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his fourth year.
being acquainted besides, with history, arithmetic, geography, heraldry, &c.! The Lubeck infant prodigy, Heinecken, having learned to speak at ten months, knew, says, Feller, all the Pentateuch events when he was one year old! When he was a year and a month old, he knew the facts of the Old Testament; and in another month, had acquired those of the New, as weil! When he was two years and six months old, he, being brought before the court of Denmark, was found to be able to speak French and Latin, as well as his native German language, with ease and fluency ! Candiac died at seven years old, of water on the brain ; Heinecken died in
There are records of many other children, concerning whom surprising histories are told, but none surpass the last. Baratier, (Anspach, 1721,) published a Hebrew Lexicon, at the age of eleven, having known that language for two years, Greek, for five; whilst, at four years old, he spoke German, French, and Latin. Before his death, at the early age of nineteen, he showed himself possessed of great knowledge in many branches of learning, and made the world the richer of it by various publications.
Cardinal Mezzofanti's is a name which must be regarded as the crowning glory among names of celebrated linguists. Into his history it is, bappily, needless to enter: it has been well told by distinguished Irish writers. He was born at Bologna, in 1774. His father was a carpenter. His education was as carefully attended to as it was possible under the circumstances. The young Mezzofanti had the good fortune to meet with a school in which were several members of the suppressed order of the Jesuits, who had been missionaries, and thus had among them the means of imparting to him the rich fruits of their linguistic experience,
Cardinal Mezzofanti was particularly distinguished from the common run of linguists, by the correctness and fluency with which he spoke languages, and even dialects. He not only knew, for instance, the English tongue, and spoke it with the ease of a native, but with Lowland Scotch, and the dialects of Somersetshire, Yorkshire, and Lancashire, he was equally conversant. "I on one occasion," writes an English gentleman, “when going to the Vatican library to visit Mezzofanti, took with me an English family, who were most desirous of being introduced to him. Mezzofanti remonstrated good-humouredly with me for bringing people to see him, as if he were worthy of being visited, but he received our party with his habitual politeness. The gentleman whom I introduced, begged as a favour that he would tell him how many languages he could speak, 'I have heard many different accounts' he said, "but will you tell me yourself?
“ After some hesitation, Mezzofanti answered, 'Well, if you must know, I speak forty-five languages.' He then begged as to excuse him, and called one of the librarians to show us the principal curiosities of the library. On our return, we found him seated with a young German artist, who, he told us, was going to Constantinople. 'I am teaching him Turkish before he goes,' he continued, and as he speaks modern Greek very well, I use that language as the means of my instruction. I had the
honour of giving some lessons on modern Greek to your poet, Lord Byron, when he was in Bologna.”
Byron has written of him thus: “ In general I do not draw well with literary men." He then excepts, Scott, Moore, Shelley, and continues, as to others, “I don't remember a man amongst them whom I ever wished 10 see twice, except, perhaps, Mezzophanti (sic) who is a monster of languayés, the Briareus of parts of speech, a walking polyglot and more—who ought to have existed at the time of the Tower of Babel as universal interpreter. He is indeed a marvel-unassuming also." He says he tried him in all the tongues in which he knew a single exclamation, “and, egad! he astonished me even to my English.”
Mezzofanti's nephew, the Cavaliere Minarelli, after an examination of his relative's papers after death, reported his knowledge of one hundred and fourteen languages and idioms. He spoke nearly the one half of this number with the fluent correctness of an educated native. He died on the 15th of March, 1849. He had been accustomed to write little scraps of verse in the native languages of the students of various nations at Rome, giving them to such as he knew, and he knew many, for he cherished the acquaintanceship of youth. One of those scraps, given to an Irish student, reads as follows:
“ May Christ be on your lips and heart !
