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English miles on one of the glaciers, it appeared to extend about two more in the same direction, and then branched off in various directions up the defiles of the mountain. There are other glaciers in Norway, particularly those of Fresvig and Foljefouden; these they did not visit, but were informed that the principal glacier, in the valley of Boudhus, descends from 3000 feet above the sea to 1400; with a norene, consisting of mud and loose stones, from 6 to 800 feet broad. This latter circumstance is remarkable, as, if not identifying them with, at least, affording a striking resemblance to many of the icebergs in the Polar Seas.
Art. II.-An Theater of Mortality: or, the Illustrious Inscrip
tions Extant upon the several Monuments, Erected over the dead bodies, (of the sometime Honourable Persons) buried within the Gray friars Church-Yard; and other Churches and BurialPlaces within the City of Edinburgh and Suburbs. Collected and Englished by R. Monteith, M.A. Deut. 32.29. O that they were wise, that they understood this. That they would consider their Latter End. Sors tua mortalis ; ne sit mortale quod optes.
Nil pon mortale tenemus, Pectoris exceptis Ingeniique bonis. Ovid. Edinburgh, Printed by the Heirs and Successors of Andrew Anderson, Printer to the Queens most Excellent Majesty, City
and Colledge, Anno Dom. M.DCC.IV. An Theater of Mortality: or a further collection of Funeral Inscriptions, over Scotland; gathered from Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Linlithgow, St. Andrew's, Glasgow, Hadington, Kircaldy, Montrose, Couper, Inverness, Kinghorn, Kirkcudbright, Dumferling, Dumbritton, Dunbar, Elgine, Nairn, Fortrose, Dunkeld, Spynie, Urquhart, Tranent, Alloa, Falkirk, Kilsyth, Hamilton, Melross, and several other places elsewhere; ali Englished by the Publisher: whereto are subjoined Inscriptions
upon the Passion and Death of our Blessed Saviour, and upon the Death of Marie, Queen of Scots, King James VI., and King Charles I. ; with Foreign Epitaphs, Ancient and Modern, Christian and Heathenish, Acrostichal, Mesostichal, Teleostichal, Chronological, Dialogical, Rhythmical, Jocose, Enigmatical ; some in most Elegant Prose ; severals upon the Ruines of Greece, Troy, and Rome, and upon the Death of sundry Creatures. By Robert Monteith.
VOL. XIII. PART II.
Marmora Mæonii vincunt Monumenta Libelli:
Vivitur Ingenio; Cetera Mortis erunt. Edinburgh, Printed by the Heirs and Successors of Andrew Anderson, Printers to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty. Anno Dom. M.DCC.XIII.
We had (would we could say we have !) a friend who entertained a few notions which appeared to us to be more distinguished for whimsicality than sound sense, and which he frequently pressed on our notice with a pertinacity more than equal to that absurdity, and sometimes not quite consistent with his usual placidity of temper and benevolence of disposition. Among his favourite dogmas was one in relation to church-yards, which, we dare say, is new to many of our readers. He maintained, that these receptacles of mortality were faithful indices of national feeling; and he illustrated this strange position by a reference to the funereal bouquets and notorious frivolity of the French-to the universality (though often attended with homeliness) of the sepulchral monuments, and the honest hearty friendships of the Englishto the plain massy grave-stones, and deep-seated unostentatious affections of the Scots--and to the slovenly burial-places and unsteady vivacity of the Irish. We are satisfied that we cannot do justice to our friend's theory, nor is it of much importance that we should, for, in truth, it always appeared to us as extravagant as the religious doctrines of Tristram Shandy's father, and the belligerent whims of his uncle Toby. We don't chuse, however, to employ a harsher epithet in reference to it than that of fanciful-indeed we cannot, if we would. The joyous moments which we spent with our beloved friend, when we were accustomed to pour upon his arguments all the ridicule and abuse with which our memories and our vocabularies furnished us, would rise up in judgment against the least unkindly act to his ashes. Alas! these moments now rank among the few reminiscences of our existence which teem with pleasurable recollections; and, while they recal to our minds, in all“ the joy of grief,” the amiable being of whom a simple tablet, bearing his name in union with our own, is all that earth now exhibits, they also remind us that we too must soon be indebted to a surviving friend for the slight memorial of a monumental inscription !
