We are much concerned to find from the letters of Mr Prosai Poetico, Secretary to the Hermits, that the delight excited by the lottery in our last number, vanished with the evening, and that the ladies in particular found divers reasons for discontent with the partners they had drawn. Miss Rebecca Nettletop had lodged a heavy complaint against Bibo de Montefiesco, alias Tony Petcalf Esq. and the amiable Emily Echowell has strong reason to complain of the interested conduct of the disinterested St Alme of Windermere. As for Clan Harold’s affair with the shawl we must not anticipate the decision of the jury, or pretend to divine the secret wishes of his bride on the occasion. We are sorry to understand that the seventh Brother is bona fide deceased. His history had excited much interest in his fate, and we had hoped to have found him in Positive House cured of his grief, and forgetting all past sorrows in the bewitching smiles of Lady Olivia Gossamer.
Sir Pertinax Townly has given a whimsical account of a morning’s sale of electricity at Positive House, but he appears to think that the battery either wanted power, or that its votaries were deficient in faith, for he speaks but indifferently of the poetry induced.
We are much obliged to Mr Beauclerc for his essays and think him correct in his general strain of reasoning. In chemistry in particular he is borne out by facts, and many of the boasted discoveries of later days have, as he observes, done little more than confirm the derided traditions of the vulgar, or give us a clue to unravel the mystic language in which the jealous sages of the middle era involved their “secrets”. The fact that meteoric stones actually fall from the clouds is an instance in which the learned had long contended with popular belief, and at last with astonishment discovered that belief to be correct. The distillation of vinegar from wood appears to have been known to Glauber, as the production of any inflammable gas from coal was to Clayton. The composition of gunpowder was discovered by Roger Bacon, and Gilbert appears to have had some idea of the affinity of charcoal to the diamond. We may hope however that the clouds of ignorance and error are now passing away. Science is no longer confined to the laboratory and when every mind is, by the diffusion of knowledge, enabled to look on nature with an enquiring eye, the sage will no longer be absorbed in the contemplation of his own learning or wisdom, but will learn to study nature in her own lovely and ever varying face rather than in the glare of his lamp or the fumes of his furnace. The Leyden Jar, tho’ a heavy and not very interesting poem, yet gives a tolerable picture of the chemists of former days; but we must observe that Sir Pertinax Townly has lost all his grace and spirit in the terzarima of Dante. We know not what beauties may be lent to this measure by the ease and softness of the Italian language but in our rougher and less flexible English it is heavy and monotonous. The interlacing of the rhymes throws great difficulties in the way of the writer, and it has all the confinement of a stanza, without any variety in the pauses, indeed it cannot properly be said to have any pauses at all. In one word, we do not advise Sir Pertinax to bestow more of his time on this ungrateful metre, especially as we think that the same labour, in a style and subject more congenial with his feelings, would have procured at at least a double portion of applause, an argument that we know will be irresistible to his vanity.
We are obliged to the friend who has favoured us with the transcript of an acrostic published a day or two since in the Morning Post. It has more ease and spirit that are usual in this species of poem, and the Authoress of the Veils is grateful to the author, whoever he may be.
We are much amused with the Spanish Armada, and cannot sufficiently regret the caprice of fate that degraded so sublime a poem, as a wrapper for cheese and butter.
The Eastern Valentine is very elegant, and the Answer to the Wreath extremely beautiful. We are happy to receive the commencement of “Tales of the Four Nations”, as from the specimen now in the Chest, they promise to rival the Tales of the Hermits, that have so long and so often delighted us.
The Modinhas No. 3 came to hand rather too late to be read this evening. Indeed we must beg leave to hint to our correspondents, that an earlier receipt of the communications intended for the Chest would much oblige the Editor and Editress.