« PreviousContinue »
windows. One dead body was stretched across the deck, apparently clinging to the remains of a mast; it now sunk beneath the waves, now was borne upwards, as the wreck dipt in or rose from the water. Clusters of barnacles had fastened about the sides of the hulk; the hideous shark glided round in search of human food. We only observed one corpse on deck, the rest had gone down amidst the roar of the tempest, while the thunders bellowed over the watery chaos, and lightning quivered along the angry billows. The sea yawned around them like a hell, and sucked them down her caverns with the whirling waves. Like the wild waste of waters which closed over them, oblivion has spread her impenetrable shroud; no one survived to tell the dreadful tale!
We soon got out of sight of this melancholy object, and found ourselves gliding" on the smooth surface of a summer's sea.” The most delightful zephyrs fanned the sails; the sky was one canopy of almost cloudless azure, and, to use Ossian's phrase, “the sun laughed in his blue fields.” I took my station in the long boat at the stern, and stretching myself out in soft tranquillity, I abandoned my senses to a "sadly pleasing” reverie. The continued hum around me, the waves fluttering along the side of the vessel, the “Ocean's roaring solitude," the noise of the ship labouring in the weltering billows-filled my mind with that voluptuous melancholy which is more easily felt than de
scribed, except in the language of the most charming of poets:
"One of those passing rainbow dreams,
In trance or slumber round the soul." On the third day of our voyage we were gratified with a sight of the shores of Lancaster, and we at length got into the river Mersey,
which makes a semi-circular sweep before Liverpool, that recals to mind the Garonne as it spans Bordeaux.
As soon as I arrived, I sent for my trunk and rigged myself out à la mode de Londres. I accompanied Mr. Brown to see the docks, wharfs, vessels, Botanic Garden, and Blind Asylum, and dined in the evening at the Pig and Whistle, an eating house of very unpromising appearance, but renowned in the annals of gastronomy for its excellent kitchen!
The Botanic Garden belongs to a society of amateurs; it is arranged with much taste and elegance. A delicious perfume is wafted from the blooming flowers, which "rear high their flourished heads” above the parent earth, or modestly half conceal their charms amid the verdure of the leaves. Bee-hives on the rock, receive the delicious extract of the many sweets of the garden. Bees thronged round the flagrant flowers, or plunging into their blossoms, hummed themselves to sleep. Variegated butterflies fluttered about the first blossoms of the hawthorn, and the crimson
tipt anemone, or bowed the lilly's tall head, as they settled on its snowy leaves. A stream of sun-shine bathed the bright moss-roses, and drew the most delicious odours from the plants
rear high their fourish'd heads” from the smiling parterre. I was so entranced with the sweet feelings which Flora inspires, that I lifted up my heart in humble adoration to the Benificent Being who had created these exqui. site productions. There's not a flower, said I,
" But shows some touch, in freckle, streak or stain
Of bis unrivall’d pencil". I afterwards entered under a delightful shade, where the trees enclosed a little grass plot, at the edge of a murmuring stream; the branches of the trees were laden with rosy fruit, while beneath them the raspberry and currant entwined their tender sprays. Auriculas, rich'd with shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves.”
As in all great commercial sea port towns, the morality of the lower classes in Liverpool is not of the Lucretian dye. I never be held such a hideous crew of prostitutes assembled together. The environs of the theatre are the chief walks of these peripatetic nymphs, whose shocking behaviour, lewd and impious language filled me with disgust.
If one may judge froin the number of miserable Cyprians, and from the numerous pla. cards on the walls, (in spite of Bill-stickers beware) Liverpool must be quite a temple of
Venus Vulgivaga. Such dirty effusions as the following can be read in every part of the town: “Great news! Mercury exploded from practice! No cure no pay” - All of them propose to cure a certain disease “ in a few days”—with vegetable pills, botanical drops, &c. Walking along the streets, printed cards are thrust into your hand, containing the address and superior advantages of the quack-shops therein recommended. Most of these bits of paper mention new methods of cure, without mercury, by some vegetable liquor, into which (with reverence be it spoken of the fraternity,) some grains of corrosive sublimate have fallen, by a rare chance no doubt!
I went through the elegant apartments of the Town Hall, and often took a lounge in the Exchange, a fine building surrounded by a piazza.
In the centre of the court is Nelson's Monu. e ment, which is a heavy piece of work. The
figures, made of cast iron, represent Nelson trampling on his enemies, and only yielding to
death, which is griping him. Round the pei destal are inscribed the dying words of the
hero of Trafalgar—“England expects every man to do his duty.” It would have been a good idea to have inscribed under this phrase, one or two of his Lordship's letters to Lady Ann Hamilton, in order to give the world an idea of his powers of composition!
This morning I paid a visit to Gilead, the seat of Doctor Solomon. He died a few days di ago at Bath, probably from taking his own
physic! Although generally despised as an ignorant empiric, he has amassed an immense fortune by the sale of his nostrums: does not this verify the saying of Lady Montague, that quacks are despised in those countries where they have shrines and altars?
0, Albion! 0, my mother isle!
London, July 6, 1819.
On the 3d inst. I took my seat on top of the Saxe Cobourg coach for Stony Stratford, in
my way to this city. Elevated above the horses, I did not feel very secure
my giddy height.” My fears augmented, when the coachman mounted, and the horses galloped off at full speed, now and then turning a corner with the greatest velocity, at the risk of dashing us to pieces! The upper gallery was crammed as full as it could hold; after some trouble, I insinuated myself sidelong between a huge parson and a corpulent landlady, in which enviable attitude I stuck fast like a thin octavo between two enormous quarto dictiona