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EPIGRAM BY LA MONNOYE,
The world of fools has such a store,
That he who would not see an ass,
And break his looking glass.
CHILDREN CRYING AT THEIR BIRTH.
When I was born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, which is of like nature, and the first voice which I wtered was crying, as all others do.--Wisd. vii, 3.
Tum porro Puer, ut sævis projectus ab undis
Lucret. De Rer. Nat., v. 223.
For the benefit of the lady readers of “ N. & Q.” I subjoin a translation of these beautiful lines of Lucretius :
The infant, as soon as Nature with great pangs of travail hath sent it forth from the womb of its mother into the regions of light, lies, like a sailor cast out from the waves, naked upon the earth in utter want and helplessness; and fills every place around with mournful wailings and piteous lamentation, as is natural for one who has so many ills of life in store for him, so many evils which he must pass through and suffer.
Thou must be patient: we came crying hither;
To this great stage of fools.--Shakspeare's Lear. Who remindeth me of the sins of my infancy? "For in Thy sight none is
pure from sin, not even the infant whose life is but a day upon the earth.” (Job xxv. 4.) Who remindeth me? Doth not each little infant, in whom I see what of myself I remember not? What then was my sin? Was it that I hung upon the breast and cried ?-St. Austin, Confess., lib. i. 7.
For man's sake it should seeme that Nature made and produced all other creatures besides; though this great favour of hers, so bountifull and beneficiall in that respect, hath cost them full deere. Insomuch as it is hard to judge, whether in so doing she hath done the part of a kind mother, or a hard and cruell stepdame. For first and foremost, of all other living creatures, man she hath brought forth all naked, and cloathed him with the good and riches of otliers. To all the rest she hath given sufficient to clad them everie one according to their kind: as namely shells, cods, hard hides, prickes, shagge, bristles, haire, downe, feathers, quils, skailes, and fleeces of wool. The verie trunkes and stemmes of trees and plants, shee hath defended with bark and rind, yea, and the same sometime double against the injuries both of heat and cold : man alone, poore wretch, she hath laid all naked upon the bare earth, even on his birth-day, to cry and wraule presently from the very first houre that he is borne into this world: in suche sort as, among so many living creatures, there is none subject to shed teares and weepe like him. And verily to no babe or infant is it given once to laugh before he be fortie daies old, and that is counted verie early and with the soonest.
The child of man thus untowardly borne, and who another day is to rule and command all other, loe how he lyeth bound hand and foot, weeping and crying, and beginning his life with miserie, as if he were to make amends and satisfaction by his punishment unto Nature, for this onely fault and tresspass, that he is borne alive.Plinie's Naturall Historie, by Phil. Holland, Lond. 1601, fol., intr. to b. vii.
The following queries are extracted from Sir Thomas Browne's " Common-place Books," Aristotle, Lib. Animal.:
Whether till after forty days children, though they cry, weep not; or, as Scaliger expresseth it, “ Vagiunt sed oculis siccis.”
Whether they laugh not upon tickling ?
Why, though some children have been heard to cry in the womb, yet so few cry at their birth, though their heads be out of the womb?
-Bohn's ed. iii. 358.
Thomson follows Pliny, and says that man is “ taught alone to weep" ("Spring,” 350); but-not to speak of the
Cruel, crafty crocodilo,
Doth weep full sore and sheddeth tender tears, as Spenser sings—the camel weeps when overloaded, and the deer when chased sobs piteously. Thomson himself, in a passage he has stolen from Shakspeare, makes the stag weep:
he stands at bay;
He groans in anguish.-Autumn, 452. Steller relates this of the Phoca Ursina, Pallas of the camel, and Humboldt of a small American monkey.-Laurence On Man, Lond. 1844, p. 161.
Risibility, and a sense of the ridiculous, is generally considered to be the property of man, though Le Cat states that he has seen a chimpanzee laugh.
