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LAMB.

LAMB.

"Evil communications corrupt good manners." No, thank you. I can quite take your word, when you assure me of your own wickedness. As for Keswick-strip me naked, if ever you catch me spying out the nakedness of the land again! The man who longs for the country deserves to be sent there; that is all I have to say. The ancients placed skulls on their banquet-tables-grim memorials of discomfort. The moderns place gardens at the back of their houses, for (I suppose) a like purpose. What else was the first garden than a prison-out of which Adam was shrewd enough to sin himself?

SOUTHEY.

I fancy your ambition travels beyond the stage-coach proprieties of four; you undertake twice that number with alacrity, and keep the whip-hand of them down hill all You know how a flower fades the time. Southey, your greed of books is condemned to the doom of your parloraway when insatiable. The daughters of the horse-window existence; so should I fade away if leech are nothing to you. Tell me, now; London were my home-which God forbid ! when you left Keswick, how many volumes shared your affections?

SOUTHEY.

LAMB.

I never say "amen" to a curse. As for

I was paying attentions to Mosheim's any thing out of London--as for green fields "Ecclesiastical History”— and poplar-trees, and those blockheads the mountains, and those cold and catarrh-mongers the rivers, they are hideous in mine eyes.

LAMB.

A penchant not very likely to end in a I had small love for them at the beginning, holy alliance. Go on.

SOUTHEY.

Also, to Shakspeare's "Othello."

LAMB.

What a lapse in your flirtations-from the divinity-doctor to the naughty black man! "The nearer the kirk the further from God."

SOUTHEY.

If you comment thus on my frailties, I shall never get through the list of them. I have to confess a liaison with Isaac Barrow; also a few tender passages with Bishop Parker de Rebus sui Temporis; frequent assignations with Whitaker's "Pierce Plowman;" stolen glances by the score at the "Mirror for Magistrates;" intimate correspondence with Tiraboschi; an unequivocal attachment to the "Niebelungen Lied;" and undisguised familiarity with Rabelais, and

several others.

LAMB.

Most horrible! Turkish license of this wholesale order in a Christian land!

SOUTHEY.

Follow me to Keswick, and secure by ocu

and it pleased Heaven to decrease it on further acquaintance.

SOUTHEY.

You are one of the sincerest of men, and yet utter more insincerities than any man alive. But we know how to interpret them. They must be very freely translated-not literally; and if read backwards or upside down, the sense will often be more readily attained. I will not believe in your professions of hatred to rural scenery. I will not believe that all those "beauteous forms" are but to you

"As is a landscape to a blind man's eye."

You are not so irreligious as to despise and dislike what God has made, and beheld and pronounced very good. The everlasting hills that stand about my home, how necessary a part of existence they now seem to me! Gazing on them, I have felt what Wordsworth so grandly describes,

"A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts."

The clouds resting on their summits speak to me of heavenly things, “and in their si

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The prisoners and captives prayed for in the country; and, poor fellows, they sadly the Litany must surely mean the dwellers in need our supplications.

SOUTHEY.

Do you believe in the existence of vice within five miles of St. Paul's?

LAMB.

Well, they do tell me there are naughty things said and done; but I try not to be. lieve them. Like Pilgrim Christian, I stuff my fingers (as many of the ten as can find admission) in my ears, that I may not hear their mischievous persuasions.

burn with shame.

SOUTHEY.

LAMB.

