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Yes, dearest maid! those eyes so heav'nly bright

Must be my sun: just as be sheds his ray On the lorn traveller, that haps to stray O'er Barca's sands, they shed on me their light: Meanwhile a vapour bland, too pure for sight, (Which I not know to name, but lovers say "It is a sigh") where'er thy eye-beams play, Springs upwards, but alas! too dank for flight,

Part sinks abortive on thy lover's heart, And chills and freezes all within his breast;

Whilst to his eyes ascends the lighter part, And oft, full oft, at the still hour of rest

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Tunto del forse e d'invidia sicuro,
Oi timeri, e speranze al popol use
Quante ingegno e d'alto valor vago,
E de cetta sonora, e delle muse :

Sol troverete in tal parte men duto
Ove amor mise l'insanabil ago.

It is with satisfaction that we are exclusively enabled to lay before our readers the only authentic account of this proceeding.

A gentle youth, a foud and simple lover, Oppressed with doubts, unknowing where to fly,

This present makes, with deep humility; His heart-a truer, you will ne'er discover, More brave, or good; from her it loves no rover;

Playful in thought, yet prudeat ; can defy
The world's rude buffets; Heav'n's harsh
minstrelsy

Hear unappai'd, with virtue arm'd all over.
Far from the boisterous and the envious
crew,

The hopes and fears that witch the vúlgar
brain;

But deeply smitten with the tuneful art, Friend of sweet song, and of the Muses train :

One only spot but little strength can shew, 'Tis that where Love hath fix'd his cureless dart.

CEREMONY OF LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE

OF

COVENT GARDEN THEATRE.

Royal Grand Master of the Order; near to this, at the N. E. angle, of the ground, was the foundation-stone, which hung suspended over The ceremony of laying the foundation-stone a basement stone, and weighed about three of the new edifice took place on 31st of Decem- tons. On surrounding scaffolds above seven ber, 1808. It was laid by his Royal Highness hundred workmen employed in the building the Prince of Wales, a distinction unprece- were ranged, and detachments from the second dented; and the spectacle was rendered highly | Regiment of Guards, with their colours flying, interesting and impressive by the dignity and was stationed at the Bow-street entrance, as a elegance which that illustrious personage dis-guard of honour; flags were reared at each played in the ceremonial. The most judicious || angle of the ground, and five military bands, arrangements were made on the enclosed area, elevated on platforms, played alternately till for the performance of the ceremony, and the one o'clock. accommodation of the spectators; every avenue The procession of Freemasons entered the to it was guarded from the populace by de- ground at twelve: they amounted to near four tachments of horse and foot soldiers, and un-hundred, and were ornamented with their interrupted order prevailed. An extensive various paraphernalia; Chevalier Ruspini, as covered building, furnished with scats, was Grand Tyler, bore the sword before, and a erected parallel with Bow-street, which, before || band preceded playing an appropriate air: at twelve o'clock, was filled with several hundred one o'clock the Prince of Wales arrived, under spectators. Opposite was another erection for an escort of horse guards, with the Duke the accommodation of the Freemasons who at- of Sussex, attended by General Hulse and tended in procession, and a marquee for the Colonels M'Mahon and Blomfield; he was

received at the entrance by Earl Moira, and other superiors of the Order, and on his approach was greeted with reiterated acclamations and a royal salute of Artillery; the vari ous bands now united, playing “God save the King" Having passed over a railed platform, covered with green cloth, His Royal Highness was ushered into the marquee by Messrs. Harris, and Kemble, and was presented with a plan of the building by Mr. Smirke, the Architect: he then proceeded to the ceremonial. The stone was raised, and His Royal Highness deposited, in a space cut in the lower stone, a brass box, which contained specimens of all the most recent British coinage, and two medals, one of bronze, which bore a Portrait of the Prince of Wales, and on the reverse the following inscription:

GEORGIUS

PRINCEPS WALLIARUM

THEATRI

REGIIS INSTAURANDI. AUSPICIIS
IN HORTIS BENEDICTINIS

LONDINI
FUNDAMENTA

SUA MANU. LOCAVIT

The other medal was copper, and deeply engraven with the following Inscription on one side:

UNDER THE AUSPICES OF
HIS MOST SACRED MAJESTY GEORGE III.
KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT
BRITAIN AND IRELAND,
THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE THEATRE,

COVENT GARDEN,

WAS LAID BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
GEORGE PRINCE OF WALES.

