« AnteriorContinuar »
a sceptre with a crown Or, in a field Azure, and for motto, PERFECTISSIMA GUBERNATIO (The completest form of Government).
Lord Lucas bore a crown, with the motto, DEI GRATIA-(By the Grace of God).
Sir Richard Graham's motto was,
REASON CONTENTS ME.
Colonel Hatton represented the pic ture of fortune, with a crown in her right hand and five halters in the left, and five men (intended to represent the five members) addressing themselves to her upon their knees; but she gives them the left hand, with this motto, CUIQUE MERITUM (To each his desert)—or, in the words of the good old toast, Every honest man his own, and every knave halter.
(To be continued.)
Suggestion for a Plan of the River
AstheGentleman's Magazineis very
generally circulated throughout the country, there can be no doubt it must frequently fall into the hands of gentlemen holding the office of Commissioners of the Thames Navigation, the greater part of whom are composed of persons possessing lands, and residing on the banks of the Thames. From some of these gentle men I am desirous to obtain, through the medium of your useful Miscellany, a satisfactory answer to the following question, viz. "What circumstances have prevented the Commissioners from publishing a Plan or Map, from actual survey, of the river Thames, within the limits of their jurisdiction (extending in length upwards of one hundred and twenty miles), viz. from Staines to Cricklade; or, at least, to the junction of the Thames and Severn Canal, above Lechlade?" A measure, the adoption of which was suggested by a Committee of the House of Commons, so long since as in the year 1794; and, if I am not mistaken, subsequently, more than once, recommended by Committees of their own body. How very different and praiseworthy has been the conduct of the City in this matter. In the year 1770 the Corporation, much to their honour, employed Mr. Brindley, the
engineer, to take a survey of the Thames, and published a plan therefrom, comprising, not only the por tion of the Thames within their own immediate jurisdiction, but also an entire district appertaining to the Commissioners, viz. from Staines to Boulter's Lock, above Maidenhead.
This Plan, which is drawn on a scale of two inches to a mile, exhibits a faithful delineation of the course of the river, with its several islands, towing-paths, shoals, barge-tracks, &c. It was revised by Mr. Whitworth in 1774, at the City's expence, and is now become extremely scarce. From the length of time which has elapsed since the survey was first taken, the face of the river must doubtless have undergone some alteration; and it is probable, therefore, that a further revision of the Plan might now be requisite, in order to a correct representation being given of the present state of the river, especially since so many locks within these few years have been introduced into the lower, or City's District. So laudable an example set them by the City, it is much to be regretted had not been followed by the Commissioners of the Upper Districts; in which case the public would not have to express their surprize, at this time, that a river so truly important in every respect as the Thames confessedly is, should yet be without any accurate Plan to shew its course Westward.
It is therefore earnestly recommended to the Commissioners to take the matter under their consideration, in order to some engineer or surveyor of approved talents being forth with engaged to make a survey of the river, and to draw a plan of the same, similar to that of Brindley and Whitworth's, above-mentioned. On the publication of the engraved Plan, it would be very desirable that it should be accompanied with a full and detailed report of the present actual state of the river and its navigation, describing its peculiar locali ties, such as peus and currents, bed, depths, together with an account of the nature of the soil through which it flows, and every other kind of information which might be deemed explanatory of the peculiar features of the Thames; in particular, it ought to contain accurate tables of falls on the river, and distances, exclu
sive of some notation on the Plan itself to show the miles progressively on the margin of the river, to and from Staines and Lechlade; nor ought the barge-track on any account to be omitted, as being indispensably neces sary to the perfection of the Map.
That the first river in the country should still remain without any general plan of its whole navigable extent, from actual survey, has often excited the just surprize of many intelligent persons. My only motive, Mr. Urban, for interfering in the matter, is for the purpose of directing the atten tion of some active Commissioner to
the subject, who might submit the same to a general meeting of the Thames Commissioners, with a view of carrying into execution the suggestion of the House of Commons. Should I succeed in gaining this point, I shall think myself highly fortunate in having contributed to so useful an end. The City, I have no doubt, with their accustomed liberality, would willingly lend their co-operation towards affecting the measure in question. But should any difficulty arise, through deficiency of pecuniary means, the Legislature might be applied to in behalf of the undertaking, by such of the Commissioners as happen to be also Members of Parliament.