"Visit Greta-bridge ? I will see thee hang'd first!" No, no! London in her shabbiest clothes and seediest moments--suffering with the great plague, for example, or frizzling away in 1666--can at least stare the country out of countenance any day of the week. London is to me, as I once told Manning of Cambridge, a more than Mahometan Paradise, which I would not exchange for Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Windermere, and the parson thrown in for a make-weight. Think of the delicious melody of Bow-bells! Talk about that old humbug, Helvellyn-why, have n't we Primrose Hill? Derwentwater, indeed! as if we had not the New River. Have the kindness to contrast a walk in town with a I do not mix in the giddy pleasures of the walk in the country-the latter a dull, pur-place, and yet see enough, at every visit, to poseless, meaningless thing, wherein you make my heart bleed with sorrow as well as meet one clodhopper per mile, and regard a solitary ass" as a celestial visitation, "beautiful exceedingly"-the former a glorious intercourse with men and manners, with shops and street-criers, with taverns and theatres. What finer spectacle than the Strand in full bustle, or the sweet shady side of Pall Mall, in the height of the season? Now you brush against a cabinet minister; now you overhear the small-talk of two dukes; anon you meet Coleridge and Davy, Mackintosh and Sydney Smith; at the corner of the street you shake hands with Kean, or make an appointment with Young. Are you tired of looking in at that goldsmith's shop window, and examining the brooches and plate, plentiful enough to buy up a baker's dozen of your midland counties? Turn to next door-a pastry cook's, I declare!—you may as well step inside there-and having complimented Miss behind the counter, on the perfection of her cates, after devouring half-ascore of delicacies, the very names of which never startled the stupidity of your northern boors, you scrutinise the next shop, which is a print-seller's, and feast your eyes on the beauties of Stothard and Barry, Opie and

Ah, Southey! no man can live a day in the streets of London, gazing on its passing crowds, and noting its common incidents, without saying at eventide, "I have seen strange things to day-strange things and sad! Many a time the thoroughfares which I sought for purposes of cheerfulness, present scenes that depress me beyond measure. But, on the other hand, I often shed tears of joy at the mere sight of so much life; and I take long walks at night, when the lamps are lit, and the streets are crowded with men and women whose work is over, that I may indulge in such pleasurable weeping.

The fact is, I have formed intense local attachments (as I told Wordsworth, lang syne) in the home of my childhood, youth, and middle age-attachments as many and intense as you hill-folk can have formed with dead nature; and I must cease to be the Charles Lamb of Christ Hospital, and Queen Street, and the South Sea House, before I cease to remember this my Jerusalem. Had I been born and bred

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When I lived in Russell street, I was worrited out of life almost by interruptions. It was such a convenient distance for callerssuch a central situation. How I pined after the comparative seclusion of the Temple! A set of fellows who affected interest in literature were eternally dropping in at breakfasttime, at pudding-time, at tea-time, at bed-time. They would honor me with a call at the India House, lean on my desk, and play with my quills, and more than glance at the secrets of my ledgers; they would insist on accompanying me home after business-hours, lest I should have one moment's solitude; and if I got rid of this batch at the door, and scrambled up stairs to be blessed by the phiz of Mary and the perfumes of roast mutton, alas! alas! the knocker soon dealt forth its knell-like strokes, and my digestion, my peace of mind, my evening sympathies with Mary and an old folio, were sacrificed with Mary and an old folio, were sacrificed to the ruthless invaders announced to my

horror.

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"Kobert the Rhymer, who lives at the lakes."

Behold me sitting in delicious déshabille, in a large room warmed by a roaring fire, and lighted by one dull candle; working away with all my heart, and all my mind, and all my soul, and all my strength; one, as I have often described myself, daily progressing in learning; not so learned as poor, not so poor as proud, not so proud as happy. While the citizen author groans under a recurring series of loquacious intruders, my quiet is only broken by the advent of a sociable cat-and very welcome he is. While you have pains and penalties, thick and threefold, attached

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ad libitum, that best of all dishes, gooseberry-pie, without fearing the criticism or the company of any anti-gooseberry fool.

LAMB.

So you are not yet weaned from that infantine love of the pie you once glorified in a Pindaric ode?

SOUTHEY.

Not I. Still can I sing with as much epicure inspiration as ever,

"What though the sunbeams of the west Mature within the turtle's breast

Blood, glutinous, and fat, of verdant hue? What though the deer bound sportively along O'er springy turf, the park's elastic vest? Give them the honors due— But gooseberry pie is best."

LAMB.

