Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

likewise first made lanterns of paper crimpled, which he used to go to school by, in winter mornings, with a candle, and tied them to the tails of the kites in a dark night, which at first affrighted the country people exceedingly, thinking they were comets. It is thought that he first invented this method, but I cannot tell how true. They tell us too how diligent he was in observing the motion of the sun, especially in the yard of the house where he lived, against the walls and roofs, wherein he would drive pegs to mark the hours and half hours made by the shade,* which by degrees, from some years' observations, he made very exact, and any body knew what o'clock it was by Isaac's dial, as they ordinarily called it. Thus, in his youngest years, did that immense genius discover his sublime imagination, that since has fitted or rather comprehended the world.

“ The lad was not only very expert with his mechanical tools, but he was equally so with his pen: for he busied himself very much in drawing, which I suppose he learnt from his own inclination and observation of nature. By inquiry, I was informed that one old Bartley (as he was called) was his writing master, who lived where now is the Mill-stone ale house in Castle-street; but they don't remember that he (Bartley) had any knack in drawing. However, by these means, sir Isaac furnished his whole room with pictures of his own making, which probably he copied from prints as well as from life. They mention several of the heads, Dr. Donne, and likewise his master Stokes. Under the picture of king Charles I. he wrote these verses, which I had from Mrs. Vincent by memory, who faiicies he made them. If that be true, it is most probable he designed the print also, which is common to this day:

“ A secret art my soul requires to try,
If prayers can give me what the wars deny.
Three crowns distinguish'd here in order do
Present their objects to my knowing view.
Earth's crown, thus at my feet, I can disdain,
Which heavy is, and at the best but vain;
But now a crown of thorns I gladly greet;
Sharp is this crown, but not so sharp as sweet.
The crown of glory that I yonder see
Is full of bliss and of eternity.”

Several of these dials are to be seen on the wall of the manor house, at Wolsthorpe.

These pictures he made frames to himself, and coloured them. over in a workmanlike manner. “Mrs. Vincent is a widow gentlewoman living here, aged 82. Her maiden name was Storey, sister to Dr. Storey, a physician, of Buckminster, near Colsterworth. Her mother was second wife to Mr. Clark, the apothecary, where sir Isaac lodged; so that she lived with him in the same house all the time of his being at Grantham, which was about seven years. Her mother and sir Isaac's mother were intimately acquainted, which was the reason of his lodging at Mr. Clark's. She gave me much of the foregoing account. She says, sir Isaac was always a sober, silent, thinking lad, and was never known scarce to play with the boys abroad at their silly amusements; but would rather choose to be at home, even among the girls; and would frequently make little tables, cupboards, and other utensils, for her and her playfellows to set their babies and trinkets on. She mentions likewise a cart he made with four wheels, wherein he would sit, and, by turning a windlass, he could make it carry him round the house where he pleased. Sir Isaac and she being thus brought up together, it is said that he entertained a love for her, nor does she deny it; but her portion not being considerable, and he being a fellow of a college, it was incompatible with his fortunes to marry; perhaps his studies too. It is certain he had a kindness for her, visited her whenever in the country, in both her husband's days, and gave her forty shillings upon a time, whenever it was of service to her. She is a little woman, but we may with ease discern that she has been very handsome. “Mr. Clark tells me, that the room where sir Isaac lodged was his lodging room too when a lad, and that the wall was still full of the drawings sir Isaac had made upon it with charcoal, and so remained till pulled down, about sixteen years ago, as I said before. There were birds, men, ships, and mathematical schemes, and very well designed. “We must understand all this while that his mother had left Wolsthorp, and lived with her second husband at North Witham. But upon his death, after she had three children by him, she returned to her own house, which likewise it ought to be remembered was rebuilt by him. She, upon this, was for saving expenses as much as she could, and recalled her son Isaac from school, intending to make him serviceable in managing of the farm and country business at Wolsthorp, and I doubt not but she thought it would turn more to his account than being a scholar. Accordingly we must suppose him attending the tillage, grazing, and the like. And they tell that us that he frequently came on Saturdays to Grantham market with corn and other commodities to sell, and to carry home what necessaries were proper to be bought at a market town for a family; but being young, his mother usually sent a trusty old servant along with him, to put him into the way of business. Their inn was at the Saracen's head in Westgate, where, as soon as they had put up their horses, Isaac generally left the man to manage the marketings, and retired instantly to Mr. Clark's garret, where he used to lodge, near where lay a parcel of old books of Mr. Clark's, which he entertained himself with till it was time to go home again; or else he would stop by the way between home and Grantham, and lie under a hedge studying, whilst the man went to town and did the business, and called for him in his return. No doubt the man made remonstrances of this to his mother. Likewise, when at home, if his mother ordered him into the fields to look after the sheep, the corn, or upon any other rural employment, it went on very heavily through his manage. His chief delight was to sit under a tree with a book in his hand, or to busy himself with his knife in cutting wood for models of somewhat or other that struck his fancy; or he would get to a stream, and make mill wheels.” Though it is impossible to raise the character of sir Isaac Newton by any information that may be collected concerning him, yet it is always desirable to know under what circumstances great men have risen to eminence, and how far their employments in early life may have given that bias to their future pursuits which has immortalized their name, and indeared their memory to posterity.

