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as well as the finny, tribes; and yet to Fish may remind you of the same allow enough of each species to remain migratory law of nature, which induces for its preservation, and for the annual wild geese, woodcocks, and other tribes renewal of the same beneficent purposes. of birds that quit the colder for the That mankind have their full share of warmer regions at stated periods, and the abundance produced by this vast seem as if conducted by an invisible propagation, the following facts may guide to places best adapted to their subprove :-A vessel catches upon the great sistence. bank of Newfoundlane from 30 to If the taste I have given you of this 40,000 cod-fish in one voyage. Some- subject should not allay your thirst for times 80 barrels of herrings, each con- it, and you wish to drink deeper of this taining from 5 to 800 fish,
are taken by spring of natural knowledge, I shall rethe boats of a single vessel near the fer you to Rees's Cyclopædia, vol. xiv., Western Islands of Scotland.
where you will find the detailed obserBut this number will appear small, if vations of Cuvier and other distinguishcompared with the following account of ed writers upon the construction of the pilchards caught upon the coasts of organs of fish, their anatomy, vital temCornwall. Mr. Pennant says, Dr. Bor- perature, respiration, integuments, muslase assured him that on the 5th of Oc- cles, &c. And as I know you are contober, 1767, there were at one time in- versant with the French language, I closed in St. Ives's Bay 7,000 hogsheads venture to recommend that part
of the of pilchards, each hogshead containing Dictionnaire Methodique which treats 35,000 fish, in all 245 millions !! upon the subject of Ichthyology. It
Who does not see evident marks of forms a copious volume, which does the wisdom and goodness of divine Pro- great credit to the diligence, and accuvidence in bringing these abundant rate researches of the Abbé Bonnaterre. tribes of fish that are nutritious and He has considered fish with regard to wholesome food for mankind close to their anatomy, and they are described the shores, and keeping the more noxi- under the heads of their respective geous, such as sharks, at a distance in the nera and species, and the subjects are great deep?
illustrated by a series of excellent When you observe such migrating plates* fish as herrings, mackarel, &c. resort to I shall conclude my letter with this certain coasts at stated seasons of the remark, that whether we obtain the year, and afford the fishermen the op- knowledge of fish, or any other animals portunities of catching them in great through the medium of books or our quantities, and with no great difficulty, own observation, we shall find abundant you may ask what is their inducement reasons to admire the general economy io quit their native haunts ? They cer- of the creation. We cannot fail to obtainly change their places for the sake serve design and order impressed in the of food, and this is the great impulse to most conspicuous characters upon every migration. There is an insect called the individual of every class of beings, whesea-caterpillar, common in many seas, ther small or great, from the gnat to the and particularly on the coasts of Nor- elephant, from the minnow to the mandy in the months of June, July, whale. Do you not observe the fitness and August. It is said to cover the sur- of means to 'ends, the construction of face of the sea like a scum; this is the every part of their frames, the relation season when the herrings arrive in pro- of animated bodies to inanimate nature, digious shoals, and this is their food. their abodes, and their provisions, all The fishermen complain much of these perfectly adapted to their increase, nutriinsects, as they disturb their occupation, ment, and preservation? And have we but they do not consider that such a not abundant reasons to admire the wise provision of nature is necessary for wonderful display of the power, wisdom, their sport. The mackarel have a simi- and goodness of the Almighty? and lar inducement to migrate, for they re- ought we not to regard his works, not pair to the coasts to feed upon a sea- merely as subjects of curious speculaplant, oalled the narrow-leaved purple tion and entertaining enquiry, but as inpalmated sea-wrack; it abounds' upon centives to that adoration, gratitude, the coasts of England, and many other and praise, which do honour to the places, and is in its full growth in the character of rational beings, and the beginning of the summer.
researches of true philosophers ?
* See likewise La Cepede, Pennant, &c.
ON THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF FICTITIOUS HISTORY.
BY MISS OWENSON.
