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AN English woman of considerable talent, who, to provide subsistence for her husband, who was in prison for debt, published, in two folio volumes, in 1737 and 1739, an Herbal, containing five hundred plates, drawn, engraved, and coloured by herself. The first volume was published in 1737, and the second appeared in 1739. The complete work bore the following title: "A curious Herbal, containing five hundred of the most useful plants which are now used in the practice of physic, engraved on folio copper-plates, after drawings taken from the life. To which is added a short description of the plants, and their common uses in Physic."
While Mrs. Blackwell was completing this laborious undertaking, she resided at Chelsea, near the Garden of Medicinal Plants; where she was frequently visited, and much patronized, by people of distinguished rank and learning. The College of Physicians gave the book a public testimonial of their approbation, and made the author a present. Dr. Pulteney, speaking of this work, says, "For the most complete set of drawings of medicinal plants, we are indebted to the genius and industry of a lady, exerted on an occasion that redounded highly to her praise."
Her husband, Alexander, was born at Aberdeen, brought up as a physician, and went to Sweden about 1740, where he was beheaded, on a charge of being concerned in count Tessin's plot.
Was born of a respectable family in Cumberland, England, at Cardem Hall, near Carlisle, where she resided till her twentieth year, when her sister marrying a gentleman from Scotland, she accompanied them to that country, where she remained some years. She was distinguished for the excellence of her Scottish poetry. She died unmarried
at Carlisle, in 1794, at the age of forty-six. Her lyrics have been greatly admired for their harmonious versification, and their truth and tenderness of feeling. Among these, "The Nabob," "The Waefu' Heart," and "Auld Robin Forbes," are selected as most beautiful. Her poetical works were collected in 1842, and published in one volume, with a memoir, by Patrick Maxwell.
WHEN silent time, wi' lightly foot, Had trod on thirty years,
I sought again my native land
Or gin I e'er again shall taste
As I drew near my ancient pile,
Ilk place I passed seemed yet to speak
Those days that followed me afar,
The ivied tower now met my eye,
I ran to ilka dear friend's room,
I knew where ilk ane used to sit,
I closed the door, and sobbed aloud, To think on auld langsyne!
Some pensy chiels, a new sprung race,
To wean me frae these waefu' thoughts,
I missed the youthfu' bloom. At balls they pointed to a nymph Wham a' declared divine:
But sure her mother's blushing cheeks Were fairer far langsyne!
In vain I sought in music's sound
Ye sons to comrades o' my youth,
Wha 'midst your gayest scenes still mourns
When time has passed and seasons fled,
AULD ROBIN FORBES.
(In the Cumberland dialect.)
And auld Robin Forbes hes gien tem a dance,
The lasses aw wondered what Willy cud see
In yen that was dark and hard-featured leyke me;
But Willy he laughed, and he meade me his weyfe,
That he offen said—nea pleace was leyke his awn heame!
I mind when I carried my wark to yon steyle,
There was none o' the leave that was leyke my awn sel;
When the clock had struck eight I expected him heame,
BLANCA, N. LE,
A YOUNG woman who was found wild at Ligny, near Chalons, in France, in 1731, when about ten years of age. She was placed in a convent, and died a nun, in 1760.
WAS the wife of François Blanchard, one of the first aeronauts, a Frenchman by birth, who died in 1809. After his death Madame Blanchard continued to make aerial voyages. In 1811, she ascended in Rome, and after going sixty miles,
she rose again to proceed to Naples. In June, 1819, having ascended from Tivoli, in Paris, her balloon took fire from some fireworks she had with her, the gondola fell from a considerable height into the street de Provence, and Madame Blanchard was instantly killed.
THIS lady was remarkable for her knowledge of the Hebrew language, and for her peculiar skill in writing it.
She was born about the period of the restoration of Charles II., and was daughter and heir of Mr. Robert Fisher, of Long-Acre. She married Mr. Nathaniel Bland, April 26th, 1681, who was then a linen-draper in London, and afterwards lord of the manor of Beeston, in Yorkshire. She had six children, who all died in infancy, excepting one son, named Joseph, and a daughter, Martha, who was married to Mr. George Moore, of Beeston. Mrs. Bland was taught Hebrew by Lord Van Helmont, which she understood so thoroughly as to be competent to the instruction in it of her son and daughter.
Among the curiosities of the Royal Society is preserved a phylactery in Hebrew, written by her, of which Dr. Grew has given a description in his account of rarities preserved at Gresham college.
