Imatges de pÓgina

"I shall now mention a set of cheats who make a dupe of the heart, and impose on the benevolence and compassion of the charitable: these are called sky-farmers, and execute their schemes in the following manner: one of them dresses himself extremely genteel, and takes upon himself either the character of a private gentleman, or reputable tradesman. He is attended by two men in the character of country farmers, with clumsy boots, horseman's coats, &c. The objects pitched upon for imposition are good old charitable ladies, to whom the solicitor tells a dreadful story of losses by fire, inundation, &c., to the utter ruin of these two poor farmers and all their families; their wives are big with child, their children down in the small-pox, &c. A book is then produced by the solicitor, who undertakes this disagreeable office purely out of good-nature, knowing the story to be true. In this book are the names of the nobility and gentry, set down by himself, who have contributed to this charity; and by setting out with false names, they at length get real ones, which are of great service to them in carrying on their fraud; and well-disposed persons are daily imposed upon by false appearances of distress. There are persons in this town who get a very good livelihood by writing letters and petitions of this stamp, with which those noblemen and gentlemen, who are distinguished for their generosity and benevolence, are constantly tormented; and these wretches often obtain relief for their false distresses, whilst the really miserable suffer, from their modesty, the acutest afflictions. A woman stuffed up as if she was ready to lie in, with two or three borrowed children, and a letter, giving an account of her husband's falling from a scaffold and breaking his limbs, or being drowned at sea, &c. is an irresistible object.

"Lastly, the following cautions to inns and livery-stables may not be useless: it is become a trick for a man to hire a horse at one place, and at his return to London to put him up at another as his own, and to borrow money at that place, and then give notice to the owner of the horse where he is.

"As persons coming to London in a stage-coach from a distance, are desirous of getting into a hackney-coach as soon as they can, they stop at the first stand, which is generally near some inn; here the sharpers attend, and, by their pretending to be porters, or by other stratagems, frequently rob the passengers of their box or portmanteau ; who, being eager to see their friends, throw aside their caution, and trust too much to the care of the coachman. These sort of sharpers also attend the unloading of road waggons, where quantities of goods are put into a cart to be dispersed about town; this cart they follow, till they have an opportunity of taking something out of it, while the carter or porter is making some inquiry: a man riding in these carts would prevent these robberies. Fastening portmanteaus behind postchaises with chains, instead of straps, will preserve them; and stablekeepers not letting their saddle-horses to strangers, unless they bring some persons with them known to the stable-keeper, will prevent many highway robberies."

These extracts will serve as a sort of introduction to a

paper we shortly propose to insert on the Antiquities of the Police of London. Perhaps the consideration of its past state may not only throw light on the comic and other old writers, but may even suggest some future amendments on this most ill-managed department of our municipal government.

ART. III.-Psyche, or Love's Mystery; in twenty-four Cantos: displaying the Intercourse betwixt Christ and the Soul.

Ὁ Θεὸς ̓Αγάπη ἐςί.

Οἱ πάλαι προσῆδον ἔμμελεῖς λόγους.
Τὸ τερπνὸν οἶμαι τοῦ καλοῦ ποιούμενοι
Ὄχημα, καὶ τυποῦντες ἐκ μελῶν τρόπους.

S. Greg. Naz. in de Carminib. suis.

By Joseph Beaumont, D.D. late King's Professor of Divinity, and Master of St. Peter's College in Cambridge. The Second Edition, with Corrections throughout, and Four new Cantos, never before printed. Cambridge, printed at the Universitypress, for Thomas Bennet, at the Half Moon in St. Paul's Church Yard, London, 1702.

In resuming our extracts from Dr. Beaumont's poem, we are not without apprehension lest our readers should consider the extent of our selections more than proportionate to the importance of the work. It must, however, be remembered that Psyche, besides its extraordinary length, is particularly rich in producible passages. We have, however, endeavoured to confine our collection within as narrow limits as possible, and have accordingly omitted a number of passages which our own partiality would have induced us to extract; much that was ingenious, much that was amusingly fantastic, many vivid descriptions, many glowing effusions of religious feeling. In the last class of passages, indeed, the poem is peculiarly rich; insomuch that to the devout reader, who is not scared by the appearance of the antique-looking folio, with its stately columns of stanzas, like the squared stones of some massy edifice, we scarcely hesitate to recommend the perusal of the entire volume.

The following apostrophe is glowing and luxuriant.

"O happy ye, stout eagles, happy ye,

Whose pure and genuine eyes are tempered

To that brave vigor, that the majesty
Of your beloved Sun can never shed

Such bright extremities of heav'n, but you
Can drink them in as fast as they can flow.