Our feelings, we trust, are not deemed obtrusive, by our readers; on the contrary, we hope to find a friendly response in their bosoms confirming and participating our own emotions. And our hopes can scarcely be disappointed, for we strike a chord which has vibrated more or less powerfully in the human
breast, since the annals of mankind recorded their feelings and actions. Witness the sacred sepulchres of the Jews, the hieroglyphical pillars and pyramids of the Egyptians, the elegant inscriptions of the Greeks and Romans, and, in one word, the monuments which have designated the house of death and its inhabitants in all ages and nations. We should like to follow up the subject which has occurred thus incidentally to our observation, by laying before our readers a short account of the burial-places and epitaphs of the people of various countries in ancient as well as in modern times, but the present is not the most fitting opportunity for our purpose. We turn, therefore, at once to an analysis of the volumes before us, and take our leave of the extensive subject we have glanced at, in the words of a celebrated antiquary, (Hartwell) —" Touching the variety of epitaphs, it is such a large field to walk through, as it is not for so weak limbs (as I have) to run over it in many days, for some are in prose, and some are in verse; some are long, and some are short; some are Latin, and some are English; some are grave, and some are ridiculous; of all which sorts, as also of divers and sundry others, if a man should at this present discourse, we should spend a great deal more time than is allowed us for this business."
The two volumes which have led to these remarks are among the rarities for which the bibliopoles of the north, where alone they are known, demand a high price-a couple of sovereigns being the lowest sum for which these worthies will allow a covetous purchaser to transfer the coarse morceaus to his bookcase. We cannot, in conscience, say that they are worthy of such a price, rare as they unquestionably are;--for the greatest merit which we can ascribe to them is, that they contain epitaphs no where else to be found. Of these we shall lay pretty numerous specimens before our readers, and in doing so we can assure them that we transfer to our
pages tion of the works. There is little, indeed, to interest us in
many of the inscriptions which we do not quote, the characters to whom they relate being unknown in history, and the inscriptions themselves being indicative only of the vanity or weakness of surviving relatives.
We would fain say something of the author, or rather “ Collector and Englisher, Robert Monteith, M. A.,” but in good sooth we know very little about him, and even that little, we are left to gather chiefly from notices scattered among his writings. It is generally understood that he was bred for the church, and that, like many other clerical students in Scotland, he commenced his career as a teacher or schoolmaster, and from want of influence or of talent was obliged to continue his labours in this humble sphere. His name has descended
the best por
to posterity in connection with the volumes before us, with two other works; the one, his True and Genuine art of Pointing, 1704; the other, his English Version of Buchanan's Fratres Fraterrimi, 1708. From the circumstance of those four works having been published nearly about the same time, (1704) and from these being the only works which he published, we should be inclined to conclude that Mr. Monteith did not long survive their publication. Connected with one of these works, the True and Genuine Art of Pointing, (i.e. Punctuation,) we are enabled to present our readers with a very curious Advertisement inserted near the end of a rare production, Leith's True Almanack by John Mann. Edinburgh printed by George Mossman, 1704 ; a duodecimo volume.
“ If any person have old Evidents, to be Transcribed, in a plain and Fair Hand, Or any Manuscripts to be Written in a Fine Distinct Letter, duely Pointed, as for the Press; Or, if any Persons desire, to be Taught, or to Retrieve, in their Chambers, Latine and Greek, with all their Roots and Etymologies : Let them repair to Mr. Robert Monteith Minister, at his house in Lady Napier's Land, within the Foot of Patrick Steils Close, on the South side of the Street below the Cross of Edinburgh ; And he will meet with them, and Agree upon reasonable Terms.”
This advertisement is as nearly as possible a fac-simile of the original, and our readers, therefore, may receive it as a specimen of Mr. Monteith's True and Genuine Art of Pointing, and of the best description of advertising literature at the beginning of the last century:
But, alas! Mr. Monteith's knowledge of “ Pointing," and his readiness to agree on reasonable terms,” did not procure him employment; and he was accordingly afflicted with the biting distemper, which has pretty uniformly attended authors, in all times-poverty. He was disappointed, too, in his expectations of emolument and fame from his Theater of Mortality, 1704, and was even obliged to retain it in MS. several years before he prevailed on the rulers of Edinburgh to publish it at the expense of the town. All this, and much more, which we forbear to notice, we learn from the author's Poetical address to the Lords of Session, 1702, a copy of which, from the original MS. in a volume of Tracts collected by the celebrated Lord Fountainhall, and now preserved in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh, we lay before our readers. This curious address which is now published for the first time, is not, we fear, the only specimen of mendicatory doggerel which poor Monteith indited to relieve his wants.
** To the Right Honorable My Lord President, and Remanent
Lords, Senatours of the Colledge of Justice.
Most Noble Patrones,
Neptune and Æolus both were so kind,
As with a constant and perpetual tide,
Unto St. Pauls that Temple great and fair,
For the rare advertisement, and equally or more rare poetical address, we have quoted, as well as the foregoing circumstances respecting their author, we are indebted to Mr. David Laing, bookseller, Edinburgh, a gentleman intimately acquainted with Scottish literature, and exceedingly obliging in the communication of his knowledge to others.