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LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
|Vol. 10, No. 262.]||SATURDAY, JULY 7, 1827.||[PRICE 2d.|
HIS MAJESTY’S PONEY PHAETON.
We commence our tenth volume of the MIRROR with an embellishment quite novel in design from the generality of our graphic illustrations, but one which, we flatter ourselves, will excite interest among our friends, especially after so recently, presenting them with a Portrait and Memoir of his Majesty in the Supplement, which last week completed our ninth volume. His Majesty, when residing at his cottage in Windsor Forest, the weather being favourable, seldom allows a day to pass without taking his favourite drive by the Long Walk, and Virginia Water, in his poney phaeton, as represented in the above engraving. Windsor Park being situated on the south side of the town, and 14 miles in circumference, is admirably calculated for the enjoyment of a rural ride. The entrance to the park is by a road called the Long Walk, near three miles in length, through a double plantation of trees on each side, leading to the Ranger’s Lodge: on the north east side of the Castle is the Little Park, about four miles in circumference: Queen Elizabeth’s Walk herein is much frequented. At the entrance of this park is the Queen’s Lodge, a modern erection. This building stands on an easy ascent opposite the upper court, on the south side, and commands a beautiful view of the surrounding country. The gardens are elegant, and have been much enlarged by the addition of the gardens and house of the duke of St. Albans, purchased by his late majesty. The beautiful Cottage Ornée, an engraving of which graces one of our early volumes, is also in the park, and to which place of retirement his present Majesty resorts, and passes much of his time in preference to the bustle and splendour of a royal town life.
Having now given as much description of the engraving as the subject requires, we shall proceed to lay before our readers some further anecdotes connected with the life of his Majesty; for our present purpose, the following interesting article being adapted to our limits, we shall introduce an
Original Letter of his present Majesty, when Prince of Wales, to Alexander Davison, Esq., on the death of Lord Nelson.
I am extremely obliged to you, my dear sir, for your confidential letter, which I received this morning. You may be well assured, that, did it depend upon me, there would not be a wish, a desire of our-ever-to-be-lamented and much-loved friend, as well as adored hero, that I should not consider as a solemn obligation upon his friends and his country to fulfil; it is a duty they owe his memory, and his matchless and unrivalled excellence: such are my sentiments, and I should hope that there is still in this country sufficient honour, virtue, and gratitude to prompt us to ratify and to carry into effect the last dying request of our Nelson, and by that means proving not only to the whole world, but to future ages, that we were worthy of having such a man belonging to us. It must be needless, my dear sir, to discuss over with you in particular the irreparable loss dear Nelson ever must be, not merely to his friends but to his country, especially at the present crisis—and during the present most awful contest, his very name was a host of itself; Nelson and Victory were one and the same to us, and it carried dismay and terror to the hearts of our enemies. But the subject is too painful a one to dwell longer upon; as to myself, all that I can do, either publicly or privately, to testify the reverence, the respect I entertain for his memory as a Hero, and as the greatest public character that ever embellished the page of history, independent of what I can with the greatest truth term, the enthusiastic attachment I felt for him as a friend, I consider it as my duty to fulfil, and therefore, though I may be prevented from taking that ostensible and prominent situation at his funeral which I think my birth and high rank entitled me to claim, still nothing shall prevent me in a private character following his remains to their last resting place; for though the station and the character may be less ostensible, less prominent, yet the feelings of the heart will not therefore be the less poignant, or the less acute.
I am, my dear sir, with the greatest truth,
Ever very sincerely your’s,
Brighton, Dec, 18th, 1805.
BYRON AND OTHER POETS COMPARED.
(For the Mirror.)
There is a natural stimulus in man to offer adoration at the shrine of departed genius.—
“There is a tear for all that die.”
But, when a transcendant genius is checked in its early age—when its spring-shoots had only began to open—when it had just engaged in a new feature devoted to man, and man to it, we cannot rest
“In silent admiration, mixed with grief.”
