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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 10, No. 284.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1827. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *



NAVARINO AND THE ISLAND OF SPHAGIA.


[Illustration: NAVARINO AND THE ISLAND OF SPHAGIA.]


As our victories, though managed by the hand, are achieved by the head,
we feel little disposed to meddle with what Burke calls "the mystery of
murder," or "the present perfection of gunnery, cannoneering, bombarding,
and mining;" and inveterate as may be the weapon of the goose-quill, we
trust our readers will not suspect us of any other policy than that of
pleasing them, the _ne plus ultra_ of all public servants. As our title
implies, we are bound to present or reflect in our pages certain
illustrations of popular topics, _veluti_ IN SPECULUM; accordingly, we
hope the accompanying _View and Plan of the Bay of Navarino_ will be
received in good season, _quod rerum est omnium primum_.

Thus far, the political or present interest attached to Navarino: with
the recent event which has raised, or we may say resuscitated such
interest, our readers have doubtless become familiar, and leaving the
ephemeral glory to the _Sun_ of all newspapers, and meaner "chronicles
of the times," we shall proceed to the sober duty of describing the Bay
of Navarino, as, it will be seen, a place of some interest in the annals
of ancient as well as of modern warfare.

With our usual _literary honesty_, (we trust a characteristic of our
whole conduct,) we have to acknowledge our obligations to the "Travels"
of M. Pouqueville for the preceding view. "The port of Navarino, certainly
one of the finest in the world," says Sir William Gell, in his interesting
_Journey in the Morea_, "is formed by a deep indenture in the Morea, shut
in by a long island, anciently called Sphacteria, famous for the defeat
and capture of the Spartans, in the Peloponnesian war, and yet exhibiting
the vestige of walls, which may have served as their last refuge. This
island has been separated into three or four parts by the violence of the
waves, so that boats might pass from the open sea into the port in calm
weather, by means of the channel so formed. On one of the portions is the
tomb of a Turkish saint, or santon; and near the centre of the port is
another very small island, or rock." The modern name of the island is
_Sphagia_.

Navarino, called by the Turks _Avarin_, and the Greeks _Neo-Castron_, is
the Pylos of the ancients, and the supposed birthplace of the venerable
Nestor - standing upon a promontory at the foot of Mount Temathia, and
overlooking the vast harbour of the same name as the town. It is surrounded
only by a wall without a ditch; the height commanding the city is a little
hexagonal, defended by five towers at the external angles, which, with
the walls, were built by the Turks in 1572, but were never repaired till
after the war with the Russians in 1770; the Turks having previously taken
it from the Venetians in 1499. At the gate of the fortress is a miserable
Greek village; and the walls of the castle itself are in a dismantled
condition.

"The town within the wall," says Sir W. Gell, "is like all those in this
part of the world, encumbered with the fallen ruins of former habitations.
These have been generally constructed by the Turks, since the expulsion
of the Venetians; for it appears, that till the long continued habit of
possession had induced the Mahometans to live upon and cultivate their
estates in the country, and the power of the Venetian republic had been
consumed by a protracted peace, a law was enforced which compelled every
Turk to have a habitation in some one of the fortresses of the country.
But the habitatations," says our traveller, "present generally an
indiscriminate mass of ruins; they were originally erected in haste, and
being often cemented with mud instead of mortar, the rains of autumn,
penetrating between the outer and inner faces of the walls, swell the
earth, and soon effect the ruin of the whole" - it must be confessed, but
sorry structures for the _triple_ fires of an enemy. Sir William, on his
visit, found the commandant in a state of misery not exceeded by the lot
of his meanest fellow-citizens, except that his robes were somewhat in
better condition. He received him "very kindly in a dirty unfurnished
apartment," into which he "climbed by a tottering ladder from a court
strewed with ruins;" here he gave him "coffee," after which he took his
leave. What would a first lord of the Admiralty say to such a reception?
and it must have been somewhat uncourtly to our traveller.

The soil about Navarino is of a red colour, and is remarkable for the
production of an infinite quantity of squills, which are used in
medicine. The rocks, which show themselves in every direction through a
scanty but rich soil, are limestone, and present a general appearance of
unproductiveness round the castle of Navarino; and the absence of trees
is ill compensated by the profusion of sage, brooms, cistus, and other
shrubs which start from the innumerable cavities of the limestone.

