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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 19. No. 552.] SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 1832. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *




THE BRAHMIN BULL, IN THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, REGENT'S PARK.

[Illustration: THE BRAHMIN BULL, IN THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, REGENT'S PARK.]


The Zoological Society possess several _Zebus_, or Indian oxen. These
were formerly considered a distinct species, but zoologists are now of
opinion that the Zebu is merely a variety of the common ox, "although,"
as Mr. Bennett observes, "it is difficult to ascertain the causes by
which the distinctive characters of the two races have been in the
process of time gradually produced."[1] Their anatomical structure is
precisely the same, and the only circumstances in which the two animals
differ consist in the fatty hump on the shoulders of the Zebu, and in
the somewhat more slender and delicate make of its legs.

[1] Gardens and Menageries of the Zoological Society Delineated
Quadrupeds - vol. i.

The object of the Zoological Society in their collection of Zebus is the
introduction of an improved breed of oxen. The larger specimens are kept
at the farm at Kingston Hill, and only a pair of small ones are reserved
for the Gardens, in addition to the Brahmin Bull, who occupies the
central division of the Cattle Shed.

[Illustration: Brahmin Bull in Cattle Shed.]

The specimen before us has been received by the Society from India, and
is one of the largest that has ever been seen in Europe. It is equal in
size to the larger breeds of our native oxen, and is of a slaty grey on
the body and head; with cream-coloured legs and dewlap, the latter
exceedingly long and pendulous; very short horns directed upwards and
outwards; and ears of great proportional magnitude, and so flexible and
obedient to the animal's will as to be moved in all directions with the
greatest facility. Although a full-grown male, he is perfectly quiet,
good-tempered, and submissive, and receives the caresses of strangers
with apparent satisfaction.

The whole of the breeds of Zebus are treated with great veneration by
the Hindoos, who hold it sinful to deprive them of life under any
pretext whatever. They are in general used as beasts of draft,
principally for purposes of husbandry, but a select number (of which the
specimen before us is one,) are exempted from all services, and even
idolized.

Bishop Heber,[2] calls them _Brahminy_ Bulls, and tells us they are
turned out when calves, on different solemn occasions by wealthy
Hindoos, as an acceptable offering to Siva. It would be a mortal sin to
strike or injure them. They feed where they choose, and devout persons
take great delight in pampering them. They are exceeding pests in the
villages near Calcutta, breaking into gardens, thrusting their noses
into the stalls of fruiterers and pastry-cook's shops, and helping
themselves without ceremony. Like other petted animals, they are
sometimes mischievous, and are said to resent with a push of their horns
any delay in gratifying their wishes.

[2] Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India,
vol. i. 4to., 1828.

We may here in connexion with the Zoological Gardens, not
inappropriately introduce the following graphic passage from the
concluding Number of Mr. Landseer's "Characteristic Sketches of
Animals." It appears as a "Note by the Editor," Mr. John Barrow, and
represents the labours of the Zoological Society as very gratifying to
the subscribers and the public.[3]

[3] We are indebted to the _Literary Gazette_ of Saturday last
for early cognizance of this extract.

"By the spirit and perseverance with which they have succeeded in
_domiciling_ their magnificent collection of living animals in the
Regent's Park - by the knowledge and experience they have evinced in the
arrangements adopted in that establishment, and the good taste, skill,
and industry, they have employed in carrying into effect its multiplied
details - they have accomplished a task of far higher importance, and of
infinitely nobler character, than that of merely providing for all
classes of an enlightened metropolis an additional source of amusement
and recreation. Such a collection, so maintained and so displayed,
advances - slowly but certainly - the best interests of morals and
philosophy. The curiosity which it excites, the gratification it
affords, operate, though with differing degrees of intensity, on the
most uncultivated and the best informed of those who visit it, to beget
inquiry and awaken reflection; and in what can inquiry and reflection,
thus originated, determine, but in producing or extending the most
sublime impressions of the beneficence, the power, and the providence,
of the Great Author of Creation? The physical mechanism of birds, the
muscular energies of brutes, strike us at first with wonder, or move us
with mingled terror and delight; but the activity of the human mind will
not suffer us long to remain at this point of simple excitement. We
involuntarily begin to analyze the properties of animals, the relations
of their structure to those properties, the adaptation of the parts to
the whole of that structure, and the conformity of their physical
endowment and their instincts to the various _habitats_ or regions in
which they respectively exist. Whether we reason from causes to effects,
as from instinct to habit; or endeavour, upon an inverted process, to
arrive from the consideration of effects at causes, as from habit to
instinct; or attempt, upon the analysis and analogies of admitted facts
in the natural history of one animal, to deduce a theory of the history
of another, - we shall find this mysterious but beautiful chain of
relation and adaptation unbroken, impassable, perpetual.

