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VOL. I. 




EU fcUuBkatfoni SnQtabrl ho TO W. JUrtort 

Ab mrli— nhttiV rijjta of their nxbteix'c biu» itumpcd it*cl( on the ttbodet of al) ill 
pbfced nuns, « «*gn whkh pbr» «U lurid*™! »p5rit* in communion with thorn." 



J 8 4 7- 



The subject of the present work is very extensive, 
and it was soon found necessary to leave out the 
Dramatic Poets for separate treatment. To them 
may possibly be added such other of our eminent poets 
as could not be included in the present work. It will 
be recollected that it is professedly on the Homes and 
Haunts of the Poets, and is not strictly biographical. 
For this reason there are some poets of considerable 
eminence who will find comparatively small mention ; 
and others none, not because they are not entitled to 
much notice, but because there is nothing of deep in- 
terest or novelty connected with their homes and 

Tn Elms, Clapton, Dec. IS, 1846. 



CHAUCER .... Tabard Inn, Southwtrk 1 

SPENSER ..... Kileolman CastU on Fire 15 

8HAKSFEARE . . . ShaJt*peare reading to Quern Elizabeth 45 
COWLEY. . . . . Hov*e ai Chcrt*ey . ....... 66 

MILTON Cottage ai Chalfont 75 

BUTLER Lndtov CattU 118 

DRYDEN Burleigh House , • . - 126 

ADDISON Holland Home 139 

GAY 157 

POPB VUteat TmektnUm 163 

SWIFT Laracor Church ........ 198 

8uUaU Cottage 223 

Ruin* of Swift** Haute 236 

THOMSON .... Cottage in Kew Lane .237 

8HENSTONE , . . Leatovc* . . . 258 

CHATTERTON , , . Muniment Roam . > . 964 

EJigy of Canynge ........ 367 

GRAY 308 

GOLDSMITH . . - Room at Walker 1 * Hotel 322 

BURNS ...... Burn* and Mary parting 379 

Lincluden Abbey ,*»•• + .', 441 

COWPER Ho**e at lYetton . 442 

MRS. T1GHF, 461 

KEATS Tomb* of KeaU and Shelley at Rome . 475 

SHELLEY Shelly* Body found 489 

BYRON . . . . . Annuity Hall 524 


The first thing which forcibly strikes our attention in 
tracing the Homes and Haunts of the Poets r is the devas- 
tation which Time has made among them. As if he would 
indemnify himself for the degree of exemption from his in- 
fluence in their works, he lays waste their homes and an- 
nihilates the traces of their haunts with an active and a re- 
lentless hand. If this is starting!/ apparent in the cases 
of those even who have been our coteraporaries, how much 
more most it he so in the cases of those who have gone 
hence centuries ago. We begin with the father of our tru- 
ly English poetry, the genial old Geoffrey Chaucer, and, 
spite of the lives which have been written of him, Tyrwhitt 
tells us that just nothing is really known of him. The 
whole of his account of what he considers we It- authentica- 
ted facts regarding him amounts to but twelve pages, in- 
cluding notes and comments. The fads themselves do not 
fill more than four pages. Of his birth-place, further than 

Vox. I— A 


that it was in London, as he tells us himself in The Testa- 
ment of Love, fol. 321, nothing is known. The place of 
his education is by no means clear. It has been said that 
he was educated first at Cambridge, and then at Oxford. 
He himself leaves it pretty certain that he was at Cam- 
bridge, styling himself, in The Court of Love, " Philogenet 
of Cambridge, Clerk." Leland has asserted that he was 
at Oxford ; and Wood, in his Annals, gives a tradition that, 
44 when Wicklifle was guardian or warden of Canterbury 
College, he had for his pupil the famous poet called Jeffrey 
Chaucer, father of Thomas Chaucer, Esq., of Ewelme, in 
Oxfordshire, who, following the steps of bis master, reflect- 
ed much upon the corruptions of the clergy." 

He is then said to have entered himself of the Inner 
Temple. Speght states that a Mr. Buckley had seen a 
record in the Inner Temple of " Geffrey Chaucer being 
fined two shillings for beating a Franciscan Friar in Fleet- 
street" This, Tyrwhitt says, was a youthful sally, and 
points out the fact that Chaucer studied in the Inner Tem- 
ple on leaving college, and before his travels abroad, which 
is contrary to the account of Leland, who makes him, after 
his travels, reside in the Inner Temple. These travels 
even in France resting solely on the authority of Leland, 
Tyrwhitt disputes, but of their reality there can be little 

Chaucer, having finished his education, became a court- 
ier. The first authentic memorial, says Tyrwhitt, that we 
have of him, is the patent in Ryraer, 41 E. HI., by which 
the king grants him an annuity of twenty marks, by the ti- 
tle of ValeUux noster. He was then in the 39th year of his 
age. Speght mentions a succeeding grant by the title of 
Valettu* hosjritii. By those titles it appears that he was a 
royal page or groom. In this situation he enjoyed various 
grants from the king. In the 48 E. III., he had, according 
to Rymer, a grant for life of a pitcher of wine dayly ; in the 
same year a grant, during pleasure, of the office of Con* 


troller of the Custom of Wools, &c, in the port of London. 
The next year the king granted him the wardship of Sir 
Edmund Staplegate's heir, for which he received <£104 ; 
and in the following year, some forfeited wool to the value 
of «£71, 4*., 6d. His annuity of twenty marks was confirm- 
ed to him on the accession of Richard II., and another an- 
nuity of twenty marks was granted him in lieu of the dayly 
pitcher of wine. It is probable, too, that he was confirmed 
in his office of controller, though the instrument has not 
been produced. In the 13th of Richard II. he appears to 
have been clerk of the works at Westminster, &c., and in 
the following year at Windsor. In the 17th of Richard II. 
the king granted him a new annuity of twenty pounds ; in 
the 22d, a pipe of wine. On the accession of Henry IV. 
his two grants of the annuity of twenty pounds and of the 
pipe of wine were confirmed to him, with an additional 
grant of forty marks. 

Thus it appears that Chaucer did not miss the profitable 
part of court patronage. He also reaped some of its hon- 
orable employments. Edward III., in the 46th year of his 
reign, appointed him, with two others, his envoy to Genoa, 
with the title of Scutifer noster, Our Squire. This great 
and able king, it is evident, regarded Chaucer as a good 
man of business, and that he proved himself so, is pretty 
well denoted by the chief grants of his life immediately fol 
lowing his return ; namely, that of the pitcher of wine day- 
ly, the controllership of the customs of wool and wine in 
the port of London, and in the following year of the ward- 
ship of Sir Edmund Staplegate's heir, &c. At the heels 
of these grants came also another embassy to France, with 
Sir Guichard d' Angle and Richard Stan, according to 
Froissart, to treat of a marriage between the Prince of 
Wales, afterward Richard II., and a daughter of the French 
king. Other historians assert that the original object of his 
mission was to complain of some infringement of the truce 
concluded with France, and which was so well pushed by 


Chaucer and his colleagues, that it led to some overtures 
respecting the marriage. However that may be, it is evi- 
dent that our poet's part in the transaction met with the 
royal approbation, for the old king dying, one of the first 
acts of the prince, on his accession, was to confirm his fa- 
ther's grants to him, with an additional one, as we have ob- 