It is a single scroll of parchment, fifteen inches long, three quarters of an inch in breadth, with four sentences of the law most curiously written upon it in Hebrew; viz. Exod. xiii. from verse 7 to 11, and from 13 to 17; Deut. vi. from verse 3 to 10, and xi. from 13 to 19. Serarius, from the rabbies, saith, that they were written severally upon so many scrolls, and that the Jews do to this day wear them over their foreheads in their manSo that they are of several sorts or modes, whereof this is one." Mrs. Bland having written the phylactery described by Dr. Grew, at the request of Mr. Thoresby, presented it to the Royal Society.
By the two pedigrees of the family, printed in Mr. Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis, pages 209 and 587, it seems she was living in 1712.
BLEECKER, ANNE ELIZA,
ONE of the early poetesses of America, was born in New York, in 1752. Her father was Brandt Schuyler, of that city. In 1769, she married John J. Bleecker, and afterwards lived chiefly at Tom hanick, a little village not far from Albany. 1. was in this seclusion that most of her poems were written. The death of one of her children, and the capture of her husband, who was taken prisoner by a party of tories, in 1781, caused a depression of spirits and melancholy from which she never recovered. She died in 1783. Several years after her death, her poems were collected by her daughter, Mrs. Faugeres, and published in one volume. There are no wonderful traces of genius in these poems; but they show a refined taste, and talents which might have been cultivated to higher efforts, if the circumstances surrounding the author had been propitious. There is a pure current of conjugal and maternal feeling to be
traced in all her effusions. In her descriptive poetry she seems to have observed nature with the loving eye of a woman, rather than the searching glance of the artist; and she appropriates the scenery, so to speak, to her own affections. The following was written to commemorate her return to her home:
RETURN TO TOMANICK.
Hail, happy shades! though clad with heavy snows,
Ye arching pines, that bow with every breeze,
My little garden, Flora, hast thou kept,
The enclosure broke, and on my flowerets fed?
Ah me! that spot with blooms so lately graced, With storms and driving snows is now defaced; Sharp icicles from every bush depend,
And frosts all dazzling o'er the beds extend:
The stately lily then, and tulip blows.
Farewell, my Plutarch! farewell, pen and mise!
And threatens with his beam each feeble grace:
But when the vernal breezes pass away,
BLESSINGTON, COUNTESS OF,
Was born in Ireland, Sept. 1st, 1789. Her maiden name was Marguerite Power; she was the second daughter of Edmund Power, Esq., of Carrabeen, in the county of Waterford. Marguerite Power was very beautiful, and married, at the early age of fifteen, Captain Farmer, of the fortyseventh regiment. He died in 1817; and, in the following year, Mrs. Farmer married her second husband, Charles John Gardner, earl of Blessington. During the lifetime of the earl he resided with Lady Blessington chiefly in Italy and France; and he died in Paris, in 1829. Lady Blessington returned soon afterwards to London, and devoted herself to literature. She was so prominent in
"She was largely indebted to Nature for surpassing loveliness of person and graceful and ready wit. Circumstances connected with the earlier years of her life (to which it is needless to refer) told' against her through the whole of her career; but we entirely believe that the Nature which gave her beauty, gave her also those desires to be good which constitute true virtue. Those who speak lightly of this accomplished woman, might have better means to do her justice if they knew but a tithe of the cases that might be quoted of her generous sympathy, her ready and liberal aid, and her persevering sustenance whenever a good cause was to be helped, or a virtuous principle was to be promulgated."
She wrote with great facility and elegance of language, but her style is too diffuse, particularly in her novels. Her "Idler in Italy," and "Conversations with Lord Byron," are her best works; the last is very interesting, the subjects owing. probably, much to the spirit with which the hero of the book discourses. The list of Lady Blessington's works is large, comprising the following: -"The Magic Lantern," "Sketches and Fragments," "Tour in the Netherlands," "Conversations with Lord Byron," "The Repealers," The Two Friends," "The Victims of Society," "The Idler in France," "The Idler in Italy,' "The Governess," "Confessions of an Elderly Lady," "Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman," "Desul
tory Thoughts," "The Belle of a Season,"
LORD BYRON IN 1823.
