Imatges de pàgina

phical system, which has already cost the nation so many millions, rather than seek to create a new one, that would shake the social system to its very foundation, and further increase the misery of our already distressed people, by the substitution of a power that would entirely supersede horse-power, grearly diminish human labour, and thereby fearfully extend the sphere of action of that moral gangrene in our social system--a redundant, unemployed population !

That the application of steam to locomotive machines is yet in its infancy is, we believe, a position that no one will contest. The splendid success that has attended the trial of Sir C. Dance's steam-coach, which, upon a common turnpike-road, and dragging after it a weight of several tons, moved with a velocity of ten to fifteen miles an hour, and which has actually performed the journey from London to various places, far and near, with perfect ease, over every variety of ground-affords the strongest grounds for presuming that, in a mechanical age like the present, such a simplification in their machinery will sooner or later be effected as to admit of their application to the system of roads now in use.

There is likewise another important and but recently-discovered fact, that we think will make the nation pause ere they invest an immense capital in the construction of railways—which is the rather startling one that we have long overlooked a means of conveyance by our canals, nearly equal to them in rapidity, and, at the same time, much cheaper. It was long imagined that to propel a vessel along a canal at a great velocity, would not only destroy the banks, but that also a greater expense would be incurred than the profits would cover. This universally-received opinion has, however, by recent experiments, been found to be erroneous. On the Paisley canal, boats drawn by horses have been moved at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour. These results are certainly of the greatest importance, showing, as they do, that our present hydrographical system is capable of producing all the advantages attributed to railways.

In approaching this question we have done so without any particular bias against this new mode of communication. On the contrary, considered in the abstract, and even relatively, as applied to a new country unprovided with a hydrographical system of roads, we freely admit that it surpasses all others. But, as it has been finely observed by the great Montesquieu, it is by its influence on the whole system of society that the application of any new law or invention must be judged. Now, when we reflect upon the artificial state of the whole structure of English society, on the present social condition of the people, and the numerous causes that already diminish the material comforts, and allow due weight to the clashing of conflicting interests, and the financial burdens of the country, we do say that the introduction of railways should be sparingly sanctioned by the legislature, lest, hurried away by an over-ardent and mistaken zeal for the good of posterity, we sacrifice the happiness of our own immediate contemporaries.



'Twas midnight, and the radiant flood

Of silver light that softly shone
O’er hill and valley, fount and wood,

Was round that quiet chamber thrown,
Where, wrapp'd in calm but mournful mood,

The poet mused alone.

His gaze was on the cloudless steep

That only thought may scale at will ;
A gaze so earnest, fixʼd and deep,

It spoke the full heart's deeper thrill ;
The memory's love is born to weep,

And faith to cherish still.

What were his dreams in that lone hour,

While earth below and heaven above
So calmly slept, that leaf nor flower

The listless night-breeze card to move?
Still own'd his soul the magic power

Of Laura and of love ?

Still! what had time to do with him,

Or change with that immortal mind-
Time, whose hoar touch the eye may dim,

Yet leaves the free soul unconfin'd
As wing of heaven-bound seraphim

Its chosen rest to find ?

His heart was with the hour when first

At beauty's shrine he own’d the flame,
Gifting its depths with quenckless thirst

Till love itself a life became;
When she, like to a glory, burst

Upon his path of fame. Petrarch died in the night of July 18, 1374, being found dead the next morning in his library, with his head resting on a book. --Abbé de Sade.

He thought of her when like a star

Earth's charter'd dulness shining through, Spotless as those, and lovelier far,

That spangle heaven's cerulean blue; A gorgeons dream life could not mar,

Nor death itself subdue.

That glory pass’d, and o'er his brow

The shade of darker memories fell, And burning words came murmuring low,

Powerless, though passion-will’d, to tell Ilow his tired spirit long'd to go

With hers in light to dwell.

“ And but once more to gaze," he said,

Upon that soul-illumin'd eye, Ere yet upon earth's dreamless bed

This heart of dust forgetting lie, All pulseless as thou art and dead,

To see thee, and to die !”

He ceas’d, and from the empyrean height

(Was it but wandering nature's dream?) A radiant flood of living light

Around him cast its golden stream; A blaze so rich, so pure, so bright,

Earth might not earthly deem.

Yet not upon that dazzling ray

The bard's impassion'd eyes were cast, As if in one intense survey

His parting spirit took a last Long look, empower'd to bear away

Its treasures from the past.