The remains of Navarino Vecchio, or ancient Navarino, consist in a fort
or castle of mean construction, covering the summit of a hill sloping
quickly to the south, but falling in abrupt precipices to the north and
east. The town was built on the southern declivity, and was surrounded
by a wall, which, allowing for the natural irregularities of the soil,
represented a triangle, with the castle at the apex or summit - a form
observable in many of the ancient cities of Greece.

The foundation of the walls throughout the whole circuit remains entire;
but the fortifications were never of any consequence, though they present
a picturesque group of turrets and battlements from below, and must have
been very imposing from the sea, - an effect which those of the modern city
have recently failed to produce. From the top is an extensive view over
the island of Sphacteria, the port, with the town of Navarino to the
south, and a considerable tract of the territory anciently called Messenia
on the east, with the conic hill, which, though some miles from the shore,
is used as a landmark to point out the entrance of the port. Mr. Purdy, in
his _New Sailing Directory for the Mediterranean Sea_, says, "from the
sea, a frigate might, in two or three hours, batter down the walls (of
Navarino); the artillery of the place (in 1825) consisted of forty pieces
of cannon; the greater part in the fort, eight on the battery at the
entrance of the harbour, and a few in some of the towers along the city."
It should be added that the port is said to be capable of containing 2,000
sail; and the population of the town is about 3,000, the most of whom are
Turks.

To the curious _dilettanti_ in dates, &c. (such as our friend _P.T.W._
&c.) the following almost coinciding circumstances may not prove
uninteresting: - The recent engagement took place on the anniversary of
the memorable battle of Salamis, 480 B.C. when the invading army of
Xerxes was defeated by the Greeks; and on which day Euripides, the Greek
tragic poet, was born: Nestor is said to have been born at Navarino, as
we have already mentioned: and, lastly, the attack, of which the subjoined
plan is illustrative, was made on the eve of the anniversary of the
glorious battle of Trafalgar, in which victory the vice-admiral of
Navarino, then captain of the Orient, was engaged.

[Illustration: Plan]

REFERENCES.

1. The English Squadron.

2. French Squadron.

3. Russian Squadron.

4. The combined Turko-Egyptian Fleet.

5. The boat sent by the "Dartmouth" to one of the Turkish Fire Ships, in
which Lieutenant G.W.H.F. Fitzroy was killed.

6. and 7. Turkish Fire ships.

The other figures denote the depth of water in English fathoms.

* * * * *


SEASONABLE RELICS.

PART OF AN ANCIENT SONG.


The following is part of an old song which I have faithfully copied; it
was, I am told, sung at Wakes in the north of England, and also previous
to Christmas: from the appearance, little doubt is left as to its being
of northern composition.

I have seen in former volumes of the MIRROR, specimens of two ancient
ballads, and as they are a curiosity, I have sent mine as being, I think,
equally so. There is an old ballad which I have met with and purchased,
entitled "The Outlandish Knight," but it is certainly greatly altered,
though the tale is preserved.

This ean night, this ean night,
Every night and awle,
Fire and fleet,[1] and candle lyght,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

When those from hence dost passe awaye,
Every night and awle,
To whinnye moore thou com'st at last,
And Chryste receyve thy sawle.

If ever thou gav'st either hosen or shune,
Every night and awle,
Sit thee down and put them on,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

But if hosen and shune thou never gav'st nean,
Every night and awle,
The whinnes shall prick thee to the bare beane,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

From whynne moore then thou may'st passe,
Every night and awle,
To brigge of dread thou com'st at last,
And Christ receyve thy sawle.

From brigge of dread that thou may'st passe,
Every night and awle,
To purgatory fire thou com'st at last,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

If e'er thou gav'st either meate or drinke,
Every night and awle,
The fire shall never make thee shrynke,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

But yf meate and drinke thou never gav'st neane,
Every night and awle,
The fire shall burn thee to the bare beane,
And Chryst receyve thy sawle.

[1] Fleet from the Saxon flere, is cremon lactu, hence we have
flett or flit, milk.

