Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

ui Chief for this institution: but we believe ourselves to be justified in stating that he has never yet even once visited it; and-it is not the establishment of any thing of the kind, but the mode of conducting it, and the placing of its management in proper hands, that will render it useful and productive of national benefit, provided that it be founded on sound principles and proper regulations. The multiplicity of business before his Royal Highness may be alleged as a sufficient reason for his not going to inspect, and examine in person, the manner in which its affairs are conducted; as well as for his not adverting to the erroneous method of teaching fortification which there prevails, and not prohibiting their French professor from publishing such blunders, to the exposure of the establishment. It is, however, the express'duty of the Governor of the college, and of the Inspectors of studies in it, who ought to be resident on the spot, to prevent such circumstances \ and we cannot suppose them to be incapable of discerning, at first sight, errors so manifest and glaring.

These, however, are not the only errors which the French Professor at Marlow has committed. In page 93, he calls Errard the oldest known author who has written on modern fortification, or the bastioned system: though the truth is that La Treille, and a number of others, wrote on the subject before him. La Treille even proposed the retired curtain, which is commonly called the re-inforced order. Tartalea, as far back as 1546, gave in the sixth book of his S^uesiti ed Inventi»ni Divene, a plan of Turin, that was then fortified with bastions, which had been completed some time before.—At p. 06, the Baron falls into a very great mistake, in giving an account of ErrartTs construction in regard to the position of his flanks. He asserts, in general terms, that this fortifier made them incline towards the curtain, or form acute angles with it: but Errard fortifies inwards; and in the square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, and octagon, he makes the flank perpendicular to the face of the bastion; while in the enneagon, and all polygons of a greater number of sides, he places it perpendicular to the curtain, instead of making it incline towards that part.'

After much common-place and erroneous observation, the Baron gives definitely what he calls the exact trace or draught used by engineers. Here also, however, he mistakes: for it does not exactly correspond with the construction employed in the latest works erected either in this or other countries. Ia fact it differs in nothing from Vaubaris first method, but in the placing of the flanks at right angles to the lines of defence, and making the faces of the bastions equal each to 52 toises in.

K k % stead stead of 50. He then has recourse, unnecessarily, to trigono* metry, in order to find near values of the different lines in a front of this construction, which he might have determined and expressed exactly, with much less trouble, in the following manner. The tenaille being equal to 30^/10 toises, and the face of the bastion by construction equal to 52 toises, the distance of either shoulder from the intersection of the lines of defence is equal exactly to 30^10—52 X toises; the distance between the two opposite shoulders, to l8ov/10 3T2x

t/10

toises, or 180—3 1,2X^10 X toises; the length of either flank

equal exactly to 18ov/'°~312. x toiSes, or to 18^/10—31,2 X

toises; and the curtain exactly equal to 720° ^a4^\/Tay

toises. This construction gives the line of defence equal to about 130 toises: but, instead of being an improvement of Vauban'% first method as to the length of the face of the bastion, it is the reverse: for the Marshal made it at least five toises too long. It never perhaps ought to exceed a fourth part of the exterior side; since, when it does, it affords the besiegers an opportunity of making very large, wide, and practicable breaches.

Though the author of this performance expressly informs us that he has composed it for the use of officers of the line, he acknowleges that he has not made a single observation in it 'en irregular construction; which is the principal part of fortification that such officers ought to know, since this alone can be used in most situations in the field.

The wildest and most extraordinary part of this work, however, is the Baron's plan of defence for the frontiers of a country. He supposes a state to be encircled and secured by three successive lines of fortified places. The first or outermost line rs to consist of the smallest works, having seven, six, five, or even four fronts each, and placed at the distance of from three to (our leagues respectively from one another; the second, of works of eight fronts each, at the distance of from six to eight leagues from one another, and opposite to the intervals between those of the first; and the third line, of works of twelve fronts each, from twelve to sixteen leagues distant from one another, and opposite to the intervals between those of the others. He proposes to have the second of these lines from three to four leagues behind the first, and the third from six to eight leagues retired. This he considers as a simple and cecononiical mode of defending coun^ves 5 We wish that Buona

fartt parte would adopt it for, his conquests and acquired territories!

As the present Aperfu made its appearance some time before Captain Birch's late memoir *, it is probable that this enlightened officer of Royal Engineers borrowed from it his idea of three successive lines of defence for South Britain ; of which he confesses, however, that he has very little local knowlege.

Art. VIII. Po'e'me sur I'Astronomic, &c.; i.e. A Poem on Astronomy, with new and exact Cham, containing the Number of Stars which compose each Constellation, and the right Ascension and Declination, after the most celebrated Astronomers of the Age. By P. Villemer, Master of an Academy, StanhopeStreet, Clare-Market. 8vo. pp. 41. Dulau and Co. London..

T7"nowlege, it may be said, is acceptable in any form: but **■ we cannot reconcile ourselves to every mode in which it is administered. When unnecessary parade is employed, we are often disgusted; and an improper ill-adapted vehicle spoils the medicine. The pence and multiplication tables would gain nothing by being turned into poems, and must necess-rily involve in ridicule the author of such a whim. Had an English schoolmnster, with a romantic rhiming propensity, undertaken to give us the multiplication-table in couplets, after the following manner,

Four time's four will make, I ween,
Not more, nor less, but Just sixteen;
And five times-five, as I'm alive.
Are just as good as twenty five,

we could not refrain from putting on our '« broad grins," and from amusing ourselves with remarks which would not have been flattering to his vanity. If the poor English pedagogue, then, would not have been spared, can M. Villemer expect to escape our humorous, animadversions, after having published a poem on astronomy, which is exactly in character with the lines which we have been under the cruel necessity of inventing, in order to give our countrymen an idea of the quality and Contents of the composition before us? Think, gentle reader, of having the magnitude, distances, and periods of the revolutions of the planets, &c. set forth in doggrel rhimes ; and hobbling verse employed to teach that which is better and more correctly taught in humble prose! Think, moreover, of M. Villem. R's pomposity in invoking the Sacred Muse, as if he was about to rehearse " things unattempted yet in prose or

• See our Review for May last, p. 72.