But Chaucer had also his share of life's reverses. In the 
eleventh year of Richard II. he had the king's license to 
surrender his two grants of twenty marks each, in favor of 
John Scalby. It is not really known why he surrendered 
those grants, but it is supposed that it was owing to his 
connection with the Lollard cause, and especially to his alli- 
ance with John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, and John 
of Northampton. He was not only attached to the duke 
on account of their common interest in the reformed opin- 
ions, but he was married to a sister of Catharine Swynford, 
the duke's mistress, and afterward wife. Chaucer, it seems, 
had exerted himself zealously to secure the re-election of 
John of Northampton as Lord-mayor of London. There 
is much mystery attached to the cause of the riot and its 
consequences which took place ; but as this Combe it on, or 
John of Northampton, was a zealous Wickliffite, the sup- 
position that the disturbance arose from the violent oppo- 
sition of the clergy to him is very probable. Comberton 
was finally committed to prison, and Chaucer fled, first to 
Hainault, then to France, and lastly to Zealand. " While 
in Zealand," says Mr. Chalmers, " he maintained some of 
his countrymen, who had Red thither on the same account, 
by sharing the money he had brought with him, an act of 
liberality which soon exhausted his stock. Iu the mean 
time, the partisans of his cause, whom he had left at home, 
contrived to make their peace, not only without endeavor- 
ing to procure a pardon for him, but without aiding him in 
his exile, where he became greatly distressed for want of 
pecuniary supplies. Such ingratitude, we may suppose, 


gave him more uneasiness than the consequences of it ; but 
it did not lessen his courage, as he soon ventured to return 
to England. On this he was discovered, and committed 
to the Tower, where, after being treated with great rigor, 
he was promised his pardon if he would disclose all he 
knew, and put it in the power of the government to restore 
the peace of the city. His former resolution appears now 
to have failed him ; or, perhaps, indignation at the un- 
grateful conduct of his associates, induced him to think 
disclosure a matter of indifference. It is certain that he 
complied with the terms offered ; but we are not told what 
was the amount of his confession, or what the consequences 
were to others, or who they were that he informed against. 
We know only that he obtained his liberty, and that an op- 
pressive share of blame and obloquy followed. To allevi- 
ate his regret for this treatment, and partly to vindicators 
own conduct, he now wrote The Testament of Love ; and 
although this piece, from want of dates and obscurity of 
style, is not sufficient to form a very satisfactory biograph- 
ical document, it at least furnishes the preceding account 
of his exile and return." 

This account is attended with its difficulties. Chalmers 
states this exile to have occurred about the 3d or 4th of 
Richard II. ; Tyrwhitt in the eleventh of that reign. One 
thing is certain, that if it occurred in the eleventh, the 
whole period of his exile and troubles lasted only two years; 
for in the 13th of Richard II. he was in great favor at court, 
and made clerk of the works at Westminster. Again, the 
two years during which he claimed protection from the 
king are stated by Chalmers to be from the 2d of Richard, 
and by Tyrwhitt, quoting Rymer, are dated from the twen- 
ty-first of that reign. It appears, however, pretty certain 
that he was reduced to great pecuniary distress, and obliged 
to screen himself from the persecutions of his creditors un-. 
der the royal grant of protection. There can be little doubt 
that Rymer is the correct authority, and that it occurred in 


the 21st of Richard. About the time of the termination of 
this grant of protection, he would see his protector also re- 
duced to the need of protection himself; which he did not 
find, but was deposed, and succeeded by Henry IV., who 
confirmed to our poet the grants of the unfortunate monarch 

Such are the few prominent facts of Chaucer's public life. 
Where, during his abode in London, he took up his resi- 
dence, we have no knowledge. During the troubles of the 
court, and during his own, he is said to have retreated to 
his favorite Woodstock. This house he had engaged origi- 
nally, because the court was then much at Woodstock, and 
he was obliged to be in constant attendance on the king. 
It became his favorite abode. It was a square stone house, 
near the Park gate, and long retained the name of Chaucer's 
House. Many of the rural descriptions in his works have 
been traced to this favorite scene of his walks and studies. 
Every trace of it has been long swept away. The other 
residence which has acquired fame from connection with 
Chaucer, is Donnington Castle, in Berkshire. Tyrwhitt 
doubts whether it ever really belonged to him. If it did, 
he says, it could not have been till after the 16th of Rich- 
ard II., for at that time it was in the possession of Sir Rich- 
ard Abberbury. He observes, that we have no proof of 
such purchase, and he doubts whether the situation of his 
affairs admitted of such a purchase. It was five years, 
however, after this time when these affairs compelled him 
to seek the king's protection. There are traditions of his 
having settled all his lands on his son Thomas, for whom 
he had procured a rich wife. Again, it is true, it is denied 
that Thomas Chaucer was his son, or that it is known that 
he had any son but Lewis, said to be born twenty years 
after his marriage. So dubious is every step in this his- 
tory. Yet tradition asserts Thomas Chaucer to have been 
his eldest son. It is known that Donnington Castle was 
for many years in the hands of this Thomas Chaucer; and 


may it not have been the fact, that the purchase of Don- 
nington Park, and the settlement of it on his son, most, to- 
gether with a diminished income from the change of some 
of his affairs, have been the source of his embarrassments f 
It is certain that at one time his emoluments were great ; 
be speaks of himself as " once glorified in worldly welJful- 
nesse, and having suche goods in welthe as makin men 
riche." He was in a fair way to make a fortune, and plant 
a family of rank and substance. He was married to the 
lister of the favorite mistress and subsequent wife of the 
powerful and liberal John of Gaunt ; had the favor of the 
king, Edward III., and his wife that of the noble Queen 
Philippa, one of whose maids of honor she had been. Ev- 
ery thing promised prosperity ; the promise was confirmed 
on the accession of Richard II., but soon, as we have seen, 
the scene changed. He was involved in the troubles of 
the times, compelled to sacrifice his offices, and obliged to 
fly to foreign countries. He then complained, in his Test- 
ament of Love, " of being berafte out of dignitie of office, 
in which he made a gatheringe of worldly godes." 

Notwithstanding all this cloud of uncertainty, the belief 
will always prevail that Donnington was the residence of 
Chaucer. Evelyn tells us- that there was an oak in the 
Park which tradition asserted to have been planted by 
Chaucer, and which was still called Chaucer's Oak. As 
his house at Woodstock is gone, so his castle here is a mere 
ruin. It is generally supposed to be at Woodstock that he 
wrote his Canterbury Tales, where he, also, is said to have 
written his Treatise on the Astrolabe, for the use of his 
son Lewis ; yet if, as asserted, he was upward ef sixty 
when he commenced the Canterbury Tales, he may have 
been in possession also of Donnington during part of the 
time that he was writing his great poem. But every thing 
concerning these particulars is wrapped in the mists of five 
hundred years. The only branch of his family that he 
mentions by name is his son Lewis. The very name of his 


wife is a secret. " Historians/ 9 says' Tyrwhitt, " though 
they own themselves totally ignorant of the Christian name 
of his wife, are all agreed that her surname was Rouet, the 
same with that of her father and eldest sister, Catharine 
Swynford." How Rouet and Swynford can be the same 
surname, Tyrwhitt does not tell us. Spite of this, the com- 
mentators have pored into the list of nine Dunicellct of the 
Queen Philippa, to whom the king had granted annuities, 
and finding no Rouet there, have been resolved to fix, as the 
future wife of Chaucer, one Philippa Pykard, whom they 
did find. These are all rash peerings into the dark. As 
no damsel of the name of Rouet was found, the natural 
conclusion is that she was already married to Chaucer. 

Of Donnington Castle in its present state a few more 
words may be acceptable, and this is the account we find 
given by Mr. Britton, in the Beauties of England and Wales. 
" Donnington Castle rears its lofty head above the remains 
of the venerable oaks that once surrounded it, on an emi- 
nence northeast of Donnington Grove, and nearly opposite, 
to the village of Speen, now Newbury. It was formerly a 
place of much importance, and, by commanding -the west- 
ern road, gave to its possessors a considerable degree of 
authority. When it was originally built is uncertain, but, 
from a manuscript preserved in the Cottonian Library, it 
appears that it belonged to Walter Abberbury, who paid 
C. shillings for it to the king. Hither, about 1397, in the 
70th year of his age, Geoffrey Chaucer, who had purchased 
it, retired. Alice, his granddaughter, conveyed it by mar- 
riage to William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk." In this 
line, and, therefore, in the descendants of Chaucer, it con- 
tinued till the reign of Henry VII., when, by the treasona- 
ble practices of the owner, it was escheated to the crown. 
In the civil wars it was a post of great consequence, be- 
ing fortified as a garrison for the king. During these 
troubles it was twice besieged ; the second time its siege 
being raised by the arrival of the king himself. In Cam- 

C H A U C E I. 9 

den's time this castle was entire. He describes it as " a 
small but very neat place, seated on the brow of a woody 
bill, having a fine prospect, lighted by windows on every 
side." The remains now consist of the east entrance, with 
its two round towers, and a small part of the east wall. 
The gateway is in good preservation, and the place for the 
portcullis may still be seen. A stair-case winds up the 
south tower to the summit of the castle, which commands 
a beautiful view of the Hampshire Hills and the interme- 
diate country. 

