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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 14, No. 403, December 5, 1829 online

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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 14, NO. 403.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1829. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *



Fall of the Staubbath.


[Illustration: Fall of the Staubbath.]


In the poet and the philosopher, the lover of the sublime, and the
student of the beautiful in art - the contemplation of such a scene as
this must awaken ecstatic feelings of admiration and awe. Its effect
upon the mere man of the world, whose mind is clogged up with
common-places of life, must be overwhelming as the torrent itself;
perchance he soon recovers from the impression; but the lover of Nature,
in her wonders, reads lessons of infinite wisdom, combined with all that
is most fascinating to the mind of inquiring man. In the school of her
philosophy, mountains, rivers, and falls not only astonish and delight
him in their vast outlines and surfaces, but in their exhaustless
varieties and transformations, he enjoys old and new worlds of
knowledge, apart from the proud histories of man, and the comparative
insignificance of all that he has laboured to produce on the face of the
globe.

Few have witnessed the _Staubbach_, or similar wonders without
acknowledging the force of their impressions. This Fall is in the valley
of Lauterbrun, the most picturesque district of Switzerland. Simond,[1]
in describing its beauties, says, "we began to ascend the valley of
Lauterbrun, by the side of its torrent (the Lutschine) among fragments
of rocks, torn from the heights on both sides, and beautiful trees,
shooting up with great luxuriance and in infinite variety; smooth
pastures of the richest verdure, carpeted over every interval of plain
ground; and the harmony of the sonorous cow-bell of the Alps, heard
among the precipices above our heads and below us, told us we were not
in a desart." "The ruins of the mineral world, apparently so durable,
and yet in a state of incessant decomposition, form a striking contrast
with the perennial youth of the vegetable world; each individual plant,
so frail and perishable, while the species is eternal in the existing
economy of nature. Imperceptible forests of timber scarcely tinge their
inert masses of gneiss and granite, into which they anchor their roots;
grappling with substances which, when struck with steel, tear up the
tempered grain, and dash out the spark." This may be an enthusiastic,
but is doubtless the faithful, impression of our tourist; and in
descriptions of sublime nature, we should


Survey the whole; nor seek slight fault to find,
Where Nature moves, and rapture warms the mind.


[1] Switzerland; or a Journal of a Tour and Residence in that
country, in 1817, 1818, and 1819. By L. Simond, 2 vols. 8 vo.
Second Edit. 1823 Murray.


Each valley has its appropriate stream, proportioned to its length, and
the number of lateral valleys opening into it. The boisterous Lutschine
is the stream of Lauterbrun, and it carries to the Lake of Brientz
scarcely less water than the Aar itself. About half way between
Interlaken and Lauterbrun, is the junction of the two Lutschines, the
black and the white, from the different substances with which they have
been in contact.

Simond says, "after passing several falls of water, each of which we
mistook for the Staubbach, we came at last to the house where we were to
sleep. It had taken us three hours to come thus far; in twenty minutes
more we reached the heap of rubbish accumulated by degrees at the foot
of the Staubbach; its waters descending from the height of the
Pletschberg, form in their course several mighty cataracts, and the last
but one is said to be the finest; but is not readily accessible, nor
seen at all from the valley. The fall of the Staubbach, about _eight
hundred feet in height_, wholly detached from the rock, is reduced into
vapour long before it reaches the ground; the water and the vapour
undulating through the air with more grace and elegance than sublimity.
While amusing ourselves with watching the singular appearance of rockets
of water shooting down into the dense cloud of vapour below, we were
joined by some country girls, who gave us a concert of three voices,
pitched excessively high, and more like the vibrations of metal or glass
than the human voice, but in perfect harmony, and although painful in
some degree, yet very fine. In winter an immense accumulation of ice
takes place at the foot of the Fall, sometimes as much as three hundred
feet broad, with two enormous icy stalactites hanging down over it. When
heat returns, the falling waters hollow out cavernous channels through
the mass, the effect of which is said to be very fine; this, no doubt,
is the proper season to see the Staubbach to most advantage." Six or
eight miles further, the valley ends in glaciers scarcely practicable
for chamois hunters. About forty years since some miners who belonged to
the Valais, and were at work at Lauterbrun, undertook to cross over to
their own country, simply to hear mass on a Sunday. They traversed the
level top of the glacier in three hours; then descended, amidst the
greatest dangers, its broken slope into the Valais, and returned the day
after by the same way; but no one else has since ventured on the
dangerous enterprise.