Too often has splendid genius been suffered to live almost unobserved; and have only been valued as their lives have been lost. Could the divine Milton, or the great Shakspeare, while living, have shared that profound veneration which their after generations have bestowed on their high talents, happier would they have lived, and died more extensively beloved.
True, a Byron has but lately paid a universal debt. His concentrated powers—his breathings for the happiness and liberty of mankind—his splendid intellectual flowers, culled from a mind stored with the choicest exotics, and cultivated with the most refined taste are all still fresh in recollection. As the value of precious stones and metals have become estimated by their scarcity, so will the fame of Byron live.
A mind like Lord Byron’s,
“——born, not only to surprise, but cheer
With warmth and lustre all within its sphere,”
was one of Nature’s brightest gems, whose splendour (even when uncompared) dazzled and attracted all who passed within its sight.
“So let him stand, through ages yet unborn.”
As comparison is a medium through which we are enabled to obtain most accurate judgment, let us use it in the present instance, and compare Lord Byron with the greatest poets that have preceded him, by which means the world of letters will see what they have really lost in Lord Byron. To commence with the great Shakspeare himself, to whom universal admiration continues to be paid. Had Shakspeare been cut off at the same early period as Byron, The Tempest, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, and several others of an equal character, would never have been written. The high reputation of Dryden would also have been limited—his fame, perhaps, unknown. The Absalom and Achitophel is the earliest of his best productions, which was written about his fiftieth year; his principal production, at the age of Byron, was his Annus Mirabilis; for nearly the whole of his dramatic works were written at the latter part of his life. Pope is the like situated; that which displayed most the power of his mind—which claims for him the greatest praise—his Essay on Man, &c. appeared after his fortieth year. Windsor Forest was published in his twenty-second or twenty-third year, both were the labour of some years; and the immortal Milton, who published some few things before his thirtieth year, sent not his great work, Paradise Lost, to the world until he verged on sixty.
With the poets, and the knowledge of what Byron was, we may ask what he would have been had it pleased the Great Author of all things to suffer the summer of his consummate mental powers to shine upon us? Take the works of any of the abovenamed distinguished individuals previous to their thirty-eighth year, and shall we perceive that flexibility of the English language to the extent that Byron has left behind him? His versatility was, indeed, astonishing and triumphant. His Childe Harold, the Bride of Abydos, the Corsair, and Don Juan, (though somewhat too freely written,) are established proofs of his unequalled energy of mind. His power was unlimited; not only eloquent, but the sublime, grave and gay, were all equally familiar to his muse.
Few words are wanted to show that Byron was not depraved at heart; no man possessed a more ready sympathy, a more generous mind to the distressed, or was a more enthusiastic admirer of noble actions. These feelings all strongly delineated in his character, would never admit, as Sir Walter Scott has observed, “an imperfect moral sense, nor feeling, dead to virtue.” Severe as the
“Combined usurpers on the throne of taste”
have been, his character is marked by some of the best principles in many parts of his writings.
“The records there of friendships, held like rocks,
And enmities like sun-touch’d snow resign’d,”
are frequently visible. His glorious attachment to the Grecian cause is a sufficient recompense for previous follies exaggerated and propagated by calumny’s poisonous tongue. In a word, “there is scarce a passion or a situation which has escaped his pen; and he might be drawn, like Garrick, between the weeping and the laughing muses.”
A. B. C.
THE SONG OF THE WIDOWED MOTHER TO HER CHILD.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “AHAB.”
(For the Mirror.)
O Sink to sleep, my darling boy,
Thy father’s dead, thy mother lonely,
Of late thou wert his pride, his joy,
But now thou hast not one to own thee.
The cold wide world before us lies,
But oh! such heartless things live in it,
It makes me weep—then close thine eyes
Tho’ it be but for one short minute.
O sink to sleep, my baby dear,
A little while forget thy sorrow,
The wind is cold, the night is drear,
But drearier it will be to-morrow.
