Page images

gold in the blaze of the banquet-lights, search for the royal dead, and the search and that wondrous beauty, without pa- was vain. Deeper and stiller the aurallel amidst the dames of England, tumnal moon rose to its melancholy shone like the vision of an accusing an- noon, and lent its ghastly aid to the gel, on the eyes of the startled duke and glare of the redder lights; but on learthe breathless knights. But, twice in ing the pavilion they had missed Edith; her life, Edith beheld that awful man: she had gone from them alone, and was once, when roused from her reverie of lost in that dreadful wilderness. And innocent love, by the holiday pomp of Ailred said, despondingly, his troops and banners, the child-like “ • Perchance we may already have maid stood at the foot of the grassy seen the corpse we search for, and not reknoll--and once again, when in the cognised it; for the face may be mutilated hour of his triumph, and amidst the with wounds. And therefore it is that wrecks of England, on the field of San- Saxon wives and mothers haunt our guelac, with a soul surviving the crush. battle-fields, discovering those they ed and broken heart, the faith of the search by signs not known without the lofty woman defended the hero dead. household.'

There, with knee unbent, and form Ay,' said the Norman, 'I compreunquailing, with marble cheek, and hend thee, by the letter or device, in haughty eye, she faced the Conqueror ; which, according to your customs, your and as she ceased, his noble barons warriors impress on their own forms broke into bold applause.

some token of affection, or some fancied " • Who art thou ?' said William, if charm against ill.' not daunted at least amazed, ‘methinks “. It is so,' answered the monk; I have seen thy face before-thou art 'wherefore I grieve that we have lost not Harold's wife or sister.'

the guidance of the maid.' “ • Dread lord,' said Osgood, she “While thus conversing, they had was the betrothed of Harold, but as retraced their steps, almost in despair, within the degrees of kin, the Church towards the duke's pavilion. forbade their union, and they obeyed the “See,' said de Graville, ‘how near Church.'

yon lonely woman hath come to the tent “Out from the banquet throng step- of the duke-yea, to the foot of the lowly ped Mallet de Graville. "O, my liege, gonfanon, which supplanted “the Fightsaid he, thou hast promised me land ing Man.” Pardex! my heart bleeds to and earldom ; instead of these gifts un- see her striving to lift up the heary deserved, bestow on me the right

to dead! bury and to honor the remains of Ha- “ The monks neared the spot, and rold; to-day I took from him my life: Osgood exclaimed, in a voice almost joy. let me give all I can in return-a ful, It is Edith the fair! This way the grave.'

torches ; hither, quick!' “ William paused; but the sentiment The corpses had been flung in irreof the assembly, so clearly pronounced, verent haste from either side of the gonand it, may be, his own better nature, fanon, to make room for the banner of which, ere polluted by plotting craft, the conquest and the pavilion of the and hardened by despotic ire, was mag- feast. Huddled together they lay in nanimous and heroic, moved and won that holy bed; and the woman silently, him.

and by the help of no ligbt save the moon, Lady,' said he, gently, 'thou ap- was intent on her search. She waved her pealest not in vain to Norman knight- hand impatiently as they approached, as hood : thy rebuke was just, and s re- if jealous of the dead, but as she had pent me of a hasty impulse. Mallet de not sought, so neither did she offer them Graville, thy prayer is granted to thy aid. Moaning low to herself, she dechoice be consigned the place of burial sisted from her task, and knelt, watching -to thy care, the funeral rites of him them and shaking her head mournfully, whose soul hath passed out of human as they removed helm after helm, and judgment.'

lowered the torches upon stern and livid “ The feast was over.

William the brows. At length the lights fell red Conqueror slept on his couch, and round and full on the ghastly face of Haco, him slumbered his Norman knights, proud and sad as in life. dreaming of baronies to come; and still “De Graville uttered an exclamation: the torches moved dismally to and fro * The king's nephew; be sure the king is the waste of death; and through the near.' hush of night was heard, far and near, “ A shudder went over the woman's the wail of women.