M.DCCC.VIII.

And on the reverse :

ROBERT SMIRKE, ARCHITECT.

Six Masons now spread the cementing mortar upon the lower stone, and the Prince es Grand Master completed it with a gilt trowel, presented to him by Earl Moira as acting G. M. descent was hailed by the most animating The stone was then gradually lowered, and its cheers of the spectators, a discharge of artillery, and the chorus of "Rule Britannia" from all the bands. The stone being descended, His Royal Highness applied to it the plumb, the level, and the square, and finished the laying of it by three strokes of the mallet; he then poured upon it the ancient offerings of corn, wine, and oil, from three silver cups. His Royal Highness then gave into the hands of the Architect the various instruments he had used, and returned to him the plan of the edifice, desiring him to complete it conformably thereto; then having wished the building and the proprietors success and prosperity, he universal acclamations of the spectators. joined the procession, and retired amidst the

During the same day, Mr. Harris received a letter from Colonel M'Mahon, stating that he was commanded by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to declare to the proprietors and the Architect his high approbation of the arrangement and regularity of the cere mopy.

HISTORICAL NOTICES RESPECTING THE MOST ANCIENT PASTIMES,

[Concluded from Page 131, Vol. V.]

sian schah, or schuch; the modern Latins give it the name of ludus scachorum; the Italians that of scacchi; and by ourselves it is called the game of chess.”

"My researches have not enabled me to ascertain what name was given to this play in India by its inventor. In Persia it received the appellation of schatreng, or schatrangschi, the play of the king. This designation it re- It is not easy to conceive how a man of such tained among the Arabs, of whom the Spani- || erudition as Saumaise, could, without proards probably learned it in the middle ages.ducing the slightest proof deduced from Greek The latter still call it aadrang, or with the authors, attribute to the Greeks the invention addition of the Arabic particle, alxadres and || of a game in which every thing forcildy reminds aradres. By the Greeks, who in all likelihood us of Oriental manners. All his proofs are learned it of the Arabs at the time of the ca- actually reduced to this simple question:lifs of Bagdad, it was denominated zatrikion; "Who does not know that the invention of the French call it le jeu des echecs; the Ger- this game belongs to the Greeks? From them,” mans schachspiel; the first from the Arabic adds he, in an equal positive tone, “it was word schek, or sheik, the second from the Per- transferred to the Persians. The Pains

De

Anna Comnena, who must have been better acquainted with this subject, says exactly the contrary. In her account of the conspiracy formed against her father Alexis, by the four brothers Anemades,' and the weak senator Solomon, she remarks that the Emperor owed the discovery of their plot, and the preservation of his life, to the custom which he had of playing at chess with one of his near relations at night, when he could not sleep; and adds, "This game was invented by the Assyrians, and it is from them that it was introduced among us." It is well known that in her time the Greeks gave the name of Assyrians to the Arabs, who were actually in possession of the ancient empire of the Assyrians and Persians. The Princess, it is true, was not accurately informed respecting the real inventor of the game of chess, but this does not in the least invalidate her authority in regard to the principal question. It is certain that if the game which she calls zatrikion, had been of Greek origin, she would have known something of the matter, and in that case would not have thought of ascribing it to the Assyrians.