Grose (quoted in Brand) tells us there is a superstition that a child who does not cry when sprinkled in baptism will not live; and the same is recorded in Hone's Year-Book.
EPIGRAMS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
The following epigrams are transferred from the letters of Mr. Martyn, a littérateur of temporary fame in the first half of the eighteenth century, addressed to Dr. Birch, which are among the Birch MSS. in the British Museum. Mr. Martyn, if I remember right, gives them as not his own.
EPITAPH ON ARCHBISHOP POTTER.
Alack and well-a-day,
Two epigrams on the coffins of Dr. Sacheverel and Sally Salisbury, being found together in the vault of St. Andrew's:
Lo! to one grave consigned, of rival fame,
A fit companion for a high-church priest;
Two centuries ago furs were so rare, and therefore so highly valued, that the wearing of them was restricted by several sumptuary laws to kings and princes. Sable, in those laws called vair, was the subject of countless regulations: the exact quality permitted to be worn by persons of different grades, and the articles of dress to which it might be applied, were defined most strictly. Perrault's tale of Cinderella originally marked the dignity conferred on her by the fairy, by her wearing a slipper of vair, a privilege then confined to the highest rank of princesses. An error of the press, now become inveterate, changed vair into vorre, and the slipper of sable was suddenly converted into a glass slipper.
A story somewhat similar to that of Cinderella has been handed down from the Greek. It is reported of Rhodopis, " that one day when she was in the bath, an eagle snatched one of her slippers from an attendant, and carried it to Memphis. The King was then sitting on his tribunal; the eagle, settling above his head, let fall the slipper into his bosom; the prince, astonished at this singular event, and at the smallness of the slipper, ordered search to be made through the country for the woman to whom it belonged. Having found her at Naucratis, she was presented to the King, who made her his wife.”
In a very curious little book, entitled Kronycke van Alcmaer, and published in that town anno 1645, are the following particulars about Cornelis Drebbel, a native of the same city.
Being justly renowned as a natural philosopher, and having made great progress in mechanics, our Drebbel was named tutor of the young Prince of Austria, by the Emperor Ferdinandus II.,
an office which he fulfilled so well, that he was afterwards chosen councillor to His Majesty, and honored with a rich pension for past services. But, alas ! in the year 1620, Prague, the place he dwelt in, was taken by Frederick, then King of Bohemia, several members of the imperial council were imprisoned, and some of them even put to death.
Bereft of every thing he possessed, a prisoner as well as the others, poor Drebbel would perhaps have undergone the same lot if the High Mighty States of the United Provinces had not sent a message to the King of England, asking him to interfere in their countryman's favor. They succeeded in their benevolent request; for his English Majesty obtained at last from his sonin-law, the Dutch philosopher's liberation, who (I don't exaggerate) was made a present of to the British King; maybe a sort of lion, which the King of Morocco had never yet thought of bestowing upon the monarch as a regal offering.
Drebbel, however, did not forget how much he owed to the intercession of King James, and, to show his gratitude, presented him with an object of very peculiar make. I will try to give you an exact version of its not very clear description in the Dutch book.
A glass or crystal globe, wherein he blew or made a perpetual motion by the power of the four elements. For every thing which (by the force of the elements) passes, in a year, on the surface of the earth (sic!) could be seen to pass in this cylindrical wonder in the shorter lapse of twenty-four hours. Thus were marked by it, all years, months, days, hours; the course of the sun, moon, planets, and stars, &c. It made you understand what cold is, what the cause of the primum mobile, what the first principle of the sun, how it moves; the firmament, all stars, the moon, the sea, the surface of the earth, what occasions the ebb, flood, thunder, lightning, rain, wind, and how all things wax and multiply, &c.
-as every one can be informed of by Drebbel's own works; we refer the curious to his book, entitled Eeuwige Beweginghe (Perpetual Motion).
Can this instrument have been a kind of Orrery?