Apart from the romantic attraction of the Fall, the broad-eaved chalet
and its accessaries form a truly interesting picture of village
simplicity and repose. Here you are deemed rich with a capital of three
hundred pounds. All that is not made in the country, or of its growth,
is deemed luxury: a silver chain here as at Berne, is transmitted from
mother to daughter. Dwellings and barns covered with tiles, and windows
with large panes of glass, give to the owner a reputation of wealth; and
if the outside walls are adorned with paintings, and passages of
Scripture are inscribed on the front of the house, the owner ranks at
once among the aristocracy of the country. What an association of
primitive happiness do these humble attributes and characteristics of
Swiss scenery convey to the unambitious mind. Think of this, ye who
regard palaces as symbols of true enjoyment! and ye who imprison
yourselves in overgrown cities, and wear the silken fetters of wealth
and pride! - an aristocrat of Lauterbrun eclipses all your splendour, and
a poor Swiss cottager in his humble chalet, is richer than the
wealthiest of you - for he is _content_.

* * * * *


PSALMODY.

(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)


In my paper of the 22nd of August, on this subject, I promised to resume
it on my next coming to London, which has been retarded by several
causes.

In visiting the Churches of All Souls, and Trinity, the psalmody is by
no means to be praised. It is chiefly by the charity children, the
singing (or rather noise) is in their usual way, and which will go on to
the end of time, unless by the permission of the clergy, some
intelligent instructors are allowed to lead as in the Chapel of St.
James, near Mornington Place, in the Hampstead Road. The author of the
paper on Music, in your publication of the 6th of September, very fairly
puts the question, "Why are not the English a musical people?" and he
shows many of the interrupting causes. It may happen, however, that by
cultivating psalmody in our churches and chapels, considerable progress
may be made. The young will be instructed, and the more advanced will
_attend_, and we know the power of _attention_ (the only quality in
which Sir Isaac Newton could be persuaded to believe he had any one
advantage in intellect over his fellow men.)

It is much to be regretted that the poetry in which our Episcopal Psalms
and Hymns are sung, is confined to the versions of Sternhold and
Hopkins, and of Tate and Brady. The poetry of Sternhold and Hopkins is
in general uncouth with some few exceptions. Tate and Brady have made
their versification somewhat more congenial with the modern improvements
of our language; but each confines himself to the very literal language
of the Old Testament; Sternhold and Hopkins in this respect have the
advantage of their successors, Tate and Brady; for the translations of
Sternhold and Hopkins are nearer to the original Hebrew.

The main object of my hope is, that the version of the Psalms now in use
may be altered, or rather improved, in such a manner as to manifest
their prophetic and typical relation to Christianity, to which in their
present form so little reference is to be perceived by those "who should
read as they run." A change or improvement in this respect would give a
more enlivening interest in Psalmody. Dr. Watts has done this with great
truth and effect, and the singing in the churches and chapels in which
his version is in whole or in part introduced, proceeds with a more
Christian spirit: and a vast improvement has sprung from this source, in
the sacred music of those churches and chapels.

To illustrate this part of my paper, let me refer to the version
employed in several of the new churches, and to the version of Dr.
Watts, in the spiritual interpretation of the 4th Psalm. In the version
first referred to, the words are -


The place of ancient sacrifice
Let _righteousness_ supply,
And let your hope securely fix'd
On Him alone rely.


Now in this version it naturally occurs to inquire _what righteousness_?
The high churchman will content himself that it is a literal
translation; but the way-faring man sees nothing of the atoning
righteousness of Christ in this translation; but which according to the
11th article of the Church of England, he reasonably looks for. Even
the Unitarians refer to this and other parts of our translation of the
Hebrew Psalms, as a justification of THEIR main principle of the unity
alone in the godhead.