The next I give you is an extract from the Court Rolls of the Borough of
Hales Owen, of the


_Custom of Bride Ale._

"A payne ys made that no person or persons that shall brewe any weddyn
ale to sell, shall not brewe aboue twelve stryke of mault at the most,
and that the said persons so marryed shall not keep nor haue above eyght
messe of persons at hys dinner within the burrowe, and before hys brydall
daye he shall keep no unlawfull games in hys house nor out of hys house
on payne of 20_s_."

Besides "Bride Ale," there was the Church Ales, and Easter Ales,
Whitsuntide Ales, and a quantity of others which we have no accounts of.
I conclude this short notice with the hope of soon supplying you with a
fund of information against Christmas.

W.H.H.

* * * * *


BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF HELEN.


Princess Helen was born of an egg,
And scarcely ten years had gone by,
When Theseus beginning to beg,
Decoyed the young chicken to fly.
When Tyndarus heard the disaster,
He crackled and thunder'd like Etna,
So out gallop'd Pollux and Castor,
And caught her a furlong from Gretna.
Singing rattledum, Greek Romanorum,
And hey classicality row.
Singing birchery, floggera, borum,
And folderol whack rowdy dow.

The newspapers puffed her each day,
Till the princes of Greece came to woo her,
Then coaxing the rest to give way,
She took Menalaus unto her,
So said they, "though we grieve to resign,
Yet if ever you're put to a shift,
Let your majesty drop us a line,
And we'll all of us lend you a lift.
With our rattledum, &c."

Menelaus was happy to win her.
But she soon found a cure for his passion,
By hobbing or nobbing at dinner,
With Paris, a Trojan of fashion.
This chap was a slyish young dog,
The most jessamy fellow in life,
For he drank Menalaus' grog,
And d - me made off with his wife.
Singing rattledum, &c.

The princes were sent for, who swore
They would punish this finikin boy;
So Achilles and two or three more,
Undertook the destruction of Troy.
But Achilles grew quite ungenteel,
And prevented their stirring a peg,
Till Paris let fly at his heel,
And he found himself laid by the leg.
With his rattledum, &c.

The Grecians demolish'd the city,
And then (as the poets have told)
Dame Helen might still be called pretty,
Though very near sixty years old.
Menelaus, when madam was found,
Took her snugly away in his chaise,
So Troy being burnt to the ground,
Why the story goes off with a blaze.
And a rattledum, &c.

* * * * *


HORSE-CHESTNUTS.

(_To the Editor of the Mirror._)


In a recent number there was a notice of the uses of the _Esculus
Hippocastaneus_, or horse chestnuts; but a very important one was
omitted, namely, its substitution occasionally for Peruvian bark in
cases of intermittent fever. This disorder, known better by the name of
ague, had been formerly epidemic in Ireland, where the humidity of the
atmosphere is continually increased by the exhalation of the lochs and bogs
with which the country abounds. In consequence, however, of the formation
of the Grand and Royal Canals, and the drainage of the waters in their
vicinity, the tendency to this disease was greatly lessened; and about
twenty years ago the disorder was so rare in Dublin and the neighbourhood,
that the medical students often complained that they graduated without ever
having an opportunity of seeing in the hospitals a single case of this once
almost universal disorder. In consequence, however, of the extreme wetness
of one summer and autumn, agues again resumed their ascendancy, and the
hospitals and dispensaries became crowded with intermittent patients, and
all the bark of the druggists and apothecaries was put into requisition;
but to the surprise and disappointment of all the medical men, this
infallible specific was altogether inert and powerless, and after repeated
trials and disappointments, it was abandoned as useless. It was now a
matter of importance to ascertain the cause of this extraordinary
failure, whether it arose from the altered character of the complaint,
or from the deteriorated quality of the medicine; and it was found to be
the latter. In consequence of the long cessation of intermittent fever,
bark had been little used or called for, and the stock had remained so
long on hand, that it had become effete and worthless. It was necessary
then to try some substitute. Quassia-wood, the acorus calamus, and other
bitters and aromatics, were tried; but that which seemed to succeed best
was the bark and kernel of the horse-chestnut. The nut was moderately
dried in a stove, so as to be capable of being powdered, and in that state
was exhibited in substance with cayenne pepper and other aromatics. The
bark was taken in infusions and decoctions with quassia, and the effects
were sometimes very decided and satisfactory, forming a providential
substitute for the only kind of bark then to be procured in Ireland.