It may be here mentioned, that as there are a great number of individuals either connected with, or highly interested in, the Thames navigation, who would, in all probability, become purchasers of copies of the engraved Map, the produce arising from the sale of such copies, when published, might be brought in aid of the charge incurred for making the survey, &c. by which means, unless I am much mistaken, the expence attending the survey, and drawing the original plan, would be materially reduced in amount, and, consequently, the parties concerned for the navigation, would be liable to no more charge than what might be found absolutely indispensable for the accomplishment of the object in view.
C. E. S.
Yours, &c. P.S. I know not how to account for the profound secrecy invariably observed by the Thames Commissioners in respect to all their proceedings; so that it is almost next to an impossibility to procure a copy of
GENT. MAG. July, 1819.
any Report, either of themselves, or of engineers appointed by them, "to examine and report on the state of the river;" or to obtain copies of any plans of local surveys made in pursuance of their orders, of detached portions of the river, in furtherance of improvements. These documents ought at all times to be readily acces sible to the public, a large portion of whom necessarily feel much interested in whatever concerns the improvements on the Thames. Perhaps some gentleman acting as Commissioner will have the goodness to explain the cause of this secrecy, which the Legislature, most assuredly, could never have had in contemplation when they passed the Act for the government of the Commissioners' conduct.
REMARKS ON THE SUBJECTS OF
A who is still quoted on the subject of the Epopée, although his authority in other matters has long fallen from that high infallibility which it once enjoyed,) the first and most essential, requisite of an Epic Poem is, that it be founded on a great action. The unity of this action, which is likewise strongly insisted on, is generally ac knowledged to be a requisite scarcely subordinate in importance, and to rank with the former far above those minor rules which he has laid down for the assistance and direction of the human fancy, which nevertheless in their respective places, may often be observed with advantage and credit.
CCORDING to Aristotle (a critic
In conformity with this precept we find the two great Epics of Grecian antiquity, upon which criticism has been exhausted, and which have in every succeeding age immortalized their author, although in date several centuries preceding this master-critic of former days, founded respectively on an event or events great in themselves; and in their consequences involving very serious changes in the history of the nations or people with whom they are represented as standing connected.
The example of their author has fired the minds and directed the genius of succeeding poets, and they have accordingly disdained to employ, as the basis of heroic song, objects which were not at once elevated, and productive
productive of great results; not so so much, it would seem, from the precepts enforced by the Stagyrite, as from the great and astonishing effect which the mind discovers to be exercised over its powers and energies through the instrumentality of these delineations.
It was this, indeed, which first striking the contemplative mind, gave rise to criticism, and elicited from the matured judgments of sages, who were themselves witnesses of these results, and marked their propriety, contingency, and adaptation to the human sympathies and affections, those rules which they judged most calculated in their exercise to impress an imagination formed and corrected by classical studies.
"Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides," says Mr. Harris, "formed Aristotle; not Aristotle, Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides."
It may here, in passing, be further remarked, that although in the Epic, as in other subjects of composition, classical rules are of great and essential importauce, to direct, and even to draw forth the rich and varied corruscations of genius, to curb and regulate the imagination, which would otherwise shoot forth into wild luxuriance, and occasionally into shapeless deformity (for although it is clear that Homer exemplified these rules long before the rise of criticism, he was himself its author, as it is needless to repeat that all his commentators have agreed in placing the vigour and soundness of his judgment on as eminent a basis as his fire and impetuosity of description); the scanty limits which have been prescribed by critics to the fable and the arrangement of this species of composition may be thought referable rather to the laws of fancied, than of real proportion.