"Saw Lord Byron for the first time. The impression of the first few moments disappointed me, as I had, both from the portraits and descriptions given, conceived a different idea of him. I had fancied him taller, with a more dignified and commanding air, and I looked in vain for the hero looking sort of person with whom I had so long identified him in imagination. His appearance is highly prepossessing; his head is finely shaped, and the forehead open, high, and noble; his eyes are grey and full of expression, but one is visibly larger than the other; the nose is large and well shaped, but, from being a little too thick, it looks better in profile than in front face; his mouth is the most remarkable feature in his face, the upper lip of Grecian shortness, the corners descending, the lips full and finely cut. In speaking, he shows his teeth very much, and they are white and even, but I observed that even in his frequent smiles there is a scornful expression, that is evidently natural, and not, as many suppose, affected. His chin is large and well shaped, and finishes well the oval of his face. He is extremely thin, indeed so much so, that his figure has almost a boyish air; his face is pale, but not the paleness of ill health, but the fairness of a dark-haired person, and his hair, which is getting rapidly grey, is of a dark brown and curls naturally; he uses a good deal of oil in it, which makes it look still darker. His countenance is full of expression, it gains on the beholder the more it is seen, and leaves an agreeable impression. I should say that melancholy was its prevailing character, as I observed that when any observation elicited a smile, it appeared to linger but for a moment on his lip, which instantly resumed its former expression of seriousness. His whole appearance is remarkably gentlemanlike, and he owes nothing of this to his toilet, as his coat appears to have been many years made, is much too large-and all his garments convey the idea of having been purchased readymade, so ill do they fit him. There is a gaucherie in his movements, which evidently proceeds from the perpetual consciousness of his lameness, that appears to haunt him, for he tries to conceal his foot when seated, and when walking has a nervous rapidity in his manner. He is very slightly lame, and the deformity of his foot is so little remarkable, that I am not now aware which foot it is. His voice and accents are peculiarly agreeable, but effeminate, clear, harmonious, and so distinct, that though his general tone in speaking is rather low than high, not a word is lost. His manners are as unlike my preconceived notions of them as his appearance. I had expected to find him a dignified, cold, reserved, and haughty person, resembling those mysterious personages he so loves to paint in his works, and with whom he has been so often identified by the good-natured world: but
LORD BYRON'S ILL-TEMPER.
Lord Byron dined with us to-day; we all observed that he was evidently discomposed: the dinner and servants had no sooner disappeared, than he quoted an attack against himself, in some newspaper, as the cause. He was very much irritated-much more so than the subject meritedand showed how keenly alive he is to censure, though he takes so little pains to avoid exciting it. This is a strange anomaly that I have observed in Byron-an extreme susceptibility to censorious observations, and a want of tact in not knowing how to steer clear of giving cause to them, that is extraordinary. He winces under castigation, and writhes in agony under the infliction of ridicule, yet gives rise to attack every day.
Ridicule is, however, the weapon he most dreads, perhaps because it is the one he wields with most power; and I observe he is sensitively alive to its slightest approach. It is also the weapon with which he assails all; friend and foe alike come under its cutting point; and the laugh which accompanies each sally, as a deadly incision is made in some vulnerable quarter, so little accords with the wound inflicted, that it is as though one were struck down by summer lightning while admiring its brilliant play.
Byron likes not contradiction: he waxed wroth to-day, because I defended a friend of mine whom he attacked, but ended by taking my hand and saying he honoured me for the warmth with which I defended an absent friend, adding with irony, "Moreover, when he is not a poet, or even a prose writer, by whom you can hope to be repaid by being handed down to posterity as his defender."
"I often think," said Byron, "that I inherit my violence and bad temper from my poor mother, not that my father, from all I could ever learn, had a much better; so that it is no wonder I have such a very bad one. As long as I can remember anything, I recollect being subject to violent paroxysms of rage, so disproportioned to the cause as to surprise me when they were over; and this still continues. I cannot coolly view anything that excites my feelings; and once the lurking devil within me is roused, I lose all command of myself. I do not recover a good fit of rage for days after: mind, I do not by this mean that the ill humour continues, as, on the contrary, that quickly subsides, exhausted by its own violence; but it shakes me terribly-and leaves me low and nervous after. Depend on it, people's tempers must be corrected while they are children; for not all the good resolutions in the world can enable a man to conquer habits of ill humour or rage, however he may regret having given way to them. My poor mother was generally in a rage every day, and used to render me sometimes almost frantic; particularly, when, in her passion, she reproached me with my personal deformity, I
have left her presence to rush into solitude, when, unseen, i could vent the rage and mortification I endured, and curse the deformity that I now began to consider as a signal mark of the injustice of Providence. Those were bitter moments; even now, the impression of them is vivid in my mind; and they cankered a heart that I believe was naturally affectionate, and destroyed a temper always disposed to be violent. It was my feelings at this period that suggested the idea of The Deformed Transformed.' I often look back on the days of my childhood, and am astonished at the recollection of the intensity of my feelings at that period: first impressions are indelible. My poor mother, and after her my school-fellows, by their taunts, led me to consider my lameness as the greatest misfortune, and I have never been able to conquer this feeling. It requires great natural goodness, of disposition as well as reflection, to conquer the corroding bitterness that deformity engenders in the mind, and which, while preying on itself, sours one towards all the world. I have read, that where personal deformity exists, it may be always traced in the face, however handsome the face may be. I am sure that what is meant by this is, that the consciousness of it gives to the countenance an habitual expression of discontent, which I believe is the case; yet it is too bad (added Byron with bitterness,) that, because one has a defective foot, one cannot have a perfect face."