Dr. Watts, a genuine Christian, believing in the union of the Father,
Son, and Spirit, and manifesting this pure faith to the end of a
well-spent life, gives the Christian meaning of this righteousness, in
his version of the 4th Psalm:


Know that the Lord divides his Saints
From all the tribes of men beside,
He hears the cry of penitents
For the dear sake of Christ who died.


Here the true typical and prophetic meaning of the Old Testament is
given.

The version used by the English church in the 5th Psalm is subject to
the same observation as on the 4th.

The church version is


Thou in the morn shall hear my voice
And with the dawn of day,
To thee devoutly I look up,
To thee devoutly pray.


Dr. Watts, who gives the Christian meaning of this Psalm, translates or
paraphrases thus truly: -


Lord in the morning thou shall hear
My voice ascending high,
To thee will I direct my pray'r,
To thee lift up mine eye.
Up to the hills where Christ is gone
_To plead for all his Saints_,
Presenting at his father's throne,
Our songs and our complaints.


Psalmody, or the singing of sacred music, conducted by such a gracious
and animated sense of the revealed word of God, must naturally be
performed, as it must be ardently felt, in a different spirit - and this
truth we perceive daily verified; but while a considerable portion of
our clergy not only are strict in confining the singing to the last
_version_, or to parts of Sternhold, and even prescribe the very dull
old _tunes_ to be made use of, improvement in church music is not to be
expected. I have before me a list of tunes, to which the organists of
our churches and episcopal chapels are limited in their playing; and,
what is singular, three of the chief clergymen of the churches confess
they literally have no ear for music, and are utter strangers to what an
_octave_ means, and yet their _authority_ decides.

It is not intended to enter into any polemical discussion, as
controversy is not necessary to the improvement of psalmody; but less
than has been stated would not have shown the advantage to be acquired
by the use of a more Christian sense to those who rely on Christ as
their Redeemer. We know, from experience, how agreeable it is to the
mind and senses to hear the praises to the Almighty sung by the proper
rules of harmony, and with what spiritual animation the upright and
sincere youth of both sexes unite in this delightful service.

With these views, I respectfully submit to the clergymen of the new
churches to pursue the course which receives such universal approbation
in St. James's Chapel, Mornington-place, Hampstead-road. The simplicity
and effect must be strong motives to excite their attention, and I hope
to witness its adoption.

CHRISTIANUS.

* * * * *


THE THIEF.

(_For the Mirror_.)


I tell with equal truth and grief,
That little C - 's an arrant thief,
Before the urchin well could go,
She stole the whiteness of the snow.
And more - that whiteness to adorn,
She snatch'd the blushes of the morn;
Stole all the softness aether pours
On primrose buds in vernal show'rs.

There's no repeating all her wiles,
She stole the Graces' winning smiles;
'Twas quickly seen she robb'd the sky,
To plant a star in either eye;
She pilfer'd orient pearl for teeth,
And suck'd the cow's ambrosial breath;
The cherry steep'd in morning dew
Gave moisture to her lips and hue.

These were her infant spoils, a store
To which in time she added more;
At twelve she stole from Cyprus' Queen
Her air and love-commanding mien;
Stole _Juno's_ dignity, and stole
From _Pallas_ sense, to charm the soul;
She sung - amaz'd the Sirens heard
And to assert their voice appear'd.

She play'd, the Muses from their hill,
Marvell'd who thus had stole their skill;
_Apollo's_ wit was next her prey,
Her next the beam that lights the day;
While _Jove_ her pilferings to crown,
Pronounc'd these beauties all her own;
Pardon'd her crimes, and prais'd her art,
And t'other day she stole - my heart.

Cupid, if lovers are thy care,
Revenge thy vot'ry on this fair;
Do justice on her stolen charms,
And let her prison be - my arms.

W.H.H.

* * * * *


SHAKSPEARE.

(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)


In the Drama entitled _Shakspeare's Early Days_, the compliment which
the poet is made to pay the queen: "That as at her birth she wept when
all around was joy, so at her death she will smile while all around is
grief," has been admired by the critics. In this jewel-stealing age, it
is but just to restore the little brilliant to its owner. The following
lines are in Sir William Jones's Life, translated by him from one of the
Eastern poets, and are so exquisitely beautiful that I think they will
be acceptable to some of your fair readers for their albums.