“Stay, blessed one! or to thine own

Briglit regions bear my soul,” he said ; But even as he spoke 'twas gone,

Spirit or dream, the charm had fled. The moon's pale lamp look'd out alone,

The poet bowed his head.

The morning sun shone sweetly through

Upon that dreamer's lifeless clay, And those who sought him never knew

How that high spirit pass'd away, Or what a glorious vision drew

Death's curtain where he lay.




I am on a visit at the town of B--, in the county of L---, which place is celebrated for full fifty miles round for its pleasure fair in May. Whilst penning these notes I have the din of at least a score of penny-showmen, a dozen hand organs, and half a ditto of German and Italian singers and English ballad-mongers about my ears; for I occupy a front room in the very heart of this English carnival.

Just previous to this long looked-for and most eventful festivity, all the houses within the limits of the borough, interior and extetior, private and public, great and small, arc subjected to soap and water, slapdashing,” painting, colouring, whitewashing, and paper-hanging. For weeks previous to the fair the booksellers and stationers of the place exhibit nothing but “ elegant stained paper from only three-farthings per yard,” which they, with some show of truth, endeavour to make the public believe will prove cheaper than colouring—the one, be it remembered, lasts for years, the other must be annually repeated.

Every man of business in the town, except the vendors of the above.named articles, complains of the depression of trade, and the market or two prior to the fair is very badly attended. The country folks defer till the fair their business transactions, and the townspeople are saving up for the same period. Tradesmen have been to London and made their purchases; the local newspapers are crowded with advertisements setting forth the price and quality of their goods in the most seductive possible style. The shop windows are thoroughly cleaned, and the glass polished like a mirror ; fresh articles of the newest patterns are exhibited in a style perfectly irresistible. Little tradesmen who are in arrear with their creditors, and others who are not, look forward with great anxiety to the result of the fair. Alas! how many that have made great preparations will be disappointed ; some have perhaps purchased large stocks of fancy articles, for which they will find little or no demand. These goods will have to be laid by for another year, when they will be re-produced as “an entirely new assortment of goods fresh from the London markets.” Many of those tradesmen who talked largely about answering the demands of their creditors after the fair will, I fear, at the appointed time find their finances not so much improved as to warrant the promises previously made. The approaching fair is the all-en


grossing topic of conversation ; townspeople speculate on who will be their visitors ; country cousins are expected by dozens ; Mary Ann blushes when Charles Chusman is named, and Caroline is sadly teazed about Harry Parker. Mothers, daughters, and maidservants are busy below stairs, for plum pudding, roast beef, ham, tongue, and fowls, pork, mince and apple pies and cheese cakes are the order of the day. Country cousins are very anxious about the weather-in fact so are all parties concerned ; all hope it will be fine fifty times a day, watch every change of the glass, talk over what they shall put on to appear in at the fair, and so forth. Penny showmen, strolling players, fortune tellers, and hawkers of every variety now enter the town, and all the roads leading to the borough are thronged with rogues, thieves, pickpockets and vagabonds of every description, and of either sex ; and it is matter of surprise and wonderment with some how so many ladies of easy virtue are to be accommodated with lodgings.

The morning of the first fair day arrives. Long before the sun rises are you awoke by the bleating of sheep and lambs, the barking of dogs and the hallooing of drovers, for there is a sheep and cattle, as well as a pleasure fair. About six o'clock you arise-it is a fine, clear May morning-and presently sally forth with stick in hand to look round the sheep market. At this early hour business has commenced, many large purchases have already been made, sheep continue to be drove into the pens, and by seven o'clock


have sixty or seventy thousand of these woolly-backed animals before your eyes.

Were you to enter all the houses in the town in the forenoon, I would wager a new hat you would find in each a table set out with cold beef, ham, tongue, mince pies, cheesecakes, &c., where friends and customers are welcome to pop in and take lunch and depart again sans ceremony.

The sheep market is over by twelve or one o'clock, and the sturdy farmers and drovers proceed to their respective inns or friends' houses, to talk of the business of the morning over a good dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, washed down with tankards of old England's boasted brown ale, after which Virginian weed and pipeclay are in great demand by these gentlemen.

Dinner being over the pleasure fair commences, and now we see fine fresh coloured, open countenanced, happy looking young ladies, each linked arm in arm with some neighbouring farmer's son, parading the fair. It is really a very pleasing sight to see the animated countenances and contented appearance of these sons and daughters of our sturdy agriculturists, who appear to be as ignorant of the effects of ennui as the majority are of the meaning of the word ; long may they continue so! The general gaiety pervading all classes is truly delightful. Independent of the spruce young farmers in their highly-polished turn-down boots

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