« AnteriorContinuar »
it might not lay open and bring to light the single grain of wheat, that is now buried and lost. The characters are not scarce that want winnowing
The world have often been surprised at the sudden rise of men, who, without capital, without any rare endowments, and without friends, have raised themselves to affluence, and the homage that follows as its shade. It is these very negative qualities that insured them success. It is “the art in their necessities” has made “these vile things precious.” Adversity is the crucible in which tempers as well as talents are tried, as by fire. Patience, justice, and fortitude, three of the cardinal virtues, it often purifies to additional splendour. It is, indeed, poor consolation to the daughter of affliction, that she learns meekness from the frowns of a mother. But there is solid comfort in the reflection, that the head gains an energy from every pang of the heart, that the courage and resources of the mind rise with the terrors of the seige, and that it at length may come off more than conqueror.” Thus is comprehended the blessing of adversity. Thus is it seen how heaven lowveth whom it chasteneth, and how Piety, writhing under its scourge, may yet “bow and kiss the rod.” The contemplation of the uses of adversity will satisfy the philosopher with the superintendence of Providence; and nothing can more promote in a Christian, resignation to the direst dispensations of Deity, than the consciousness, that, in this state of probation, he is, in some degree, “made perfect through suffering.”
THE CELEBRATED CORINNA.
THERE has been no biography of any authentic stamp of this celebrated woman; and our readers will perhaps feel a pleasure from the brief narrative which we now lay before them, collected with difficulty, and from no common source.
Corinna (whose real name was Mrs. Thomas), the pride of the gay world, and no less celebrated for her charms, than for her genius, was born in 1675. She seems to have inherited from her father, who was far advanced in life, and whose health had been long infirm, an unhappy constitution, rendered yet more delicate by the injudicious tenderness, with which she was nurtured. From her infancy she was afflicted with fevers and defluxions; but, with these physical disadvantages, she possessed a gay and lively temper, and gave early pro
mise of a vigorous intellect. Before she had completed her second year, the death of her father, of whose circumstances his family, from his expensive manner of living, had formed an erroneous calculation, involved them in embarrassment and distress.
The Duke of Montague made flattering professions of service; and when Mrs. Thomas solicited him, as Captain of the band of pensioners, to bestow a post on a Mr. Gwynnet, a young gentleman, who had long addressed her daughter, actually assented to her request, on condition that the bride-elect should apply to him in person. The guileless mother overwhelmed her generous benefactor with grateful acknowledgments, and instantly hastened to inform her daughter of their flattering prospects, when, to her extreme surprise, she received from Corinna, who had been accustomed to yield to her commands an implicit obedience, a peremptory refusal to avail herself of the bounty of the noble Duke. Compelled at length to explain the motives for a conduct so unreasonable and extraordinary, the young lady confessed that his Grace had attempted to allure her from the paths of chastity. To this she added, that in the condition he had annexed to his services to her lover, she had but too just cause to fear a renewal of his dishonourable purposes. The feelings of a mother upon such an occasion required no description.
The mind of Corinna had been highly cultivated by a perusal of the best authors, while, as her taste refined, her sentiments became delicate and elevated, and her character strongly tinctured with those virtues which
" The sons of interest deem romance." Their circumstances becoming daily more perplexed and involved, she remonstrated with her lover on the inequality of their fortunes and prospects, and the imprudence of the connexion which he solicited.
The attachment of Mr. Gwynnet, who was already in a great degree independent of his family, was increased by the delicacy and disinterestedness of his mistress; nor was it long before he gained the consent of his father to a union in which his happiness was so deeply involved. With this sanction he came to London, to claim the reward of his affection and fidelity.
