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tiful bird, frequenting waters, and feeding on fish. It builds in deep boles in the banks of rivers, and lays five, or, according to some, nine eggs. It much approaches to the Picas, or Woodpecker, in many points; but wants its great character, which is, the having two toes behind. The legs of this bird are very short, and are black before and red behind; its colours, particularly its green and blue, which are its general ones, are extremely bright and beautiful. It takes its prey after the manner of the Osprey, balancing itself at a certain distance over the water for a considerable space, and then darting below the surface, brings up the prey in its feet. While it remains suspended in the air, on a bright day, the plumage exhibits a most beautiful variety of very dazzling and brilliant colours.
This bird was called Halcyon by the ancients. Aristotle has described the bird and its nest; which, according to him, resembled those concretions that are formed by the sea water, and fashioned in the shape of a long necked gourd, hollow within, but so narrow at the entrance, that if it overset the water could not enter. This nest was called Halcyoneum, and had medical virtues ascribed to it: it was also a floating one; and therefore it was necessary for the poets who hnve described it to place it on u tranquil sea, and to supply the bird with charms to allay the fury of a turbulent element during its incubation, for it had at that season power over the seas and winds. During the days of this bird's incubation, in the depth of winter, the mariner might sail in full security; and therefore they were called "Halcyon Days.''
Lambeth. Walter E. C.
(From another Correspondent.)
In the agreeable communications of your correspondents, they seem in their quotations to have overlooked the following, from Dryden:—
* Secure as when the halcyon breeds, with these He that was born to drown might crosi the
seas.* Astraa Redux.
And again, in his stanzas on the death of Oliver Cromwell—
* And wars have that respect for his repose
As winds for halcyons when they breed at sea.*
Cowley likewise, in his preface to his Miscellanies, says, talking of his mind, "It must, like the halcyon, have fair weather to breed in."
The story of Ceyx and Alcyone is beautifully told in Ovid, Met. 11. fab. 10.
I. I. O.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. (For the Mirror.) In the vale of Evesham, was fought the most memorable buttle recorded in the annals of English history, between Simon de Mountfort, the powerful Earl of Leicester, and Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward the First; in which the earl was completely defeated, and the refractory barons, with most of their adherents taken or slain. This important battle restored Henry the Third to his throne and liberty. When he had ascended the throne, he determined to still further curtail the enormous power of the barons; and by his writs summoned together, as his advisers, representatives from numerous cities and boroughs, as well as counties; the battle of Evesham therefore may be considered, says a modern writer, " as the origin of our present House of Commons.''
The learned John Selden says, "All are involved in a parliament. There was a time when all men had their voice in choosing knights. About Henry the Sixth's time they found the inconvenience, so one parliament made a law, that only he that had forty shillings per annum should give his voice, they under should be excluded." " In a word (says Chamberlayne) a parliament's authority is most absolute; a parliament can do all that Senatus popitlusque Rt nanus could do, eenluriatis Comitis seu Tributis ; it represents the whole kingdom, so that the consent of the parliament is presumed to be the consent of every man in England." P. T. W.
THE LEGACY OF THE SWORD. (For the Mirror. I It is thine—it shall win thee a wreath for thy trow
When thy spirit seems more energetic than now;—
It is thine in the war-cloud of gloom and of fire, The pride of thy kindred—the sword of thy sire! It is thine—let the bright rose around it en. twine,—
Let it glance in the sunbeam which smiles on the shrine,
And sheathe it triumphant when craveus retire, The pride of thy household—the sword of thy sire!
It Is thine— hnt the warrior who bore it is laid Where the rose throws its balm, and the cypress its shade.
And churls ond marauders have ceased to retire From the star of the battle—the sword of thy sire!
It is thine—thou sbalt wave it with banner and plume
When the trumpet is heard in the war-cloud of gloom i
It is thine to defend thee wlien rebels conspire, Tlie choice of thy childhood—the sword of thy sire I
Deal. G. 11. C. Or, Reginald Augustine.
SPIRIT OF THE
MAVHOVITCH, THE POLE.
* There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.*
It seems that Vulodimir Mavrovitch, the fratricide, was the second son of Count Bnileskow, the representative of one of the oldest and most renowned families in Poland. In his youth, Valodimir was the most elegant boy almost ever seen, and scarcely less remarkable for talent than beauty; but he had a peculiar enthusiasm about him, in which, as his tutor, Father Theophilus, often said, lay his destiny. "In all other respects, he is only," said the father, "a nobler youth than common; but in this singular endowment he has something supernatural to man. He is without fear— he knows not what it is; and, with a dexterity inconceivable, accomplishes the most abstruse and difficult purposes. In his lessons, such is his aptitute, that he learns as if he had brought knowledge with him into the world; and in fieldsports, the chase, and all exercises, he possesses an ardour and courage by which he outstrips every competitor. His generosity is equally unbounded; and whatever he undertakes is pursued with an indefatigable eagerness that knows not impediment; but amidst this unexampled energy in purpose there is cause for fear. It matters not to him, when once interested, whether his object be good or bad; and in this fatal inability to discriminate the value of his aims lies his danger."