We shall not enquire whether the good Bramin, Nassir, actually made princes wiser by the invention of his game of the king; he at least succeeded in one point. Chess has been for many centuries, and still continues, the favourite game of the princes and the great in Asia. An anecdote of the Calif Alamir, the sixth of the Abassides, related by Elinakin, || the historian, proves that that prince had an enthusiastic passion for this game. He was playing at it in the interior of his palace with his favourite Cuter, when a messenger came to inform him that it was time to direct his attention to more important affairs, for the enemy, who had been long besieging Bagdad, were on the point of making themselves masters of the city." "Very well," said the Calif to the officer; "I am coming; only let me make Cuter check-mate."

been pronounced upon him by that iniquitous tribunal. The Elector paused a moment, but without betraying any sign of emotion; he then answered the messenger like a hero and a good father; on which, turning to Duke Ernest, he challenged him to finish the game. He played with his ordinary tranquillity and composure; and having beaten his antagonist, expressed all the satisfaction that is commonly felt on gaining such victories.

This anecdote reminds me of another related by Seneca of a noble Roman, named Casius Julius, who was put to death by order of Caligula, merely because he possessed a truly Roman spirit. Caligula had sent him word, ten days before hand, that his name was inscribed on the list of death; and on this subject there was no reason to doubt his veracity. At the expiration of the time, the centurion who was directed to conduct the victims to their fate, weut to the house of Casins, and found him playing, with great composure, at the game of soldiers (latrunculi). "Follow me," said he to him, shewing his order. Casius rose, counted his pieces, and addressed his antagonist:-" Boast not," said he, "after my death, that you have beaten me." Then beckoning to the centurion:-"I call you to witness," continued he, "that I have one piece more than my adversary."

Timur, whom we call Tamerlane, was likewise fond of chess; but the ordinary game appeared to him on too small a scale, he therefore had a board with one hundred and thirtytwo squares, and thirty-two pieces for each player. History has preserved the names of those who were accustomed to play with him. One of them, named Ala-Eddin, or Aladin, was so clever that he always played without taking a moment for reflection, and nevertheless he always vanquished his antagonist. Timur, who never loved to lose at any gaine, not even at chess, had however the justice to forgive Aladin this superiority. One day, when the latter, after having long embarrassed him, at length won the game as usual, Timur exclaimed, laughing:-"Aladin, you have won; you are unrivalled among chess-players, as Timur is among kings." On the other hand, the celebrated Sultan Mahmoud, son of Sebucteghin, surnamed Gashni, is said to have been as fertile in military stratagems as invincible at the game of chess, and at the real game of kings, at which he played for territo

A similar anecdote is related of Johu Frederic, the generous Elector of Saxony; but from the circumstances in which he was placed it does much greater honour to his character. He had been the prisoner of Charles V. ever since the unfortunate battle of Müchlberg; and the Emperor, in contempt of the fundamental laws of the empire, and his own oaths, caused him to be tried by a council of war, composed of Spanish and Italian officers, with the inexorable Duke of Alva for their presi.ries and crowns with the Oriental princes of

dent. The Elector was playing at chess with Ernest, Duke of Brunswick, his friend and companion in misfortune, when Charles sent to acquaint him that sentence of death had

his time. Among other testimonies on this head we have that of Onsori, a Persian poet, who, in a distich in honour of Mahmoud, says, that he ayed at chess with a thousand

princes, and made each of them check-mate in a different way.

After the princes and knights of the West had brought the play of chess with them on their return from their unfortunate expeditions to the Holy Sepulchre, this game was long in vogue among the great in Europe. Hence, after the example of the Orientals, the Euro'peans sought to do honour to this truly royal pastime, by the richness and exquisite workmanship of the chess-board and its pieces. Of this numerous proofs are yet to be found in the cabinets of curiosities of kings and princes. In the East, magnificence in this particular was carried to such a height that, according to Medgdi, the historian, the Persian King Cosrou, the son of Perviz, had a chess-board, the pieces belonging to which were of hyacinth and emerald; and another monarch possessed one, the smallest piece of which was worth three thousand gold dinars.

