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perhaps, contrary to our duty as honest critics, to pronounce any opinion upon the whole work, since we are enabled to speak only of a part. We had every desire to get on, but that most admirable word FINIS, still appeared at such a tremendous distance, through the misty way of upwards of six hundred pages more, that in struggling with nature we sunk unconsciously into her arms, as insensible as a dormouse in its state of quiescence. Whether this unlooked-for misfortune was the result of the lethargic spells so copiously diffused over the first volume, or of the dread of those apprehended from the two remaining tomes, is a question which we leave to Mr. Dugald Stewart. It will present him with some new phenomena of the human mind, particularly if those unexplored pages be really so remarkable for their pleasantry and wit as some of our newspaper critics describe them-a point which we cannot of course determine -which we can never hope even to examine.

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ART. XIII. Lectures on Astronomy; with an Appendix, containing Questions and Exercises. By W. H. Prior. 8vo. pp. 486. 10s. 6d. London: Longman and Co. 1826.

ALTHOUGH the importance of astronomy, as a branch of liberal education, has been long acknowledged amongst us, and although there is scarcely any academy, male or female, in which it is not in some degree taught, yet it is remarkable how few we meet in the common intercourse of society, who have any very clear or accurate notions on this subject. They just remember that they have been initiated in the use of the globes, that there are planets and fixed stars, that this world of ours goes round the sun, and that the moon borrows her light from that great luminary. But here their science stops. Distances and orbits, the movements of the planets, and all that forms the harmony of the spheres, are matters as much unknown to them, as if they had been wanderers of the desert, rather than members of a highly-civilized community.

Much perhaps of this general ignorance of astronomy arises from the technical and mathematical difficulties, with which this sublime science has been most unnecessarily incumbered. We therefore observe with great pleasure, the progress which has been made by Mr. Prior, in the volume before us, towards rendering the knowledge of that great system by which we are surrounded, and of which we form a part, more accessible to the student, by the clear and very popular style in which his Lectures' are written. He condenses the most authoritative opinions on the various questions connected with astronomy which still remain undecided, and brings them down to the date of the latest investigations that have been made concerning them. So far as the science may be said to be established, he treats it in a luminous and most satisfactory manner. We shall give as an example of his composition, the following observations on the various telescopic appearances of the moon:


'The mountainous parts of the moon are found to exceed in awful sublimity, and terrific grandeur, the similar portions of our own globe. ous means have been devised for measuring the height of the lunar mountains, the most simple of which appears to be that derived from observing the distance from the boundary of light and darkness, at which the sun's rays strike their most elevated points while they remain in the unenlightened

part of the moon. By this, and various other methods, it has been ascertained, that many of the lunar mountains are four, and even five, miles in height. The perpendicular elevation of some of those mountains, composing that extensive range, known by the name of the Appenines, exceeds four English miles. The dark parts of the moon's disc are observed to be smooth, and apparently level, while the luminous portions, as has been already remarked, consist of elevated tracts, which either rise into high mountains, or sink into deep and extensive cavities. The smoothness of the dark portions of the lunar disc has induced some astronomers, very naturally, to infer, that they are immense collections of water: hence the names Crisian Sea, Sea of Nectar, Lake of Dreams, Lake of Death, &c. &c., by which those obscure portions are distinguished: and, notwithstanding the arguments which have been opposed to this opinion, it still continues to be generally maintained by modern astronomers. Those who deny the existence of water in the moon, assert, that the dark spots are not exactly level; that, on a minute examination of those parts, inequalities of light and shade, caused by inequalities of surface, are discernible; that in some parallel ridges are distinctly visible; and that, when the boundary of light and darkness passes through the large dark spot in the western limb of the moon, known by the name of the Crisian Sea, this bounding line, instead of being truly elliptical, as it ought to be if the surface were covered with water, is observed to be irregular, and evidently indicates that this portion of the lunar disc is elevated in the middle. Dr. Long, in answer to some of those objections which have been made to the existence of seas, or extensive collections of water, in the moon, suggests the following queries:-" May not the lunar seas and lakes have islands in them wherein there may be pits and caverns? And, if some of these dark parts are brighter than others, may not that be owing to the seas and lakes being of different depths, and to their having rocks in some places, and flats in others?"

