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Methought I then asked why the stars were pale,
And the dew had less of balm;
Why the music of echo was calm ?
On thy lip was the balm of the dew;
While the morn’s od’rous breath was round you !
For thou, thou unto me
Of perfection upon thee!
And thy heart to mine own I drew,
THE MARCH OF DISCOVERY.-STRIDE I. Our Local Literary Announcements were of a kind to ex. cite attention. We therefore did not wonder at their having done so. The public of Glasgow were not aware, until “ THE ANT" informed them of it, what intelligence lay slumbering in its capacious bosom, ready to be called forth by any warmth of public favour shown to the first hardy adventurers who dared to plant a shoot from the garden of Letters in the ungenial soil which is trodden into hardness by the ever-pacing foot of busy money-making. But “ THE ANT" reached its Sixth No., amid the smiles of the fair, and the patronage of the patrician, when, lo! one of its succeeding pages groaned beneath the load of promise, which, in the established periodical form of as Literary Intelligence," it was authorised to hold out by authors warmed into existence by the sunshine reflected from the hillock it had reared. And now, even before the full fruition of these important contributions to the sciences of Geography, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and the Art of Gunnery, have appeared in the “ Journal of a Cruise made on board the St. Andrew Steam Boat,” a mere precis of which, or little more than an outline of contents of which, has already been printed. Murray, bookseller to the Board of Longitude, has outbade Colburn for the copyright of the Quarto, which is to comprise the full details of this important exploratory expedition. But while we rejoice at these auspicious omens of Glasgow becoming as famous for composition as calico, and as distinguished in metre as in muslins, we cannot forget that it forms but a small portion of the wide world,” and its inhabitants but an inconsiderable series in the vast sum of its population, and with that eye for proportion, which “ if we have any propensity in the world,” we love to show that we possess—we patriotically relinquish our intention of giving forth some further an. nouncements of works on hand, or in the state of gestation, that we may enable our readers to measure one of those strides, which a small fraction of the world will have the other nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandth parts to believe that they are perpetually making in the great « March of Discovery.”
Were ever the pompous announcements of extraordinary invention, orthestatements of philosophical projects, which occupy so large a portion of the pages of our periodical literature, even but half fulfilled, we should certainly, by this time, have been the happiest, as well as the most extraordinary people upon the face of the earth. Coughs and consumptions would have now been almost unknown, or known but by tradition, had any one of the “ waterproof compounds,” or invaluable “ Balms” and “ Elixirs," so frequently discovered, possessed but a tithe of the qualities assigned to it. If we could have prevailed on the patentees of the “ New Steam Boat" plans, only to put them in execution, a trip to London, or a call at the Palais Royal, would have been only the occupation of the spare time of a leisure hour; and a jaunt to Constantinople, or the Pyramids of Egypt, the employment of a fine holiday. With Sir George Cayley's apparatus, had it succeeded, voyages to the moon would, by this time, have been everyday occurrences, “ things of no note and standing," and have excited no wonder. It is really somewhat remarkable, and withal, provoking too, to think that mariners will still perversely allow themselves to be drowned, notwithstanding the multitude of cork-jacket life-preservers and air-barrelled life-boats; and that adventurous travellers ever die of hunger or thirst, when so many valuable and portable compounds have been invented for their use. It may be man is a perverse animal, who delights in all sorts of risks and privations ;-or else there may be some truth in the opinion of those who consider a thoroughpaced projector-your man of plans and patents, as possessing more imaginative bumps on his cranium than the veriest poet or mad dramatist of ancient or modern times.
The life of a projector is a dream the elements he esteems but as instruments of his will. With a favourite plan in view, he is happier in shoes minus the heels, and à coat whose appearance is as outré as his purpose, than the rosy-nosed Alderman, swathed in fleecy hosiery, when inhaling the odour of green fat, or listening to the silvery tones of Sir W. Curtis' voice, in proposing the health of his Majesty's Ministers on a Lord Mayor's day. His projects bear no proportion to his pocket; for his riches consist in “ the idle coinage of the brain,"_not a legal tender in a commercial country, since it has not the cabalistic letters W. W. stamped upon it, nor does it emerge from beneath the die of Pistrucci. A true projector would be a good rider in a steeple chase, for no obstacle dismays, or appears to him as insurmountable. He has little of “ the milk of human kindness" in his bosom; for his projects are in no wise shackled by the ties of tenderness; and he never thinks of humanity imposing any shackles. To hin the laws of custom seem but made for his de rision--he laughs at partialities; and, if possessed of a favourite charger, would consign him, without a regret, over to the dog kennel, to fill his place with a “ Velocipede,” or “ Trivector."