W.

* * * * *


SONNET.

(_For the Mirror._)


Say what repays the gamester's nightly toil,
Can hell itself more hideous woes impart?
Can glitt'ring heaps of ill-begotten spoil,
Appease the cravings of his callous heart?
For this alone he severs every tie,
For this he marks unmov'd the orphan's tear,
E'en nature's charms, a smile from beauty's eye
No longer can his blasted prospects cheer.
But now prevails the dice's rattling sound,
The loud blaspheming oath, and cry of woe,
From tables set with spectre forms around,
Hurrying with frantic haste, th' expected throw!
Than this no greater foe to man remains
This is the mightiest triumph Satan gains!

E.L.

* * * * *


ORIGINAL TRANSLATIONS.

(_For the Mirror._)

Horace. - Ode xxx. - B. 1.


TO VENUS.

_He invokes her to be present at Glycera's private sacrifice_


Venus! leave thy loved isle,
And on Glycera's altar smile;
Breathing perfumes hail the day,
Haste thee, Venus! haste away.

Bring with thee the am'rous boy;
The loose-rob'd Graces crown our joy!
Youth swell thy train, who owes to thee
Her charms, and winged Mercury!


ODE xxvi. - B. 3.

TO THE SAME.

_He renounces Love._


Not without renown was I,
In the ranks of gallantry.
Now, when Love no more will call,
To battle; on this sacred wall,
Venus, where her statue stands,
To hang my arms, and lute commands;
Here the bright torch to hang, and bars,
Which wag'd so oft loud midnight wars.

But, O blessed Cyprian queen!
Blest in Memphian bow'rs serene,
Raise high the lash, and Chloe's be,
All e'er proud Chloe dealt to me!

W.P.

* * * * *




Arcana of Science.

* * * * *

_Smoke of Lamps._

A recent number of Gill's "Technical Repository," contains a simple mode
of consuming the smoke that ascends from the turner of an argand lamp. It
consists of a thin concave of copper, fixed by three wires, at about an
inch above the chimney-glass of the lamp, yet capable of being taken off
at pleasure. The gaseous carbonaceous matter which occasionally escapes
from the top of lamps, is thus arrested beneath the concave cap, and
subsequently consumed by the heat of the flame, instead of passing off
into the room, in the form of smoke or smut on the ceiling and walls.

[The "Technical Repository," may have the credit of introducing this
contrivance to the British public; but it is somewhat curious that it had
not been previously adopted, since scores of lamps thus provided, are to
be seen in the cafés and restaurateurs of Paris. _Apropos_, the French oil
burns equal in brightness to our best gas, and as we are informed, this
purity is obtained by filtration through charcoal. - ED.]


_Caddis Worms._

The transformation of the deserted cases of numberless minute insects into
a constituent part of a solid rock, first formed at the bottom of a lake,
then constituting the sides of deep valleys, and the tabular summits of
lofty hills, is a phenomenon as striking as the vast reefs of coral
constructed by the labours of minute polyps. We remember to have seen such
_caddis-worms_, as they are called by fishermen, very abundant in the
wooden troughs constructed by the late Dr. Sibthorp, for aquatic plants,
in the botanic garden at Oxford, to the cases of which many small shells
of the G. Planorbis Limnea and Cyclas were affixed, precisely in the same
manner as in the fossil tubes of Auvergne; an incrusting spring,
therefore, may, perhaps, be all that is wanting to reproduce, on the banks
of the Isis or the Charwell, a rock similar in structure to that of the
Limagne. Mr. Kirby, in his "Entomology," informs us, that these larvae
ultimately change into a four-winged insect. If you are desirous to examine
them in their aquatic state, "you have only, (he says) to place yourself by
the side of a clear and shallow pool of water, and you cannot fail to
observe at the bottom little oblong moving masses, resembling pieces of
straw, wood, or even stone - of the larvae itself, nothing is to be seen
but the head and six legs, by means of which it moves itself in the water,
and drags after it the case in which the rest of the body is enclosed, and
into which, on any alarm, it instantly retires. The construction of these
habitations is very various. Some select four or five pieces of the leaves
of grass, which they glue together into a shapely polygonal case; others
employ portions of the stems of rushes, placed side by side, so as to form
an elegant fluted cylinder; some arrange round them pieces of leaves like
a spirally-rolled riband; other species construct houses which may be
called alive, forming them of the shells of various aquatic snails of
different kinds and sizes, even while inhabited, all of which are
immovably fixed to them, and dragged about at pleasure. However various
may be the form of the case externally, within it is usually cylindrical
and lined with silk." - _Introduction to Entomology, by Kirby and Spence._