It has been the fate of the places celebrated by Chaucer 
iu his exquisite Canterbury Tales to retain something of 
their identity beyond all that might have been expected 
from the rapid changes, especially of late years, in En- 
gland. The Tabard Inn, Southwark, from which his pil- 
grims set out, still exists, or at least partly so, under the 
Dame of the Talbot. This old inn is within view of Lon- 
don Bridge, on the left hand going thence down High- 
street in the borough. It is evidently the very inn which 
Dickens had in view when lie described the one where 
Pickwick originally encountered Sam Weller. This once 
famous old hostel has indeed existed, but has fallen into 
decay, and sunk in rank. London has spread, and changed 
the importance of its localities. In the city, and at the 
west end, multitudes of splended hotels have sprung up : 
the ancient Tabard is gone down to a very ordinary house 
of entertainment. Once it occupied, no doubt, the frontage 
on both sides of its gateway, now it is confined to the right 
hand ; and although the ancient yard and ancient galleries 
present themselves to your view as you enter, you find the 
premises occupied by at least half a dozen different tenants 
and trades. Here is the inn, on the right hand ; on the 
left are offices of wine-merchants and others. Under the 
old galleries is the warehouse of a London carman, and 
huge bales of goods lie before it, to go off by wagon or by 
rail-road. Wagons belonging to this establishment are go- 



ing in and out, and gigs and chaises are drawn up on the 
further side of the inn. There are life and trade here still ; 
but the antiquity and dignity of the ancient Tabard are 
broken up. The frontage, and about half the premises, 
were once destroyed by fire ; the remainder, occupying the 
lower end of the court, exists in all its antiquity. The old 
wooden gallery, supported on stout wooden pillars, and 
with a heavy wooden balustrade, is roofed over ; above 
are steep red-tiled roofs, with dormer-windows, bearing 
every mark of being very old. In front of ; this gallery 
hangs a large painting, long said to be a picture of the pil- 
grims entering Canterbury. A horseman is disappearing 
through the city gateway, and others are following; but 
the whole is so weather-beaten that it is difficult to make 
out. The painting seems to have possessed considerable 
merit, and it is a pity it is not restored. 

Tyrwhitt says, •• They who are disposed to believe the 
pilgrimage to have been real, and to have happened in 1383, 
may support their opinion by the following inscription, 
which is still to be read upon the inn, now called the Tal- 
bot, in Southwark : ' This is the inn where Sir Geoffrey 
Chaucer and the twenty-nine pilgrims lodged in their jour- 
ney to Canterbury, anno 1383.' " Though the present in- 
scription is evidently of a very recent date, we might sup- 
pose it to have been propagated to us by a succession of 
faithful transcripts from the very time ; but, unluckily, there 
is too good reason to be assured that the first inscription of 
this sort was not earlier than the last century s 

We learn from Speght, who appears to have been in- 
quisitive about this inn in 1697, that " this was the hostelry 
where Chancer and the other pilgrims met together, and 
with Henry- Bailey, their host, accorded about the manner 
of their journey to Canterbury." Within the gallery was 
a large table, said to be the one where the pilgrims were 
entertained. It is now divided into four bed-rooms, where 
the guests of the inn still sleep, on the very floor occupied by 


the pilgrims upward of 500 years ago. And, indeed, how 
much longer ? The building existed probably long before 
Chaucer's days, who has been dead 446 years. It is one of 
the greatest antiquities and curiosities of London, so few of 
the like kind being spared by the fire, and still fewer by 
modern changes and improvements. 

In Canterbury, also, the pilgrim's inn is said to have 
continued to the present time, no longer, indeed, existing 
as an inn, but divided into a number of private tenements 
in High-street. The old inn mentioned by Chaucer was 
called the Checkers. It stands in High-street, at the 
corner of the lane leading to the Cathedral, just below the 
parade, on the left-hand side going into Canterbury. Its 
situation was just that which was most convenient for the 
pilgrims to Thomas a Becket's tomb. It was a very large 
inn, as was necessary for the enormous resort of votaries to 
the shrine of this pugnacious saint. It is now divided into 
several houses, and has been modernized externally, having 
no longer a trace of having been an inn. The way to the 
court-yard is through a narrow doorway passage, and round 
the court you see the only evidences of its antiquity, re- 
mains of carved wood-work, now whitewashed over. 

The old age of Chaucer, like that of too many men of 
genius, is said to have been stormy, and not unvisited by 
necessity. We are informed that he went from Woodstock 
to Donnington Castle, and thence to London, to solicit a 
continuance of his annuities, in which he found such diffi- 
culties as probably hastened his death. It has been said, 
how could this be ? " How could a man With lands and a 
castle be in such necessity ? and it has been attributed to 
the desire of his biographers to excite an- undue sympathy 
for their subject, that they have represented him in his old 
age as avaricious. Probably, if we knew all die circum- 
stances, the whole would be clear enough. We know so 
little of Chaucer's real, and especially of his domestic his* 
tory, that we may pronounce, as falsely as presumptuously, 


J I A U C H l£. 

in saying he could not be in need. Who shall say that he* 
cause Chaucer casually mentions only one son, that he 
might not have Haifa dozen I Who shall say what misfor- 
tunes may have visited hia eld age ? These were change- 
able and troublesome times. His biographers have settled 
his castle and estate on his sou Thomas ; and if he bad 
other sons to provide for, and his annuities were not paid, 
these are causes enough for pecuniary difficulty* 

The general opinion is, that he died October 25th, in 
the year 1400, being seventy-two years of age, According 
to Wood, he never repented of his reflections on the clergy 
of his times, but upbraided himself bitterly with the licen- 
tious portions of his writing*, often crying out at the ap- 
proach of death, M Woe, woe is me, that I can uot recall and 
annul those things j but, alas ! they are now continued from 
man to man, and I can not do what I would desire." He 
was buried in Westminster Abbey, in the great south aisle, 
but no monument was raised to his memory till a century 
and a half after bis decease, when Nicholas Bingham, a 
gentleman of Qxfurd, a poet and great admirer of Chaucer, 
erected the plain altar, now so well known, having three 
quatrefoils, and the same number of shields, at the north 
end of a magnificent recess, formed by four obtuse arched 
angles. The inscription and figures are now almost oblit- 

Like himself, his great work, the Canterbury Tales, lay 
buried for upward of seventy years in manuscript, Cax- 
ton, the first English printer, selected these tales as one of 
the earliest productions of his press, and thus gave to the 
world what it will never again consent to lose. Spite of 
the rude state of the language when he wrote, the splendor 
of his genius beams and barns gloriously through its inade- 
quate vehicle. Time, which has destroyed his house at 
Woodstock, and beaten down hia castle at Donningtim, has 
not been able to effect the same ruin on his poems. The 
language has gone on perfecting and polishing ; a host of 


glorious names and glorious works have succeeded Chau- 
cer and the Canterbury Tales, making England affluent in 
its literary fame as any nation on ear Lb j but, from his dis- 
tant position* the father of English poetry beams like a star 
of the first magnitude in the eternal hemisphere of genius* 
Like Shakspeare, lie has, for the most part, seized on nar- 
ratives already in existence to employ his art upon, but 
that art is so exquisite that it has stamped immortal value 
on the narrative. The life and the characters he has repre- 
sented to us are a portion of the far past, rescued for ua 
from the oblivion that has overwhelmed all that age besides. 
We gaze on the living and moving scenes with an interest 
which the progress of time can only deepen* To the latest 
ages men will read and say, " Thus, in the days of Wick* 
line, of John of Gaunt, and Richard II., did men and 
women look, and act, and think, and feel ; thus did a great 
poet live among them, and send them down to us, and to 
all posterity, ten thousand times more faithfully preserved 
than by all the arts of Egypt and the East." Quaint as they 
are, they are the very quintessence of human nature. They 
live yet, fresh and vivid, passionate and strung, as they did 
on their way fco the tomb of St* Thomas, upward of five 
hundred years ago. They can never die ; they can never 
grow old; and amid them the poet, Englishman every inch, 
lives, and laughs, and quafts his cup of wine, and tells his 
•tiny, and chuckles over his jokes, or listens to the narratives 
of all those around him, with a relish of life that he ouly 
could fee! or could communicate. There is an elastic geni- 
ality in his spirit, a buoyant music in his numbers, a soul of 
enjoyment in his whole nature, that mark him at once as a 
man of a thousand; and we feel in the charm that bears ua 
along a strength that will outlast a thousand years. It is 
like that of the stream that runs, of the wind that blows, of 
the sun that comes up, ruddy as with youth, from the bright 
east on an early summer's morning. It is the strength of 
are living in its own joyful life, and mingling with the 



life of all around in gladdening companionship. For a hun- 
dred beautiful pictures of genuine English existence and 
English character; for a world of persons and things that 
have snatched us from the present to their society ; for a 
host of wise and experience-fraught maxims ; for a many a 
tear shed, and emotion revived, and laugh of merriment; 
for many a happy hour and bright remembrance, we thank 
thee, Dan Chaucer, and just thanks shalt thou receive- a 
thousand years hence. 



