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no, I only walked by it, and looked upon it. The little lake they command. From the shore a low climate is remarkably mild, even in October and promontory pushes itself far into the water, and on November; no snow has been seen to lie there it stands a white village with the parish church for these thirty years past; the myrtles grow in the rising in the midst of it; hanging inclosures, corn ground against the houses, and Guernsey lilies fields, and meadows green as an emerald, with their bloom in every window; the town clean and well- trees, hedges, and cattle, fill up the whole space built, surrounded by its old stone-walls, with their from the edge of the water. Just opposite to you is towers and gateways, stands at the point of a penin- a large farm-house, at the bottom of a steep smooth sula, and opens full south to an arm of the sea, lawn embosomed in old woods, which climb half way which, having formed two beautiful bays on each up the mountain's side, and discover above them a hand of it, stretches away in direct view, till it joins broken line of crags, that crown the scene. Not a the British Channel; it is skirted on either side single red tile, no glaring gentleman's house or with gently-rising grounds, clothed with thick wood, garden walls, break in upon the repose of this little and directly cross its mouth rise the high lands of unsuspected paradise; but all is peace, rusticity, the Isle of Wight at some distance, but distinctly and happy poverty, in its neatest and most becoming
In the bosom of the woods (concealed from attire.' profane eyes) lie hid the ruins of Netley Abbey ; The sublime scenery of the Grande Chartreuse, there may be richer and greater houses of religion, in Dauphiny (the subject of Gray's noble Alcaic but the abbot is content with his situation. See ode), awakened all his poetical enthusiasm. Writthere, at the top of that hanging meadow, under the ing to his mother from Lyons, he says— It is a shade of those old trees that bend into a half circle fortnight since we set out hence upon a little excurabout it, he is walking slowly (good man!), and sion to Geneva. We took the longest road, which bidding his beads for the souls of his benefactors, lies through Savoy, on purpose to see a famous interred in that venerable pile that lies beneath him. monastery, called the Grande Chartreuse, and had Beyond it (the meadow still descending) nods a no reason to think our time lost. After having thicket of oaks that mask the building, and have travelled seven days very slow (for we did not excluded a view too garish and luxuriant for a holy change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go eye; only on either hand they leave an opening to post in these roads), we arrived at a little village the blue glittering sea. Did you not observe how, among the mountains of Savoy, called Echelles ; as that white sail shot by and was lost, he turned from thence we proceeded on horses, who are used and crossed himself to drive the tempter from him to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse. It that had thrown that distraction in his way? I is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, should tell you that the ferryman who rowed me, a commonly not six feet broad; on one hand is the lusty young fellow, told me that he would not for all rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging overhead; the world pass a night at the abbey (there were such on the other a monstrous precipice, almost perpenthings near it), though there was a power of money dicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent, that, hid there. From thence I went to Salisbury, Wil- sometimes tumbling among the fragments of stone ton, and Stonehenge; but of these I say no more ; | that have fallen from on high, and sometimes precithey will be published at the university press. pitating itself down vast descents with a noise like
P.S.-I must not close my letter without giving thunder, which is still made greater by the echo you one principal event of my history, which was, from the mountains on each side, concurs to form that (in the course of my late tour) I set out one one of the most solemn, the most romantic, and the morning before five o'clock, the moon shining most astonishing scenes I ever beheld. Add to this through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the strange views made by the crags and clills on the sea-coast time enough to be at the sun's levee. the other hand, the cascades that in many places I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to throw themselves from the very summit down into right and left, rolling over one another in great the vale and the river below, and many other parsmoky wreaths, and the tide (as it slowed gently in ticulars impossible to describe, you will conclude upon the sands) first whitening, then slightly tinged we had no occasion to repent our pains. This place with gold and blue; and all at once a little line of St Bruno chose to retire to, and upon its very top insufferable brightness that (hefore I can write these founded the aforesaid convent, which is the superior five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a of the whole order. When we came there, the two whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen. It is fathers who are commissioned to entertain strangers very odd it makes no figure on paper; yet I shall (for the rest must neither speak one to another, nor remember it as long as the sun, or at least as long as to any one else) received us very kindly, and set beI endure. I wonder whether anybody ever saw it fore us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and fruits, before? I hardly believe it.'
all excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. Much as has since been written on the lake They pressed us to spend the night there, and to country, nothing can exceed the beauty and finish stay some days with them ; but this we could not of this miniature picture of Grassmere :
-Passed do, so they led us about their house, which is, you by the little chapel of Wiborn, out of which the Sun- must think, like a little city, for there are a hundred day congregation were then issuing. Passed a beck fathers, besides three hundred servants, that make [rivulet] near Dunmailrouse, and entered Westmore their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and land a second time; now begin to see Ilelmcrag, dis- do everything among themselves. The whole is tinguished from its rugged neighbours not so much quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery; but by its height, as by the strange broken outline of the wonderful decency, and the strange situation, its top, like some gigantic building demolished, and more than supply the place of it. In the evening the stones that composed it fung across each other we descended by the same way, passing through in wild confusion. Just beyond it opens one of the many clouds that were then forming themselves on sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imi- the mountain's side.' tate. The bosom of the mountains spreading here In a subsequent letter to his poetical friend West, into a broad basin, discovers in the midst Grassmere Gray again adverts to this memorable visit: 'In our water; its margin is hollowed into small bays with little journey up the Grande Chartreuse,' he sayą bold eminences, some of them rocks, some of soft I do not remember to have gone ten paces without qurf, that half conceal and vary the figure of the an exclamation that there was no restraining: Not
a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry. There are certain scenes that would awe an atheist into belief, without the help of other argument. One need not have a very fantastic imagination to see spirits there at noonday. You have Death perpetually before your eyes, only so far removed, as to compose the mind without frightening it.'
In turning from these exquisite fragments of description to the poetry of Gray, the difference will be found to consist chiefly in the rhyme and measure : in loftiness of sentiment and vividness of expression, the prose is equal to the verse.
Hymn to Adversity. Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
The bad affright, afflict the best!
Virtue, his darling child, designed,
And bade to form her infant mind.
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand!
Nor circled with the vengeful band
Thy milder influence impart,
To soften, not to wound, my heart.
And ye, that from the stately brow
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
Ah, fields beloved in vain !
A stranger yet to pain :
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
Full many a sprightly race,
The paths of pleasure trace,
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Their murmuring labours ply
To sweeten liberty ;
Still as they run, they look behind;
They hear a voice in every wind,
Less pleasing when possessed ;
The sunshine of the breast. Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new, And lively cheer of vigour born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
The little victims play;
Nor care beyond to day;
Ah! show them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murth'rous band;
The vultures of the mind,
And shame that skulks behind;
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart. Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
And grinning Infamy.
Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade, Where grateful science still adores
Her Henry's* holy shade;
* King Henry VI., founder of the college
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
• Cold is Cadwallo's tongue, And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
That hushed the stormy main : And moody Madness laughing wild
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed : Amid severest wo.
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song Lo! in the vale of years beneath
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped heads A grisly troop are seen,
On dreary Arvon's shorel they lie, The painful family of Death,
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale: More hideous than their queen:
Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail; This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
The famished eagle2 screams, and passes by. That every labouring sinew strains,
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art, Those in the deeper vitals rage :
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes, Lo ! Poverty, to fill the band,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart, That numbs the soul with icy hand,
Ye died amidst your dying country's criesAnd slow-consuming Age.
No more I weep. They do not sleep. To each his sufferings : all are men,
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band, Condemned alike to groan;
I see them sit; they linger yet, The tender for another's pain,
Avengers of their native land: The unfeeling for his own.
With me in dreadful harmony they join, Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.' Since sorrow never comes too late,
Weave the warp, and weave the woof, And happiness too swiftly flies ?
The winding-sheet of Edward's race. Thought would destroy their paradise.
Give ample room, and verge enough No more ; where ignorance is bliss,
The characters of hell to trace. 'Tis folly to be wise.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright, [The Bard.—A Pindaric Ode.]
The shrieks of death through Berkeley's roof that ring,
Shrieks of an agonising king! [This ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales, that She-wolf4 of France, with unrelenting fangs, Edward I., when he completed the conquest of that country, That tear’st the bowels of thy mangled mate, ordered all the bards that fell into his hands to be put to From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs death.)
The scourge of Heaven! What terrors round him * Ruin seize thee, ruthless king,
wait! Confusion on thy banners wait;
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined, Though fanned by conquest's crimson wing,
And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind. They mock the air with idle state.
Mighty victor, mighty lord, Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Lowi on his funeral couch he lies! Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
No pitying heart, no eye afford To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the sable warrior7 fled ?
Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay, The swarm, that in thy noontide beam were born! As down the steep of Snowdon's 2 shaggy side Gone to salute the rising morn.
He wound with toilsome march his long array. Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows, Stout Glo‘sterstood aghast in speechless trance; While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, “To arms !' cried Mortimer,y and couched his quiver- In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes ; ing lance.
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, On a rock, whose haughty brow
That, bushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey. Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Fill high the sparkling bow1,9 Robed in the sable garb of wo,
The rich repast prepare ; With haggard eyes the poet stood (Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast : Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air);
Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their bafiled guest. * Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave,
1 The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
Anglesey. O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave,
2 Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to
build their eyry among the rocks of Snowdon, which from Revenge on thee in hoarser murnurs breathe;
thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh CraigianVocal po more, since Cambria's fatal day,
eryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day, I am told, the To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird
is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots and the Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that moun people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c., can testify; it tainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri. has even built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire. —See Wil It included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merioloughby's Ornithology, published by Ray). nethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speak- 3 Edward II., cruelly butchered in Berkeley Castle. ing of the castle of Conway, built by King Edward I., says, 4 Isabel of France, Edward II.'s adulterous queen. * Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery;' and 5 Alluding to the triumphs of Edward III. in France. Matthew of Westminster (ad ann. 1283), Apud Aberconway 6 Alluding to the death of that king, abandoned by his chilad pedes montis Snowdoniæ fecit erigi castrum forte.' dren, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and
2 Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester his mistress. and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.
7 Edward, the Black Prince, dead some time before his father. 3 Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore. They both were 8 Magnificence of Richard II.'s reign. See Froissart, and Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and other contemporary writers. probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
9 Richard II. (as we are told by Archbishop Scroop, and the
Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring as she sings, Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-coloured wings.
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
In buskinedl measures move
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast. Twined with her blushing foe, we spread :
A voice2 as of the cherub-choir, The bristled boar7 in infant gore
Gales from blooming Eden bear; Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
And distant warblings3 lessen on my ear, Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom, That, lost in long futurity, expire. Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom. Fond, impious man, think'st thou yon sanguine cloud,
Raised by thy breath, has quenched the
orb of day i “ Edward, lo! to sudden fate
To-morrow he repairs the golden flood, (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun).
And warms the nations with redoubled ray. Half of thy beart: we consecrate.
Enough for me: with joy I see (The web is wove. The work is done).”
The different doom our Fates assign. Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Be thine Despair, and sceptred Care ; Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mour :
To triumph, and to die, are mine.' In yon bright tract, that fires the western skies, He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height, They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night. But oh! what solemn scenes, on Snowdon's height Descending slow, their glittering skirts unroll ?
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
In bearded majesty appear.
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.
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. * Henry V.
5 Henry VI., very near been canonised. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the crown. & The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster. ? The silver boar was the badge of Richard III. ; whence
Stoke Pogeis Church, and Tomb of Gray. he was usually known, in his own time, by the name of the The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 8 Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of
The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea, Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, is well-known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for And leaves the world to darkness and to me. the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Gedding. Now fades the glinmering landscape on the sight, ton, Waltham, and other places.
And all the air a solemn stillness holds 9 It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, Arthur was still alive in Fairy Land, and should return again And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ; to reign over Britain.
19 Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, should regain their sovereignty over this island, which seemed The moping owl does to the moon complain to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, 11 Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Molest her ancient solitary reign. Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says, ' And thus she, lion-like, rising, daunted the malipert orator no less with her tury. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartnesse high veneration among his countrymen. of her princelie checkes.'
2 Milton. 18 Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth cen- 3 The succession of poets after Milton's time
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, The place of fame and elegy supply: Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
And many a holy text around she strews, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind!
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; How jocund did they drive their team a-field! If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke ! Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate; Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure ;*
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, The short and simple annals of the poor.
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, Await alike the inevitable hour:
His listless length at noontide would he stretch, The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
The pealing anthein swells the note of praise. Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. Can storied urn or animated bust
One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill, Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
long the heath and near his favourite tree; Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
The next, with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.' But knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
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 : Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear, The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend. Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
The bosom of his father and his God.
The Alliance between Government and Education; Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
a Fragment. Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veing : To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
And, as in climes where Winter holds his reign, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain, With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Forbids her germs to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies :
To draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unformed, unfriended by those kindly cares, They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening hearts Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
So fond instruction on the growing powers Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
Of nature idly lavishes her stores, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, If equal justice, with unclouded face, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,