صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

powers of walking and shooting. that I could speak of the air, the wao Such a faithful and attached servant, ter, and the light, in phrase as white so earnest in his wishes and intens and simple as that which charac tions, so steady in the performance terises the discourse of goodly Mase of his duties, I never beheld; and I ter Walton, when he talketh of the sincerely hope that at the time I write angle rod, and the silver river Lea ! this he is worthily remunerated, and On stepping to the wicket of the relieved from many lahours which farm-yard, you pass, or rather b often seemed to me to silently op- passed (for I must speak by my me press him, though he never com- mory), under an oak that is hollow plained.

with age ; perchance under that We arose each morning, not with very tree hath Lady Jane passed; the lark, perhaps, but long before under that tree read ;-there thought the sun had dried up the dew from and wept (for she had ever a soul. the glittering grass. My window sad with an over-wise consciousness) looked out across the brook, and up -I leaned against the wicket, and towards the ruin, and I never so looked up into its forest of branches, drank in the bright air as then, when mazing my mind in its knotty intring I first unhasped my casement, and cacies, as the philosopher would let in the noise of a thousand rooks, vainly master some tangled subject at the same time that I heartily ads of the brain. The brook is within mitted the cool spirit of the morning's forty paces of this gate, and winds breath. The throwing back of that up, snakishly enough, to within the jingling and diamond-paned window same distance from the ruin of the to its farthest limit, seemed to be the house. There is a nearer footway, signal to the babbling geese, the well trodden, through the park; but lowing cattle in the park, the singing that was not the way for me, and I birds, the trees, wind-shaken,-all, chose rather to unthread the little slim to tell me that the day was up, and palace of the water-spirit that haunts to rebuke me, with pastoral sounds, the solitude of the forest, than go as for staying so idly in my bed-cham- the crow flies, and the milkmaid ber. I used to speak to the little walks. The tall and beautiful trees Adamites under the window, and in- which line this delightful stream, quire how long they had been abroad: hold out the most tempting spots for and certainly in comparison with these indolence and rest;--and I could not sleepless urchins, I showed off“ poor resist lying down at the foot of many indeed!"

a goodly trunk, and starting the And now, suppose that the morn

wary trout from a similar though ing meal is dispatched, let us, gentle deeper enjoyment of solitude and reader, (thou art always by an au- shade. At length I reached the fa, thor's courtesy so called; and, in my mous ruin-ruin indeed !—The few present mood, I am not minded to relics of wall and tower that remain curtail thee of the title,) let us go give you little idea of the original into the park, and enjoy one of those shape of the building, although it is happy walks, which that place af- described as having been square and fords better than any other place I with four towers. There appear to ever visited. We will idle on our be some remains of a kitchen, and way and discourse pleasantly of all the side nearest the chapel (which is that may interest,-connecting the the most perfect) still partly triumphs present with the past, and tenanting over time. The walls on all sides, with creative thoughts the holy re- except this, have not only fallen, but treats of our melancholy ruin, so as crumbled into the very earth, and almost to recall the times when they become covered with the soft and were indeed gay and perfect,-when silent turf. You can walk on a kind the laugh went round by day, and of terrace of about eight feet in the dance by night,-when at mor breadth, within which, as though the hound was loosed, and the hawks sunk into the earth, is a place now unhooded, and when at eve “ the called the Bowling-green; I could lamps shone o'er fair women and not myself help thinking that it brave men.” I will be to thee, gentle must have been the tilt-yard, and reader, a faithful guide, an honest more particularly, as the place point narrator of the little I know.-Oh! ed out to me as such did not in the Vol. V.

