« AnteriorContinuar »
With eager search to dart the soul,
The greater part of the first book of this poem was written when the author was curate of Cadbury, in Somersetshire; and was by him then intended to be published under the title of “The Fortune Teller.” It was the least popular of all his productions. The metre is rugged, and, on the whole, inferior to that of the Duellist; and though many fine passages occur, yet the rambling, digressive manner in which the greater part of the poem is written, seldom invites to a re-perusal of it. Colman, under the assumed name of the Cobbler of Cripplegate, in his epistle to Lloyd, after justly condemning the
Who, free from this world and its cares,
At its first rise, which all agree on,
vanity and self-sufficient arrogance of the set (Thornton, &c.), introduces some strictures on the slovenly mode of composition occasionally adopted by our author.
“Say, must the town for ever hear,
And no reviewer dare to sneer,
22 Many circumstances contribute to confirm the proba. bility of the conjecture that astronomy was first studied as a science by the Chaldeans. The serenity of their climate, the advantage they possessed of being the first people united to.
That ancient people, as they fed
gether in the nds of civil society, and the local situation of Babylon, which was best calculated to assist them in those operations which the study of the heavenly bodies requires, must early have invited them to it. Built on a boundless elevated plain, and open on all sides, no obstacle was presented to the view of the most extensive horizon. The mode of life adopted by the first inhabitants of Chaldea considerably favoured their progress in the science. Pasturage formed one of their chief occupations, passing whole days and nights in the open air;
their attention must have been early attracted by the various motions of the celestial bodies. “Principio Assyrii, propter planitiem magnitudinemque regionum quas incolebant, cum cælum ex omni parte, patens et apertum intuerentur, trajectiones, motusque stellarum observarunt.” Cic. de Div. lib. 1.
To no nation could an acquaintance with the stars be more necessary, than to the tribes inhabiting Chaldea, a region principally consisting of immense plains of sand,, which, agitated by the wind and leaving no traces of the human footstep, could not admit of the possibility of constructing permanent roads. The stars are, in such a region, the only certain guides to which a traveller can have recourse to direct his steps, especially as the excessive heat of the climate does not admit of his pursuing his journey during the day.
The invention of judicial astrology has also by all antiquity
They made bold with their friends the stars,
To Egypt from Chaldee it travellid,
been attributed to the Chaldeans. This vain and ridiculous perversion of the noblest science, soon induced the attempt to ascertain the course of the stars, and their different aspects. Without this knowledge, it would have been impossible to have formed an horoscope. To this frivolous,desire of reading in the stars the destinies of mankind, we are therefore principally indebted for the progress and improvements in the study of astronomy. Kepler, with great reason, observed a century ago, that astrology was a weak, foolish daughter of a very wise mother, who, however, would scarcely have been able to subsist without her assistance.
35 The Egyptians improved upon the rudiments of astronomy, as imparted to them by the Chaldeans, and were the first people who gave a determinate period to the year. Herodotus mentions, that owing to their knowledge of the celestial bodies, they had divided it into twelve months. Theirs was the Luni-solar year, consisting of 360 days, before the time of Moses, who adopted it accordingly in his computations. In the reign of Ammon the father of Osiris or Sesac, the Thebans, applying themselves to astronomy and navigation, determined the length of the solar year by the heliacal risings and settings of the stars, and added two days to the old calendar year. In the reign of Amenophis, which was not long after, the use of this year was generally adopted by the Egyptians, who placed the first day of it upon the vernal equinox.
Nobles themselves, for at that time
52 Bampfylde Moore Carew was the son of a clergyman at Bickley, in Devonshire, and was educated at Tiverton school, with an intention of his taking orders; but falling into the company of some gypsies near that town, young Carew, at the age of fifteen, grew so fond of his associates, that he resolved to embrace their vagrant mode of life; and immediately absconded from school. After a short time spent with the fortune-telling fraternity, he returned home, to the great joy of his parents, who had given up all expectation of ever seeing him again. His love for the mendicant life, however, still remained unextinguished, and gradually grew upon him to such a degree, as once more to induce him to quit his father's habitation. His exploits in this course of life were wonderful, and the account of his shifts and impositions still form a part of our popular library. Carew had a peculiar method of enticing away dogs, for which he was twice trans ported from Exeter to North America; but returned before the ship which carried him out. He was a man of retentive memory, and happy address. The fraternity to which he belonged elected him their king; and he remained faithful to his subjects to the last. It is supposed that he died about 1770, aged 77.
52 Mary Squires, a gypsy, and one of Carew's subjects, was a principal agent in Elizabeth Canning's affair, an account of which transaction will be given in a subsequent note.
54 The origin of this distinct and singular people has hitherto baffled the inquiries of the learned. In the gypsies are united all the vices of savage and civilized society, with