CEREMONY.

IN an excellent work in French, intitled Institutions Politiques, the author, baron Reilfield, employs a whole chapter in treating at large of the ceremonials observed by the different sovereigns and courts, and of those which each court had adopted for itself in particular. While he admits the necessity and use of ceremony among people of different ranks, our author justly ridicules the making them matters of such importance as they are at some courts in Europe. With this view he cites a pleasant, though it proved in the end a tragical, example of the formality which the Spaniards at one time tenaciously observed in this respect. “As Philip the Third was one day sitting gravely by the fire, . on which the fuel had been thrown in too great a quantity, he found himself in danger of being stifled with heat. It was, however, beneath the dignity of his majesty to rise and call any one to his relief; and as the officers in waiting were absent, and no domestic durst enter the apartment, he sat broiling a considerable time, till the marquis de Polar came up, whom the king ordered to put out the fire; but the marquis excused himself, as according to the etiquette or ceremonial of the court, he should therein invade the province of the duke of Useda, whom it was necessary to call for that purpose. The duke was absent, the fire increased, and the king, rather than derogate from his dignity, kept his seat till his blood was inflamed to such a degree that an Erysipelas broke out the next day on his head, attended with a fever that carried him off in the twenty-fourth year of his age.” This anecdote appeared to me too ludicrous and irrational to be true. Upon investigating the matter, however, I find it confirmed by the most authentic historical evidence. The king is stated to have been in council at the time; and complained of the disagreeable smell emitted by the brazier which warmed the room, in consequence of the excessive heat. No one, however, would venture to remove it, as he whose office it was to attend the fire was absent, and his majesty would not budge a foot. E. M. T.

-ADMIRAL PASLEY. WHEN this gallant admiral, whose leg was taken off by a cannon shot, was carrying down to the cockpit, one of the tars met him, and hoped he had not lost his foot, he said, “I have, Jack; but take care, don't you lose my flag before I come up again.”

[ocr errors]

DEAD ALIVE. A captain Christie, an Irish officer of excellent military reputation, happened at a great battle, in the revolutionary war of this country, to be dreadfully wounded. While he lay on the ground, he heard a soldier, who was severely wounded also, howling terribly

at some little distance from him. Angered partly by such an untimely disturbance of him, and partly by the fellow's want of fortitude, he exclaimed," You soldier! I say: d-n your eyes what do you make such a noise for? Do you think nobody is killed but yourself?”

And gowan

AN EPISTLE TO WALTER SCOTT. Written at Pittsburgh, during the sitting of the term, by H. H. Brackenridge, Sept. 9tb, 1811,

on reading “ THE LADY OF THE LAKE,"Taken up by chance

Full many a rounded year has cast
A shade upon the period past,
Since Scotia on maternal lap
Received me. There, upon the map,
I see Kintyre;" there was I born.
Hard fate to be so rudely torn
By poverty and need of change,
Away to this a foreign range,
With parents whom Culloden muir
And other troubles had made poor.
But early mem'ry paints me well
The Bellivolant hill and dale;
The bracken green; the heather blue,

of a golden hue;
And though se-join’d by length of wave,
I feel a charm some fairy gave
To bind me to my natal soil,
And think upon that distant isle,
Wbere every charm of verse is found
To make it an enchanted ground.
For most the ballad and the rhyme
Impart a charm to every clime;
And not the deeds that men have done
So much the listening ear has won,
As magic of that art divine,
Which springs from the harmonious nine.
Oh give me Burns; oh give me Scott;
I want no more, when these I've got,
To make a rock of any sea
Immortal by such minstrelsy.

Who now will ask, where are the nine,
That sang the tale of Troy divine;

[blocks in formation]
« ПредишнаНапред »