O

least satisfy my feeling of that chi

With hoods, that fall low down valrous spot. The pleasure-grounds Before their eyes, in fashion like to those are now distinguishable by their Worn by the monks in Cologne. being a wilderness. The umcultivat- On the opposite side of the brook ed earth is rich and soft as ever ; but to that on which the ruin decays, the garden of man's care is eloquent stands a large barn-like building, of neglect, and seems to disdain any which was originally used as the other but its first proud life.

kitchen and offices of the mansion. Nichols writes exactly enough, in Since that time, it has been conhis Leicestershire History, thus :- verted to a kennel for stag hounds,

The careful observer may yet dis- and now it is utterly closed and necover some traces of the tilt-yard; glected. The effect of this huge but the courts are now occupied by sombre building is in unison with the rabbits, and shaded with chestnut- whole scene, making the heart grave trees and mulberries. The lover of and melancholy. the picturesque will be particularly. I turned again to the poor frage struck with the approach from Thur- ment of the ruin, and again stood by caston, especially at the keeper's the side of that yard, which I still lodge, where the view is truly en- must think the tilt-yard. How often, chanting. On the left appears a methought, within a bowshot of that large grove of venerable trees. On desolate place had bounded the armthe right are the ruins of the man- ed horse, with glittering poictrel, sion, surmounted by rugged rocks bearing his proud lord in rich apand aged oaks; the forest hills, with parel, and costly armour. The sithe tower' on the hill, called Old fence, now so profound, and vexed John, forming the back ground of only by the lofty rook, had been torn the prospect : whilst the valley, by the daring trumpet,-and the turf, through which the trout stream runs, now touched but by the simple rabextends in front, with clumps to bit, had been spurned by the flashing shade the deer, and terminates in a hoof, or dinted by the dishonoured narrow winding glen, thickly clothed helm. I pictured in a dreaming mood with an umbrageous shade.” This a joust in Suffolk's days—and brought passage, written in the good old county into the field the flower of that age's style, gives a very fair picture of the chivalry :—first, the Earl of Surrey, place ;--and if it were only from the in his dancing plume—the Howard mention of the rabbits, I should be sure with his white charger-Seymour and that the writer had visited the Ruin Cromwell--and Dudley-all appaitself. That little grey race has fixed reled like brave knights. They tilted itself immoveably there, and defies like visions of the air, their imagined extinction.

accomplishments gleaming and glancThe chapel, which you reaching in the sun, they shifted-trithrough a mass of ruin, is the least unphed-encountered-faded-alltouched by decay. You enter it, all by turns, and with the inconand are awed by the intense chill stancy of dreams. I became delightand silence of the place. All is ed with the enchantment, and in the white-solemn-exact. One tomb mad joy of fancy—the walls grew of the Suffolk family, with its two up before me the lattices, flowerfigures extended, in the usual monu- adorned, re-opened to my view—fair mental attitude, with pointing palms, ladies, goodly nobles, filled terrace as in a very fine state. It is impos- and gallery-and I saw the young, sible here to forget, that Lady Jane the gallant Guilford, the impassionGrey must often have knelt in this ed, brave, and unfortunate Dudley, sacred chapel, and have breathed her come fiery off in a joust—and ride virgin prayers audibly within it:- with bared forehead to the lady of no such voice hath ever broken its his love, bending as knights in rosilence since ;-nor will hymn be mances are said to bend. And there sung, or orison uttered, with so pure was the lady—the lady Jane! Young a zeal, in any of the coming years of as the veriest flower-beautiful as its decay. The trees around this ruin poet can imagine-her hair simply seem older than any other trees in bound back, after the fashion of her the forest. They appear musing over time, so as to betray her expansive their age, and drowsing

and pearl-white forehead-a costly

close cap on the higher part of the came you, Madam," quoth I, “to this bead-and a long and solemn neck deep knowledge of pleasure ? And what lace wound in quaint fashion over her did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not neck and bosom-her gown, gold- many women, but very few men, have at. embossed and fitted to her form, like tained thereunto ?” “ I will tell you," some gentle armour. There she sat. quoth she, “ and tell you a truth which I saw her smile upon Dudley, and greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is,

perchance ye will marvel at. One of the straight, as though fancy were jea- that he sent me so sharp and severe palous of the splendours of that she rents, and so gentle a scholemaster. For had woven her web withal, the walls when I am in presence either of father or crumbled to air—the pageant faded mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, and in their room the rabbit nib- stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry, or sad, bled beneath the shading fern—and be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing the fawn bounded out of some weedy any thing else, I must do it, as it were, in recess of the ruin.

such weight, measure, and number, even so here in Bradgate, the Lady Jane ened ; yea, presently, sometimes with It can never be forgotten, that perfectly, as God made the world; or else

