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imagine, have enabled the reader to form a pretty accurate judgment as to the plan and execution of the work. It will, I think, be found, if I have not greatly deceived myself, to have exhibited in the construction of its fable no common share of skill and ingenuity; in the formation of its characters, a bold and discriminating pencil; and in the departments of scenery and mythology, where the tact and talents of the poet are not less importunately demanded, a rich and excursive imagination.
That it has, however, failed to attain a similar degree of excellency in a few other particulars of considerable if not of equal importance, is not meant to be denied. It must, for instance, be allowed, that the range of incident and adventure, taking the fertility of the subject into view, is too confined, and that the versification is frequently of a character not calculated to win upon the general ear. It is to this latter circumstance, perhaps, that we may, in a great measure, attribute the neglect into which this otherwise beautiful poem has fallen; for in the laudable effort to give greater freedom and continuity of harmony to the structure of rhymed verse, Mr. Hole has been induced to run one line
into another so often, and to such a length in succession, as materially to weaken the peculiar though limited music of the couplet, whilst at the same time, it fails to impart, what he has so anxiously wished to obtain, the energy and unshackled march of blank verse.
There are not wanting, however, as the quotations I have selected will sufficiently prove, numerous passages uninjured by this attempt, and of singular sweetness and melody; and which, exhibiting at the same time those qualities of a still higher nature that I have just pointed out, cannot fail, I trust, to attract attention, and to acquire for this almost forgotten poem that permanent station among the classical productions of our country which it so justly merits.
"Go," proudly pace the historic hall that rung
To social mirth when deeds of hardihood were sung. "And lo!" the veteran fame
Of armour that superior pannels claim:
Bows that perhaps were bent on Cressy's field;
And targets, crusted deep with sanguine scales;
And not the hall alone, array'd with arms,
Projected picture-shadows, far and wide,—
THERE are few details more gratifying than those which relate to the manners, customs, and economy
of domestic life in days long gone by, and fortunately the annals of the Cliffords of Craven abound in documents of this kind, more especially during the last century of their existence in that district.
From three inventories of family effects, dated 1572, 1591, and 1643, and from various account and household books, accurately copied, and often curiously commented upon, by the historian of Craven, I shall, therefore, now proceed to cull such articles, and offer such remarks, either original or selected, as may seem best calculated to throw light, either upon the characters of the lords of Skipton as individuals, or upon the habits and usages of their times, dividing the subject, with a view to perspicuity, into the departments of DoMESTIC ECONOMY, and INN-DOOR and OUT-DOOR
Under the first of these heads, that of Domestic Economy, it may be remarked, that the earliest of the inventories relating to this subject, though dated only 1572, and taken immediately after the death of the second earl of Cumberland, may be considered, from the greater part of the articles being mentioned as old and much worn, as representing very accurately what was the interior of Skipton
castle at a much higher period. "There were," says Whitaker, speaking of the evidently decayed state of the furniture in 1572, "not improbably figures in the arras which had frowned on Richard the Third, and even on black-faced Clifford, two tyrants themselves, as savage as ever grinned in old tapestry*»
The inventory of 1572 opens with an enumeration of the wardrobe of the earl, in which, as the usual dress of a nobleman of that age consisted of a doublet and hose, with a cloak, or sometimes a long or short gown with sleeves, we find an abundance of articles of this description, and formed of the most costly materials, such as velvet, satin, and sarcenet, of various colours, and richly covered with furs and gold and silver lace. Show and splendour, indeed, appear to have been the objects almost uniformly aimed at, at this time, in the decoration of the person; but by dividing this catalogue of male attire into the heads of ordinary habit, dress habit, and garter robes, we shall best be able to appreciate that luxury of apparel in which the lords of Skipton delighted to indulge.
* History of Craven, p. 330.