Byron are like the northern lights, not often seen, but when seen, the more admired for the grandeur of the light; while Wordsworth's are like the starry firmament, present to our view, "soon as the evening shades prevail," a number not to be easily enumerated; these shed a steady, unvaried light, while the others blaze for a while only to leave us in a greater darkness! I very well know that Wordsworth's works are comparatively little known to the public, but I likewise know that the beauties that have lain so long hid, are now rapidly displaying themselves; and it only remains for time to decide, whether at no distant period he will not be as generally read, and as greatly admired, as the noble favourite of " Aristarchus."
I will not occupy your columns with many extracts from this Poet, when the works themselves can so easily be procured; but I cannot resist the temptation of asking "Aristarchus," how far the following lines merit the appellation of " childish rhymes," and other similar epithets, which he has so liberally applied to the writings of this author:
*4 As, eu a sunny bank, a tender lamb,
Let me likewise refer him to the conclusion of the Poem, called the "Cumberland Beggar," and there he will see whether the writer of it does not display a head and heart worthy of the patronage of the people of England, in this enlightened age.
"Then let him pass,—a blessing on bis head!
I conclude these remarks, by quoting two stanzas from Bernard Barton's Address to Wordsworth, in which I most cordially agree:
"Continue still to cultivate
In thy sequester'd solitude,
Thy rocky vales, and mountains bare,
Observations On Light. Mr. Editor.
Sir,—-the following paper on the subject of Light, was read in the month
of January last, before a Philosophical Society, now existing in one of the principal towns in the kingdom. As it was read at one of those sittings of the Society, at which strangers are present, both the matter and style of it are easy and popular. If you think it will meet the taste of your numerous readers, it is humbly at your service. Amicus Scientia
Philosophy, next to religion, is the distinguished honour and happiness of mankind. The researches and investigations of philosophy, are an employment worthy of the human mind; worthy of its noblest grasp, and acutest penetration. It is philosophy, especially as refined, and improved, and elevated by the discoveries of modern science, which forms the great boast and ornament of society, the zest, and charm, and elegance of the most rational intercourse and conversation. If there be a person who has no taste at all for philosophic inquiry, I should say of that person, that he is come into the world oat of due time; that he has mistaken his stars; and that the planetary conjunction, to which he belongs, occurred some centuries ago.
In the whole circle of science, perhaps there is not a subject more deserving of inquiry, than that of Light; and perhaps I may add, that there are few subjects, whose investigation is so calculated to interest and please. The information I wish to communicate on this subject, professes to be rather comprehensive and general, than abstruse and scientific; rather adapted to a popular assembly, than to lead on the researches of the experienced philosopher.
Men of science have been greatlr divided, as to the nature of Light; the substance by which objects are rendered visible unto us. The two prevailing opinions may be denominated the Cartesian and Newtonian. According to the former of these, light is an extremely rare, and subtil, and elastic fluid, pervading all nature, all the space in the planetary system, and the mighty range of the fixed stars. According to this hypothesis, when vision is produced, i. e. when we see, this elastic fluid is put in motion, bj the action of some luminous body, and its undulating impulses, falling up*"1
the retina, the nerve expanded on the hack part of the eye to receive those impulses, the sensation of light is the result. That sound, however harmonious, or however terrible, is nothing more than undulations of the air, acting upon the ear, is a fact well known; and of this experimental analogy, the Cartesian philosophers have availed themselves to very great advantage.
The Newtonian theory, however, is that which most obtains in the scientific world; and is said to be that which more perfectly reconciles itself with the facts, and experiments, and laws, of optics. According to this theory, light consists of particles of matter of inconceivable minuteness, projected from luminous bodies, with a velocity as inconceivable; and vision is produced, when these projected particles strike upon the retina of the eye. It would not comport with the brevity and design of this paper, to enter into the reasonings and experiments by which this theory has been so ably supported; but, from the little I understand of the subject, I think it is evident, that, while the balance of argument appears in favour of the Kewtonian scheme, it must be confessed, that the subtile element of light is as yet but little understood. There are not wanting some very plausible reasons, to support the conjecture, that latent caloric, and the electric fluid, and light, are one and the same substance in different states and modes of operation; a substance diffused to an extent, and possessed of powers, and answering purposes in nature, which even the prying research of modern philosophy has not yet discovered. •
Whether we rank ourselves among the Newtonians, or Cartesians ; whether we suppose vision to be effected by the vibrations of an elastic fluid, or the striking of particles propelled from the luminous, or reflected from the opaque body; we must be equally lost in admiration, of the surprising rarity, and minuteness, and delicacy, of that agent which is employed. It is well known that before an object can become visible to us, a ray, or pencil, or impulse of light, must be transmitted from that object, and act upon the surprisingly delicate and sensitive membrane which is spread out to receive the images of things, situate
No. 33.—Vol. III.
in the deeper chamber of the eye. In an extended landscape, what an immense number and variety of objects enter into the view; hills, valleys, rivers, woods, fields, villages, animals, clouds, &c. Yet light from every one of those objects, is transmitted to, and actually falls upon the retina of the eye: the picture can be shown there; the picture of a landscape, of five or six square leagues, with all the objects which enter into it, discriminated in their magnitudes, positions, figures, colours; such a picture lies delineated on a space a quarter of an inch in diameter! How exquisite the colours! how delicate the pencil! how quick the execution! how matchless the artist employed in the production of such a painting!
The velocity with which light travels, is not less wonderful, than the minuteness of its particles. No experiments on the velocity of light, which are confined to objects on the surface of our own globe, can, I believe, give any other result than that its transmission is instantaneous. But astronomers have discovered, that in crossing the regions of the planetary system, light is not instantaneous, but requires time. By observations made upon the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, it appears, that when the earth is in that point of its orbit nearest to Jupiter, those eclipses occur, orrather become visible to us, several minutes sooner than when the earth is in that point of its orbit, the farthest from Jupiter. From this, and similar modes of calculation, it is found, that light proceeds with a velocity amounting to near two hundred thousand miles in one second of time! A cannon ball travelling at the greatest rate any gun could give it, would require twenty-five years to come from the Sun to our globe—a particle of light performs that journey in seven minutes!
In the velocity of light is found a reason for its minuteness, and in its minuteness a reason for its velocity. Were light only as dense as the air, in coming from the Sun it would form a blast, which must sweep the solar system, and carry the planets to a distance, " where thought can't follow, and bold fancy dies." And on the other hand, if, with its present rarity, it were to proceed at no greater rate than the swiftest wind; for aught I know, it would require all the light