I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threat tasted all that was permitted to her pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways of ease, and learning, and happiness. (which I will not name for the honour I It was here that Ascham, who so- bear them) so without measure misordered, journed in the neighbourhood, was that I think myself in hell, till time come wont to come, and marvel at, and en- that I must go to Mr. Elmer, who teach courage the noble girl's accomplishe eth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such ments. She wrote a beautiful hand, fair allurements to learning, that I think and Ascham was skilful in penman- all the time nothing while I am with him. ship. She read Greek, and Ascham, And when I am called from him, I fall on who once wished that friends could weeping, because whatsoever I do else, discourse in that brave tongue, glo- and whole misliking unto me.

but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear,

And thus ried in her learned pastime. In one

my book hath been so much my pleasure, of his letters to a favourite German and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and is the following pleasant description more, that in respect of it, all other pleaof our gentle girl.

sures in very deed be but trifles and trou.

ble unto me." Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my

I remember this talk gladly, both ben leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to

cause it is so worthy of memory, and be

cause also it was the last talk that ever I whom I was exceeding much beholding: Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with had, and the last time that ever I saw that

noble and worthy Lady. all the houshold, gentlemen and gentle. women, were hunting in the park. I found Ascham's Scholemaster, 8vo. 1743, p. 37. her in her chamber reading Phædo Platonis This is wholesome prose, and worin Greek, and that with as much delight, thy of its gracious subject : it seems as some gentlemen would read a merry tale idle to vex the sentiment which lanin Boccace. After salutation, and duty guage, clothed in so fitting a cosdone, with some other talk, why she would lose such pastime in the tume, must awaken in the reader; Park? Smiling, she answered me; “I and yet I cannot deny myself the inwist, all their sport in the Park is but a

troduction of a few stanzas, which shadow to that pleasure that I find in were composed under the influence Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt of the character to which they are what true pleasure meant.” " And how dedicated.

STANZAS

To the Lady Jane Grey, at Bradgate.
This was thy home then, gentle Jane !

This thy green solitude ;-and here
At evening, from thy gleaming pane,

Thine eye oft watch'd the dappled deer,
While the soft sun was in its wane,

Browsing beneath the brooklet clear:
The brook runs still, the sun sets now,
The deer yet browseth ; where art thou ?

Oh, gentle Dudley! Where art thou?

Have years so roll?d that not a track
Of even thy chamber lingereth now

To call thine image sweetlier back?
The careless chair at window bow,

The ruin'd lute, the crumbling wrack
Of broidery, the forgotten glove,
The learned book, thy virgin love;
None, none of these abide to tell

Thy gentle tale, -yet it is told !
The silence of the breathless dell

Is musical of thee; the cold
And mournful water passeth well

Thy house's ruin, as of old,
And pineth with a watery sound
Its little hymn to thy lone ground!
The air is sainted ;-never shone

More tender light on greener grass,
Than that which kisseth turf and stone

Of thy decayed house; alas!
The aged drowsing trees make moan

For thee, sweet girl'! And many a lass
Pauseth at morn upon her way,
And grieveth for the Lady Grey.
Here was thy life! Here was thy bower,

By this light water !: Thy hard death
Was far away in town and tower,

And cruel hands destroy'd thy breath;
Might they not let so young, a flower

Bud all its beauty in life's wreath?
What must have been that guilty sense,
That had such fear of innocence!
But though thy young and bridal heart

Was tortured, thy brave spirit, still
Untroubled, left its mortal part,

And haltoweth now each dell and hill :
It liveth by a gracious art

For ever here ; and that wild thrill
The stranger feels of love and pain,

Is the present voice of the Lady Jane. It may be supposed, that often and most luxuriant fern, from which the often during my stay at Bradgate, I deer are continually starting; and wandered amid the ruins of this nohle trees of magnificent growth are in park; and many were the verses great profusion. The stream winds that I dedicated to the memory of gracefully in the depth of the valley, my favourite Lady and Queen. I through broken rocky ground, did not, however, entirely confine myself to this particular part of the And to the sleepy woods all night singeth