Poetry, if poetry consists in a lofty mixture of imagination and fancy, of “high thoughts" and seerlike visions, is his staple produetion. His dreams are wilder than those of Mr. Coleridge; and Christabelle, or “ The Ancient Mariner," are sober prose and plain truth to his reveries. A patent of nobility, under the great seal, would please him less than a patent of a plan, or a partnership in a scheme for a steam-moving roasting-jack, or a self-impelled shoe-brush. He would give more for a glance at the damp sheets of a specification in the Repertory of Arts, than he would for the first reading of another Ivanħoe. Were he, by accident, to open a volume of the works of Campbell or Byron, he would forget the subject of it, and immediately begin to muse upon the best method by which types might, by the agency of steam, be made to dance into well-measured Alexandrines, or flowing and harmonious blank verse. He would prefer an introduction to a German professor of animal magnetism, to a visiting acquaintance with the nine Muses, or a standing invitation to the hill of Pindus. He would give the palm to Mr. Wyatt in preference to Apollo, and with some reason too; for his journal, for the last twenty years, contains more of the productions of wild and unfettered imagination, than any a Lays from Fairy-land,” or than is displayed in “ Kil. meny,” or “ The Witch of Fyffe.” Were he ever to pass Lochlomond, he would consume no time in gazing on its beauties, and, perhaps, never look at it except to conceive a cheap method of having it drained. If he ascended to the summit of the “ Lofty Ben,” he would neglect the glorious prospect of “ the flood and fell,” for a calculation of the expense of levelling its surface, or forming it into a Chinese terrace, after which it might be advantageously feued out for cabbage gardens! He is intimate with every brother in folly, yet does not know the face of his next door neighbour, and recollects the name of the patentee of the latest “ Fire Escape Ladder," but forgets those of his youngest children. He has several plans for the reduction of the national debt, and an infallible nostrum for the total abolition of poverty and poor's rates. If he has not already Rumfordised every chimney in his house, he will now block them up and heat his apartments with
steam; and he will gravely assert that much fuel might be saved were we to cook our flesh meat in the Abyssinian method—betwixt the horse's back and the saddle. The following Patents have recently passed the Great Seal,
although not yet specified in the Repertory of Arts:For a newly-invented gas singeing machine, by which ladies may
remove all superfluous hairs from the face, throat, and arms, with as little trouble as a cook rids poultry of its down previous to roasting—and for an asbestos net head-cover, by which false curls and wigs will be secured from the effects of the gas, with
out the trouble of removing them. For a method of illuminating direction-posts and mile-stones, by
either rendering them transparent, or throwing reflections upon
them by night, as wearied travellers do by day. To Bernard O'Reilly, of St. Margaret's Place, for a new steel
teazing card, for raising the nap on cast-off garments. -(This discovery is by a citizen of our own-of whom we may be justly
proud.) For a method of restoring salt butter, however rancid, to its original
state of pure cream, and Dunlop cheese into fresh milk, for the use of voyagers and other adventives by passing it a second
time through the same cow. For a new lotion for changing the colour of the eyes to any tint,
from the pale blue of a lovely Saxon, to the deep lustre of a Circassian beauty, by merely wiping the pupil with a spunge
dipped in the preparation. For the discovery of a fifth Element, and an additional Sense. For making silk purses from sows' ears. For an infallible method of stopping Time, until the possessor is
ready to make a good use of it. For an automaton auctioneer, which will sell every description of
property-flourish the hammer-nod at every bidding-and knock down a lot with the utmost grace and precision. For training spiders to weave cobwebs to any given pattern--and
for bleaching and pressing the same. For adapting the plan of the Venus fly-trap of Botany, to the
destruction of bugs and fleas. For a varnish to be applied to the timbers of ships and the walls of
fortifications, by which all missiles aimed at them will be driven back with redoubled force on the heads of those who let them
off. -- And, Finally, to our distinguished fellow-citizen, John Johnston, late of
Punch's Opera, foot of Stockwell-Street, for an improvement in the composition of his fly-water, by which it will be made to bury as well as kill these insects—thus removing the objection of grocers to its use, that, for every one which it killed, 20 come to the funeral.