* * * * *

"Observe how this infant colony, of which we are especially speaking,
has already been peopled! The majestic rusa, captured in the sultry
forests of Bengal, and the elegant gazelle, which has once bounded over
the parching deserts of Barbary, have become intimate and make their
couch with the white reindeer, brought from the icy wastes of Lapland.
The misshapen but harmless kangaroo of New Holland is a fellow-lodger
with the ferocious gnu of Southern Africa; and the patient llama, who
has left the snowy sides and precipitous defiles of the Andes,
contemplates without terror its formidable neighbours, the wolf of the
Pyrenees, and the bear of the stupendous mountains of Thibet. In the
immediate vicinity of the sacred bull, whose consecrated life has
heretofore been passed in luxurious freedom or insolent enjoyment on the
banks of the Ganges or the Jumna - feeds the gaunt and shaggy bison,
which crops with sullen tranquillity a herbage more nutritious but less
grateful to him than he loved to cull among the stony pastures of the
Alleghany range, or of the howling solitudes surrounding Hudson's Bay.
Though thousands of leagues have interposed between the arid sands from
which they have been imported into this peaceful and common home, the
camel of the Thebais, as he ruminates in his grassy _parterre_, surveys
with composed surprise the wild dog of the Tierra del Fuego and the
sharp-eyed dingo of Australia. Around the ghastly sloth-bear,
disentombed from his burrows in the gloomiest woods of Mysore or
Canara - and his more lively congener of Russia - the armadillo of Brazil
and the pine marten of Norway display a vivacity of action and a
cheerfulness of gesture which captivity seems powerless to repress. The
elephant of Ceylon, and the noble wapiti of the Canadas, repose beneath
the same roof; and from his bath, or his pavilion, the Arctic bear
contemplates - not his native rocks and solitudes, the crashing of
icebergs, and the Polar seas, alternately lashed into terrific fury or
hemmed in by accumulating precipices of ice; but - monkeys of almost
every size, form, and family, which gambol in the woods of Numidia or
Gundwana; in the loftiest trees of Sumatra; on the mountains of Java; by
the rivers of Paraguay and Hindustan; of South America and South Asia;
among the jungly banks of the Godavery and the woody shores of the
Pamoni, of the Oroonoko, and the Bramahputra - in short, in every sunny
clime and region where the rigours of his own winter are not only
unknown, but inconceivable. There is something sublime in the mere
consideration of the prodigious remoteness from one another of the
various points from which these animals have thus been collected;
something gratifying to human pride, in the thought that neither the
freezing atmosphere of the countries which surround the Pole, nor the
fierce heats of those which lie beneath the Line, or are enclosed
between the Tropics - neither destructive climates, nor trackless
deserts, nor stormy oceans, can interpose obstacles powerful enough to
quell the enterprise of man! - that the rocky caverns of the loneliest
sea-coasts, and the deepest recesses of inland forests, are insufficient
to protect from him the most terrible beasts of prey which inhabit
them; - and that, in short, all the kingdoms of nature pay tribute to his
sagacity or his power, his courage or his curiosity. This feeling is
heightened, amidst the scene we have attempted to describe, by still
more numerous representatives of the feathered race. Birds of the
boldest wing and brightest hues - the denizens of the woods and the
waters - of every variety of plumage, habit, song, and size - from the
splendid macaw and toucan to the uncouth pelican and the shapeless
puffin - from the gigantic ostrich to the beautiful but diminutive golden
wren; in short, all the birds which are congregated in this spot come,
literally, from every corner of our globe. The great alpine vulture may
have sailed above the heights of Hohenlinden; the Egyptian vulture have
roosted on the terraced roofs of Cairo, or among the sacred walls of
Phylæ; the condor, have built in the ruined palaces of the Incas of
Peru; the flamingo or the ibis have waded through the lakes and marshes
which surround the desolation of Babylon; the eagle of America have
ranged, perhaps daily, over those narrow straits which separate two
worlds and bid defiance to all navigation! The emu has long since
tracked the vast interior of that fifth continent whose inland rivers,
tribes of mankind, quadrupeds, and mineral and vegetable productions,
remain still, to us, sealed mysteries. The crowned crane has drawn its
food from the waters of that vast lake of Tschad, in the search for
which so many Europeans have perished; the little stormy petrel, borne
on the surge, or wafted by the gale, has travelled to every shore that
has been visited by the tempests in which it loves to rove; and the
wandering stork, like the restless swallow, has nestled, indifferently,
among the chimneys of Amsterdam, the campaniles of Rome or of Pisa, and
on the housetops of Timbuctoo. In looking round upon these various birds
and quadrupeds of all the regions of our globe - in considering the
distant countries of their birth - their strangeness to us in feature or
in form - the endless varieties of their instincts, their habits, their
affections, their antipathies, their appetites - the several important
offices they are destined to perform in what may be called the physical
economy of the world, - in observing the powers of offence in some, of
defence in others, and the astonishing means which have been supplied to
certain classes of them destitute both of one and the other, of
procuring their subsistence with equal facility, - it is surely
impossible not to ascend to the contemplation of that all-wise and
benevolent Power which has called all these creations into being, and
thus informed and thus endowed them!"