a quiet tune. forest, but sought out all the romantic beauties of valley and hill. The Here I used oftimes to take my valley which leads from the ruin book, and read the hours away in to the village of Newtown, is ex- such a golden idleness as I have tremely beautiful, and seen, as I have never since enjoyed, and now never seen it, in the misty and ineonstant shall enjoy more! Here I read many Justre of the morning, or warmed and a goodly poem, from which shortly enriched with the steady flood of the thereafter I was ever utterly to be evening sunlight, it is quite a scene divorced. And here I sat discourse of enchantment. The sides of either ing with my friends on subjects to hill are rocky, and fledged with the which now I dare never to recur. In turning to those times, I feel that I His assistant I'found singing a me Am changed ; and my present sense lancholy low ditty of a few notes of the idle romance of many of my only, and pacing up and down with then pleasures is perhaps one of a measured monotonous pace (if I those bitter apples of knowledge, the may use the expression); the deer betasting of which has driven me out of gan to herd, as though the music Paradise ! However, we cannot al- lulled and overcame them; and as ways be boys.

the notes drew nearer, they huddled Let me return to Adams, and in up more and more closely, till they conclusion give a slight account of appeared to be lost in the melanhis pursuits,--pastimes they seemed choly of the keeper's song, and heedto me, shared as they were at the less of the freedom of the park and jolly autumn-tide, when the open the natural life and wildness of their air was all enjoyment: to him they natures. Suddenly, Adams, 'having were daily work-drear daily work! selected with his eye the unfortunate One morning I accompanied him to creature whose speed was to be Groby Pool, a large piece of water checked, gave a sort of war-whoop, within a few miles of the forest: at which sound the herd started thither he went to shoot wild ducks from their melancholy trance, threw and to take pike. He took an as- up their confused and mingled horns, sistant to row the boat, and with his and bounded away in one fleet single active spaniels, we were soon coast- line. The keeper steadily leveled ing the reeds and dreary bulrushes at a fine black gallant buck, and the of that immense sheet of water. The aim was death. The fire flashed, dogs dashed in and paddled, and -he plunged upward with a franstruggled, and yelped their way, be tic motion of his body, and a mad traying their passage by their tongue, toss and clash of his horns, and fell by the splash of water, and the sever- with his nostrils at the very brink

of ing of the reeds. A few ducks were that brook to which in the pride of soon scared from'their ancient brood- youth he had so often come for water. ing-place, and the keeper fired. At He was carefully carried home, and that instant, as the echo of the gun carved up by Adams, “as a dish fit shook its way across the waters, the for the gods!” I recollect grieving air was freckled with water birds. to see such goodly venison go from One cloud of noisy frightened fowl the cottage; but he was delighted in arose tumultuously into the air, as contemplating the haunch, and thinkthough a great silence was broken ing what satisfaction it would give. for ever, and these creatures of the The inhabitants of the neighbour place were by one consent quitting ing villages are sad poachers, and their old and desolate habitation. much trouble and anxiety did they The fishing did not prove successful, occasion to our good keeper, who for though nets were cast, and the could never rest morning, noon, or pool is well stocked, only fish of a night, if he suspected them at the moderate size were taken. Adams brook. Many a night late, have was quite disappointed with the day; I seen him take down his gun from but he was the Nelson of such sports, the rack, and sally out with his dog, and always calculated on the three- because he had a notion of their deckers of pike and ducks—aye, and haunts, and knew that the hour was many of them.

likely: what but the sense and pride Another day he took down his of doing and deserving well could rerifle piece, and quietly loaded it with compense this man for the slavish ball. I enquired his pursuit, and he and dangerous existence which he told me that he was about to shoot led? His rigid honesty was such a buck. Of course, I determined on that he wished me not to fish in the seeing the gallant beast die, if possi- brook, that he might not sanction in ble, and I therefore kept as near to any one under his own roof that prachim as he could permit. The task was tice which he sought to put down in tedious and difficult, and many hours others. were lost before the keeper could ob- I have often walked out with him tain his shot; for the herd, being ex. for the greater part of the day when tremely suspicious of his intentions, he has been shooting ; and he could ever shun him with singular care not disguise bis surprise that I should

« السابقةمتابعة »