From various irregularities and singular appearances in different parts of the lunar disc, not otherwise to be accounted for, many astronomers have been led to imagine, that the moon is subject to violent volcanic eruptions. This opinion was first maintained by Dr. Hook, and has received the support of many able astronomers. A very singular phenomenon, which seems, in a great measure, to confirm this conjecture, was witnessed by Ulloa, during the annular eclipse of 1778. Near the northwest limb of the moon he observed a white spot, which, from its extreme brightness, had the appearance of an opening through which the sun was seen; this singular appearance continued for about a minute and a quarter, and was noticed by three different observers. Similar phenomena have been observed at different times by many astronomers, and, among others, by Dr. Herschell, who has witnessed several appearances of this kind, and given us a particular account of his observations upon them. On the 4th of May, 1783, he perceived a luminous point in the obscure part of the moon, and two mountains, which were formed from the 4th to the 13th of that month; and on the 19th of April, 1787, he perceived no less than three volcanos in different parts of the moon, two of which he judged to be either at that time nearly exhausted, or about to break out; the third exhibited an actual eruption of fire or luminous matter. On the 20th, it appeared to burn with still greater violence than on the preceding night, and

he estimated the burning matter to be above three miles in diameter.'pp. 57-60.

We have not seen the astronomicon, which Mr. Prior would wish to substitute for the orreries in general use. The questions and exercises, however, in the Appendix, must receive, we should think, considerable illustration from such an instrument as he describes.

The Rape of the Bucket: an heroi-
Translated from the Italian of
By James Atkinson, Esq. In two

ART. XIV. La Secchia Rapita; or, comical Poem, in Twelve Cantos. Alessandro Tassoni. With Notes. volumes, 8vo. London: Richardson.


TASSONI, the author of this very original and highly humourous poem, was the Zoilus of his day in criticism. He took the trouble to collect five hundred passages from Homer, which he insisted were repugnant to common sense and propriety. Even the great Stagyrite did not escape his censure, which was rendered the more pointed by his facetious and bold style of argument. Petrarch also encountered in him a strenuous, and even a bitter antagonist. It would seem to have been his natural disposition to run against all the received opinions of the world, attacking them by vigorous reasoning, or by incessant ridicule. He was born in the year 1565, and devoted a great part of his life, which was extended to the year 1635, to literature. The Secchia Rapita was written, if we are to believe Gaspare Salviani, in 1611. Some critics have imagined that it suggested to Pope his " Rape of the Lock," and to Boileau his "Lutrin." name of Pope's beautiful composition may perhaps have been derived from Tassoni, but there is no other resemblance whatever between the two works. Boileau owes still less to the Italian. Many objects have been imputed to Tassoni in writing this poem. The mere perusal of it is sufficient to shew that it was evidently intended as a burlesque upon Homer, Petrarch, and several other authors, in whose compositions he found so many faults. An incident which occurred during one of the many contests carried on between the Italian states in the middle ages, furnished him with a suitable title. The Bolognese, while before Modena, with which they were at war, and within which their adversaries seemed resolved to remain without giving them battle, threw, by means of a catapult, the carcase of a dead ass into the town. It fell into a fountain, and the insult was felt so sensibly by the Modenese, that they made a sortie, penetrated to the machine, tore it to pieces, carried away the bucket which formed part of it, and re-entered the town in triumph. Soon after this, peace was concluded between the belligerents, the Modenese being satisfied with their prize, which is still preserved among their archives in the cathedral.

The poem, from the peculiarity of its style, presents so many difficulties to a translator, that we are justly called upon to commend Mr. Atkinson for the manner in which he has executed his task. No translation can indeed afford the English reader an adequate idea of the original, which has been deservedly praised, as "the best comic epopea of modern Europe." We have room only for five or six stanzas, which will afford the reader some idea of the character of this version:

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The sun has passed through Aries, and now pours
Upon the silver clouds his rays divine;
The fields seem full of stars, the heavens of flowers,
And the winds sleep along the tranquil brine;
Zephyr alone breathes softly through the bowers,
And balmy herbs and tendrils of the vine;
At dawn the nightingales delight the grove,
And asses bray their madrigals of love.