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purpose. It was paved with large squares of
black and white marble; the figures, which
seemed to be of ivory or ebony, were as large
as life, and habited with the utmost magni-
ficence. Their armour was of gold, enamelled
and enriched, as well as their garments, with
pearls and precious stones. The two kings
and the two queens shone with dazzling splen-
dour; the bishops, who were then called
standard bearers, were on foot, but they carried
splendid ensigns of two different colours, bear-
ing two mottos embroidered in pearls and gold;
lastly, the pawns, armed with battle-axes, were
on foot, and by their martial air seemed quite
impatient for the signal of battle. But what
seemed the most extraordinary was the pro-
perty with which these figures were endued
by the enchanter, the rival of Vulcan, who had
constructed this wonderful chess-board. The
player had only to touch with a small wand
the figure which he wished to move, and it
instantly went and occupied the place which
he intended. The lady of the castle taught
the Knight to play at chess in this equally
convenient and astonishing manner; and then
proposed a game, on condition that if he won,
the cless-room, the castle, and the lady should
belong to him; but that if he lost, he should
be her slave for life. The young Knight was
at first somewhat alarmed at this proposal,
but he soon recovered, and declared that be
was ready to accept the challenge, flattering
himself, with ail the assurance too common to
youth, that he could not fail of success, and
that he would soon become master of the chess-
Foom, the castle, and the lady.
The game
began; the lady gave the Knight a white stick,
and took a black one herself. The figures, as
soon as they were touched, seemed perfectly
animated, raised their battle-axe, lance, stand-
ard, or sword; marched in a warlike attitude
to the place assigned them, as if to meet an
enemy, but did not strike each other till the
moment when, according to the rules of the
game, one piece was to take another. This
manner of playing highly delighted Galleret;
his whole heart was in the game, but it soon
took a turn which did more honour to his
courage than to his dexterity. In a word, he
found himself check-mate at the very moment
when he least expected it, and he had no other
resource left than to demand his game in re-
turn of Floribelle. The lady complied, at the
same time declaring that she could play no
longer than till sun-set, or at most but three
games. Besides,' added she, we have a law
by which he who loses a game at the fourth
move, is precluded from asking revenge.'

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One of those old romance-writers, whose imagination always far surpassed what they had before their eyes, has given us a description of a game of chess, and a manner of playing it which would not make a bad figure in a poem on chivalry. It is to be found in the account of the adventures which belel the four brothers, Gauvain, Agravain, Gueret, and Galleret, when they went in quest of Lancelot.

"Galleret, the youngest and most courteous of these four brothers, one day on leaving a forest perceived a magnificent castle, situated on a hill at a small distance. While he was viewing it with admiration, a lady, mounted on a palfrey, rode up and invited him in the name of her mistress, the lady of the castle, to take some refreshment there, and afterwards to play a game at chess; for, added she, a knight of your appearance must have received too good an education to be iguorant of that game. Galleret replied, with all the courtesy of a Knight of the Round Table, that he was not a great adept at chess, though he had often seen it played at the court of King Arthur, where that game was the usual pastime of the King, of the Queen Genevre, of Lancelot, Gauvain, and the other Knights; but, at any rate, he was ready to follow the lady whithersoever she pleased to conduct him. She took him to the castle, where he was received in a very friendly manner by the fairy Floribelle, a lady of great beauty and vivacity. After the repast Floribelle conducted him to a magnificent saloon, saying he would there find every thing necessary for the game of chess. Galleret was struck with astonishment on entering, for never had he yet beheld such a chess. board; the whole saloon was designed for the | Galleret admitted what she said, paid all the

1.

attention of which he was capable to the game, and won the second, but lost the third, which decided his fate. He was obliged to suffer himself to be disarmed and conducted to a prison, where he had at least the consolation to find a great number of other Knights who had lost their liberty in the same way. There he remained till his brother Gauvain had the good fortune to make the fairy check-mate at the fourth move, and thus put young Galieret in possession of the charming Floribelle, her chess-room, and castle."