* * * * *


ST. PANCRAS OLD CHURCH.

(_To the Editor._)


In No. 546, of _The Mirror_, you gave a History of Old Saint Pancras
Church. Will you allow me to say that it is not at a Church in the South
of France, where prayers are said for the souls of those that are buried
here, but at the Church of St. Peter, at Rome. A writer in the _Morning
Herald_ of August, 1825, states thus: "The History of the Old Church of
Saint Pancras is not a little singular; it is one of the oldest in the
county of Middlesex, and the parish it belongs to one of the largest,
being eighteen miles in circumference. The name was sent from Rome by
the Pope, expressly for this church, which has the only general Catholic
burial ground in England; and mass is daily said in St. Peter's, at
Rome, for the repose of the souls of the faithful, whose bodies are
deposited therein; and it was also the last church in England whose bell
tolled for mass, or in which any Catholic rites were celebrated. A few
months ago an Italian showed me an Italian prayer-book, in which was a
coloured drawing of St. Pancras Church; he told me it was held in great
veneration at Rome, and prayers are said daily in St. Peter's, for its
prosperity, and it is considered to be the oldest church now standing in
Europe." A writer in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, 1749, states thus:
"Christ's sacred altar here first Britain saw. Saint Pancras is included
in that land granted by Ethelbert, the fifth King of Kent, to the
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London, about the year 603. The first
mention that has been found to be made of this church, occurs in the
year 1183; but it does not appear whether it was, or was not, of recent
erection."

It is said there was a silver tomb in this church, which was probably
taken away at the time of the commonwealth. About a mile from the
church, in a field in Kentish Town, is the Gospel Oak, under which,
tradition says, that Saint Austin, or one of his monks, preached. Near
the church was a medicinal spa, which once attained some celebrity under
the name of St. Pancras' Well, and was held in such estimation as to
occasion great resort of company to it during the season. It is said the
water was tasteless, but had a slight cathartic property.

Dr. Stukely, in a work published in 1756, says there was a Roman camp
where St. Pancras Church stands.

The old church was repaired in 1827, when the old gallery was taken
down. It was reopened under the name of St. Pancras Chapel, August 1828,
by the Rev. James Moore, L.L.D., the Vicar; on which occasion he
delivered a lecture, in which he gave a history of the church.

