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widow of the deceased in the parish-church of Stanstead, in Suffolk.
Near this tablet
Of Chadacre Hall, in this Parish,
of Suffolk, A Magistrate for the district in which he resided, And formerly Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College,
Cambridge. He died May the 30th, 1823, in the 69th Year of
If taste, if learning, if the love of art,
“ Not distant far from Wyeburne” tower
SIR WALTER Scott.
SHAKSPEARE had ever been, especially when in the country, an early riser; and he now awoke, after a night of calm and refreshing sleep, to the enjoyment of one of the brightest mornings of the season ; for the sun had just become an inmate of his chamber, and began to play upon the rich colours of the arras which surrounded him, with a brilliancy that almost dazzled his eyes. Taking, therefore, a rapid survey of the scenery presented to him from his window, and which, from its beauty, served but to quicken his desire of being speedily amidst it, he hastened down stairs, stopping, however, a few minutes as he passed through the hall, to admire its
very striking and truly venerable aspect; its grotesquely carved roof, its antique music gallery, its stained windows rich in tracery, and its curiously sculptured deer.
Only a very few of the servants were as yet up; and Peter, the old grey-headed groom, who was preparing to go to his stables, very opportunely entered the hall, just in time to unbar the great door which opened into the porch, a task of time and labour, and which required, for its prompt execution, a previous acquaintance with its mechanism and springs. He seemed delighted by the sight of Shakspeare, and made so many respectful enquiries after his family, and more particularly after the poet's little granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall, that our bard could not recollect the epithet, however merited, which he had bestowed on him the preceding night, without some degree of compunction. He shook him, therefore, cordially by the hand, told him he was right glad to see him look so hale and cheerily; and then, after slyly hinting that he would thank him not to fill John's head with any more ghost or goblin stories, he passed forward into the park, leaving Peter, though
proud of the notice he had received, not a little disconcerted by the total want of belief which he had manifestly shown for the legends of Wyeburne Hall.
With the species of scenery which the park unfolded to his view, Shakspeare was peculiarly delighted, as possessing features, perhaps, beyond all others, adapted to call forth and cherish the dreams of imagination. Few situations were there in the county, indeed, as may have been already surmised from what has been briefly stated concerning it, more singular and striking than that which formed the site of Wyeburne Hall; for, though sunk, as it were, in the bosom of a deep valley, the ground at the bottom of this valley gradually rose to the mansion, in the most picturesque manner, from the right bank of the stream; and being wild and broken, and spreading out to not less than a mile in width in this direction, and being at the same time thickly interspersed with trees of some centuries growth, skirted with rocks, and cliffs, and hanging woods, with the village just visible at one extremity, and the Wye meandering through its centre, it might be said to offer, on a small scale, almost every species of variety. The whole valley, indeed, on both sides of the water, together with a considerable extent of the forests and moorlands beyond and above it, and which had been for ages the property of the Montchenseys, exhibited a perpetual interchange of aspect and scenery, alike calculated to gratify the eye, and to furnish opportunities for rural diversion; the moors affording an ample range for the amusement of hunting and coursing, whilst the Wye and its immediate vicinage offered as rich a field for the sports of fishing and water-hawking.
Though, from his long residence in the capital, Shakspeare had lost some of the keen relish which he once felt for the active diversions of the country, yet was he, as much as ever, the enthusiastic worshipper of Nature, in all her rural habitudes and forms; nor could he wander in the wild and woody glades which stretched nearly on all sides from the hospitable mansion of Montchensey, furnishing, as they occasionally did, such contrasted views of what was most lovely and romantic in landscapepainting, without experiencing that absorption