So little 19 known of the early life of Spenser, that our 
notice of his haunt a will be confine*] almost wholly to his 
castle of Kilcolman. He is said to be descended from the 
ancient family of Spenser; indeed, he says it himself: 

"At length they all to mery London came ; 
To mery London, my most kyndly nurse, 
That to roe gave this lifeV first native sonw, 
Though from another place I luke my uaiiiD, 
An house of one ient fame. ' ' Protkafamum. 

This was the bouse of Akhorpe, and now also of Marlbor- 
ough ; bul however this may be, bis parentage was obscure 
enough. He is said by Fen ton to have been born in East 
Scmthneld, near the Tower of London, in 1553; but the 
parish registers of that time aro wanting, and we have no 
clew to trace more accurately the locality; He was admit- 
ted as sizer, tbe lowest order of students, at Pembroke Hall, 
Cambridge, in the year 1569 j he took the degree of Bach- 



elor of Arte in January, 1572-3, and that of Master of Arts 
in June, 1576, in which year he was an unsuccessful candi- 
date for a fellowship* according to some of his biographers, 
though others deny this. On quitting the University, he 
went to reside with his relations in. the north of England, 
but how he was supported does not appear. These rela- 
tions, it would appear probable, from the communication 
of a Mr. F. C. Spenser, in the Gentleman's Magazine of 
August; 1842, quoted by Craik r in his Spenser and his Po- 
etry, were the Spensers, or Le Spensers, of Huntwood, 
near Burnley, Lancashire, part of which lay united on a 
little property, still called Spenser's, at die foot of. Pendle 
HilL This derives confirmation from the fact of Spenser 
having a son called Lawrence, and of the names of Ed- 
mund and Lawrence abounding in the registries of this 
Lancashire family, as well as of that family only spelling 
the name with an " si" Here he fell in love with a lady, 
whom he celebrates under the name of Rosalind, and who 
deserted him ; this is said to be the cause of his writing the 
Shepherd's Calendar, in which he complains of this faith- 
less mistress*. Others, again, think she was a maiden of 
Kent, a Rose Lynde, the Lyndes being an old family in 
that county, where he went on his acquaintance with Sir 
Philip Sidney while in the south; but this can not at all 
agree with the letter of his friend, Gabriel Harvey, to him. 
To Sir Philip he was introduced by this old college friend, 
Gabriel Harvey, and dedicated to him the Shepherd's Cal- 
endar. If it be true that the dedication was the cause of 
introduction, this must have been solicited and decided 
upon while the poem was only in progress ; for it appears 
pretty clearly that he wrote part of the Calendar at Pen- 
shurst; especially the eleventh eclogue, in which he laments 
the death of a " maiden of great blood," supposed to have 
been a daughter of the Earl of Leicester. In the tenth 
eclogue he lauds the Earl of Leicester as " the worthy 
whom the queen loves best ;" bo that he was now got into 


the very high-road to preferment, and does not appear tp 
have been backward to walk diligently in it. Leicester 
and Sidney, near kinsmen as they were, were just the two 
men of the whole kingdom to push the fortunes of a poet. 
With this early and regular introduction to these two pow- 
erful men (powerful in politics and literature, and in favor 
with the queen), it is difficult to weave in a belief of the 
fine story of Spenser's pushing his own way with the ninth 
canto of the first book of the Faerie Queene. It is a pity 
this should not be true, yet how can it? The story goes 
thus : One morning Spenser, determined to try his fortune 
with Sir Philip Sidney, the courtier most celebrated of the 
time for his intellectual accomplishments, and for his gen- 
erous disposition, went to Leicester House, an entire 
stranger, carrying with him this canto of his great poem, in 
which is contained the fine allegory of Despair. He ob- 
tained admission to Sidney, and presented his MS. for his 
approbation : that great lover and judge of poetry had not 
read far before he was so much struck with the beauty of 
a stanza, that \ie ordered fifty pounds to be given to the au- 
thor ; proceeding to the next stanza, he raised his gift to a 
hundred, which* sum he doubled on reading a third, and 
commanded his steward to pay instantly 7 , lest he should be 
induced, by a farther delay, to give away his whole estate. 
Pity so fine a story was not true ! some imaginative person 
must have pleased himself with fancying how such a thing 
might have been. 

However, Spenser was now a regular inmate of Leices- 
ter House, and at Penshurst ; so that that latter sweet place 
has the honor of being as well the haunt of our great ro- 
mantic poet as of the high-hearted Sidney. By Leicester 
and Sidney Spenser was introduced to Queen Elizabeth, 
who, it is said, on his .presenting some poems to her, con- 
ferred on him a gratuity of a hundred pounds. If this be 
true, it is so unlike Elizabeth's parsimony that we must set 
it down as a wonder. Yet it is to this fact that Lord Bar- 


leigh's dislike to the rhymer, as he called Spenser, is at* 
tributed. He deemed the grant so extravagant as to neg- 
lect its payment till he received a repetition of the order 
from his mistress, with a reproof for his delay. There 
were, there is no doubt, plenty of causes for Burleigh's 
dislike of Spenser. In the first place, he had not a spark 
of poetry in his constitution. To him it was sheer non- 
sense, idle and childish nonsense. But, besides this, Spen- 
ser was brought forward by the very party of whom Bur- 
leigh was most jealous — Leicester. He appeared at court 
as the particular friend of Leicester and Sidney ; and the 
incautious poet is said to have aggravated the dislike of 
Burleigh by some satirical rhymes, which were assiduously 
carried to the clever but cold-blooded minister. There has 
not been wanting active vindication of Burleigh, and the 
discovery of a patent granting him a pension of fifty pounds 
a year, dated 1590-1, which he enjoyed till his death in 
1698-9, has been said to be sufficient refutation of all that 
has been alleged against Burleigh in Spenser's case. But 
how does this at all remove the statements of Burleigh's 
dislike of Spenser and reluctance to his promotion,] Not 
in the least It merely shows that Spenser had friends, and 
an interest in the queen's good-will, powerful enough to 
overrule the minister's opposition. It may, and most like- 
ly is, just as true, that on the grant of this pension Burleigh 
declared " the pension was a good example, too great to be 
given to a ballad-maker ;" and that when the queen order- 
ed him a hundred pounds,>be replied, " What ! all this for 
a song V 9 These facts are so entirely in keeping with Bur- 
leigh's character that we can by no means doubt them. 
Indeed, Spenser himself has put the truth past a doubt. 
What means, 

11 To have thy prince's grace, yet want his peeres' t w 

What those lines at the close of the sixth book of the 
Faerie Queene 1 

8 P E N E E. 19 

'No my this homely verse, of many meanest, 

Hope to escape bit venomous despite, 
More than my former vrit$, all were they dearest. 

From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite 

With which some wicked tongues did it backbite, 
And bring into a mighty peere's displeasure 

That never so deserved to indite." 

Again, io the fourth book of the Ruines of Time, written 
subsequently to the first edition of the Faerie Queene : 

"The ragged-foremost that with grave foresight 
Wields kingdom's causes, and affairs of state, 
My looser verses, I wote, doth sharply wite 
For praising love," &c. 

Thus, whether Spenser, as alleged or not, gave cause of 
offense by his satire, one thing is clear, that Burleigh was 
his bitter and unchangeable enemy. That Spenser had 
suffered at court is fully shown in his oft-cited verses in his 
14 Mother Hubbard's Tale,*' the most lively picture of court 
attendance and its consequent chagrins that ever was 

11 Foil little knowest thou that hast not tryd, 
What hell it is in suing long to byde ; 
To lose good days that might be better spent ; 
To waste long nights in pensive discontent; 
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow ; 
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow ; 
To have thy prince's grace, yet want his peers' ; 
To have thy asking, yet wait many years ; 
To fret thy soul with crosses and with eares; 
To eat thy bread with comfortless despairs ; 
To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run, 
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone." 