form and the moaning ceased. They un“ Accompanied by the brothers of helmed another corpse, and the monks Waltham, and attended by link-bearers, and the knight, after one glance, turned Mallet de Graville was yet engaged in the away, sickened and awe-stricken at the


sight; for the face was all defeatured divided. In the holy burial ground that and mangled with wounds; and nought encircled a small Saxon chapel on the could they recognise save the ravaged shore, and near the spot on which Wilmajesty of what had been man. But at liam had leaped to land, one grave rethe sight of that face a wild shriek broke ceived the betrothed, and the tomb of from Edith's breast. She started to her Waltham only honoured an empty feet, put aside the monks with a wild and angry gesture, and bending over the Eight centuries have rolled away, face, sought with her long hair to wipe and where is the Norman now, or where from it the clotted blood; then, with is not the Saxon? The little urn that convulsive fingers, she strove to loosen sufficed for the mighty lord, is despoiled the buckles of the breast mail. The

of his very dust; but the tombless shade knight knelt to assist her. 'No, no,' of the kingly freeman still guards the she gasped, he is mine, mine now!' coasts and rests upon the seas. In many Her hands bled as the mail gave way to a noiseless field, with thoughts for arher efforts. The tunic beneath was all mies, your relics, 0 Saxon heroes, have dabbled with blood. She rent the folds, won back the victory from the bones of and on the breast, just above the si- the Norman saints ; and whenever, with lenced heart, was punctured in the old fairer fates, freedom opposes force, and Saxon letters the word • Editu,' and just justice, redeeming the old defeat, smites below, in characters more fresh, the word down the armed frauds that would conENGLAND.'

secrate the wrong, smile, O soul of our ** See, see !' she cried in piercing ac- Saxon Harold, smile, appeased, on the cents, and clasping the dead in her arms, Saxon's land !" she kissed the lips, and called aloud in words of the tenderest endearments, as if she addressed the living. All knew then In comparing this work with the that the search was ended; all knew

former productions of the author, it is that the eyes of love had recognised the

impossible not to feel that it is one of dead. ** Wed, wed,'murmured the betroth

a higher and loftier aim than any ed, 'wed at last. O Harold, Harold !

which have preceded it.

No attempt the fates were true and kind,' and laying

has been made to interest the reader her head gently on the breast of the dead, by scenes of startling effect, by exagshe smiled and died.

gerated sentiment, or by any of those " At the east end of the choir, in the ordinary devices, often so successfulabbey of Waltham, was long shown the ly adopted by writers of fiction. tomb of the last Saxon king, inscribed The brilliant pictures in which its with the touching words, Harold Infelix.' But not under that stone, ac

pages abound, the lofty and graceful

portraits of the inighty dead, have all cording to the chronicler who should

the sober charms of truth and reality ; best know the truth, mouldered the dust of him, in whose grave was buried

and as a commentary upon the obscure an epoch in human annals.

history of remote ages, it is an in“Let his corpse,' said William the valuable addition to the literature of Norman, “let his corpse guard the coasts England. Difficult as it was to link which his life madly defended; let the seas the long-forgotten past with our own wail his dirge and girdle his grave, and times, by associations which are im. his spirit protect the land which hath perishable, because they belong to all passed to the Norman's sway ;' and Mal.

ages and to all countries, the author let de Graville assented to the word of his chief; for his knightly heart turned

has been completely successful. If this into honor the latent taunt; and well he

work has less of tender and touching knew that Harold could have chosen no

interest than the “ Last of the Barons, burial spot so worthy his English spirit it is unquestionably enriched by more and his Roman end.

varied learning. The style is more "The tomb at Waltham would have ex- pure and classic, the conceptions more cluded the faithful ashes of the betroth- grand and lofty, while, at the same ed whose heart had broken on the bosom time, the historical narration is enshe had found. More gentle was the

livened by a living vein of the most grave in the temple of heaven, and be

exquisite and beautiful poetry. wailed by the bridal death-dirge of the

The part of the work which will be everlasting sea. "So, in that sentiment of poetry and

found least interesting to the general love which made half the religion of a

reader, is, possibly, the first volume, Norman knight, Mallet de Graville suf

which is somewhat like the exordium fered death to unite those whom life had of a speech before the orator has fully warmed with a subject, which at first contrived to invest details of history, sight might be supposed one to afford apparently so uninteresting, he will little scope for a display of his peculiar turn over the last page, as we have powers. But let him go on, and done, with a deep regret, that the voice when the glorious conceptions of whose tones have charmed his ear is genius have dawned upon him—when hushed, and upon his memory these his eye is dazzled by the magnificent scenes and pictures of enchanting beaupictures of beauty which rise upon his ty will often return, which have view—when his heart is touched by made unto the author a name to be the soft and deep pathos, and his mind remembered in his land's language, is stirred by the lofty grandeur with and which, as long as that language which the master-art of genius has endures, can never die.