T.B.



TO AN INFANT.


On parent's knees, a naked new-born child,
Weeping thou sat'st, while all around thee smil'd.
So live, that sinking to thy last long sleep,
Calm thou may'st smile, while all around thee - weep.

* * * * *


THE RUINED WELL.

(_For the Mirror_.)


The form of ages long gone by
Crowd thick on Fancy's wondering eye,
And wake the soul to musings high!

J.T. WALTER.


Where are the lights that shone of yore
Around this haunted spring?
Do they upon some distant shore
Their holy lustre fling?
It was not thus when pilgrims came
To hymn beneath the night,
And dimly gleam'd the censor's flame
When stars and streams were bright.

What art thou - since five hundred years
Have o'er thy waters roll'd;
Since clouds have wept their crystal tears
From skies of beaming gold?
Thy rills receive the tint of heaven,
Which erst illum'd thy shrine;
And sweetest birds their songs have given,
For music more divine.

Beside thee hath the maiden kept
Her vigils pale and lone;
While darkly have her ringlets swept
The chapel's sculptur'd stone;
And when the vesper-hymn was sung
Around the warrior's bier,
With cross and banner o'er him hung,
What splendour crown'd thee here!

But a cloud has fall'n upon thy fame!
The woodman laves his brow,
Where shrouded monks and vestals came
With many a sacred vow;
And bluely gleams thy sainted spring
Beneath the sunny tree;
Then let no heart its sadness bring,
_When_ Nature is with thee.

REGINALD AUGUSTINE.

* * * * *


A Siamese Chief hearing an Englishman expatiate upon the magnitude of
our navy, and afterwards that England was at peace, cooly observed, "If
you are at peace with all the world, why do you keep up so great a
navy?"

* * * * *




THE SKETCH-BOOK.

* * * * *


WRECK ON A CORAL REEF.

(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)


I take the liberty of transmitting you an authentic, though somewhat
concise, narrative of the loss of the Hon. Company's regular ship,
"Cabalva," (on the Cargados, Carajos, in the Indian Seas, in latitude
16° 45 s.) in July, 1818, no detailed account having hitherto appeared.
The following was written by one of the surviving officers, in a letter
to a friend.

A CONSTANT READER.

The Hon. Company's ship, Cabalva, having struck on the Owers, in the
English Channel, and from that circumstance, proving leaky, and
manifesting great weakness in her frame, it was thought advisable to
bear up for Bombay in order to dock the ship. Meeting with a severe gale
of wind off the Cape, (in which we made twenty inches of water per
hour,) we parted from our consort, and shaped a course for Bombay; but
on the 7th of July, between four and five A.M. (the weather dark and
cloudy) the ship going seven or eight knots, an alarm was given of
breakers on the larboard bow; the helm was instantly put hard-a-port,
and the head sheets let go; but before it could have the desired effect,
she struck; the shock was so violent, that every person was instantly on
deck, with horror and amazement depicted on their countenances. An
effort was made to get the ship off, but it was immediately seen that
all endeavours to save her must be useless; she soon became fixed, and
the sea broke over her with tremendous force; stove in her weather side,
making a clear passage - washed through the hatchways, tearing up the
decks, and all that opposed its violence.