What time the spring, with genial warmth endued,
Makes grasshoppers leap joyous in the meads;
Suddenly clad in arms a multitude

Of Bolognese, to predatory deeds,

Led by two chiefs, move on; insulting, rude;
This band by sweet Panaro's stream proceeds;
Passes the ford, and with the morning light
Modena gains midst tumult and affright.

Modena stands upon a spacious plain,

Hemmed in by ridges to the south and west,
And rugged fragments of the lofty chain
Of Appenine, whose elevated crest
Sees the last sunbeam in the western main,
Glittering and fading on its rippling breast;
And on the top with ice eternal crowned,
The sky seems bending in repose profound.
'The flowery banks where beautifully flow
Panaro's limpid waters, eastward lie;
In front Bologna, and the left the Po,
Where Phaeton tumbled headlong from the sky;
North, Secchia's rapid stream is seen to go,
With changeful course, in whirling eddies by,
Bursting the shores, and with unfruitful sand
Sowing the meadows and adjacent land.
'Then like the Spartans, lived the Modenese
Unfortified, without a parapet;

So shallow were the fosses that with ease
Men might run in and out early or late;
Summoned to arm, some bolted quick down stairs,
Some to the windows rushed, and some to-prayers.
'Some snatched a shoe and slipper, some in haste
Had only one leg stockinged, others again
In petticoats turned inside out were dressed-
Lovers exchanged their shirts; some with disdain,
Took frying pans for shields, and forward prest
With buckets on for helms; others were fain
To brandish hedge-bills, and in breast-plates bright,
Ran swaggering to the square-prepared to fight.
-canto i., pp. 5, 6.

We are informed that this poem has been already rendered into English ly a Mr. Clifford. As we have not met with his translation, we can

institute no comparison between it and the one before us, which, we must repeat, possesses no common merit.

ART. XV Head-Pieces and Tail-Pieces. By a Travelling Artist, 12mo. pp. 256. 6s. London: Tilt. 1826.

UNDER this unpretending title, we have a series of short tales, which may be recommended to the notice, of all those, of every sex and age, who have the happiness of enjoying now and then an evening's leisure. They will find in The Emigrant's Tale,' The Scarf,'The Cast-away,' The Guerilla Brothers,' and' The Fisherman's Tale,' matter which will at least fix their attention for the time, and perhaps rouse their curiosity. The New Year's Gift,' we fear, will be deemed somewhat prolix. Indeed the principal fault of this and one or two more of the tales, is, that they are too verbose. But there is really in the pieces which we have named a good deal of that sort of interest, which the author explains in the following lively passage of his introduction :

The world of romance is turned topsy-turvy. The mighty spirit of steam has laid for ever the whole host of inferior powers, whether haunters of the lake or the river; and Fairy-land, ever since it has been lighted with gas, shews as bear and dismal as the Mall in St. James's Park. But there are some minds, either naturally so opaque as to refuse all admission to the new light of science, or so obstinately wedded to ancient prejudices as to shut the eyes wilfully to its unwonted splendour. They still love to expatiate on the themes which delighted their youth, to lose themselves among the mysteries-mysteries to their blindness-of the world and of their own nature. They hate mathematical demonstrations, and look with suspicion on such things as must be subjected to the vulgar test of the senses. To the modern professors, who approach them with the square and the plummet, who analyse their arguments by means of the crucible, and pry into the secret recesses of their strongholds with the assistance of Sir Humphrey Davy's lamp, they reply, generally, but with a shake of the head which is more eloquent than words,

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”.

"The writer of the following pages-such is the force of fashion-is almost ashamed of being subjected to the suspicion of belonging to this proscribed minority, and yet he chooses to set out with confessing that he has not been altogether able to keep pace with the time.

Still some prejudices-if prejudices they be-cling around his spirit; still the visions of the days of other years' crowd upon his soul, with a distinctness, which he can hardly term a mockery of reality,--still he loves to listen, amidst the business of the world, to the far-off echoes of the sounds which once captivated his ear,

"And watch the dying notes, and start and smile!"- Introduction, p. 6. The volume is ornamented with a frontispiece, representing one of the dramatic scenes in The Guerilla Brothers. Its typography, and genera appearance, may also be justly praised, and entitles it to be rememberel by those who are in the amiable habit of transmitting occasional little presents to their youthful friends.

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