Between the boundaries of this world of death

And that bright region where the Glory dwells,

That Nature yearns for from her inmost cells,
The Shadowy Vale—so Israel's poet saith-
Winds far away all verdurous; and beneath,

From unseen source, the oblivious river wells,

Which waters with its streams those silent dells-
Soft-flowing as a slumbering infant's breath.
There, 'mid the canoniz'd phantom of all time,

Immaculate Berkley rests his laurelled head;
There Edmund, seer-like, meditates sublime ;

With these shalt thou enjoy that blissful bourne,

O spiritual Patriot ! whom we mourn-
Whom the Church mourns in tears she long must shed !



(FROM THE ROMAIC.) And now 'tis May, now fresh and fair, now Springtide's glorious season, And now again to house and home, must turn him home the Stranger ; By night he saddles still his horse, by night he shoes his courser, With silver nails he shoes him well, with nails of gold and silver; And on his neck a bridle flings, with pearls all rich embroideredThe maiden who the Stranger loves the maiden who adores himHolds near the light, and lights him well, and pours the parting beakerAt every cup she pours him out, at every turn she speaketh“Oh! take me, lord ! oh! take me home! oh! take me with thee, Stranger ! That supper I may dress for thee, the couch spread where thou sleepest, And then mine own may spread beside, mine own spread close beside thee !" “Where now I go, dear maiden mine! no maiden can go with me, Men only can therein abide—young men alone—young soldiers !" “Well, deck me then in Frankish dress, a man's apparel give meGive me a courser fleet and strong-give me a golden saddleAnd I will off with thee at once, like thee a brave young soldier ! Oh! take me, lord ! oh! take me, love!-oh! take me with thee, Stranger!"

M. S. J.

[blocks in formation]


The Chinese are a nation of the most tageous to British farmers.

All seeds, industrious habits, and must be con- previous to being sown, are steeped in sidered as an agricultural people. liquid manure until they germinate, They have most wisely established and to this, coupled with their system laws for the protection and encourage- of irrigation, may be attributed the ment of agriculture, and to such an rich luxuriance and abundance of their extent is it carried, that the emperor

various crops.

Their ingenuity and does not think it derogatory to his perseverance may daily be witnessed in dignity, once in every year, at the agri. the terraces, built one above the other, cultural festival, to descend from his up to the summit of a rocky mountain, throne, clad as a husbandman, to set where paddy is cultivated. They the laudable example to his subjects form reservoirs and dams on each of tilling the earth; his family and platform, and the water having passed courtiers, similarly habited with him- along one terrace, is received into the self, attend him on the occasion. reservoir of the next below, and thus The appointed day having been pre- descends, step by step, in its irrigaviously proclaimed throughout the tory course. After the rainy season, empire, the emperor goes forth and when the water has been exhausted ploughs a particular field, and every which was saved in these reservoirs, farmer through his vast territories the water is carried both by hand and simultaneously turns up the earth. ingenuity, to the heights above. Their The produce of the field ploughed by various modes of irrigation have been the emperor is always most carefully frequently described. Their methods preserved, being considered far supe- of threshing rice or paddy are numerior to any other. The ancient laws rous. I have seen them threshing are so particular upon the subject, with flails of bamboo, somewhat simi. that they even declare the peculiar lar to ours in form, but shorter. I manner in which the sovereign shall have also seen them or their oxen, perform this ceremony. So essential tread out the corn, reminding me, in do the Chinese consider agriculture

that heathen land, of the passage, to the prosperity of a nation, in contra- “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox which distinction to the many heavy blows and treadeth out the corn.” Rice is the great discouragements inflicted upon staff of life in China, from which grain it in Great Britain, by modern legisla- they distil a spirit called samshoo, tion. By another ancient law, all un- known in England as arrack. Here cultivated or neglected lands are de- are we furnished with an example of clared forfeited to the emperor, who the manner in which everything is grants them to farmers, on condition turned by the Chinese to account, of their being kept in proper cultiva- and nothing wasted. The grain forms tion. The consequence of this is, their food, the straw thatches their that, in China there is not an unculti- houses, and out of it they construct vated spot to be seen. A fifth, and in coarse mats, and make paper. The some instances, a fourth part, of all husks are carefully collected, and produce is reserved for the emperor, being mixed with a greasy substance, which is paid in kind to the principal are formed into cakes to feed the pigs. mandarin of the prince, who farms Ornaments are manufactured out of