Cosi a l'egro fanciul porgiamo aspersi,
E da l'inganno suo, vita riceve.-Tasso. [During Lady Morgan's residence in Italy, the following Essay, with Miss Owerson's
name affixed to it, was sent to us by a friend; we did not however venture to publish it without communicating the circumstance to that lady, who has acknowledged the sketch on literary fiction to be a copy of a little composition written by her at an early period of her life, at the request of that celebrated philosopher the late Richard Kirwan, Esq. Mr. Kirwan was so much pleased with this first attempt at serious writing of the young and fanciful novelist, who was then almost “ unknown to fame," except by her « Novice of St. Dominick," that he afterwards proposed the subject of Fictitious Narration as a theme for a premium offered, we believe, by the College of Dublin, for literary compositions.]
TO trace back to its source the stream still governed by the instinct of seeking, of fictitious story, to ascertain the region in every thing within the sphere of his through which it first flowed, and to perception, a part of himself. He seeks pursue
progress from nation to na- his faculty of suffering, his capability of tion, and from age to age, has already enjoyment; he seeks perpetually for given play to the ingenuity of some, something that corresponds to the tone awakened the research of others, and of his peculiar inherent feeling; and the afforded to literary speculation a subject sympathetic impulse which leads him, no less important in a moral, than even in fiction, to expect the reflection curious in an historic, point of view. of himself, exists equally beneath the
While the legitimate, but meagre Line and at the Pole. In the most barchronicle, presents to the eye of posteri- barous, as in the most polished, epochs ty a dry and crude outline “ of times gone of society, the same passions that in. with the
years beyond the flood,” ficti- spire the war-song of the Esquimaux tious story fills
up the sketch with lights chief, awaked the immortal strains of and shades, with tints and touches, Homer; the same tender feeling which copied with fidelity from the originals warms the love-tale of the Lapland of the remote day'; and with a magic bard, glows in the impassioned strains peculiar to its genius, places us at once of the Grecian Sappho. It was beneath in the oratory of the saint, or the cabi- the tyranny of the Eastern Sultans that net of the king—now leads us to the Lockman and Æsop composed their intapestry-room of the fair liege lady, and imitable fables. It was among the wan. now to the tilt and tournament of the dering Arabs of the Desert that the gallant kuight; thus at once replying to most poetic fictions sprang into being the enquiry of the historian, and assist for man, who no where invents, every ing the researches of the antiquary. where combines and imitates ; and sla
The origin of fictitious story, con very and freedom, and superstition and sidered in its most imposing aspect as philosophy, though they may vary by vested in epic dignity, has been assigned their influence, cannot annihilate those to Homer. Considered in a less elevated passions incident to the nature of man, view, it has been traced to the Saracens, and which, every where essentially the who spread their arms and fables over same, produce, though in an unequal Spain; or to the Crusaders, whose ex- degree, and under various modifications, traordinary adventures gave to Europe every where the same general effects. the materials of those brilliant fictions Literary fiction may be deemed the fanwith which it was at that period over- ciful combination of moral or of physi. whelmed. But a less arduous exertion cal possibilities—the amusive theory of of human ingenuity, and a more inti- facts established by experience, or the mate study of human nature, would depicted effects of the passions under perhaps be found equally favourable to the pressure of peculiar, but possible, the subject of enquiry, though probably events. While to draw a line of demarless interesting to the imagination of the cation between the various forms under enquirer.
which it has appeared, whether it has Man, in all his progressive stages of dazzled in the splendour of ancient intellectual improvement, from the hut poetry, or charmed in the elegance of of the savage to the closet of the sage, is modern story, is to confound a differ
ence of kind with difference of degree, some faint beam will scatter its sunny and wholly to mistake the genus for the lustre on the gathering, clouds, and species.
