Images de page

fhook the lodge.-To add to my grief, the morning light promised no comfort. At length sleep came to my relief; Thort sleep, disCurbed by gloomy visions ; but in the morning my spirits, wearied out, sunk in repose ; and I was but just arisen, when Albert returned.'

The gentleman who, in this publication, has amused us in the person of Charlotte with agreeable prose, has added to his present two or three copies of verses interspersed in the letters. The following, supposed to have been written by the inaniac, who is a clerk of Charlotre's father, prior to his distraction, gave us fome pleasure, and will we believe be generally acceptable. Returned with a copy of one of Collins's Oriental eclogues, trandated by Charlotte.

«Go, simple verse, with Charlotte's matchless strain,

The humble daily with the eglantine-
Reveal what artless Henry strives to hide:

Reveal the woe that drowns this heart of mine.
Tell her, 'tis not alone the favour'd rose

That drinks the nectar of the morning dew:
The lowly field-flower finks with liquid pearl,

And in the blessing finds affliction too.
Tell her, the lowliest of th' admiring throng,

Whose verse her flattering kindneis taught to flow,
By fortune banished from the foothing (mile,

In secret forrow muses o'er his woe.
So, when the choristers of vocal woods

Have fung their amorous fongs the live-long day,
Sad Philomela to the night complains,

And lonely warbles on the cheerless spray.
Sweet sorrow-breathing bird! O might my strain

In aught but melancholy equal thine,
Then should that pity which thy fong inspires,

That pity then should soothe this breast of mine.
But me no muses taught with skilful strains

To mock the harmony of heavenly spheres ;
The mule of melancholy blots my verse,

And brings no other aid than fighs and tears.
On earth no garland grows for this sad brow

For me, alas ! the fates unkindly wove
The fable cypress of consuming grief

With thy sweet rolebuds, hope.deluding love !
A heaven, O Charlotte ! is thy matchless form,

Where dwell those powers that are more divine :
There the illumin'd star of science glows;

The graces in a constellation shine!
I hear harmonious sounds'tis Charlotte's voice!--

I hear her strike the sorrow-Soothing lyre ;
Ah! how persuasive is that melting air,
That makes my bofom thrill with new desire !

But, But, O presumptuous youth ! forbear to tell

With what emotions thy fond breast may glow:-
Hide thee, vain youth, in some fequefter'd shade,

Where Walheim's waving willows weep thy woe!" Were we to criticise these stanzas, we fhould say, that the fecond line of the antepenultimate is deficient both in harmony and meaning, and that the alliteration, Where Walheim's waving willows weep thy woe, is incogruous, ludicrous, and absurd.

We cannot dismiss this performance, without one word to the preface “ by the editor.” In this place, the morality of the-incomparable Werter is loudly arraigned, and the writer is even charged, very unjustly as we think, with diffeminating principles of infidelity. At the lame time, much credit is taken by the author of the present work, for his fcrupulous delicacy, and the regular purity of his sentiments. If this puiity had not been either hypocritical or inconíequent, he must have been aware that it amounted to nothing. What! will this moral and evangelical writer tack his uncontaminated pages to the depravity of Werter? Will he lend the sublimity of his genius to buoy up a mischief, more pregnant, according to him, than war, or tyranny, or the most atrocious villany? (vide p. viii.) But perhaps he may be disposed modestly to disclaim, and say, that he had no chance for immortality, and therefore only provided an antidote, that at moft would not outlast the natural life of the poison. Has he not then exerted all his abilities? If he has not done better, can we thank him for that? Not to fay that books of unequal merit will be admired on other accounts by different classes of readers, and that Charlotte may prove a favourite where Werter would have been discarded. We should not expect to escape the cenforial judgment of our author, if we were to write a continuation of the woman of pleasure, though it should be as chaste as the history of Juli ph.,

But it seems that a young lady, who took refuge in volun. tary death, was found with the Sorrows of Werter under her pillow. This the conscientious scrupulofity of our author has magnified into “ the destruction of individuals, particularly among the other sex.” And what authority has the story itself?

That of the newspapers and magazines of the day. But, admit it be true, and what then? Cato perused the Phædon of Plato immediately before his suicide. Who ever brought this as a charge against the great academic? We have read indeed of a philofopher of antiquity, who enlarged so pathetically upon the miseries of human life, that his scholars, with one confent, set out for the shore to drown themselves. But the progeny of this man are long since extinct ; and a writer of the present day would be extremely puzzled to persuade either you, or me, by the most eloquent harangue in the world, to the act of suicide!


Enlightened Christians are now agreed to regard this action, tho' feldom justifiable, as not including enormous guilt. Indeed, we never heard but of one argument calculated to set it in that light, and that argument is worthy of the ordinary of Newgate's CaJendar ; " that it is the only fun of which a man must not expect “ to have time enough to repent.

But there was a better reason, than that afligned by our author, why he should not have written a continuation of the German romance. The Sorrows of Werter is in point of genius, pathos and sublimity, one of the firit productions of the present century; and a man of moderate talents consults ill his own reputation, who tacks his production to a work of so extraordinary eminence. The present writer accordingly exprefl's himself, as we have faid, with ease and propriety; but when he comes in competition with his original, like a twinkling and uncertain luminary, “ he hides his diminished head.” In reflec, tions he is equal and amaling, but his dialogue is the most miserably supported of any we remember to have read,


Art. XIII. Tal om Japanska Nationen, &c.

