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no, I only walked by it, and looked upon it. The climate is remarkably mild, even in October and November; no snow has been seen to lie there for these thirty years past; the myrtles grow in the ground against the houses, and Guernsey lilies bloom in every window; the town clean and wellbuilt, surrounded by its old stone-walls, with their towers and gateways, stands at the point of a peninsula, and opens full south to an arm of the sea, which, having formed two beautiful bays on each hand of it, stretches away in direct view, till it joins the British Channel; it is skirted on either side with gently-rising grounds, clothed with thick wood, and directly cross its mouth rise the high lands of the Isle of Wight at some distance, but distinctly seen. In the bosom of the woods (concealed from profane eyes) lie hid the ruins of Netley Abbey ; there may be richer and greater houses of religion, but the abbot is content with his situation. See there, at the top of that hanging meadow, under the shade of those old trees that bend into a half circle about it, he is walking slowly (good man!), and bidding his beads for the souls of his benefactors, interred in that venerable pile that lies beneath him. Beyond it (the meadow still descending) nods a thicket of oaks that mask the building, and have excluded a view too garish and luxuriant for a holy eye; only on either hand they leave an opening to the blue glittering sea. Did you not observe how, as that white sail shot by and was lost, he turned and crossed himself to drive the tempter from him that had thrown that distraction in his way? I should tell you that the ferryman who rowed me, a lusty young fellow, told me that he would not for all the world pass a night at the abbey (there were such things near it), though there was a power of money hid there. From thence I went to Salisbury, Wilton, and Stonehenge; but of these I say no more; they will be published at the university press.
little lake they command. From the shore a low promontory pushes itself far into the water, and on it stands a white village with the parish church rising in the midst of it; hanging inclosures, corn fields, and meadows green as an emerald, with their trees, hedges, and cattle, fill up the whole space from the edge of the water. Just opposite to you is a large farm-house, at the bottom of a steep smooth lawn embosomed in old woods, which climb half way up the mountain's side, and discover above them a broken line of crags, that crown the scene. Not a single red tile, no glaring gentleman's house or garden walls, break in upon the repose of this little unsuspected paradise; but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty, in its neatest and most becoming attire.'
P. S.-I must not close my letter without giving you one principal event of my history, which was, that (in the course of my late tour) I set out one morning before five o'clock, the moon shining through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea-coast time enough to be at the sun's levee. I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreaths, and the tide (as it flowed gently in upon the sands) first whitening, then slightly tinged with gold and blue; and all at once a little line of insufferable brightness that (before I can write these five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen. It is very odd it makes no figure on paper; yet I shall remember it as long as the sun, or at least as long as I endure. I wonder whether anybody ever saw it before? I hardly believe it.'
Much as has since been written on the lake country, nothing can exceed the beauty and finish of this miniature picture of Grassmere:-Passed by the little chapel of Wiborn, out of which the Sunday congregation were then issuing. Passed a beck [rivulet] near Dunmailrouse, and entered Westmoreand a second time; now begin to see Helmcrag, distinguished from its rugged neighbours not so much by its height, as by the strange broken outline of its top, like some gigantic building demolished, and the stones that composed it flung across each other in wild confusion. Just beyond it opens one of the sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imitate. The bosom of the mountains spreading here into a broad basin, discovers in the midst Grassmere water; its margin is hollowed into small bays with bold eminences, some of them rocks, some of soft turf, that half conceal and vary the figure of the
The sublime scenery of the Grande Chartreuse, in Dauphiny (the subject of Gray's noble Alcaic ode), awakened all his poetical enthusiasm. Writing to his mother from Lyons, he says 'It is a fortnight since we set out hence upon a little excursion to Geneva. We took the longest road, which lies through Savoy, on purpose to see a famous monastery, called the Grande Chartreuse, and had no reason to think our time lost. After having travelled seven days very slow (for we did not change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go post in these roads), we arrived at a little village among the mountains of Savoy, called Echelles; from thence we proceeded on horses, who are used to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse. It is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, commonly not six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging overhead; on the other a monstrous precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent, that, sometimes tumbling among the fragments of stone that have fallen from on high, and sometimes precipitating itself down vast descents with a noise like thunder, which is still made greater by the echo from the mountains on each side, concurs to form one of the most solemn, the most romantic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld. Add to this the strange views made by the crags and cliffs on the other hand, the cascades that in many places throw themselves from the very summit down into the vale and the river below, and many other particulars impossible to describe, you will conclude we had no occasion to repent our pains. This place St Bruno chose to retire to, and upon its very top founded the aforesaid convent, which is the superior of the whole order. When we came there, the two fathers who are commissioned to entertain strangers (for the rest must neither speak one to another, nor to any one else) received us very kindly, and set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and fruits, all excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. They pressed us to spend the night there, and to stay some days with them; but this we could not do, so they led us about their house, which is, you must think, like a little city, for there are a hundred fathers, besides three hundred servants, that make their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and do everything among themselves. The whole is quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery; but the wonderful decency, and the strange situation, more than supply the place of it. In the evening we descended by the same way, passing through many clouds that were then forming themselves on the mountain's side.'
In a subsequent letter to his poetical friend West, Gray again adverts to this memorable visit: In our little journey up the Grande Chartreuse,' he says, 'I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation that there was no restraining. Not
With haggard eyes the poet stood (Loose his beard, and hoary hair Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air); And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire, Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre. 'Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath! O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave, Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe; Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
1 Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri. It included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speaking of the castle of Conway, built by King Edward I., says, 'Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery;' and Matthew of Westminster (ad ann. 1283), Apud Aberconway ad pedes montis Snowdonia fecit erigi castrum forte.'
2 Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.
3 Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore. They both were Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
'Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hushed the stormy main:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head.
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
I see them sit; they linger yet,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.'
2 Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to build their eyry among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craigianeryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day, I am told, the highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c., can testify; it has even built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire.-(See Willoughby's Ornithology, published by Ray).
3 Edward II., cruelly butchered in Berkeley Castle.
6 Alluding to the death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress.
7 Edward, the Black Prince, dead some time before his father. 8 Magnificence of Richard II.'s reign. See Froissart, and other contemporary writers.
9 Richard II. (as we are told by Archbishop Scroop, and the
Henry VI., George, Duke of Clarence, Edward V., Richard, Duke of York, &c., believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.
3 Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and her crown.
4 Henry V. 5 Henry VI, very near been canonised. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the
"The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster. 7 The silver boar was the badge of Richard III.; whence he was usually known, in his own time, by the name of the
8 Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord
is well-known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for
the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places.
9 It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy Land, and should return again to reign over Britain.
10 Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island, which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.
11 Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says, And thus she, lion-like, rising, daunted the malipert orator no less with her stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartnesse of her princelie checkes.'
18 Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth cen
Stoke Pogeis Church, and Tomb of Gray. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
tury. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen. 1 Shakspeare.
2 Milton. 3 The succession of poets after Milton's time.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team a-field! How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed, Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page
And froze the genial current of the soul.
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind; The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learned to stray; Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet even these bones from insult to protect, Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind! On some fond breast the parting soul relies, Some pious drops the closing eye requires; Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries, Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by. Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,
Along the heath and near his favourite tree; Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; The next, with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own. Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send: He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose), The bosom of his Father and his God.
The Alliance between Government and Education; a Fragment.
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
If equal justice, with unclouded face,