You, perch'd on some safe rock, can sit and see
How when the east unlocks his ruby gate,
From rich Aurora's bed of roses he

Sweeter than it doth rise; what robe of state

That day he deigns to gild, what tire of light
He on his temples binds, there to grow bright.

Not one of those brisk eyes with which, by night,
Heav'n looks so big and glorious, but at

The mighty dint ev'n of his dawning light
Its conquer'd and abashed self doth shut.
'Tis your prerogative alone to bear

That splendor's stroke which dazzles every star.

Into his chariot of flaming gold

You see him mount, and give his purple steeds
Leave to draw out the day; you see him roll'd
Upon his diamond wheels, whose bounty breeds
That gorgeous family of pearls, which dwells
On eastern shores in their fair mother-shells.

You see him climb heaven's highest silver hill,
And through cross Cancer make the hours run right,
There with his widest looks your own you fill,

And riot in that royal feast of light;

Whilst to your eyes your souls fly up, and gaze

On every beauty of his high-noon face."

Jannes, an Egyptian magician, evokes his gods to avenge the overthrow of their images, which are said to have fallen down on the approach of the infant Jesus.

"In this deep temple of infernal arts
Lighting a taper, temper'd with the fat
Which grew about his predecessors' hearts,

It in a dead man's mossy skull he set.

The mists and stinks long wrestled with the flame
Before the vault laid ope its naked shame.

Then gaping wide, both with his mouth and eyes,
He spew'd seven solemn curses on day-light,

Which though it saw the broken deities,
Would not detect what sacrilegious might

That ruin wrought: and then those Gods be blest
Whose luck it was in gloomy holes to rest.

For on a shrine still-standing there appear'd
Serapis, Isis, and a smoaky rout

Of lesser gods; the altar was besmear'd
With bloody gore; and scatter'd round about,
In reeking fragments, lay cheeks, noses, eyes,
Hearts, shoulders, livers, legs, arms, bowels, thighs.

These hideous dainties was the breakfast for
A crocodile, whose sacred den was there;
But, tam'd by strong enchantments, durst not stir
When in their magic business's career

The priests were hot: no monster but compar'd
With raving them, serene and mild appear'd.

But Jannes having now thrice wash'd his hand
And stain'd with it that Stygian ink which stunk
In his black laver; up he takes his wand,
That wand which once liv'd on a cypress trunk
Planted on Acheron's bank, but now was made
The deadly sceptre of their conjuring trade.

the sun,'

A sceptre unto which the moon,
The stars, had often stoop'd, and nature bow'd:
Oft had it turn'd the course of Phlegeton,
Oft had it troubled hell, and forc'd the proud
Tyrant, for all his iron mace, to be
Obedient to its wooden witchery.

With that a circle on the floor he draws

(Spread thick with ashes stol'n from funeral piles)
Which with strange lines, and hooks, and forks, and claws,
And scrambling frantic shapeless shapes he fills:

Wild hieroglyphics, stark mad characters,
A jumbled rout of snarl'd ill-favor'd jars.

Into this hell of scratches in stepp'd he

(A seemly actor for that scene,) and there
Three groans he gave, three times he bow'd his knee,

He thrice with blood besprinkled his left ear;

Three times he mumbled over those profound
Monsters, his wand had written on the ground.

Then lifting up his hollow voice, he cry'd."

The healing of the Syrophænician woman is related with great sweetness and beauty; we extract part of the passage.

"But here she found a strange physician, whose
Sole physic is his sovereign self, and who,
Gratis on all, his heav'nly art bestows;
Yet her unclean disease's shame did so
Confute its pain, that rather than reveal
Her sickness she resolves its cure to steal.

(O gracious modesty, how potent are
Thy tender laws, which, though despised by
Bold self-applauding souls, alone outdare
The saucy armies of impiety;

And keep in safety's garrison from peril
All those who war in virtue's noble quarrel!)

Her meekly-faithful heart had caught fast hold
On Jesu's garment's verge; and O, cry'd she,
Could but my fingers do as much, I would
Not doubt to catch my safe recovery.

Which said, the pious thief took heart, and stept
Into the crowd, and there behind him crept.

Then her most trembling most undoubting hand
Upon his lowest hem she gently stay'd;
Which with a triple kiss she reverenc'd, and

Her meek soul on that humble altar lay'd;

But whilst her blushing blood flush'd in her face,
She felt its other current dryed was.'

The following two extracts are from the proems of Cantos XIV. and XV.

"O soul of sweets, O life, how dear art thou

To all that ever had a taste of thee!

How much of heav'n itself triumphs to flow
Into the region of thy suavity!

Indeed, heav'n, were not heav'n, unless it had,
By marrying thee, the court of bliss been made.

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