[ocr errors]

A Speech concerning the Japanese ; delivered before the Royal Academy of

Sciences, by C. P. Thunberg, when he resigned the office of President.

THE observant traveller proceeds to mention some other par.

ticulars concerning the houses of the Japanese. Each room has two or more windows, which begin near the ceiling and reach down within a couple of feet of the floor. They consift of light fashes, which can be put in and taken out at pleasure, and fide behind each other in two grooves made for this purpose in the beams above and below. They are divided into rectangular panes, which are sometimes forty in number; the outside they are covered with fine white, which is seldom

never oiled, and which admits a good deal of light, though it prevents all prospect without. The roof projects far beyond the house, and is sometimes lengthened out with a small separate roof, which covers a gallery built without the house and before the windows. From this smaller, pals, inwards and downwards square bits of wood, on which mats intended for blinds made of reeds are hung; these mats, can be rolled up or extended at will; they serve partly to prevent passengers from looking into the house, bat chiefly to lereen the paper windows from rain, The windows are never

glazed ;


[ocr errors]

glazed ; nor did I ever observe mother of pearl, or glacies mariæ used for this purpose.

The floor is always covered with mats, made of a fine fort of grass (a juncus) and stuffed with rice-straw to the thickness of three or four inches. They are always of the fame fize, viz, a fathom in length, and half one in breadth. They are adorned along the sides with a thin blue or black band. It was only in the emperor's palace at Japan that I saw mats larger than the common size. In the meaner houses there is

a part of the room at the further end not covered with mats ; 1 it serves instead of an antichamber for a place to take the

fhoes off. Within, the floor is raised and covered with mats. This is the inhabited part of the house: it may be divided into feveral apartments by boards. The walls within, and the ceiling, are covered with beautiful thick paper, on which various flowers are imprinted, either of green, yellow, white, or variegated colours, and sometimes with silver and gold intermixed. The paste they use to faften it on is made of rice, and, as the smoke during the winter soils this tapestry very much, it is renewed every third or fourth year.

The part of the house fronting the street serves tradesmen and mechanics for their shop, and the back part only is inhabited. In the room which serves for a kitchen there is no other hearth than a hole in the middle, surrounded with some stones, which rise no higher than the surface of the mats furrounding them.

The house is blackened with smoke, for there is no chim. ney except a hole in the roof, and accidents from fire often happen from the vacuity of the mats.

Every house has a small court, which is often adorned with portions of earth thrown up, and various trees, Ihrubs, and flower-pots. Every house has also a room for bathing, commonly on one side of the court. In Jeddo, and some other cities, every house has a store house built of stone and secure from fire, in which they can save ther property.

Fire-places and stoves are unknown in the whole country, though the cold is so severe that fires must be made in the apartments from October till March. The fire is made in pots of copper with broad projecting edges, the cavity is filled with clay or ashes, and in this is laid well-burned charcoal. This grate is fet in the middle, or at one side of the room.

They either kindle the fire several times a day, or keep it up constantly, according to the use which is made of the room. Such fires are however subject to many inconveniences; the charcoal sometimes smokes and the room is discoloured, and the eyes suffer feverely.


The Japanese houses have not, either in the cities or the country, the convenience or beauty of the European. The rooms are not fo cheerful, nor in the winter so warm, por lo secure from fire, nor fo durable. The semi-transparent paperwindows in particular give them both within and without a mean appearance.

The public buildings are more spacious, but in the fame stile. The roof, which is adorned with a number of towers of a peculiar appearance, constitutes their chief ornament.

The cities are some of them very large. They are some times surrounded with a wall and fosse, especially those where any chief holds his court. The capital Jeddo is said to be in circumference twenty-one hours walk, or about twenty-one French leagues. I had an opportunity to survey from an eminence this spacious city, which equals if it does not exceed, Pekin in size. The streets are both straight and wide; they are divided by gates at certain distances, as in all the other cities ; at each gate there is a very high staircase, from the top of which fires, which happen very often, may be easily discovered.

Villages are distinguished from cities by having only one treet, which is of an incredible length, generally exceeding a mile and half, and often so long, that it requires several hours to traverse them. They lie sometimes ļo close to one another, that nothing but a bridge or a brook, and a different name, separates them,

Corresponding to the fimplicity of the architecture is the scantiness of household furniture, which however is such as not a little to contribute to convenience, and even to the ornament of the house. They have no closets, bureaus, chefts, sofas, beds, tables, chairs, clock, looking-glafs, &c. Most of these articles are neither used nor known. The soft mats, which cover the floor, serve for chairs and beds. At meal-cime a little table, a foot square, and ten inches high, is set before each person. Upon holidays a soft mattress stopped with cotton is laid upon the mats. Cupboards, chests, bureaus, and boxes are kept in a separate room. Most of the Eaft Indian nations fit cross-legged, but the Chinese and Japanese fet their feet under their body, and so make their heels serve for 4 chair.

With respect to the variety of eatables which are found in the Japanese ifles and the surrounding sea, partly the produce of nature, and partly reared or prepared by art, the country of which I am speaking exceeds perhaps all others hitherto discovered. The Japanese use not only whatever is itself whole. some and nourishing, but almost every article of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, even poisonous things, which are so prepared as to be fit for use. All the dishes are cut into small ENG. Rev, Vol. VI. April 1786. U


« PrécédentContinuer »