BUSH WEDDING IN AUSTRALIA. ABOUT noon we started for -, a eqnatter's homestead, in the centre of New Sonth Wales, where we expected to arrive before sundown. consisted of myself, wife, and infant, with its nurse, another lady and a similar incumbrance. The team was good, and as a tandem ought to be, fast; so we rattled off at a brisk pace, in full glee, having everything all “taut,” as the sailors say. For several miles we travelled without incident; but it soon became evident the late rains had done considerable damage to the track we were about to follow. Although the floods were for the most part subsided, yet many places were made dangerous, by the shelving of banks, the cutting away of large pieces of land, leaving deep and craggy fissures, where all before was smooth. With unpleasant reflections, theretore, we approached the M- river, and when we arrived on its banks our presentiments were fulfilled. The crossing place was no longer visible, and large trees were scattered here and there. The descent to che bed of the river could be managed without much difficulty, by the horses sliding to the bottom of it—this is a mode of progress colonial horses understand very well, when the descent is steep, and the ground is slippery--but in tandem I never before made such an experiment, and could not conjecture the result, which turned out comical enough. The river itself was like Tommy Moore's song, 66 The bed was still there, but the waters were gone,” which was decidedly all the better for us. The ascent on the opposite side was, to all appearances, impracticable, the bank, being almost perpendicular, and about fifteen feet in height. At it we galloped through the deep sand, carving a little to the right, in order to take advantage of as much as remained of the old track. The leader jumped forward like a stag, snapping bis traces, and at a bound reached the top, leaving the wheeler stuck fast in the sand. Thus left in the lurch I belaboured the shafter with the double thong, but to no purpose; so that all were compelled to get out, and make their way up the bank, as best they could, I remaining be.. hind, to entice the horse to pull the empty cart. After a great deal of trouble and exertion, I succeeded in mending the traces, removing some fallen trees, and again making a start. There being no further obstacles on the road, we arrived immediately before sundown at our destination, and just as the assembled guests and our hospitable enteriaivers were thinking of tea, for such is the “ bush” fashion. A most substantial re. past was laid in the hall, which was the principal room in the house, and about sixty persons sat down to perform their individual parts. Joints of portentons dimensions, and puddings of vast area, were the chief features of interest, always excepting the “bush” family tea-pot, which exceeded in capacity any ordinary kettle. A great many of the ladies were married, and, like my importations, had incumbrances; it might be supposed they were brought as samples for the happy couple, but in reality as a matter of necessity. The babies were all carefully laid on beds in one large rooir, which was to be appropriated by their mothers ; and the harmony of our tea was frequently disturbed by a squeak from the little innocents, which would cause a dispute amongst the mothers as to its identity from souod ; generally speaking, the mother recognised her own infant, but in some instances three or four claimed the child as their own-which, although the interruption caused wondrous merriment, clearly showed that the rising generation would not be neglected. Tea having been concluded, it
, was proposed by some of the younger folk that all should go to a corroborree, which was to take place in the neighbourhood on that night, at about twelve o'clock, one of the Black Gins undertaking to conduct us within view of it. The whole party set out in the dark, through the wild bush, to walk a distance of three miles, to see this wondertul paraphernalia. En route to the scene of action we came to the Blacks’encampment, which consisted of about fifty gunyahs, each having a bright fire lighting in front of it, and separate about three or four yards. The glare of light shining upon the ebony visages of the Gins, with their bright red and other coloured blankets, amidst the large forest trees and rustic gunyahs, (which are sleep, ing places made of the boughs of evergreens,) produced a most striking effect. At first we visited the inhabited gunyahs to see the piccaninnies, as they lay sleeping on the boughs of trees wrapped in their blankets. Then the Gius led us into other gunyals, which had been prepared for our reception, from whence, unseen, we could perceive the Blacks, to the number of one hundred, painting and decorating themselves for the performance. A large fire was burning in the midst of them, by the light of which we could plainly see some painting themselves red and white, others putting cockatoo's yellow top knots on their heads, tied by bands of red cloth; the paint was daubed in large patches all over their bodies, which were perfectly naked; and spears, clubs, boomerangs, tomahawks, nutlas, and other weapons were laid hold of by them, when their decorations were completed.