_Engraving on Glass._

Cover one side of a flat piece of glass, after having made it perfectly
clean, with bees' wax, and trace figures upon it with a needle, taking
care that every stroke cuts completely through the wax. Next, make a
border of wax all round the glass, to prevent any liquor, when poured on,
from running off. Then take some finely powdered fluate of lime (fluor
spar,) strew it even over the glass plate upon the waxed side, and then
gently pour upon it, so as not to displace the powder, as much concentrated
sulphuric acid diluted with thrice its weight of water, as is sufficient
to cover the powdered fluor spar. Let every thing remain in this state for
three hours; then remove the mixture, and clean the glass, by washing it
with oil of turpentine; the figures which were traced through the wax will
be found engraven on the glass, while the parts which the wax covered will
be uncorroded. The fluate of lime is decomposed by the sulphuric acid, and
sulphate of lime is formed. The fluoric acid, disengaged in the gaseous
state, combines with the water that diluted the sulphuric acid, and forms
liquid fluoric acid, by which the glass is corroded.


_Habits of Seals._

The brain of this animal, observes Dr. Harwood, is I think, doubtless, of
greater proportionate magnitude than in any other quadruped, and not only
does it exhibit in its countenance, the appearance of sagacity, but its
intelligence is in reality far greater than in most land quadrupeds: hence
its domestication is rendered much easier than that of other animals, and
it is susceptible of more powerful attachment. The large seal, which was
exhibited some time ago at Exeter 'Change, appeared to me to understand
the language of its keeper as perfectly as the most faithful dog. When he
entered at one end of its long apartment, it raised its body from the
water, in which it was injudiciously too constantly kept, supporting itself
erect against the bar of its enclosure, and wherever he moved, keeping its
large, dark eyes steadfastly fixed upon him. When desired to make obeisance
to visitors, it quickly threw itself on one side, and struck the opposite
one several times in quick succession with its fore-foot, producing a loud
noise. The young seal, again, which was kept on board the Alexander, in one
of the northern expeditions, became so much attached to its new mode of
life, that after being thrown into the sea, and it had become tired of
swimming at liberty, it regularly returned to the side of the beat, to be
retaken on board. Such examples might be greatly multiplied; and I cannot
help stating, that aware of this disposition to become familiar, and this
participation in the good qualities of the dog, it is astonishing that
mankind have not chosen this intellectual and finely organized quadruped,
for aquatic services scarcely less important than some of those in which
the dog is employed on the surface of the land. - _Quarterly Journal._


_Gas from Resin._

Mr. Daniel, the meteorologist, has contrived a process for generating gas
from resin; which he effects by dissolving the resin in turpentine, or
any other essential oil, and then allowing the fluid to drop gradually in
a heated cylinder of iron.


_Liquorice Paper._

A mode has been discovered in France of fabricating paper solely from the
Glycyrrhiza Germanica, or liquorice plant. It is said that this paper is
cheap, that it is of a whiteness superior to that generally made, and that
size is not requisite in its manufacture.


_Tachygraphy._

A mathematical instrument maker at Paris, of the name of Conti, has
conceived the notion of a portable instrument which he calls a tachygraph,
by means of which any person may write, or rather print, as fast as any
other person can speak. M. Conti, however, like many other ingenious men,
is not rich; and he has applied to the Académiè des Sciences, for pecuniary
assistance, and a very favourable report has been made upon his request.


_Valuable Discovery in Agriculture._

One of the most recent of useful discoveries in agriculture is to mix
layers of green or new cut clover with layers of straw in ricks or stacks;


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