(We are compelled considerably to abridge this story to suit our limits.— The mystical portion of it, or " the story of the Demon," as the narrator, a Pole, calls it, is thus told to an English tourist:)—
"When I was on the eve of my departure from the castle of Baileskow, my paternal inheritance, and the residence of my mother, to make a tour through Germany and Italy, the carriage being at the gate, and the servants with torches around—for it was then before the dawn of day—as I crossed the court from the hall-door to embark, an old man met me. He had the air of a
priest, but not exactly the garb, and hi* eyes, I thought—or it might be an after fancy—were luminous.
"' Valodimir Mavrovitch,' said the stranger, 'Cbittfe !'— I would have answered, but the torch-light which shone through the gateway upon him shifted, and I was surprised that he too had disappeared, like one of the shadows of the servants on the castle wall.
"I was surprised at the brief and emphatic admonition of the Demon, for it was no less; but instead of obeying his injunction, after embarking in the carriage, I fell asleep.
"In the course of the journey, I met with neither accident nor adventure; but in the evening of the afternoon that I reached Munich, I strolled out from the hotel at which I had put up, and entered, after a short walk, a coffeehouse, in which several persons were smoking, with ices and liquors before them. One table only was vacant—it was near the door, and it had no light upon it. I entered and sat down at this table, and ordered a cigar; which being brought, with a candle, I began to smoke, and was thinking on the admonition of the mysterious stranger in the court of the castle. My back was towards the door, when presently feeling as it were a hand laid on my shoulder, I hastily turned round, and at my elbow beheld the stranger again. '3Seto«rc!' said he, and withdrew.
"This incident affected me more than the former: it seemed to be couched with anxiety, as if some danger impended; but at the same moment two young officers came in, and seeing no vacant places, seated themselves opposite to me at the same table. They were about my own age, of a gallant air, and observing that I was a stranger, they addressed me in a generous, gentlemanly manner. I was much pleased with their conversation, and they professed themselves equally so with mme. Like other young men, we became, while I stayed at Munich, friends, and in their agreeable society both the 'Cftinfe!' and 'JSetoare!' were forgotten. On my departure for Vienna, they gave me letters to their friends in that metropolis, by whom I was received with marked distinction.
I had not, however, been many days in Vienna, when one evening, returning from a party on foot, my servant having neglected to bring my carriage, a sudden stream of light from a window fell upon a figure which I perceived walking before me. He turned round at the same moment, and 1 beheld my warden.— 'JJtop !' said the apparition; I did do so; but in u moment the light vanished, and he was gone.
"This third warning took some effect: it was mystical, and I pondered in a vain endeavour to ascertain to what it could allude. My conjectures were fruitless: I could only recall that in the course of the evening I had been much excited by the beauty of n young countess, for whom, on account of her marriage, the ball had been given. The count, her husband, was a noble and elegant young man, and their mutual attachment had been a theme of admiration from their childhood in their respective families.— '£>top!' I repeated to myself, as I entered my lodgings, 'what can that have to do with aught that I have undertaken?' But in the course of a few days I became myself again, the admonisher was forgotten, and I could think only of the beautiful countess. I have just told my confessor that in less than a month her husband shot himself, and she fled from my arms to a nunnery.
"This affair obliged me to quit Vienna more abruptly than I intended; but instead of going to Venice, I went to Paris, taking Frankfort in my way. Being entirely unknown at Frankfort, I hastily visited alone every thing remarkable in the city, resolving to leave it in the morning; but the day was sultry, and in the evening, partly owing to fatigue, I felt myself tired and indiposed, and remained there next day. In the afternoon I found myself better; and as a ublic pleasure - garden was near the otel where I stopped, I went to amuse myself for a few mmutes there. Whether custom or any festival had that evening assembled an unusual concourse of people I never inquired, but the garden was crowded with a gay multitude, and music with great hilarity enlivened the entertainment. I walked about delighted with the scene.
"In the course of my sauntering amidst the arbours, I came to an alcove a little remote from the more stirring cloud, and in it were several gentlemen playing cards: two were at chess, and by their side a little boy, seemingly one of their sons, amusing himself with throwing dice. After looking for a minute or two, I went to the child, and in sheer playfulness challenged the boy for a throw. At the same instant that I took the box in my hand, some one touched my elbow; I looked round, and the old man was there—' ^IJause !' said he. In that instant a rope-dancer at some distance fell, a shriek rose, my attention was roused, and I missed again
the stranger; but when tranquillity was restored, my desire to play at dice returned, and I again challenged the child to whom I lost several pieces of money, which the lucky boy was as proud of gaining as the conqueror at the Battle of Prague.