brighten the brief interval of suspended The history of fictitious narration destruction; and over the gloom of the begins with the history of the world; darkest ages fictitious story is still found and those beautiful parabolical stories shedding a transient light. In the dewhich are to be found in the apocry- cline of the Roman empire, Parthonius phal pages of the Old Testament, evince Nicenus wrote his amusive fables. that even the Jewish mind, illumined Achilles Tatius his Leucippe and as it then was “ with light from Hea- Clitophon;" and Heliodorus, the veneven,” disdained not the moral precept rable Bishop of Tricca, composed that which stole beneath the familiar detail interesting romance, for which he forof human action and of human feeling. feited his mitre, and which is still read But if beyond the chronology of the and still admired under the title of Mosaic dates, the imagination be per- “ Theagenes and Chariclea.” mitted to plunge into the remote æras
From the 5th to the 12th century of the Braminical records, it finds that Europe exhibited a scene of barbarous the visible appearances of the deities of ignorance and ceaseless warfare. The the Indian mythology, present a series moral and political state of society were, of animated fictions which, sometimes during that period, alike unfavourable poetical, as the religious fables of the to the cultivation of the fancy and of Greeks, and sometimes profound, as the the mind. And the rude genius of sacred traditions of the Egyptians, still Charlemagne in France (who endeavour“smell of mortality,” and betray in ed to collect some historical ballads to their arrangement the passions and the illustrate the history of his day), and of feelings, the changes and vicissitudes Alfred in England (who was himself not which mortal life invariably presents. more a king than a philosopher), were
Among the savages of America, their still unequal to dispel the darkness of system of good and evil spirits, enriched the æras in which they flourished. with no feeble decorations of fancy, has, Safety and leisure may be deemed the according to their own assertions, ex- guardian and the nurse of literary geisted time immemorial; and it was nius; and the fancy which is cradled in from the national tales and religious fic- the shield and reared in the camp, can tions of Peru, that Garcilasso di Vega receive but few images, and those few composed those admirable commentaries too rude to give pleasure in detail, and which are deemed the pillars of Peruvi- too wild to submit to the curb of mean history. Thus in the remotest ages, thod or arrangement. and in the most opposite extremities of Previous to the 11th century, the the earth, the source of fictitious narra- saintly legend alone cheated the pious, or tion has existed; a source which can seduced the credulous, into the perusal only be exhausted when the heart even of a holy fiction, in which the ceases to feel, the memory to record, struggles between a demon and a saint and the imagination to combine, to formed the ground-work of the piece, modify, and to adorn.
and Nature and common sense were no When, however, the mightiest em- longer discernible amidst the confused pires of the earth were shaken to their tissue of unmeaning allegories ; but a foundation ; when the luxusy and cor new source of inspiration at that period ruption which ever distinguishes a cer offered itself to the genius of fiction, by taín stage of decline in society, accele- the birth of an order in Europe, which, rated the general destruction ; and when became the honour of kings, the law of a horde of victorious Barbarians rushed, nations, and which the divine and the like the whirlwind of their native legislator, the warrior and the bard, alike deserts, over the most polished states of acknowledged and aliko obeyed. Europe-then fictitious story shared the In the infancy of political economy, common destiny of all the highest pro- when laws but crudely formed, are illductions of the human mind, and suf- digested, and partially administered, befered a long and dark suspension. The nevolence is sometimes seen to rise Muse of Greece sunk into oblivion even from the bosom of violence; and amidst the
ruins of her ancient temples, a boundless play is given to the valour and the Genius of Rome no longer of the brave and the feelings of the effused her “ light of song” over the generous, from the venality of the unclassic waves of the Tiber.
just, and the outrages of the lawless. In the pauses of the storm, however, The spirit of chivalry sprang from the
weakness and the strength, the virtues which boasted kings and emperom and the crimes of man, in a certain stage its members; had become the repository of his progress towards civilization, and of modern literature in Europe, and had formed an intermediate class in society materially assisted in the cultivation of between the oppressor and the oppressed; the romance-tongue (a mixture of monkwhile the bold adventures it gave rise to ish Latinity, and the
licencious language of Chair breadth scapes and moving acci- of the Franks>) which had succeeded in dents by flood and field,” afforded exhaust- France to the pure Latin; and as the less materials for those military fables songs of chivalry and other popular for those tales of love and war, of gal- works were composed in that language, lantry and religion, whose birth formed they were thence called " Romaunts. so striking an epocha in the history of Of these compositions, in English, the ,fictitious narration.