Spenser's sole reliance was on Leicester, Sidney, and 
Raleigh, with whom he became soon acquainted. He is 
said to have been employed by the Earl of Leicester on a 
mission to France in 1579 ; and though this has been ques- 
tioned, yet his own assertion, in a letter to Gabriel Harvey, 
confirms it. In 1580 he accompanied Arthur, lord Grey 

20 S> E N S E R. 

of Wilton, who went as lord-lieutenant to Ireland, as his 
private secretary. In this post he is said to have displayed 
great talents for business. He wrote a " Discourse on the 
State of Ireland/' containing many decided plans for the 
improvement of that country. 

In 1581, the first year of his being in Ireland, he was 
also made* clerk to the Irish Court of Chancery, and Mr. 
Craik has pointed out the fact given in Collins* s Peerage, 
in the account of the Earls of Portsmouth, that in this same 
year, too, he received from the queen a grant of a lease of 
the; Abbey of Iniscorthy, or Enniscorthy, and the attached 
castle and manor, in the county of Wexford, at an annual 
rent of «£300, 6*., Sd. ; and that he conveyed this property, 
on the 9th of December of the same year, to Richard Sy- 
not. This leasehold, by another sale, came into the hands 
of the family of the Earls of Portsmouth, and is rated by 
G. Wakefield, in his " Account of Ireland,'* at <£8000 a 

Lord Grey was recalled in 1582, and Spenser returned 
with him. But his fate was bound up with Ireland. Aft- 
er hanging about court for four years, during which time 
there can be little doubt that he experienced much of the 
bitterness expressed in the lines just quoted, he obtained, 
through the interest of his friends, Lords Grey and Leices- 
ter, and Sir Philip Sidney, a grant of 3026 acres of land 
in the county of Cork, part of the forfeited estate of the 
great Earl of Desmond. Scarcely was his patent made 
out, when his best friend and patron, Sidney, was killed at 
the battle of Zutphen. This was the death of his hopes in 
England, and he set out to reside on and cultivate his new- 
ly-acquired eBtate in Ireland ; having lamented Sir Philip's 
death in the pastoral elegy of Astrophel. This was in 1586. 
In three or four years, 1590 or 1591, Spenser returned to 
England with Raleigh, published his first three books of 
the Faerie Queene, and was presented by Raleigh to Eliz- 
abeth, who at this time conferred on him his pension. 

8 P £ N £ ft. v 21 

Spenser, it seems, now returned to Ireland, wrote his sec- 
ond three cantos, and bringing them over in 1596, publish- 
ed them ; and also printed and published his Discourse on 
the State of Ireland, as a defense of his patron Lord Grey's 
policy there. From the condition of Ireland at that time, 
and the sense of insecurity which Spenser felt at his lonely 
castle of Kilcolman, it is not to be wondered at that his 
plan abounds with earnest recommendations of a coercive 
nature, and especially for the stationing of strong garrisons 
numerously. In 1597, he returned to Ireland, where al- 
most immediately the great rebellion of Tyrone breaking 
out, he was chased from his castle, and, retiring to London, 
died there, heart-broken, in 1598. 

Such is a brief outline of the life of Spenser. Let us 
now take a nearer view of his Irish home. One of the best 
accounts of it is contained in the Dublin University Maga- 
zine of November, 1843. The writer, evidently not only 
a genuine lover of the poetry of Spenser, but well ac- 
quainted with the scene he describes, goes at much length 
into the characters and allusions of the poem of the Faerie 
Queene. He shows us that Spenser draws a noble por- 
trait of his benefactor, Lord Grey, in the second book of 
that poem. It is the warrior seen by Britomart in the mir- 
ror of Merlin, as her future husband. 

" A comely knight, all armed in complete wize, 
Through whose bright ventayle lifted up on hye 
Hit manly face, that did his foes agrize, 
And friend* to termes of gentle truce entize, 
Looked forth, as Phoebus 1 face out of the east 
Betwixt two shady mountaynes doth arise," &c. 

The portrait is certainly a noble one, and limned with 
the colors of divine poetry. The anonymous but able au- 
thor leads us justly to notice that, in the Legend of Arte- 
gall, the thirteen stanzas opening the first canto of the fifth 
book " relate to the hapless condition of the Ladye Irena— 
her tears and her troubles ; tears that, alas ! have not yet 

23 8PENBEI, 

ceased to flow down, and troubles that to the present hour 
are convulsing her bosom. For Irena is Ireland ; and she 
sends her supplications across the ocean to Gloriana, the 
Queen of Faerie, the great and good Elizabeth ofEngland, 
beseeching her to come over and help her. Artegall is the 
personification of equity and justice ; and this is the boon 
which poor Irena looks for, and hopes to receive at her 
sister's hand." 

Artegall, or, in other words, Lord Grey, passes over to 
Ireland, and encounters Pollente, or Gerald, earl of Des- 
mond, "who was in rebellion against Elizabeth at the time 
of Lord Grey's appointment to the chief authority in Ire- 
land, and perished miserably in consequence. His prodig- 
ious wealth and power would amply bear out such an ap- 
pellation. His lands extended one hundred and fifty miles 
in the south of the kingdom, stretching from sea to sea, and 
comprising the greater portion of the counties of Water- 
ford, Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. - We read of his being 
able to bring together, by his summons, six hundred caval- 
ry and two thousand footmen ; and of these, nearly five 
hundred were gentlemen of his own kindred and surname. 
His castles were numerous, and scattered over this large 
tract of country in well-chosen places, for its defense and 
protection ; and it is curious that attached to one of them 
is a tale of blood not unlike what you will find Spenser 
describing. A few miles above the sea, on a bold cliff 
overhanging one of the deepest parts of the beautiful River 
Blackwater, stand the battered remains of the earl's Castle 
of Strancally. Attached to this strong-hold is a murderous 
device, which we had often previously heard of, but never 
till then beheld. The solid rock had been pierced with a 
large well-like aperture, communicating with the river; 
and the neighboring peasants will tell you, that the unwa- 
ry, when decoyed within the castle, were tied hand and 
foot, and flung down the murder-hole : the rapid river hur- 
ried by, and soon carried away their gasping shrieks, and 

8PSNBEE. 23 

the dead told no tales. We have every respect for these 
local traditions, and esteem them in a thousand instances 
valuable guides-; notwithstanding, we place no faith in the 
present horrible legend, which .is wholly at variance with 
the received character of the Earl of Desmond. It may 
be that such things were told to him, even in Spenser's 
days ; and it is certain that, about the close of the year 
1579, his Castle of Strancally was taken by the Earl of Or- 
mond, the president of Munster ; a capture which could be 
easily transferred to the poet's hero, ArtegalL" 

Lord Grey was recalled, in consequence of representa- 
tions of cruelty and oppression in his administration. " The 
queen was persuaded by these insinuations, and his' recall 
took place when he had scarcely completed his second 
year. With this event the fifth book of the Faerie Queene 
concludes : and the poet' there enters at large into the facts 
of the case. Artegall is summoned away to Faerie Court, 
and on his way thither meets with two ill-favored hags- — 
* superannuated vipers,' as Lord Brougham would term 
them — whom he knows to be Envy and Detraction. These 
are painted in language that makes the grisly creatures live 
before you. Every hue and feature of their vile countenan- 
ces is preserved — their slavering lips, their tireless tongues, 
their fool and claw-like hands. We remember nothing in 
Milton or Dante that surpasses this powerful personifica- 

Spenser, as we have already stated, accompanied Lord 
Grey home, and here came in for a share in the partition 
of the vast estates of the' vanquished Earl of Desmond. 
The plan now devised for more securely attaching Ireland 
to the British crown was caHed the Plantation of Munster. 
The scheme, which was first put in operation on this vast 
confiscated territory of the Earl of Desmond, is thus de- 
scribed in Smith's History of Cork : 

"All forfeited lands to be divided into manors and 
seigniories, containing 12,000, 8000, 6000, and 4000 i 

6 r L S o fc li. 

to a plot laid down. The undertakers 

put these grants) lo have an estate in fee -farm, 
each seigniory of 12,000 acres, for the first 
<£33 f 6#., Sd* sterling, viz., from 1590 lo la*J3, 
Michaelmas, 1593, «£66, 13$,, 4 ri* sterling, and 
mCabW for every inferior seigniory, yielding upon the 
death of the undertaker the best beast as an heriot ; to be 
di »t: barged of all taxes whatsoever, except subsidies levied 
by Parliament* Bogs, mount ains* fitc, not to be included 
till improved, an J then to pay a half-penny for each English 
acre. License to the undertakers to transport all commod- 
ities, duty free, into England for five years. That none be 
admitted to have more than 12,000 acres. No English 
planter to bo permitted to convey to any mere Irish. The 
head of each plantation to be English; and the heirs fe- 
male to marry none but of English birth ; and none of the 
mere Irish to he maintained in any family there. 