There is one great pecu- prepared rice, which is first pounded liarity in Chinese agriculture, which, into paste, and then hardened by fire. if adopted, might prove highly advan- I have seen very pretty vases, and

the tax.


bottles of antique form of this mate. kinds. The appearance of the tree, rial. As they cultivate their hills to with its tapering trunk, and leaves of the summits, so do they make the mo- most graceful form, something re. rasses subservient to the support of sembling, but larger, than those of the

Bamboos, split longitudinally, willow, of a brilliant, light green are placed upon the marsh, and over color, is peculiarly elegant. I have these are laid layers of earth. In this seen them growing from twenty to artificial soil vegetables and pot-herbs thirty feet in height. The yellow trunk are raised to the greatest perfection. and green leaves of a bamboo plantaThere is no plant, in short, growing in tion present a very agreeable contrast to China, which is not rendered subser- the eye. The uses to which the bam. vient to man's use. They extract oil, boo is applied are various ; of the equal to the finest Florence, for.table young sprouts a most delicious preuse, from the kernels of apricots. serve is manufactured; a medicinal Excellent oil is also extracted from substance is extracted from the holvarious seeds, such as the cotton and low of the tree. I am ignorant as to turnip, which is used for lamps, and whether this is known in England. by the lower orders for culinary pur- Paper is manufactured from the pulp; poses. A most beautiful black dye is masts and spars are formed of the full prepared from the cup of the acorn ; grown tree, as well as rafts, houses, and the finest scarlet is extracted from and furniture. The poles used by the cactus. Should the crop of mul. coolees for carrying burthens are berry leaves prove insufficient for the made of bamboo, and the oxen are support of the silk-worm, the leaves yoked with it. of the ash-tree are made to supply the The fruits I have eaten in China are deficiency.

very fine, but not equal to those of The sugar-cane plantations in Chi. Singapore. The Chinese have the na are allowed to be of a very supe. pine-apple, custard-apple, lee-chea, rior quality, and I have been induced pomegranate, pumbelow-aplum which to believe, from the complaints made comes from Chink-chew, which is by West Indian planters, of the want very delicious, not unlike our eggof water, that to the superiority of plum, grapes—from which a weak Chinese irrigation, is due the excel- wine is made, used by the richer lence of their canes. They conduct

classes, resembling, in flavour, bad water through trenches from the large Madeira-water-melons, sweet-melons, reservoirs between each row of canes, apricots, guavas, plantains, bananas, and at regular intervals allow it to papaw, chesnuts, citrons, mangoes, flow through transverse trenches ; and, though last not least, oranges. these trenches are either closed Many of the fruits are dried, and also opened, as the canes in their respec- made into preserves and jellies. The tive vicinities require moisture. As

orange-plantations are truly beautiful, no farmer exclusively cultivates the and their fragrance almost overpower, sugar-cane, as the farms are all small, ing, surpassing those of Italy and and none can afford the expense of Spain. The size of the blossoms and machinery, the use of a perambulating flowers is most extraordinary. Their machine for the extraction of the juice, beauty is peculiar to China.' But the is contracted for by several adjoining Orange, par excellence, of China, is the farmers. A temporary building or

mandarin orange.

To be eaten in bamboo shed for boiling is constructed perfection, it must be used immediatein some central position; the proprie- ly after it has been taken from the tors of each plantation, with the assist- tree, as it will not keep above two ance of their families, carry their or three days. They are of a flatter canes to this building, and in like form than others, and somewhat smallmanner convey back the manufac- er; the rind is the bright color of the tured produce. There is nothing Seville orange ; although I cannot lost even here, for the canes, after the say, as a friend of mine did, that it sugar has been extracted, are used for was worth a voyage to China to taste fuel.

it, yet it is a most delicious fruit. In gravelly soils, where nothing else The dwarf vegetation of China is can be cultivated, the farmer plants peculiar to that country. the bamboo, of which there are several in my possession an oak, two feet high,


I have bad

« PreviousContinue »