oldest extant is:." Sir Launcelott de It was not amidst the refinement of Lake;" in French, - L'Histoire de polished Greece, or the prowess of con- quatre fils D’Aymon;" and in Spaquering Rome, that this romantic order nish, the romance of.“ Amadis de received the principle of its establish- Gaul;"- to those succeeded's Palment-it was amidst the colder regions merin D'Oliva," and the Roman de of the North ; and long before the spirit la Rose,” by William de Lorris, with a of chivalry had resolved itself into a cast, multitude of others, which it would exthe primitive idea of its institution may ceed the limits, as well as the intention, be traced in the historic songs and heroic of this sketch to enumerate. ballads of the Celtic Scalds and Gothic In the 14th century the character of bards; and long ere Arthur of England romance had assumed something of the assumed the golden spur of knighthood, dignity of epic prose; and the effects had the harp of Erin symphonized that
· which it produced on society strengthwarlike strain which sung forth the feats ened and extended the cause from of her gallant knights of the valley! The whence it derived its most splendid mamarvellous soon reached the acme of its terials. From the universal infatuation influence the monkish chronicle was it produced, neither sex nor age, nor wholly superseded by tales of faëry—the piety nor wisdom, vor rank nor, profesfeats of saints and demons gave way to sion, was exempted; then prelates wrote the more interesting adventures which roniances, and princes read them; and knight-errantry every where furnished, even the infant
poetry of the day, cradled and the influence of fictitious story as it was in the bosom of unpolished spread like enchantment over Europe. genius, eagerly. imbibed nutrition from In Spain, it assumed the Moorish cha- this exhaustless source. And we find that racter, and all the hyperbole of oriental it was from the Provençal romances diction was to be traced in the romances that Dante and Petrarch borrowed many of Bernardo del Carpio, and that of of their brightest images: as in an after“ The Roncesvalles."' In France, the day it was from the Feats of Charlemagne feats of Charlemagne and his twelve that Ariosto stole many of most Paladins; and in Normandy the deeds striking incidents of his Orlando;" of Rollo, or “ Roldan el Encantador,” and from the legends of old Geofrey of were celebrated in heroic strains, min- Monmouth that Tasso received the rugled with all the powers of necromancy diments of his “ Jerusalem.” Even and spells of magic. In England and in a later and a more polished period in Wales the wild taste of the times we perceive that the allegorical page was abundantly supplied by the adven- of “Spenser” is illuminated with Gotures of “King Arthur and his Knights," thic imagery that Shakspeare someSouthampton;" while Ireland, free and high-wrought fancy upon the fairy
. uninvaded, was deemed the palladium ground of Gothic story and that the of classic learning in Europe, and trea- classic genius of Milton disdained not sured in the songs of her Senachies to resort to the wild and frequently many of those beautiful Milesian tales magnificent fictions of the middle ages, which had once given the tone to the or to sing ofm
!?2::! bis Ws popular fictions of Ionia. But it was “ Fairy damsels met in forest wide, oh from the metrical romances of the Trou " By knights of Logris, or of Lyoniese, badours in Provence, that the prose “ Launcelott, or Pelias, or Pallinore." compositions of the 12th and 13th cen But while fictitious story in prose, turies borrowed many of their most po- " "continued during a succession of ages, lished pieces: this celebrated society, to bear the title of "
delineditions of fæ more local and domes in the surprise he testifies at the success tic nature," less tinctured by the marvel- of his Italian writings: tous, Tess distinguished by the heroic, ** Solo avessi pensato che si pari, and from the novelty of its style called 175 Póssin te voci di sospir mici In rima, ** Novelle," once Novel," appeared in
Fatte l'avrei, dal sospirar mio prima Italy. It was after the dreadful plague