Since the year 1822, five new churches have been erected in this parish:
the New St. Pancras Church, Euston-square; Regent Church,
Sidmouth-street; Somers Church, Seymour-street; Camden Church,
Pratt-street; and Highgate Church, on the Hill.

The first Bishop of Calcutta, the Rev. Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, D.D.
was Vicar of St. Pancras. He died of a stroke of the sun, on the 8th of
July, 1822. _A Parishioner of St. Pancras._

* * * * *


MARY OF CAMBRIA. - A SONNET.
(_For the Mirror._)


There was a maiden once would come and sit
Upon our mountain, the long summer day;
And watch'd the sun, till he had beauteous lit
The mist-envelop'd rocks of Mona grey:
Beneath whose base, the timid hinds would say,
Her lover perish'd; and from that dread hour,
Bereft of reason's mind ennobling ray,
Poor Mary droop'd: Llanellian's fairest flower!
Why gazeth she thus lone; can those soft eyes
Interpret aught in each dim cloud above?
Yes, there's more joy in her wild phantasies
Than reasons in its sober power could prove.
List to her wild laugh now; she smiles and cries,
It is my William's form; he beckons from you skies.

_The Author of a Tradesman's Lays_[4]

[4] In our correspondent's notice of Mrs. Hemans in No. 550, for
"Lady then," read "this Lady."

This little metrical record is founded on fact. In the year 1808, a
young female visited the grey, sterile mountain tract of Cefu Ogo, in
Denbighshire, each day successively for two months. Her lover, who was a
seaman on board one of the Welsh traders, had often met her there, and a
tranquil, uninterrupted walk it afforded them, for exchanging the
reciprocities of their mutual affection. He was lost not far from the
iron-bound coast of Carnarvonshire, but nearer towards Anglesea. I saw
her frequently, and her demeanour was most peaceable, except towards the
evening, when her benighted fancy would conjure up a variety of pleasing
expressions, which were uttered in the Welsh language; and were
invariably directed towards her lover, whom she often fancied was
present with her. I was happy to hear, that through the kind
superintendence of the late Dr. Jones, of Denbigh, she in a great
measure recovered her faculties, but died two or three years after at
Liverpool.

* * * * *



SHAKSPERIANA.

(_For the Mirror._)



"Each scene of many-colour'd life he drew
Exhausted worlds, - and then imagin'd knew."

JOHNSON.

So much has been said, and said so well, respecting the writings of
Shakspeare and the peculiar character of his genius, that it would be a
hopeless as well as a presumptuous task to attempt adding anything to
public information on that head. But I know not that any one has
ventured to point out a few of those instances in which our great
dramatist has stooped to plagiarize. That he must have done so, at least
occasionally, is a matter of course, as no voluminous writings were ever
given to the world that were not the result of study as well as original
thought, for genius must ever be corrected by judgment, and what is
judgment but the child of experience and study? Observation alone can
tell us, that man is an imitative animal, and philosophy teaches us that
his ideas are not innate; he must borrow them at first in a simple form
from those around him, and though by the association of these ideas, and
the gradual extension and improvement of them, he may eventually
generate new ones, yet some traces cannot but remain of what was
originally lodged in the mind, and will come into play as occasion may
call them forth. Shakspeare was a perfect master of human nature, but he
was a master of our language as well; he was indeed one of those who
have improved it, but he could never have himself arrived at the degree
of perfection in which he found it, had he not derived assistance from
others, and made himself intimately acquainted with our purest national
works of talent. Thus, he could never have been so ignorant as he is
said to have been of English literature.