Ah, well; may we never, at the oldest, cease to be old boys! I'm sure I've no wish headed than I am at this moment. I should to grow more venerable and sage and hoarylike to continue at the present point of time -since I can not date backwards in a bill of

this kind (what a delightful à priori argument if I could!)-I should like to make a bargain with old Chronos, the grasping thief! that in consideration of the many depredations he hath committed on my person and property, he should for the future let me go scot-free-leaving me my present complement of faculties, friends, funds, teeth, and appetites. I have already lost plenty of all these good things, thanks to that old curmudgeon with his scythe.

SOUTHEY.

We can not make a covenant with Death, nor a composition with such a creditor as Time. Dear Lamb! what a balance-sheet he has against you and me since we were young fellows at Bristol, and had our juvenile phizzes "taken" for good Joseph Cottle. I often think the final supremacy of time, as proved by the infirmities and sorrows of old age, more to be dreaded than that of death itself, which, if an enemy to the virtuous and wise, is at any rate the last. Of all things I am chiefly affected by change in objects dear to my heart of hearts: the changes wrought by old age are fearful to contemplate; and when I think of them, and feel their premonitory symptoms, and taste their

dove, that I might flee away and be at | tell. This is a sorry confession to make;

rest.

LAMB.

Whereas I cling to this present state of being, with a tenacity that becomes deeper and firmer with every furrow in the soil of my heart. I shrink from the thought of new and untried existence. I would never leave familiar faces and familiar scenes. Thoughts of an expanded and elevated sphere, instead of consoling, depress me more than I can

but I will not ape a spiritual sublimity which I do not feel.

SOUTHEY.

You set too great and exclusive a value on things seen and temporal; but I'm not going to be dogmatical with you. For my part, my very happiest moments are those when I am anticipating that future life where change shall be ever for the better, and progress shall be without decay, and happiness without evanescence.

From Hogg's Instructor.

COMETS.

IN the ages of ignorance and superstition, very wild and extraordinary opinions have been entertained regarding the nature of comets, and the purposes for which they appear in the heavens. The ancient Chaldeans, and Pythagoras, with some of his followers, believed them to be of the nature of the planets. Aristotle supposed them to be meteors in the upper heavens, generated when they appeared, and vanishing out of sight by being destroyed. In later times, Kepler, noted for the wildness of his imagination, as well as for the strength of his genius, fancied comets to be monstrous and uncommon animals generated in the celestial spaces. Bodin, a French writer of the sixteenth century, maintained that comets "are spirits, or geni different from men, yet mortal, which, having lived on the earth innumerable ages, and being at length arrived on the confines of death, celebrate their last triumph, or are recalled to the firmament, like shining stars." An opinion something like this, extravagant though it be, prevailed in remote ages; for we find that the people generally believed that a great comet which appeared immediately after the assassination of Julius Caesar, was the soul of that celebrated mau. The conjecture for all was yet only conjecture of Bernoulli, an Italian philosopher, was nearer the truth, and yet far from it: He thought that comets were the satellites of some far-off planet, invisible on account of its distance, which wander betimes within

the sphere of our vision.

Sir Isaac Newton believed that the orbit of the comet of 1680 would become gradually less, and that at last the comet would fall into the sun; thus, in his opinion, fulfilling one of the uses of comets, namely, to furnish fuel for the sun, which was supposed to be necessary, to prevent the sun from being wasted away by giving out so much light. Mr. Brydone seemed to hold the same opinion with regard to almost all the comets without tails, which he alleges are seen approaching the sun, but of whose return from the sun no evidence satisfactory to him was ever given. Such were the opinions of philosophers regarding comets, before the accurate observations, superior instruments, and profound calculation of modern science made us better acquainted with them.

Whilst the learned formed conjectures regarding comets that were wide of the truth, ignorance and superstition invested them with a mysterious and awful significance. They were regarded as omens or forerunners of war, or pestilence, or famine; of the birth of mortals who were to be great for good or evil among their fellows; or of those calamities which too often followed the death of the great conquerors of antiquity. Princes, popes, peoples, were perplexed and alarmed by the appearance of these strange wanderers in the heavens, as they glared down in their fiery splendor, or gave forth their pale, livid, watery light, the very emblem, as men thought of plague and famine · or as their

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immense trains swept across the heavens, attracting every eye, and filling men's hearts with astonishment and anxiety.