LORD BYRON'S REGARD FOR HIS WIFE.
I do not recollect ever having met Byron that he did not, in some way or other, introduce the subject of lady Byron. The impression left on my mind was, that she continually occupied his thoughts, and that he most anxiously desired a reconciliation with her. He declared that his marriage was free from every interested motive; and if not founded on love, as love is generally viewed, a wild, engrossing and ungovernable passion, there was quite sufficient liking in it to have insured happiness had his temper been better. He said that lady Byron's appearance had pleased him from the first moment, and had always continued to please him; and that, had his pecuniary affairs been in a less ruinous state, his temper would not have been excited, as it daily, hourly was, during the brief period of their union, by the demands of insolent creditors, whom he was unable to satisfy, and who drove him nearly out of his senses, until he lost all command of himself, and so forfeited lady Byron's affection. "I must admit," said he, "that I could not have left a very agreeable impression on her mind. With my irascible temper, worked upon by the constant attacks of duns, no wonder that I became gloomy, violent, and I fear often personally uncivil, if no worse, and so disgusted her; though, had she really loved me, she would have borne with my infirmities, and made allowance for my provocations. I have written to her repeatedly, and am still in the habit of writing long letters to her, many of which I have sent, but without ever receiving an answer, and others that I did not send, because I despaired of their doing any good. I will show you some
of them, as they may serve to throw a light on my feelings." The next day Byron sent me the letter addressed to lady Byron, which has already appeared in "Moore's Life." He never could divest himself of the idea that she took a deep interest in him; he said that their child must always be a bond of union between them, whatever lapse of years or distance might separate them; and this idea seemed to comfort him.
From the Tour in Italy."
I could be triste, and sentimental, were I to give way to the reflections which particular recollections awaken. In England I should experience these doleful feelings, but at Paris tristesse, and sentimentality would be misplaced; so I must look couleur de rose, and receive the congratulations of my friends, on adding another year to my age; a subject far from meriting congratulations, when one has passed thirty. Youth is like health, we never value the possession of either, until we have begun to decline.
A NEW YEAR.
There is something that excites grave and solemn reflections in this new page, opened in the book of life. I never could understand how people can dance out the old year, and welcome in the new with gaiety and rejoicings. If the departed year has brought us sorrow, (and over how few does it revolve without bringing it!) we look on its departure with chastened feelings; and if its circle has been marked by bright days, how ca we see it die without indulging a tender melan choly? I felt all this last night, when the ghosts of departed joys stood before my mind's eye; and I breathed a heartfelt aspiration that the coming year may pass as free from heavy trials as the last. What a merciful arrangement of Divine Providence is the impenetrable veil which covers our destinies! And yet there are mortals who have desired to pierce it; who have thirsted for that knowledge which, if obtained, might empoison the present. How worse than vain is this desire of prying into futurity! Do we not know that our lives, and those of all dear to us, hang on so frail a thread, that a moment may see it cut by inexorable fate-that it is the condition of our being to behold our friends (the links that bind us to existence,) snapt widely! And yet we would wish to lift the dread veil that hides the yawning graves, to be filled, perhaps in a few days, by some one whose death will render earth a desert. Far, far from me be this unenviable prescience; and let me not tremble for the future by foreseeing what it contains.
OF DANCING AND DRESS IN FRANCE.
All we have heard in praise of French dancing is borne out by what I have seen even in this provincial town. Nothing can be more graceful, or unaffected; no attempt at display is visible; no entre-chats, that alarm people with tender feet for their safety; and no exhibition of vigour likely to bring its practisers to the melting mood; a mood