The unity of time, place, and several other ingenious modifications of the Epic, which, originating in the Peripatetic school, have been insisted un as constituting immutable requisites of Epic writing by the Scaligers, the Bossus, and various others, may be said, however, to be ideal landmarks, and to have in fact nothing to do with the true proportions of native beauty, or of genuine excellence. It may, indeed, rather be thought, on the other hand, that, as the moulding
the fable must depend on the imagination and the judgment of the Poet, so those bounds of Epic propriety might consistently emanate from the literary taste or discretion of the writers who are to be entrusted with the arrangement and execution of what they had originally conceived.
These, however, are all subordinate in the general arrangement and laws of Epic narrative, and by no means of the essentiality, as connected with the developement of its fable, as the greatness of the action, which forms a first principle of its being or constitution, and without which no buman art or exercise of judgment, however felicitously combined and applied, could throw sufficient dignity or interest into a succession of inci
dents, as to sustain the proper emotion or feeling in the breast of the reader. The greatness or elevated nature of the action or series of events upon which an Epic Poem is founded, must, then, on all hands be admitted to stand immutably connected with its very existence.
This in Homer, who as he was the first is likewise generally ranked as the greatest of epic poets, is transcendently conspicuous; not so much on account of the grandeur of the enterprize, and extent of the action, or series of actions, or the vastness of the consequences they involve, as of that elevation of character and of sentiment which he uniformly sustains, and which is generally productive of kindred emotions in the mind of the reader. " 'This poetical fire, or vivida vis animi," says Pope, "is to be found in a very few. Even in works where exact disposition, just thought, correct elocution, or polished numbers, are imperfect or neglected, this can overpower criticism, and make us admire even while we disapprove. Nay, where this appears, though attended with absurdities, it brightens all the rubbish about it till we see nothing but its own splendour." "This fire," he proceeds, "is discerned in Virgil, but discerned as through a glass reflected from Homer, more shining than fierce, but every where equal and constant; in Lucan and Statius it burst out in sudden, short, and interrupted flashes; in Milton it glows like a furnace kept up to an uncommon ardour by the force of art; in Shakspeare it strikes before we are aware, like an acciden
tal fire from Heaven; but in Homer, and in him alone, it burns every where clearly, and every where irresistibly."
It is then evident, from the common consent of mankind, that Homer, according to every thing which came within his ideas of greatness, has accomplished his design of rendering his epopée pre-eminently worthy of bearing this title, and that he has abundantly supported this design, in rendering the excution of his plan at least equal to its first conception.
But although Homer, and his immediate successors (who have in this particular closely imitated their great archetype), have supposed the events upon which they adventured their genius, as those which of all others were the most dignified; religion and science have in later ages unfolded topics for the lofty flights of epic song wholly without parallel throughout the circle and range of acquirements which distinguished the antient world. Imagination never soared so high, and mind never enlarged to so wide a grasp among the antients, as, from the natural developement of subsequent events, it was reserved to do among their more fortunate, if not their more vigorously-inspired posterity. The discovery and enterprize which have distinguished the modern nations of Europe, may be said likewise to have opened a field for the epopée
once elevated, extensive, and great,—and, as it stands highly conBected with the advancement of human knowledge and the civilization of mankind, so, in the sole point of individual greatness, these enterprizes furnish an action far removed from all former competition.
Of this new light, which at length almost suddenly broke in upon the world, when the minds and understandings of men had been duly prepared for its force, with all its vast advantages, Milton and Camoens were not slow in availing themselves, and in their success they justified what might have been expected from thinking of so extensive a range, and powers of so vigorous a grasp.
While Tasso and Voltaire constructed their fable, and developed their plot, from circumstances doubtless (as in the case of Homer and Virgil) peculiarly interesting to their countrymen, but not comprizing, in any remarkable degree, either
greatness, novelty, or peculiar feli city of incident, the two former boldly ventured on a world unknown, at least in the regions of song, where, although they attached to themselves responsibilities on the score of innovation from which the others were free, they had nevertheless great advantages.