Speaking of Mithridates the Great, king of Pontus, the historian Justin says, "The celestial signs had foretold the future greatness of this man. For, in that year in which he was born, and in that in which he first began to reign, the star of a comet, through each time, so shone for seventy days, that all the heaven seemed to be in a blaze. For it had taken up the fourth part of the heaven by the greatness of it, and had overcome the brightness of the sun by the splendor of it; and it occupied the space of four hours in rising and setting." A comet which appeared in 837 so alarmed the reigning king of France, Louis I., that he ordered a number of churches and monasteries to be built throughout his dominions, in the hope that thereby he would appease the wrath of Heaven, of which he supposed the comet to be an indication. And in 1446, the pope of that day, Calixtus III., hard pressed by the successes of the Turks under Mahomet II., was greatly alarmed by the appearance of a remarkable comet, and he appointed a form of prayer to be used against its supposed baleful influence; and, for the same end, he ordered the bells in all the churches to be rung every day at noon. But, Thus saith the Lord, be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them."

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Though much has yet to be learned regarding comets, the observations and labors of modern science have led to a good deal of trustworthy knowledge of them, and have shown them to be very harmless, but very interesting celestial phenomena. In this paper we shall attempt to give a rapid sketch of what is known regarding comets, and especially of the results of recent investigations, drawing our materials chiefly from the work of Mr. Hind.

Some comets are distinctly, and even conspicuously visible to the naked eye; others (and these by far the greater number) are only to be seen by the aid of the telescope. In almost every instance in which they are conspicuously visible to the naked eye, comets consist of a head composed of a nucleus of light surrounded by a mass of nebulous matter, and of a tail or train of nebulous light stretching out from the head or nucleus. When we direct the eye or the instrument to the head of a comet, we see sometimes a star-like body in the centre, sometimes a disc-like appearance, and sometimes evident

There

| greater or less condensation. The celebrated French philosopher Arago was of opinion that some comets are solid bodies like the planets; and he rested that opinion very much on an alleged fact, that a comet has been observed as a round black spot on the body of the sun, in its transit across the disc of that luminary, like the planets Mercury and Venus in similar circumstances. is the strongest reason to believe, however, that what have sometimes been taken for opaque or planetary nuclei, were nothing but the nebulous or gaseous matter of which comets are composed, in a very high state of condensation. It having been computed that the comet of 1827 would cross the sun's disc, the occurrence was looked forward to with much interest, as fitted to furnish the best information regarding the nuclei of comets. Unfortunately, the sun at the computed time was hidden by clouds in this country; he was seen, however, by the French observers at Verviers and Marseilles; but no spot or cloud could be discovered on the sun's disc; and hence it was concluded that the comet had no solid or opaque part whatever. Besides, when comets have presented to the observer what seemed to be a solid planetary disc, it has been found that the appearance of that disc underwent changes of shape and character altogether inconsistent with the fact of it being a solid substance. And it is held to be doubtful whether a single instance can be produced of a comet with a planetary disc presenting the same appearance throughout the whole period that it was observed. Indeed, the changes exhibited by the central portion of the heads of cometsin other words, the different appearances presented by the disc, in those of them which are so furnished-are among the most puzzling of the phenomena connected with these bodies.

The nuclei of different comets present very different appearances, and even the nucleus of the same comet evidently undergoes, as we have just stated, great and surprising changes. A remarkable comet appeared A. D. 389, whose head seemed composed of several small stars. The nucleus of the comet of 1835-36, usually called Halley's comet, presented at one time the appearance of a fanshaped flame, proceeding from a bright point: at another time, it was like a red-hot coal of an oblong form; at another time, it was seen as a well-defined disc, with an apparent diameter of not less than 97,000 miles; and at another time, as a brilliant kernel of light,

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