All having thus fully equipped themselves, the king led off, and the others joined in the “ war dance,” which appeared to be not unlike a lancer quadrille ; this they accompanied by yelling and screeching like fiends, shaking and rattling their weapons together, making the most unheard of noises—a superbly picturesque and unearthly sight. We were not, however, left long to enjoy this novelty, for one of the Gius suddenly touched our host on the shoulder, saying, “ Tish! tish !” and we quickly caught the distant sound of a coming storm. Immediately preparations were made to return home as speedily as possible; and heedless of stumps, logs, dead boughs of trees, and other impediments, we reached the homestead just as the heavy drops of rain and fitful gusts of wind, with vivid flashes of lightning, convinced us of the fortunate and timely retreat we had made. After partaking of a hearty supper, we retired to refresh ourselves by a few hours' sleep for the coming festivities. The guests being numerous, tents had been erected outside for the reception of the gentlemen, without adopting the necessary precautions against heavy rain, consequently, they were soon dripping inside and out. This inconvenience was much increased, by some of the waggish portion of the young fraternity pulling up the pegs, and loosening the canvass walls, as soon as the inmates had fallen asleep. It was, however, done good humouredly, and received in the same spirit. Long after the morning dawned, all arose to await the arrival of the clergyman, who came at the appointed time. The marriage ceremony was then duly performed, and many a sly joke enjoyed at the expense of the principal performers, not excepting the worthy divine. A magnificent dejunér was spread in the hall for over one hundred persons, who sat down to all the luxuries that love or money could obtain. Many were the toasts and happy sentiments warmly expressed, and received with vigorous applause, whilst the champagne circulated freely, and brought the returning jeu d'esprit to the quivering lip, and made the tongue go faster, if not more wisely, than before. After the banquet the happy couple, having robed, started for their new home, in an open barouche, drawn by a pair of high mettled bay horses, and driven by the bridegroom. Away they went in a perfect shower of old white satin slippers, and when fairly out of sight, the whole party set to and pelted the best-man with them. While engaged in this amusement, our attention was suddenly diverted by the cry. of -- Snake !" One of the children, a boy about two years' old, when playing in the hall, saw something lying on the floor, which he was just in the act of picking up for a whip, when young
a lad about ten years of age, the youngest son of our hosts, perceived it was a snake, and dashing forward with rapidity and valour, snatched the child from certain death. Then shouting " Snake !” attracted us to the spot, where the venomous reptile was quickly despatched. The remainder of the day was spent in quoit-playing, foot-racing, jumping; and other manly sports, which were enlivened by the presence of the ladies. In the evening, the ball came off in the hall, which being a very large handsome room, was decorated with evergreens and artificial flowers for the occasion. Quadrilles, polkas, valses, galops, and lancers, quickly succeeded each other. At first, the piano was patronised by some of the ladies, but an amateur gentleman performer having been enlisted, he remained during the entire night, playing with great taste and precision; until at length, overcome by the spirit of the dance, or some other spirit, he could not retain his seat without being propped on each side by a gentleman, and then he performed to perfection. The intervals between the dances were devoted to songs from some of the gentlemen, and the sport was kept up till daylight with untiring zeal, when “ Sir Rodger” closed the fun. Many of the party then busied themselves for a start homewards, without retiring to rest. The rain had entirely disappeared, and the clear blue sky with the cool refreshing breeze of morning, foretold the continuance of such weather as Australia alone can afford. By six o'clock all had taken departure for their respective homes, rejoiced at the happy re-union of a Bush Wedding,
THE TWO AUTUMNS.
And from the fresh-reaped uplands nigh,
Into the dry old shadowy barn.
Then falls the grain
Like yellow rain,
And here for a winter they may remain,
I see an autumn in the sky,
The souls of men for the great Father;
The genial harvest-home of God :