" Each freeholder* thmi the year 1590, to furnish one 
horse and horseman* armed ; each principal undertaker for 
12,000 acres, to supply three horsemen and six footmen, 
armed ; and so ratably far the other seigniories ; and each 
copyholder one footman, armed. That, for seven years to 
come, tbey shall not be obliged to travel out of Mu ester 
upon any service ; and after that time, no more than ten 
horsemen and twenty footmen out of one seigniory of 
1 2,000 acres, and so ratably ; and such as serve out of 
Minister to be paid by the queen. 

*' That the queen will protect and defend the said seign- 
iories, at her own charge, for seven years to come. All 
t ou i modules brought from England for the use of the same 
Hngu juries to be duly free for seven years/ 1 

There was to be a complete English population estab- 

d 00 these lands in this manner: u For any seigniory 

containing 12,000 acres, the gentle man was to have for his 

mm domain 2100 acres; six farmers, 400 acres each; six 

fn?oholdore» 100 acres each j and lands to bo appropriated 


for mean tenures of 50, 25, and 10 acres, to tbt) tiummt of 
1500 acres ; whereon thirty-six families, at 1 trust, most be 
established. The other seigniories to be laid out in like 
proportion. Each undertaker was to people his seigniory 
in seven years." These articles received the royal signa- 
ture on the 27th of June, 1586. The following list of un- 
dertakers presents some curious particulars. In the first 
place, Sir Walter Raleigh and Arthur Robbins by some 
means managed at once to overleap the grand- provision, 
that no undertaker should be permitted to have more than 
12,000 acres : Sir Walter Raleigh getting 42,000, and poor 
Spenser, poet-like, only 3029 ! He is just tacked on at the 
end like an after-thought. 

Acre*. . 
Sir Walter Raleigh . 42,000 

Arthur Rohhins, Esq. . 18,000 

Fane Beecfaer, Esq. . . 12,000 

Hugh Worth, Esq. . . 12,000 

Arthur Hyde, Esq 11,766 

8ir Thomas Norris 6,000 

Sir Richard Beacon . 6,000 

Sir Warham St. Leger 6,000 

Hugh Cuff, Esq 6,000 

Thomas Jay, Esq 5,77*- 

Sir Arthur Hyde 5,774 

Edmund Spenser, Esq. 3,029 

The difference did not consist merely in the quantity - 
either. Some of their lands, like Sir Walter's at Youghal, 
on the Blackwater, were splendid lands ; those of Spenser 
were wild moorlands, facing the wilder mountains, where 
the Irish, yet smarting under defeat and expulsion, the de- 
struction of their great chief, and this plan, which was to 
continue that expulsion forever, and plant on their own 
soil the hated Saxon, were looking down, ready to descend 
and take sanguinary vengeance. Such was the lot which 
Spenser chose in preference to the degrading slavery of 
court dependence. No doubt he pleased himself with the- 
idea of a new English state, established in this aewly-con- 

Vol. I.— B 



quered region ; where, surrounded by English gentlemen, 
and one of the lords of the soil, he should live a life of con* 
tent and happiness, and hand, down to his children a fair 
estate. But in this fond belief how much of the poet's self- 
delusive property- was mixed ! Hear what the authority 1 
have already made such use of, because I know it to be 
good, says : " It was a wild and lonesome banishment at 
beat, for one who had lived so much in courts, and in com- 
panionship with the rich and high-born. Mountains on all 
sides shut in the retreat, and in the midst of the long and 
level plain between them stood a strong fbrtalice of the 
Earl of Desmond, which was to be the poet's residence, 
Kilcojman Castle. Hard by the castle was a small lake, 
and a mile or two distant, on either side, a river descended 
from the hills. In position, likewise, it was insecure, form* 
ing, as it did, the frontier of the English line in the south, 
and the contiguous hills affording lurking-places for the 
Irish kerns, whence they could pour down in multitudes to 
plunder. In the insurrectionary warfare that shortly suc- 
ceeded, these mountain passes became the scene of many 
a skirmish; and the first object of the commander of the 
English forces, when he heard of any partial outbreak, was 
to send off a detachment of light-armed troops to occupy 
them in the name of the queen." 

But, overlooking all these hazards, Spenser came hither 
full of bright views of the future. " The sunshine of the 
years to come," says the author we have been quoting, 
" were to atone for the darkness and the gloom of life's morn- 
ing. His poetry, which had been previously of a pastoral 
cast, became now imbued with the wildness of the sylvan 
solitude around him : wood-nymphs and fairies were inhab- 
itants he could summon up at will, and with them the hill- 
tops about him were peopled. Such names of places and 
things as his musical ear pronounced inharmonious were 
exchanged for others which quaint fancy suggested, and 
which read more sweetly in his tender verse. He sang 


sweet strains of the bridal or separation of his rivers ; told 
how their stern sires, the mountains, ofttimes forced their 
unwilling inclinations, and brought about a union which 
the water-nymph detested ; and how sometimes she, in her 
faithful attachment to the one she loved, effected her wish 
by a circuitous course, or even sought beneath the earth's 
surface the waters dear to her bosom. Before an imagina- 
tion so vivid the iron desolateness of Kilcolman vanished ; 
and in its stead a fairy world arose to gladden the eyes of 
the dreamer with its bowers of bliss, and enchanted palaces, 
and magnificence more gorgeous than the luxuries of Ind. 
" The Bally ho wra Hills, which formed the northern 
boundary of the poet's retreat, appeared in this new world 
under the feigned title of the Mountains of Mole ; while the 
highest of them, which, like Parnassus, has a double sum- 
mit, was dignified by the name of " Father." Sometimes 
Spenser seems to have extended the name of Mole to the 
entire range of hills which run along the northern and east- 
ern limits of the county of Cork, and divide it from Lim- 
erick and Tipperary. In one place he speaks of a river 
rising from the Mole, and thence styled by him Molana ; 
which undoubtedly takes its origin from the Tipperary Hills. 
The plain in which his castle stood was rebaptized in Hel- 
icon by the name of Armulla Dale. Of his two stream- 
lets, one was suffered, for a special purpose, to retain its 
original name of Bregoge, t. *., false, or deceitful : 

" ' Bregog hight 
80 hight became of his deceitful train© V 

and the other, the Awbeg, was specially appropriated to 
himself by the name of Mull a : 

11 ' And Mulla mine, whose waves I whilom taught to weep.' 

" The rivers here mentioned flowed at some distance on 

each side of Spenser's castle. The Bregoge op the east, at 

the distance of a mile ; the Mulla on the west, at about two 

miles. Both rise, as the poet sings, in the Mole Mountain. 


They spring from wells, in glens about a mile and a half 
asunder, on the opposite sides of Corringlass, the highest 
mountain in the range. The Bregoge proceeds, in a wind- 
ing course, to the southwest, and falls into the Mulla a 
mile above the town of Donemile. It is a very inconsid- 
erable stream, forcing itself with difficulty among the rocks 
with which its channel is encumbered ; and, Hke many 
mountain rivulets, is dry during the summer heats. When 
we saw it, in the course of the present year, its bed was a 
.mass of* dusty sand. 