In the disposition of the characters, the manners, and the machinery they have employed in the conduct and decoration of their poems, these eminent poets had an universe of their own an unexplored mine, from which they could dig materials peculiarly adapted to the features and exigences of their respective subjects. In these particulars all other epics, as Mickle, in his excellent Dissertation on the Lusiad, has observed, are mere copies of the Iliad. "Every one," says he, " has its Agamemnon, its Achilles, its Ajax, and Ulysses, its calm, furious, gross, and intellectual hero." This, then, has at once afforded them great facilities in their subordinate agency, and imparted a grandeur to their fable wholly unprecedented. For, as the eloquent translator of Camoens has finally observed, in speaking of the Lusiad, "a voyage esteemed too great for man to dare, the adventures of this voyage through unknown oceans deemed unnavigable, the Eastern World happily discovered, and for ever indissolubly joined and given to the Western, the grand Portuguese Empire in the East, the humanization of mankind and universal commerce the consequence! What are Greece and Latium in arms for a woman compared to this? Troy is in ashes, and even the Roman Empire is no more. But the effects of the voyage, adventures, and bravery of the hero of the Lusiad, will be felt aud be held, and perhaps increase in importance, while the world shall remain." The fables of Camoens and Milton must therefore be acknowledged to be founded on actions more transcendently great than any of the celebrated epics which have ever appeared for the instruction and delight of their countrymen and mankind. Of this last illustrious Bard, it may be sufficient here to remark, that the conception of his plan, though the most daring, perhaps, that could enter the human mind, was not alone the source of his producing such new and
uncommon emotions in his readers the number and felicity of his prosopopoeias are eminently successful in at taining this end.
The invention of Homer has ever been justly a theme of panegyrick with the critics; the creative power of Milton stands, perhaps, upon a yet higher eminence. The very confined limits which his subject, from its nature, prescribed to his introduction of real characters, led him to the personification of allegorical beings, under various titles, such as Sin and Death, in which he has embodied attributes under real forms, and made them actors in the sublime machinery with which he has ornamented and ennobled his fable. The awfully grand and mysterious attributes which he has thrown into these imaginary personages, may be said considerably to heighten the general effect of those parts of his poem; as, in like manner, the apparition which in the night hovers athwart the fleet near the Cape of Good Hope, in the Lusiad, is thought, with some reason, by its elegant Translator, to be the grandest fiction found in human composition.
Addison has pertinently remarked, "it shews a greater degree of genius in Shakspeare to have drawn his CalJiban than his Hotspur or Julius Cæsar; the one was to be supplied out of his own imagination, the other might have been formed upon tradition, history, or observation."
So was it with Milton; he had few originals in nature from which he could borrow the general outlines of his characters, or from the contemplation of which he might, with the aid of fiction, embody in them so much of interest as we are accustomed to feel in the contemplation of beings like ourselves; he had to create and to frame for them appropriate sentiments and language, a race of terrible and sublime beings, under the title of apostate angels, wholly unlike any thing which has ever fallen under buman experience.
been before intimated that they are
The horrific synod of fallen spirits in Pandæmonium argues a far greater stretch of human skill, and resource of genius, than a deliberation of Grecian chiefs (however warlike and grand in its general features) convoked by Agamemnon.
With regard to unity in the fable and action of Milton, if it had not
CHANKBURY Hill (P. 511), ie Sussex, according to the Table in that most useful publication, Paterson's Road Book, is only 814 feet; and this, having been taken by Col. Mudge, may be depended on. Your Correspondent says, "it looks over the Wold (or, as it is provincially termed, the Wild), or low ground of Sussex." The Wild, or Weald, is the proper denomination; that district having been for many ages a wild and uncultivated woodland. The Wolds in Gloucestershire (and I believe in Lincolnshire) are high grounds. He says "Its faults are a want of dissimilarity in its parts, and the lowness and disproportion of the hills to the extent of the foreground. In fact, it should be more à la Brule." What is the meaning of à la Brute? Bramber (not Bramble) is distinct from Steyning.
P. 512. J. P. J. begins with saying: "The late Mr. Thomas Hollis was, in the fullest sense of the word, a patriot." His disclaiming the Christian Religion (which, by his direction as to his burial, must have been the case), is, I suppose, no blot in the character of a true Patriot.