K k 3 rhyme," rhyme," when he tells nothing but what may be collected from the commonest book on astronomy! He asks, forsooth, not the aid of the Pagan Nine, nor presumes to sip of Hippocrene, but repairs (so he would have us believe) to "Siloa's brook that flowed fast by the oracle of God." If, however, he took the journey, he lost his inspiration on his return; since the Muse of Oreb, we will roundly assert, is not answerable for his poem. Mercury, Venus,, the Earth, M ;rs, Jupiter, Saturn, and Herschel, move round, the luminous ball, but not with " the harmony of the spheres." As "nought but itself can be its parallel," we must exhibit a morsel of this curiosity:

* De trente millions de nos feux éloigné,
Mercure dans six mou pour nous aura jormé
Deux cercles annuels autour de notre sphère,
Quoiqu'il ait en grosseur plus d'un tiers de la terre.

'Vénus, deux fois plus vaste, à septante, en huit mois
A Pordre de former ce cercle que tu vois.

* Placée à pris de cent du foyer de lumière
La terre, au,même instant, commence sa carrière;
Elle fait tous les ans son cercle autour du jour,
Et chaque jour celui de son propre contour.

De ces deux mouvement résultent les années, .
Et le chaud et le froid, les soi ans, les journées.
Cent quatre-vingts degrés ne font que la moitié
De l'immense pourtour de son orbite entier.

'A cent quarante-cinq de la masse solaire,
Mars au premier signal prend son cours circulait*.
Quatre mille deux cents, telle est sa profondeur,
Vingt deux mois dix jours sont de ion an le labeur;
Sous ses pieds et la terre et Venus, et Mercure,
N'ont peur ce corps lointain qu'une existence obscure.

'A cinq cents millhns arrive Jupiter.
Voyez ce globe énorme avancer dans l'élher.
Vingt-deuxfois plus profond, brillant de feux solaires,
Quoiqu'il soit hérissé " de remparts circulaires;
Quatre lunes, tournant sans cesse autour de lui,
De son sombre séjour font écarter la nuit.
Ce n'est que dans douze ans qu'il forme son année
Autour de ce foyer de lumière éthérét.

* Saturne, un peu moins vaste, i neuf cents millions,
Fait assez lentement ses révolutions.

Ses lunes, son anneau, troupes auxiliaires,
Le couvrent nuit etjour de leurs rayons précaires.
Ce n'est que dans trente ans qu'il visile le tour
De cet astre lointain dont il reçoit lejour.
Des terres des anciens observez la dernière,
Herschel, qui de Phibus protège la frontière;

* This line (we suppose) applies to the Belts of Jupiter, but the epithet hérissé, bristled, is not very appropriate.

C'est un corps monstrueux dont la seule épaisseur
Sept cent milles contient ; sa distante lenteur
Prend quatre vingt-deux ansa former les années
Des frittes habitons de ces froides contrées.'

After this specimen of Ferguson done into verse, we are taken to the fixed stars, and to the comets; and in order to make proud mortals tremble, they are told that, *

A comet may come, with tail of lighted tinder,
And reduce our poor earth to nonght but a cinder.

Mrs. Luna also coquettes in verse, being sometimes married to Phoebus and at others divorced from him, according to the well-known capriciousness of this night-walking lady.

The signs of the Zodiac, and the constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres, are worked by a kind of rhiming cross-stitch into this tissue: but the effect is as completely un-poetic as can be imagined. The author, however, proud of his handy work, assumes the office of preacher in the conclusion, and triumphs in exposing the folly of Atheism. Here he rises superior to himself; and that we may shew him to the best advantage, we shall copy his pious finale:

'Ah! Quel autre que lui put jamah lui plier
Cette arche illimitée, et pour sa propre gloire
De la moitié du ciel couronner la nuit noire?
On voit la pale lune au sortir du couchant
Paraître, pour blanchir moitié du firmament..
Ce géant de la nuit en silence s'avance,
Surpassant tous les airs d'une distance immense;
Sa flambante cuv asse au monde réfléchit
Le jour que le soleil pour l'univers transmit.
Si lorsque Phébus est vers les pieds de ce monde,
On dit qu'il s'engloutit dans celle mer profonde,
On nous trompe, il se ve et répand ses rayons
Sur de nouveaux climats, pour d'autres nations.
Quand, pressés du sommeil, nous oublions les heures
Les hommes opposés remplissent leur demeures
. De travaux, déplaisirs, d'un espoir précieux,
Chacun de son côté jouit des dons des deux.
Le soleil plein d'ardeur quittant l'autre hémisphère
Nous rend incontinent ses feux et sa lumière.
Dans les bras du sommeil les hommes iour-a-tour
Passent sans le sentir de l'un à P autre jour;
Tous contins de revoir le jour chasser les ombres
Et des songes fermer les demeures trop sombres.
Jusqu'à quand,jour divin, suspendras-tu ton tour:
Jusqu'à quand se suivront et la nuit et le jour?
Quand est-ce que notre âme apercevra l'aurore
De ce jour éternel du soleil qu'on adore!

K. k 4 La

« ПредишнаНапред »