A lo numero piu spesse, in stil pig rare." . of 1347, which desolated all Europe, bat particularly Italy and the south of : Notwithstanding the difficulty of cirFrance, that the novels of Boccacio and culation which must have attended all Cirithia Geraldi were composed and re- literary compositions, at a period when sorted to, as a cheering resource against the art of printing was yet unknown, the moral and physical evils which had the novels of Boccacio were generally arisen in society from the ravages of a diffused through Italy, and read with an mortal disease: it was then a period applause that almost bordered on adorafatal to all purity of manners, when tion for the genius of their author: like despair gave birth to licentiousness, and the inspirations of Dante, and the loveimpending death urged to the imme- breathings of Petrarca, they were read diate enjoyment of a precarious life. The in public assemblies, and listened
to with Decamerone of Boccacio was followed
unqualified delight by the most learned by the Tales of Bandello, aud at a more
and enlightened characters in Italy. distant period by the “ Novelets” of
But the rapid improvement which Cervantes ; and the tale, moral or po- took place in the Italian language in the pular, domestic or national, has still
14th century was succeeded by an equalcontinued a fertile source of instruction ly rapid decline; it was to the taste and and amusement*.
munificence of the house of Medici that The improvement which took place it owed its restoration in the 15th and in the Italian language in the 14th
16th centuries, a period rendered mecentury, owing to the successive and morable in European literature by the illustrious labours of Dante, Petrarca, arrival of those learned Greeks in Italy, and Boccacio, to reduce into form, and who gave a new and a finer tone to the to regulate and polish their native literary taste of the day. Even the fecongue, gave a decided superiority to male mind, restrained and limited as the modern literature of Italy over that it had hitherto been in its pursuits and of the other states of Europe; and the acquirements, expanded to the reception transitory fame acquired by the two lat- of that literary enthusiasm and love of ter writers in their own day for their classic learning which distinguished the volumincus Latin productions, was age, and in that delicious country in soon obscured by the lustre of that bril- which the languages of ancient Greece liant reputation acquired by their fanci. and ancient Rome were revived, woman ful compositions in that harmonious first began to add to the charın of language to whose perfection they had beauty, the spell of mind: and lovely as šo eminently contributed ; " and they
were the persons of the fair Florentine are indebted” (says the elegant historian Alessandra Scala, and her Milanese of the Medici family) “ for their present rival Cassandra Fidelis
, they still drew celebrity to works' which they almost
more homage from contemporary admiblushed to own, and were ashamed to ration by the elegance of their literary communicate to each other.” Of this productions, than by that extrạordinary prejudice, which belonged to the day in beauty which the poets of the day inwhich it was cherished, when the re- voked as their inspiration, and which vival of the ancient languages and of even the firm mind of philosophy was classical literature was pursued with unable to resist*: The examples of these avidity, Petrarca gives a striking proof the emulation of the distinguished wo
illustrious and fair Italians soon excited We believe that Miss Owenson had just men of France, Spain, England, and at this period become herself the foundress Germany: but it was in France partiof the National Tale, by the publication of cularly that the Muses found altars her “ Wild Irish Girl.” That she was sois the opinion of thę“ Revue Encyclopédique" * It was to Alessandra Scala that the of France, which, in some observations on learned and philosophic Florentine Politiano the novel-writers of the present day, says-- addresses his amatory verses: unhappy, "Lady Morgan est peut-etre la Creatrice however, in his love, he gave himself up to d'un autre genre de Romans: le Roman na the delights of a friendship scarcely less tentional ; qu'il ne faut pas confondre avec le der for the celebrated Cassandra, with whom Roman Historique." %
he corresponded. New Monthly Mag.-No. 78. Vol. XIV.