"That was the first time I had ever played at dice. My education was recluse. I had no companions, and we had no dice in the castle. The idle game pleased me. When I returned to the hotel, I ordered dice, and amused myself all the evening with casting them, actuated by a persuasion that there must be a mode of doing so by which any desired number may be thrown. Thin notion took possession of my mind, and I stayed several days at Frankfort, employed in attempts to make the discovery; at last I did succeed. With a pair of dice I attained a sleight by which I could cast what I pleased; but with it I also made another discovery: it was only with perfect cubes I could be so successful. I tried many, but all, in any degree imperfect, could not be so commanded.
"I then went to Paris, where, being well introduced, I became a favourite. The ladies could not make enough of me, and I felt no ennui to lead me to the gaming-tables. But one night, on which I had an appointment with a fascinating favourite, when I went to her house I found she had been seized with the smallpox. To shun reflection on the loathsome disease, I went to a house which I knew was much frequented by some of my friends, and, as I expected, met several. They invited me to play, and aa I was ignorant of cards, they consented to throw dice, because, not aware of my art with them, they supposed, seeing me out of spirits, that it would rouse me. We played for trifling stakes, and to their indescribable astonishment, I won every throw, and, doubling our stakes, at last, a large sum of money.
"Next day the lady died. My grief was such that I could not but look upon her. Her waiting gentlewoman consented, and I was shown into the apartment where she lay, at the moment when the attendants were preparing the body. Such a spectacle! I flew in anguish again to the gaming - house; I diced again, as if a furor had possessed me; I staked largely, and won every thing. All the guests and the plundered were amazed at my success, and collected in crowds around. The pressure upon me was inconvenient. I turned to request the spectators would stand back. At my elbow again stood the Demon. 'SSo on,'
were his words. I was petrified, and he was away.
"Unable to proceed with the effects of the surprise, my losing antagonist imagined that I was making some sign to a secret confidant, but not daring to express his suspicion, only requested the dice should be changed. They were so. The new ones were not cubes, and they were uneven in weight. I lost back the greatest part of my winnings; and I also lost character. It was observed that I threw the casts in a different manner from that in which I had thrown the first dice. A suspicion arose among the spectators that 1 did so on purpose to lose, and in a few evenings I was stripped of the greater part of my fortune, for every evening the dice were changed, and sometimes often in the course of a night. At last I quitted Paris, with the matured character of a thorough libertine and an unfair gamester.
"I took my passage at Marseilles, for Naples, and at the time appointed for embarkation, went to the mole to go on board.
"It was evening; the sun had set some time; the beacon of the port was lighted; and the dawn of the moon was brightening the eastern horizon. The populace, who were enjoying the cool air, had not however dispersed, but were standing in numerous groups around. A feeling at the moment came upon me that the Demon was near, and I resolved if it appeared again to employ my sword, although at the time persuaded that it was but a form impalpable. In the same moment I saw it before me; out flew my sword, and in the instant I felt that it pierced a mortal heart; but instead of the old visionary-man, I beheld a boatman dead and bleeding at my feet. A wild cry arose. The mob seized me, and I was carried to prison. Next day the case was investigated before the court of justice. I related the simple fact. A glib advocate doubted my asseverations; but the spectators, who were numerous, gave the fullest credit to the story, and I was spared the doom of a murderer, because the judges were of opinion that I could have no motive to commit the crime, and had perpetrated the deed under some influence of temporary lunacy.
"That was the wanton assassination with which all Europe rang at the time, and was ascribed to the extravagance of my reprobate nature.
"After my liberation, I proceeded to Naples, and mingling in all the pleasures of that luxurious city, in addition to my dexterity with the dice, I acquired equal
skill at the cards. In the study of them I found my sight possessed of a faculty not before imagined. The sharpness of my sight soon enable me to discover at once all the cards of a pack distinctly from each other, and I speedily wan master of every popular game. This superiority made me heedless of my disbursements; I could at any time supply my purse at the gaming-table, and as a consequence of that independence, I surrendered myself to enjoyment, and for years lived in riot and revelry, unmolested by the Demon.
"An unvaried career of licentiousness was not, however, my lot. An irascible countryman of yours, a lieutenant of the royal navy, who was introduced to me at a party, suddenly seemed to scowl at me with the visage of the demon, as we were in the heat of an argument, and I struck him in the lace. A duel was the consequence, and he disabled me in the right arm. That accident destroyed my sleight-of-hand with the dice. Thus was one source of my income cut off; a slight fever soon afterwards left its dregs in my eyes, I could no longer distinguish the cards with my wonted accuracy, and thus fell into poverty.