For none will help, tho’ many see
Our wretchedness—then close thine eyes, love,
Oh, most unbless’d on earth is she
Who on another’s aid relies, love.
Thou hear’st me not! thy heart’s asleep
Already, and thy lids are closing,
Then lie thee still, and I will weep
Whilst thou, my dearest, art reposing,
And wish that I could slumber free,
And with thee in yon heaven awaken,
O would that it our home might be,
For here we are by all forsaken.
PAY OF THE JUDGES IN FORMER TIMES.
(For the Mirror.)
In the twenty-third year of the reign of king Henry III., the salary of the justices of the bench (now called the Common Pleas) was 20l. per annum; in the forty-third year, 40l. In the twenty-seventh year, the chief baron had 40 marks; the other barons, 20 marks; and in the forty, ninth year, 4l. per annum. The justices coram rege (now called the King’s Bench) had in the forty-third year of Henry III. 40l. per annum.; the chief of the bench, 100 marks per annum; and next year, another chief of the same court, had 100l.; but the chief of the court coram rege had only 100 marks per annum.
In the reign of Edward I., the salaries of the justices were very uncertain, and, upon the whole, they sunk from what they had been in the reign of Henry III. The chief justice of the bench, in the seventh year of Edward I., had but 40l. per annum, and the other justices there, 40 marks. This continued the proportion in both benches till the twenty-fifth year of Edward III., then the salary of the chief of the King’s Bench fell to 50 marks, or 33l. 6s. 8d., while that of the chief of the bench was augmented to 100 marks, which may be considered as an evidence of the increase of business and attendance there. The chief baron had 40l.; the salaries of the other justices and barons were reduced to 20l.
In the reign of Edward II., the number of suitors so increased in the common bench, that whereas there had usually been only three justices there, that prince, at the beginning of his reign, was constrained to increase them to six, who used to sit in two places,—a circumstance not easy to be accounted for. Within three years after they were increased to seven; next year they were reduced to six, at which number they continued.
The salaries of the judges, though they had continued the same from the time of Edward I. to the twenty-fifth year of Edward III., were become very uncertain. In the twenty-eighth year of this king, it appears, that one of the justices of the King’s Bench had 80 marks per annum. In the thirty-ninth year of Edward III. the judges had in that court 40l.; the same as the justices of the Common Pleas; but the chief of the King’s Bench, 100 marks.
The salaries of the judges in the time of Henry IV. were as follows:—The chief baron, and other barons, had 40 marks per annum; the chief of the King’s Bench, and of the Common Pleas, 40l. per annum; the other justices, in either court, 40 marks. But the gains of the practisers were become so great, that they could hardly be tempted to accept a place on the bench with such low salaries; therefore in the eighteenth year of Henry VI. the judges of all the courts at Westminster, together with the king’s attorney and sergeants, exhibited a petition to parliament concerning the regular payment of their salaries and perquisites of robes. The king assented to their request, and order was taken for increasing their income, which afterwards became larger, and more fixed; this consisted of a salary and an allowance for robes. In the first year of Edward IV., the chief justice of the King’s Bench had 170 marks per annum, 5l. 6s. 6d. for his winter robes, and the same for his Whitsuntide robes. Most of the judges had the honour of knighthood; some of them were knights bannerets; and some had the order of the Bath.
In the first year of Henry VII. the chief justice of the court of King’s Bench had the yearly fee of 140 marks granted to him for his better support; he had besides 5l. 6s. 11-1/4 d., and the sixth part of a halfpenny (such is the accuracy of Sir William Dugdale, and the strangeness of the sum,) for his winter robes, and 3l. 6s. 6d. for his robes at Whitsuntide.
In the thirty-seventh year of Henry VIII. a further increase was made to the fees of the judges;—to the chief justice of the King’s Bench 30l. per annum; to every other justice of that court 20l. per annum; to every justice of the Common Pleas, 20l. per annum.