Little is known of Shakspeare's earlier years, except that he was sent
to the free school at Stratford, where he acquired the rudiments of the
learned languages; that he was never a distinguished classic is certain,
but it is equally certain that he must have been acquainted with the
Greek dramatists by the use of translations, though he may not have had
scholarship enough to study them in the original. So many parallel
passages might be drawn from this source, that the task would be an
endless one; besides the fact is so well known and admitted, that it
would be unnecessary. "We find him," says Mr. Pope, "very knowing in all
the customs of antiquity." In _Julius Caesar, Coriolanus_, and other
plays where the scene is laid at Rome, not only the spirit but the
manners of the ancient Romans is exactly shown, and his reading in the
ancient historians is no less conspicuous. It is well known at the
universities of this country, that on any public examination, be the
play either tragic or comic, the students are frequently required to
produce parallel passages from the writings of Shakspeare: now it might
indeed with some reason be supposed that occasionally the same ideas
would present themselves to different minds, and where two writers are
equally well acquainted with the nature of man, and equally skilled in
analyzing his passions, it might well, I say, be supposed, that such
true and acute observation would suggest similar ideas, and perhaps even
the same method of defining them. Yet when this similarity is frequent
instead of occasional, when the unusual peculiarity of the sentiment
renders it startling and suspicious, then the above supposition becomes
too extensive even for prejudice to admit. Such however is the case
here, and so the matter stands between Shakspeare and the ancient
dramatists. Even some of the machinery he has made use of is not his
own. Thus, the seemingly ingenious introduction of "The Play" into
_Hamlet_, is borrowed from an old Greek drama, where Alexander, the
tyrant of Pharos, is struck with remorse for his crimes upon viewing
similar cruelties to his own, practised upon the stage.

At that earlier period of literature when Shakspeare flourished, books
were few in number, and consequently scarce; yet there can be no doubt
that our author seized every opportunity of improving and strengthening
his mind: whether he had any acquaintance with the modern languages is
unknown, but he has certainly introduced many French scenes in his
works, and he has taken several of his plots, such as that of _Romeo and
Juliet_, from the Italians. As to his own language, he is said to have
made the poems of Chaucer principally his study, so that it would not be
quite fair to produce any plagiarisms from that writer; but I give the
reader a few specimens of English literature taken from other quarters,
which seem to have afforded Shakspeare ideas, or else matter, to work
upon. The following passage is from one of our oldest dramas, and it
will readily call to the recollection of the reader, the celebrated
speech of Claudio in _Measure for Measure_:

"To die is sure to go we know not whither,
We lie in silent darkness, and we rot.
Perhaps the spirit, which is future life,
Dwells, salamander-like, unharm'd in fire,
Or else with wand'ring winds is blown about
The world; but if condemned like those
Whom our uncertain thought imagines howling,
Then the most loath'd and the most weary life,
Which age, ache, penury or imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a Paradise.
To what we fear of death."

The sentences that follow are from a small historical work I have fallen
in with, written in old English, but without its date; about a fourth
part of the matter contained in this little book is to be found woven
into the different historical plays of Shakspeare, but the underwritten
extracts are very nearly in his own words, allowing, of course, for the
more poetical expression.

(_Fall of Wolsey._) "Being near his end, he called Sir William Kingston
to him, and said, 'Pray, present my duty to his majesty, who is a noble
and gallant prince, and of a resolved mind, for he will venture the loss
of his kingdom, rather than be contradicted in his desires. And now, Mr.
Kingston, had I but served my God as diligently as I have served the
king, he never would have forsaken me in my grey hairs!'" (Compare this
with Cardinal Wolsey's speech to Cromwell, _Henry VIII._, Act iii.)

Amongst other particulars in this book, concerning _Richard III._ we
have the following: "The Protector coming in council, seemed more than
ordinarily merry, and after some other discourses, 'My lord (says he to
the Bishop of Ely) you have very good strawberries in your garden in
Holborn, pray let us have a dish of them.' 'With all my heart,' replied
the bishop, and sent for some. Afterwards, the Protector knit his brows
and his lips, and rising up in great wrath, he exclaimed, 'My lords, I
have to tell you, that that old sorceress, my brother Edward's widow,
and her partner, that common prostitute, Jane Shore, have by witchcraft
and enchantment been contriving to take away my life, and though by
God's mercy they have not been able to finish this villany, yet see the
mischief they have done me; (and then he showed his left arm,) how they
have caused this dear limb of mine to wither and grow useless.'" (Vide
_Richard III._ Act iii. Scene 2.)

Shakspeare was contemporary with Bacon, and he no doubt valued and
studied with attention, the writings of that great man. The working up
of the splendid dialogue between Iago and Othello, may not impossibly
have been suggested by this sentence of Lord Bacon: "Breaking off in the


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