" The Mulla rises on the remote side of the hill from the 
Castle of Rilcohnan, but has a more northerly head in An- 
nagh bog, five miles from Anster's birth-place, Charleville, 
which perhaps, in strictness, should be deemed its source. 
Spenser, in the foregoing passage, describes it as springing 
out of Mtjle. .It proceeds to Buttevant, and receives a 
branch a little above that town, at Ardskeagh; it then 
winds away toward Kilcolman, and meets the Bregoge near 
Doneratle. Directing its course thence, it turns to the 
south, and flows through a deep romantic glen to Cattle- 
town Roche, after which it enters the Blackwater at Bridge* 
town Abbey. It is now called the Awbeg, in contradis- 
tinction to the Awmore or Avonmore, one of r the names 
of the Blackwater." v 

' I have been the more particular in quoting from one well 
acquainted with the scene the geography of Spenser's do- 
main, because those who have not been on the spot can 
really form no idea of the proportion of matter drawn 
hence, and from Ireland generally, in his poems. The 
Faerie Queene, Colin Clout, and his two cantos on " Mu- 
tabilitie," abound with allegorical or actual descriptions of 
his Irish life, and of the scenery, and especially the rivers, 
about his estate here. I must now trace my own visit to it. 
Starting from Fermoy with a car, I ascended the Valley 
of the Blackwater, a river which for beauty of scenery is 
worthy of all its fame. About six miles up, I was told that 


Spenser had lived at a place called Rennie. I found it a 
gentleman's house, standing at a field's distance from the 
highway, and drove up to it It is the property of Mr. 
Smith, a merchant and magistrate of Fermoy. He was 
there with his lady, come out to see their splendid dairy of 
cows which they kept there* forty in number. They were 
at luncheon, and would insist on my going in and partak- 
ing ; after which they both set out, most hospitably, to show 
me the place. The house stands on a lofty rock, overlook- 
ing the valley of the river, but at a field's distance from it. 
It is one of the places of exuberant vegetation, where veg- 
etation in grass and trees seems perfectly exhaustless. 
The richest pastures, the most abundant and overshadow- 
ing trees, every where. In the little garden close to the 
house, and lying on the verge of the precipice, all glowing 
with dahlias, still remains a wall of the castle, which was 
undoubtedly inhabited by Spenser. There is an old oak 
on the river bank, at some distance above the house, under 
the precipice, which is called Spenser's Tree, and where 
he is said to have written part of the Faerie Queene. This 
property was inherited by Spenser's eldest son Sylvanus, 
who married a Miss Nagle, of Monanimy, in Cork, and 
lived at this Rennie. 

In a life of Spenser, the following scanty information, 
which has been collected relative to his decendants, is giv- 
en, and may help us to a clearer conception of the matter. 
Sylvanus had, by the marriage with Miss Nagle, two sons, 
Edmund and William. Peregrine Spenser, the third son 
of the poet, the second being Lawrence, is described, in a 
MS. deposition relative to the rebellion in 1641, as a Prot- 
estant resident about the barony of Fermoy, and so im- 
poverished by the troubles as to be unable to pay his 
debts ; and a part of the estate had been assigned to hiori 
by his elder brother, Sylvanus ; this part of the estate is 
distinctly stated to have been Rennie. Hugoline, the son 
of Peregrine, opposed the designs of tho Prince of -Orange, 

30 P E N 8 S R. 

and after the Revolution was outlawed for treason and re- 
bellion ; his cousin, William Spenser, the son of Sylvanus, 
became a suitor for the forfeited property ^ and obtained it 
Dr. Birch has described him as a man somewhat advanced 
in years, and as unable to give any account of the works 
of his ancestor which are missing. His case, as he pre- 
sented it to Parliament, has been printed by Mr. Todd in 
his Life of Spenser, from the copy in the British Museum, 
presented by Mr. George Chalmers. In this document 
Hugoline is described as " very old and unmarried." Dr. 
Birch informs us that, in 1751, some of the descendants of 
Spenser were living in the country, of Cork ; and' Mr. 
Todd, coming later down, observes, that " a daughter of a 
Mr. Edmund Spenser, of Mallow, the last lineal descendant 
of the poet, is now married to a Mr. Bume, of the English 
custom-house." A Mr. Price, in a MS. in the British 
Museum, states that he was told by Lord Cartaret, that 
when he was Lord-lieutenant of Ireland in 1724, a true de- 
scendant of Edmund Spenser, who bore his name, had a 
trial before Baron Hall, and he knew so little of the En- 
glish tongue that he was forced to have an interpreter. 

Now Mr. Smith informed me that not only was it the 
fixed tradition that this house at Rennie was inhabited by 
Spenser the poet, but that it was also as positively asserted 
that one of his descendants was murdered in it in a very 
extraordinary manner. The story was that of two broth- 
ers ; one, banished for high treason, and the other, who 
succeeded him, murdered by his housekeeper out of jeal- 
ousy. That this woman had been led to hope that her 
master would marry her, but finding that he was going to 
marry another lady, proposed, one morning as he was shav- 
ing, to do it for him, and being permitted, cut his throat 
with the razor. There seemed, however, some suspicion 
that the cousin of the murdered man, who was next heir, 
the elder brother being outlawed, had instigated or urged 
upon the woman to commit this act; but such was the 

Sl'ENBBI, 91 

state of the times, that, notwithstanding this suspicion, his 
cousin came in for the property. 

Wild and terrible as this tradition is, it is there; and 
what is curious, we see in the above slight tracing of the 
descent of the Spensers, that Hugoline, a son of Peregrine, 
was outlawed for treason and rebellion, and that William, 
a cousin, and the son of Sylvan us, became a suitor for the 
forfeited property, and obtained it. In O'Flanagan's Guide 
to the Blackwater, this is stated to have happened to the 
last descendant of Spenser at Rennie, and that "in the 
small antique dwelling at Rennie is pointed out the room 
in which she did the deed." This is very different to the 
account I received from the present proprietor, which is 
that given above : nor does the house at Reunie prove to 
be "a small antique one." It is a good modern mansion. 
The property of Rennie continued in the family long after 
it had lost Kilcolman ; in fact, till about 1734, when, on the 
death of Nathaniel Spenser, the then possessor, it was 
sold ; the family became landless, and soon after extinct. 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith set out with me to explore the scene. 
The house is modem ; the land on the level of the house 
of the richest quality, and beautified with fine trees ; the 
views up and down the river, and over it into the woods of 
Lord Li stow ell, with the tower of his castle peeping over 
them, are rich and beautiful. We descended into the 
meadows below the house, attended by four of the finest 
greyhounds ever seen, one of them as white as snow, and 
three or four terriers ; and the dogs were soon in full chase 
of rabbits, up among the rocks and trees. We were soon 
below the house, and at the foot of the precipice on which 
it stands. The place was fit for Spenser's Pan, with all 
his fauns and sylvans. In the meadow, which extended 
to the banks of the river, grazed the fine herd of cattle, and 
amid them the sturdy bull ; and all around us, above us on 
the rocks, in the meadow itself, and on the banks and green 
•lopes on the other side of the river, grew the most prodi- 

gal trees. The whole scene told of ancient possession and 
a most affluent nature. At the foot of the precipice under 
the house, laurels and filberts, which must have been plant- 
ed long ago, and probably by Spenser himself, had attained 
the most enormous size j the laurels were as large as forest- 
trees; they had, some of them, stems, I suppose, half a yard 
in diameter, and had assumed a shape of sylvan massive- 
ness and woodland rudeness, such as before I had no con- 
ception of in laurels. Some had been blown down by the 
winds and grew half prostrate ; others had been sawed off, 
and had left huge stumps, knit, as it were, into one mass 
with the foot of the rocks. All was one scene of Arcadian 
greenness, and excess of growth. 

Beneath the rock there was a sort of damp cave, wdiere 
water stood as if oozing through from the river, and the 
plants above hung down their long arms, and made a fitting 
retreat for Spenser's satyrs. Around, seen from the shad* 
ow of this spot, lay the deep-green meadow, the swift, broad 
river, the rich masses of trees, closing in a little world of 
solitude ; and as if to mark it lor a spot in which the poet 
of fairy-land had sojourned* and left the impress of his 
spirit, iu his own words : 

** Beside the same u dainty place there lay, 

Planted with myrtle-tree* mid laurels green , 
In which ill© birds sung many a lively liiy 
Of Gad'* high praise* and of their sweet loves 1 teene, 
As it an earthly paradise had been," 

Perhaps Spenser might revel here till his castle was fit- 
ted up for his reception j perhaps it might be a retreat at 
times from the more open perils of the desolate Kilcolman ; 
and a sw T eet change from moorland wild nets to a sort of 
Italian richness and softness of scenery. 