"Disturbed at the blight which had fallen on my fortunes, I shunned the haunts of the gay and reckless, and became a cicerone to the travellers; for my reputation as a libertine had reached Poland, and I was ashamed to return home.
"One day, when I had conducted an English family to Herculaneum, I felt myself a little indisposed while showing them the theatre, and, wi'h much charitable feeling, they insisted on my going up to the fresh air, and leave them with the common guide. Glad to avail myself of their kindness, 1 instantly retired, and at a short distance from the opening where we descended, I sat down on the capital of a defaced Corinthian column, to wait their return.
"While sitting on that spot, I cast my eyes accidentally towards the summit of Vesuvius, then emitting, as if panting for breath, occasional volumes of white smoke. As they rolled along the speckless expanse of the calm blue firmament, they assumed various beautiful forms, and I was watching their progress, forgetful of all but the visible poesy of their appearance, when the voice of the Demon whispered, as if its dreadful lips were at my ear—' Youtc aSroM)et.'
"I started from my seat, and looked behind me in horror j but only the bay, with its romantic shores, was in ■ight.
'•' When I had shaken off the consternation of the moment, I resumed my seat, and began to examine myself as to the purpose suggested by the portentous words. My cogitation was not long. The count was unmarried, and was the only impediment between me and the family estates.
"You can imagine what followed: here I am, and this night I shall be with the Demon; but I should continue the remainder of my story.. When the English travellers returned, they spoke to me with a friendly tenderness, and something in my appearance and manners had so interested them in my favour, that the old gentleman presented me with a purse of guineas. That money enabled me at once to return to Warsaw, where I consummated the instigation of the Demon."
Such was the tale told me by the unhappy man—wonderful certainly in its circumstances, but widely different from the terrific chaos of the popular belief, and simple in its incidents, compared to the incantations with which the apparitions of the tremendous visitant were invested by the people.
I would have questioned him more particularly, but our interview was interrupted by the arrival of the ecclesiastical procession, and I was obliged to leave the prison. After the clergy, all but one, who remained with him to the last, had left him, nobody was admitted. The crowd, however, round the scaffbid continued all day to increase, and the bells to toll. At last the sun set, the guards lighted their torches, and only the black scaffold and the upturned faces of the multitude were visible from where I stood. The prison gate was soon alter opened; the culprit, wrapped in a winding sheet, came forth, attended by the municipal officers, and proceeded with the funereal sound of trumpets to the dreadful spot where the two executioners, with their arms and throats bare, lifted a covering from the rack, and took their stations beside it, holding the handspikes, for turning the rending wheels, like muskets, on their shoulders. The moment that MaVrovitch mounted the scaffold, the trumpets and the tolling bells ceased; all was silent, and he walked with a firm tread towards the engine of torture. The executioners stepped forward, each took him by the arm. At the same moment a wild shriek rose; but what ensued is so well known, that 1 may spare myself from further recital.—New Mom. Mag.—(abridged.)
(For the Mirror.)
Soon round ns spread the bill and dales
Bloohfielo's Banks Of Wvk.
This county, tbe inland parts of which consist of verdant meadow or arable land, is bounded on all sides excepting that which joins the Severn, by ranges of hills which have generally either been covered with woods or devoted to the feeding of cattle. The southern or Severn side presents to the view well cultivated lands, gently rising from the shore.
Monmouth, the capital town, is situated at the confluence of the Wye and Munnow, "in a vale," says Gray, "which is the delight of my eyes, and the very seat of pleasure." It is surrounded on all sides by hills, which by affording the lowlands shelter from the bleak winds, promote vegetation, and present a beautiful prospect of hanging woods, interspersed with corn and pasture land.
The town consists principally of one long and handsome street, at the end of which is an old tower, which formerly defended the Munnow Bridge. There are a few remains of the castle in which Henry V. was born; an elegant and highly ornamented residence " the Castle House," has been built within its site, and partly of its materials. Monmouth is supposed to be the ancient Blestium. Abergavenny on the Usk is situated in a spot which partakes still more of the character of Welsh scenery: on the south west rises the Blorench mountain, in height 1,720 feet; to the north west the still higher mountain of the Sugar Loaf towers amidst the clouds. To the north east lies St. Michael's Mountain, or the Great Skyrrid, at one end of which is a remarkable chasm about 300 feet in breadth. The castle at Abergavenny formerly belonged to the Nevilles. The Welsh chroniclers have celebrated the Mountains of Carno, near this place, as having been bedewed with the blood of the Saxons.
The magnificent nuns of Ragland Castle lie half way between Monmouth and Abergavenny. Charles I. was entertained here during the first troubles of his reign, with noble hospitality by the aged Marquess of Worcester, who surrendered the castle, after a siege of almost three months, to the Parliament