Mrs. Thomas being at this time in an infirm state of health, her amiable daughter refused, in her own better prospects, to abandon her mother to the care of strangers. She replied to the solicitations of her lover, that as she had not thought sixteen years too long a period to wait for him, she hoped he would not consider six months as tedious, in expectation of receiving, at the end of that time, the recompense of his generous constancy. Six months at present, my Corinna,” he replied, with a sigh, “ are more than the sixteen years that are passed; you now defer our union, and God will put it off forever." His words were prophetic. The next day he returned into the country, and made his will, by which he bequeathed to Corinna six hundred pounds; he sickened shortly after, and expired April 16th, 1711. To express the feelings of his mistress on this event language is inadequate :—“Sor" said she,
“has been my portion ever since.” The deed of conveyance, by which the father of Mr. Gwynnet had empowered his son to dispose of his effects, with the will 'which he had in consequence made, were suppressed by his brother. She had, in the course of this suit, been obliged to sign an instrument to empower the lawyers to receive the money, and pay themselves the costs. The consequences may be foreseen: thirteen pounds sixteen shillings was the residue which these conscientious gentleman, who sell justice very dear, paid into her hands. Reduced by this event to the necessity of retiring from her creditors to obscurity and want, she was betrayed by a pretended frier and thrown into prison.
After her liberation from confinement, Mrs. Thomas resided in a small and humble lodging in Fleet-street, where she died, February, 1730, in the fifty-sixth year of her age. She was interred in the church of St. Bride's.
CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Your correspondent “ Atticus,” wishes to know, whether “ Paracelsus” be correct in his analysis of Atmospheric air; he is therefore informed, that Paracelsus in stating the theory of combustion, was desirous to keep out of view, every thing which might embarrass his description; the minute history of Atmospheric air being foreign from his purpose was of course omitted.
Paracelsus now takes the liberty to remark, that he cannot acknowledge himself in an error, while he is supported by the authority of Chaptal and Lavoisier. “ Atticus” is mistaken in supposing “carbonic acid gas” a component part of Atmospheric air. It is a distinct substance, accidentally mixed with it, and no more forms one of its constituent principles, than water, smoke, or miasmata.
To solve the difficulty stated by X Y in No. II of The Port Folio, I beg leave to inform him, that öps, take care, is understood before the infini. tive šupesyal. The substituting an infinitive for the imperative mood where a word is wanting belongs to the genius of the Greek language. I am of opi. nion that Greek literature will never flourish in the United States till profes. sor Dalzel's Avamex To are reprinted. By the importation of Dalzel's Collectanea at Richmond, the nobly-sounding phrases and periphrases of the Geeks are understood in Virginia better, perhaps, than in any other State. I am, &ç.
COURT OF FASHION.
We trust our elegantes will not have cause to complain of our gallantry, or inattention to their claims in this department. When our correspondence with the beaux garçons of London and Paris is systematised, these pages will be eagerly ranged through by the eye of every fair one, who has not adopted that silly idea, which Thomson applies to his little sun-burnt rustic Lavinia :
When unadorned, adorned the most;
but has sufficient enlargement of soul to conceive
Art may improve what Nature gave,
and Cinderella-like, puts aside the sombre habit of the housewife, for the more splendid attire of the fashionable belle.
FASHIONS FOR FEBRUARY, 1809.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS.--ENGLISH COSTUME.
Nos. 1 and 2.-Evening Dresses. FONTARABIAN robes of Saragossa brown net, worn over white satin or sarsnet ; the front breadth ornamented with borders of vandyke lace, terminated at the extreme edge with gold cord, or narrow binding. Stomacher of white satin, laced with gold. Short sleeve of correspondent materials. A drapery flowing from the right shoulder (where it is confined with a brooch), is trimmed semblable to the front of the robe (as seen in Fig. 1 of the Plate), and falling in graceful negligence round the back of the figure, is trimmed on the left side with a gold tassel. A Pelerine, or Pilgrim's tippet, of lace, brought to points in front of the figure, and confined with gold brooches on the shoulders, forms a graceful finish for the bust. A patriotic hat of white satin, frosted velvet, or silver tissue, with Gallician plume. Hair worn in irregular ringlets. Diamond earrings, necklace, and bracelets. Shoes of white satin, with silver rosettes and fringe. Gloves of French kid.
The different terms applied to the various articles which compose this elegant habiliment will, of course, bespeak it entirely Spanish; and we here take occasion to remark, that it is equally consistent and attractive if formed of any fashionable coloured crape, or fancy leno.