+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

ignorance has still left amongst us, as a
manufactory of horoscopes, and a repository for
magic mirrors and divining-rods. Not long
ago a well-dressed woman called at the
Observatory gate to request a hint as to the
means of recovering a lost sum of money; and
recently, somebody at Brighton dispatched
the liberal sum of five shillings in a post-office
order to the same place, with a request to have
his nativity cast in return! Another, only last
year, wrote as follows: 'I have been informed
that there are persons at the Observatory who
will, by my enclosing a remittance and the hour
of my birth, give me to understand who is to be
my wife? An early answer, stating all
particulars, will oblige,' &c.

This sketch descriptive of its real duties
and uses are not necessary to relieve the
Greenwich Observatory from the charge of
being an abode of sorcerers and astrologers.
A few only of the most ignorant can yet
entertain such notions of its character; but
they are not wholly unfounded. Magicians,
whose symbols are the Arabic numerals, and
whose arcana are mathematical computations,
daily foretell events in that building with
unerring certainty. They pre-discover the future
of the stars down to their minutest evolution
and eccentricity. From data furnished from
the Royal Observatory, is compiled an extra-
ordinary prophetic Almanack from which all
other almanacs are copied. It foretells to a
second when and where each of the planets
may be seen in the heavens at any minute
for the next three years. The current number
of the Nautical Almanack is for the Year of
Grace 1853.

In this quiet sanctuary, then, the winds are
made to register their own course and force,
and the rain to gauge its own quantity as it
falls; the planets are watched to help the
mariner to steer more safely over the seas; and
the heavens themselves are investigated for
materials from which their future as well as
their past history may be written.



THERE sits a pure dove on a lily so white,
On midsummer morning:—
She sang of Christ Jesus from morning to night,
In Heaven there is great joy, O!

She sang, and she sang, 'twas a joy to hear,
Expecting a maiden in Heaven that year.

"And should I reach Heaven ere twelvemonths are o'er,
Sickness and pain I should know never more."

To her father's hall the maiden she went,
And through her left side a sharp pain was sent.

"Oh! make my bed, mother, in haste, mother dear,
I shall in the fields no more wander this year."

"And speak such words, daughter, dear daughter, no more;
Thou shalt wed with a king ere twelvemonths are o'er."

"Oh! better that I be in Heaven a bride,
Than remain on the earth amid kingly pride.

"And father, dear father, go fetch me a priest,
For I know that, ere long, death will be my guest.

"And brother, dear brother, go get me a bier;
And sister, dear sister, do thou dress my hair."

The maiden, she died, and was laid on her bier,
And all her hand-maidens they plaited her hair.

They carried her out from her father's hall door;
And the angels of God with lights went before.

They carried the corpse to the churchyard along,
And the angels of God went before with a song.

They buried the maiden beneath the dark sod,
On midsummer morning:—
And her coming was even well pleasing to God;
In Heaven there is great joy, O!


A FEW Sundays ago, I formed one of the
congregation assembled in the chapel of a
large metropolitan Workhouse. With the
exception of the clergyman and clerk, and a very
few officials, there were none but paupers
present. The children sat in the galleries;
the women in the body of the chapel, and in
one of the side aisles; the men in the
remaining aisle. The service was decorously
performed, though the sermon might have
been much better adapted to the comprehension
and to the circumstances of the hearers.
The usual supplications were offered, with
more than the usual significancy in such a
place, for the fatherless children and widows,
for all sick persons and young children, for all
that were desolate and oppressed, for the
comforting and helping of the weak-hearted,
for the raising-up of them that had fallen;
for all that were in danger, necessity, and
tribulation. The prayers of the congregation
were desired "for several persons in the
various wards, dangerously ill;" and others
who were recovering returned their thanks
to Heaven.

Among this congregation, were some evil-
looking young women, and beetle-browed
young men; but not many-- perhaps that
kind of characters kept away. Generally,
the faces (those of the children excepted)
were depressed and subdued, and wanted
colour. Aged people were there, in every
variety. Mumbling, blear-eyed, spectacled,
stupid, deaf, lame; vacantly winking in the
gleams of sun that now and then crept in
through the open doors, from the paved yard;
shading their listening ears, or blinking eyes,
with their withered hands; poring over their
books, leering at nothing, going to sleep,
crouching and drooping in corners. There
were weird old women, all skeleton within,
all bonnet and cloak without, continually
wiping their eyes with dirty dusters of pocket-
handkerchiefs; and there were ugly old
crones, both male and female, with a ghastly
kind of contentment upon them which was