THE LUNAR ECLIPSE: WHO IS MEANT BY IT?
A SOLAR eclipse, according to MILTON, " with fear of change per- plexes monarchs": at whose heads may the evil augury of a lunar eclipse be supposed to be levelled ? " Who is meant?" schoolboys ask in whispers when the pedagogue threatens some anonymous culprit : "who is meant?" may be asked by the various watchers of last night's portentous eclipse of the moon.
Perhaps at the heads of Ministers, who, as subordinate officers of monarchy, may be imagined to be placed under the influence of the " satellites " among planets. In this case, Sir ROBERT PEEL'S enjoyment of the Whitsuntide holydays may have suffered abate- ment from the phmnomenon of last night. Perhaps the primary planets alone have influence on the desti- nies of Premiers, the satellites having power over subordinate offi- cials only. In this case, the eclipse (if " visible at Calcutta ") may have been to Lord ELLENBOROUGH the shadow of his coming recall, cast upon a luminary which appears to have exercised no small iufluence over some of his sayings and doings.
Or, as the moon shines by borrowed light, perhaps its threats concern theatrical dynasties and representative royalties alone. In this case, Mr. WEBSTER may be supposed to have been panic- struck for the fate of his five hundred pound prize.
The money-makers of this world are accustomed to call every- thing prized by the imaginative and sentimental " moonshine." They may see some connexion between the eclipse and the finan- cial position of the Free Church, which the Scotsman protests " beautifully illustrates the power of the Voluntary principle" this beautiful illustration being neither more nor less than the fact that the worthy ministers who to constitute the Free Church gave up livings ranging from 2501. to 6001. per annum, are now in the receipt by " voluntary contributions " each of 1001. a year.
The Irish landowners say that the eclipse was prophetic of the defeat which "the League" sustained in South Lancashire a few days before.
Some have alleged that the pickpockets and other "minions of the moon" were extremely slack in their vocation on the night when their "chaste mistress" waned in mid splendour : but it is doubtful whether they are learned enough to have known that they ought to be afraid.
But the most prevalent opinion is, that a lunar eclipse prognos- ticates the reversal of courses of national policy adopted by wits unsettled by lunar influence. If in this supposition there is any- thing of truth, perhaps some of the present generation may live to see the Slave-trade Suppression Treaties sent to the chandler- shops.