If it were possible to give the least credit, in an historical point of view, to the romances of chivalry, and the tales of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the antiquity of the game of chess, in Europe, would be much higher than the period at which, in conformity with the opinion of Freret, we have fixed its jutroduction. But these romance-writers were so accustomed to commit the most egregious blunders in chronology, in geography, and in history, that it gave them no more trouble to make the Knights of King Arthur play at chess than to transport Babylon into Egypt, to metamorphose the emirs of the Arabs into admirals, and to suppose that Charlemagne had assumed the cross preparatory to an expedition to the Holy Land. At their time the game of chess was common at the coarts of the great lords of France. Skill in playing this game was considered as one of the perfections befitting an accomplished Knight; this was sufficient to make them ascribe it to the Knights of the Round Table, whom they represented as models of all the virtues and perfections of their condition.

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We should find a much stronger proof against the opinion of Freret, in the chessboard with large ivory figures and Arabic characters, which formed part of the treasure of the Abbey of St. Dennis, if it were true as it was asserted, that it belonged to Charlemagne, and that he received it from Asia, doubtless among the presents of the Calif Harun Alraschid. But what prevents the Arabic characters from giving any weight to this tradition is, that the pieces have nothing of the Oriental costume, and are made in the European style. The latter circumstance, and the name of the maker, would rather lead us to suspect it to be the work of some modern Greek. If Charlemagne had known, or been fond of chess, we should find some notice of it in Eginhard, who entered into such circumstantial details respecting the domestic life of bis master.

We ought to pay still less attention to the snecdote related by the celebrated Augustus,

Duke of Lüneburg, under the name of Gastavus Selenas, in his detailed description of the game of chess. It refers to the son of a Duke Occar of Bavaria, who lived in France at the court of King Pepin, and was killed with a blow from a chess-board, by a young prince, who could not brook being beaten by the Bavarian. The Duke quotes two manuscript chronicles which mention this fact; but they not only disagree with history, but differ from each other respecting the principal circum

stances of that event.

This anecdote may, therefore, be considered as fictitious, and it proves no more in favour of the antiquity of the game of chess in Europe, than that which we meet with in the historyof the four sons of the Duke Aymon. We there find Renaud de Montauban playing at chess with a nephew of Charlemagne: they quarrel; the prince throws the chess board at the head of Renaud, who is so far from relishing the joke, that he hurls it back at the prince, who is struck on the forehead, and drops down dead on the spot. There is doubtless a good deal of truth in these ancient popular romances and traditions; but as it is seldom possible to separate the truth from the falsehood which they contain, no induction can be drawn from them either for or against the facts whose historical certainty is doubtful. Supposing, thea, that an event which actually occurred at Pepin's court gave rise to the anecdote related of the Duke of Lüneburg, why might not the game over which the two princes quarrelled have been the game of soldiers, the ludus latrunculorum of the ancient Romans? Might it not have been transmitted by them to the Gauls, and by the Gauls to the Franks. The latter might by degrees have lost their taste for their amusement; the introduction of chess into Europe might have occasioned its total suppression; and in the sequel ignorant writers may have mistaken the one for the other. This supposition, at least, appears extremely natural.

Before we conclude these observations on a game that has perhaps been more widely dif fused than any other, it may be necessary to mention that in a paper presented to the Royal Irish Academy, Mr. Eyles Irwin ascribes its origin to the Chinese, and fixes the date of its invention two hundred years antecedent to the Christian era The honour of it is assigned to a general, who contrived this game to appease his discontented troops, to silence their murmurs, to employ their vacant hours in lessons on the military art, and to cherish the spirit of conquest in the bosom of winterquarters. It must, however, be observed that

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