We were now uncertain of our distance from a place of safety; the surf
burst over the vessel in a dreadful cascade, the crew despairing and
clinging to her sides to avoid its violence, while the ship was breaking
up with a rapidity and crashing noise, which added to the roaring of the
breakers, drowned the voices of the officers. The masts were cut away to
ease the ship, and the cutter cleared from the booms and launched from
the lee-gunwale. When the long wished-for dawn at last broke on us,
instead of alleviating, it rather added to, our distress. We found the
ship had run on the south-easternmost extremity of a coral reef,
surrounding on the eastern side those sand-banks or islands in the
Indian ocean, called Cargados, Carajos: the nearest of these was about
three miles distant, but not the least appearance of verdure could be
discovered, or the slightest trace of anything on which we might hope to
subsist. In two or three places some pyramidical rocks appeared above
the rest like distant sails, and were repeatedly cheered as such by the
crew, till it was soon perceived they had no motion, and the delusion
vanished. The masts had fallen towards the reef, the ship having
fortunately canted in that direction, and the boat was thereby protected
in some measure from the surf. Our commander, whom a strong sense of
misfortune had entirely deprived of mind so necessary on these
occasions, was earnestly requested to get into the boat, but he would
not, thinking her unsafe. He maintained his station on the mizen
top-mast that lay among the wreck to leeward; the surf which was rushing
round the bow and stern continually overwhelming him. I was myself close
to him on the same spar, and in this situation we saw many of our
shipmates meet an untimely end, being either dashed against the rocks or
swept over by the breakers. The large cutter, full of officers and men,
now cleared a passage through the mass of wreck, and being furnished
with oars, watched the proper moment and pushed off for the reef, which
she fortunately gained in safety; they were all washed out of her in an
instant by a tremendous surf, yet out of more than sixty which it
contained, only one man was drowned. Our captain seeing this, wished he
had taken advice, which was now of no use. Finding I could not longer
maintain myself on the same spar, and seeing the captain in a very
exhausted state, I solicited him to return to the wreck, but he replied,
that since we must all eventually perish, I should not think of his, but
rather of my own, preservation. An enormous breaker now burst on us with
irresistible force, so that I scarcely noticed what occurred to him
afterwards, being buried by successive seas. At length, after the most
desperate efforts, I was thrown on the reef, half drowned and severely
cut by the sharp coral, when I silently offered up thanks for my
preservation, and crawling up the reef, waved my hand to encourage those
who remained behind.

The captain, however, was not to be seen, and most of the others had
returned to the wreck and were employed in getting the small cutter into
the water, which they accomplished, and safely reached the shore. About
noon, when we had all left the ship, she was a perfect wreck. The whole
of the upper works, from the after part of the forecastle to the break
of the poop deck, had separated from her bottom about the upper
futtock-heads, and was driving in towards the reef. Most of the lighter
cargo had floated out of her. Bales of company's cloth, cases of wine,
puncheons of spirits, barrels of gunpowder, hogsheads of beer, &c. lay
strewed on the shore, together with a chest of tools. Finding the men
beginning to commit the usual excesses, we stove in the heads of the
spirit casks, to prevent mischief, and endeavoured to direct their
attention to the general benefit. The tide was flowing fast, and we saw
that the reef must soon be covered; we therefore conveyed the boats to a
place of safety, and filling them with all the provisions that could be
collected, proceeded to the highest sand-bank as the only place which
held out the remotest chance of security. Our progress was attended with
the most excruciating pain I ever endured, with feet cut to the bones by
the rocks, and back blistered by the sun - exhausted with fatigue - up to
the waist - sometimes to the neck in the water, and frequently obliged
to swim. Seeing, however, that several had reached the highest
sand-bank, lighted a fire, and were employed in erecting a tent from the
cloth and small spars which had floated up, I felt my spirits revive,
and had strength sufficient to reach the desired spot, when I was
invited to partake of a shark which had just been caught by the people.
Having set a watch to announce the approach of the sea, lest it should
cover us unawares, I sunk exhausted on the sand, and fell into a sound
sleep. I awoke in the morning stiff with the exertions of the former
day, yet feeling grateful to Providence that I was still alive.

The people now collected together to ascertain who had perished, when
sixteen were missing: the captain, surgeon's assistant, and fourteen of
the crew. We divided the crew into parties, each headed by an officer;
some were sent to the wreck and along the beach in search of provisions,
others to roll up the hogsheads of beer, and butts of water that had
floated on shore; but the greater number were employed in hauling the
two cutters up, when the carpenters were directed to repair them.

By the time it was dark, we had collected about eighty pieces of salt
pork, ten hogsheads of beer, three butts of water, several bottles of
wine, and many articles of use and value; particularly three sextants
and a quadrant, Floresburg's _Directory_, and _Hamilton Moore_; the
latter were deemed inestimable. In course of time four live pigs, and


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Online LibraryVariousThe Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 14, No. 403, December 5, 1829 → online text (page 1 of 4)