The way was still enchanting. Now down into the Val- 
ley of the Black water, among mills and rocks, and resound- 
ing waters ; now aloft again, overlooking the white house 
of Rennie on its precipice, and opposite to it spreading out 

8 F £ N 4 E ft* 33 

the woods and mountains of Ballynahoolly. Now arose a 
bare district of hedgerows without trees, and little brown 
huts, with geese, and goats, and swine. Now, again, pass- 
ing- some gentleman's park, with its ocean of trees, and 
under a sort of tunnel rather than avenue of beeches, which 
are planted on banks, so that they meet close above, some- 
times fur half a mite, and which at night are as dark as a 
dungeon. Then, again, I passed between hedges of cider- 
apple, all grown into trees, and giving the country — for the 
fields right and left were inclosed with the same — a very 
wild look ; and I came out on bare heights, and with view 
of far-oflf bleak and brown mountains* Near Doneraile, I 
saw the ocean of green woods belonging to Lord Done- 
raile's park and domain lying before me in the valley, and 
passed through it for a mile or more in highest admiration 
of the splendid growth and richness of foliage of its beeches, 
its superb way-side ashes, and its other trees. Surely 
where it is allowed to produce trees, Ireland does exhibit 
them in a beauty and prodigality of growth which is al- 
most unrivaled by those of England. To this contributes, 
not merely the fertility of the soil, but the moisture of the 

About two miles beyond Doneraile I found, on a wide 
plain, the ruins of Kilcolman. These ruins have frequently 
been drawn and engraved, and the views we have of them 
are very correct. Indeed, so vividly were the features of 
the scene impressed on my mind by the views, and by 
reading of it, that I seemed to know it quite well, Its old 
black mass of wall catches your eye as soon as you have 
paused the woody neighborhood of Doneraile, standing 
ap on the wild moorland plain, a solitary object amid its 
nakedness. A tolerable highway, newly constructed, leads 
op near to it, along which you advance amid scattered 
Irian cabins, and their usual potato plots, To reach the 
castle, you have to turn to the left up one of those stony 
lu>e« tbii threaten to jok a car to piece*; and fllen frave 46 


34 8 P E N 6 E R, 

scale a gate belonging to the farm on which the ruin 
stands, and advance on foot, through a farm-yard, and 
along the lake side. The remains of the castle, which con* 
sist only of part of the tower, at the southern most-corner, 
stand on a green mound of considerable extent, overlooking 
the lake, or rather a winding sort of pond, overgrown with 
potamogeton. On one side, masses of limestone rock, on 
which the castle, too, stands, protrude from the batiks, and 
on the other extends the green marsh, and the black peat 
bogs, with their piles of peat stacks. To the north, at about 
a mile's distance, stretch those brown moorland mountains, 
called by the natives the Ballyhowra Hills, but dignified 
by Spenser with the name of Mole. Of either of these 
names the peasants seemed to know nothing, but assured 
me the one nearest to the castle eastward was called Slieve 
Ruark. Southward, at a couple of miles' distance, stands 
another somber-looking tower, the remains of an ancient 
castle, which they called Oastle Pook. On a hill, nearer 
Doneraile westward, are also the ruins of an abbey ; so 
that, probably* in Spenser's time, this scene might be well 
wooded; these places inhabited by families of the English 
settlers ; and might form some society for him ; but at pres- 
ent, nothing can be more wild, dreary, and naked than 
this scene, and the whole view around. Turn which way 
you will, you see nothing but naked moorlands, bare and 
lonely, or. scattered with the cabins and potato plots of the 
peasantry. To the northeast stands, at perhaps half a 
mile's distance, a mass of plantations, inclosing the house 
of a Mr. Barry Harold ; and that is the only relieving ob- 
ject, except the distant mass of the woods of Doneraile 
Park, and the bare ranges of mountains that close in this 
unpicturesque plain at more or less distance. 

As 1 stood on the top of the massy old keep, whose 
walls are three yards thick, and its winding stairs of slip- 
pery gray marble, I seemed to be rather in a dream of 
Spenser's castle, than actually at it. The. sun was hasten- 

» P E N B e a. 35 

ing to set, and threw a clear shining light over the whole si- 
lent plain, and thousands of pewets and of rooks from Lord 
Doneraile's woods spread themselves over the green fields 
near the weedy water, and seemed to enjoy the calm 
dreamy light and stillness of the scene. The hour and the 
scene naturally brought to my mind the melodious stanza 
of Mick le, which has special reference to (his solitary me- 
morial of the history both of Ireland and its troubles, and 
the English poet of fairy-land and his fate r 

" Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale, 

And Fancy, to thy fairy bower betake; 
Even now, with balmy sweetness breathes the gale 

Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake ; 

Through the pale willows faltering whispers wake 
And evening comes with locks bedipped with dew; 

On Desmond's mold'ring turrets slowly shake 
The withered rye-grass, and the harebell blue, 
And ever and anon -sweet Mulla's plaints renew." 

Looking round over this stripped and lonely landscape, 
over the " looming flats,*' over the dark moorland bilk that 
slumber to the north and east, and then far away to more 
distant but equally sterile mountain ranges, a strange feeling 
crept over me or the force of events which could compel, 
nay, make it desirable for the most imaginative spirit of the 
age, next to Shakspeare, to quit the British capital, the wit 
and intelligence of Elizabeth's court, to sit down in this 
wilderness, and in the nice of savage and exasperated fees, 
the poetical eremite, the exile of necessity. But, perhaps, 
the place then was not so shorn of all embellishment as nowi 
The writer I have quoted seems to imagine that Spenser, 
by the sheer force of fancy, not only peopled t}ris waste 
with fauns and nymphs, but clothed it with trees, and other 
charms of nature. But we must remember that since then, 
ages of devastation, of desertion, and of an exhausting sys- 
tem, have gone over this country. Then this castle stood 
fair and complete, and no doubt had its due embellishment 
and garniture of woodland trees. The green alder not 

M S K K \ 8 L B. 

only overhung the Mull a, but this lake very likely, an J a 
pleasure bark might then add its grace and its life to the 
view from the castle windows. Todd calls it *' the woody 
Kilcolraan," on what authority I know not, and supposes 
that Spenser calls his first-horn son Sylvan us on that ac- 
count, as its heir. Here he spent twelve years, and f from 
every thing that we can learn from his poetry, to his own 
great satisfaction. We can not suppose, therefore, that he 
found the place without some native charms, far less that 
he left it without those which planting and cultivation could 
give it. As Sir Walter Raleigh planted and embellished 
his estate at Youghal with laurels and other evergreens, 
there is little doubt that Spenser would do the same here. 
He would naturally feel a lively and active interest in rais- 
ing that place and estate, which was to be the family seat 
of his children, to as high a degree of beauty and amenity 
as possible. Though busily engaged on his great poem, 
the Faerie Queene, there is evidence that he was also an 
active and clever man of business ; so much so, that Queen 
Elizabeth, in preference to all those more aristocratic and 
more largely land-endowed gentlemen, who were set- 
tled with him on the plantations of Munster, had, the very 
year of his expulsion hence by the Irish rebels, named him 
to fill the office of sheriff of the county of Cork. That he 
asserted his rights, appears from a document published by 
Mr. Hard i man, in his Irish Minstrelsy, showing that he 
had a dispute with his neighbor. Lord Roche, about some 
lands, in which, by petitions to the Lord -chancellor of Ire- 
land, it appeared that Edmund Spenser had made forcible 
claim on these plow- lands at BalUngerath, dispossessed 
the said Lord Roche, had made great waste of the wood, 
and appropriated the com growing on the estate* And the 
decision was given against Spenser. Spenser was, there- 
fore, evidently quite alive to the value of property. 

If we look at what Doneraile is, a perfect paradise of 
glorious woods, we may imagine what Kilcglman would 


have been if, instead of being laid waste with fire and sword 
by the Irish kerns, and left to become a mere expanse of 
Irish rack-rent farms and potato grounds, it had been care- 
fully planted, cultivated, and embellished, as the estate of 
the descendants of one of the proudest names of England. 
As it is, it stands one more lonely and scathed testimony 
to the evil fortunes of poets : 

*' The poets who on earth have made «• heirs 
Of truth and pore delight, by heavenly lays !" 

yet who, themselves, of all men, are still shown by a wise 
Providence to be " pilgrims and sojourners on the earth, 
having no abiding city" in it.- Their souls have a heaven- 
aspiring tendency. They can not grasp the earth ; it es- 
capes from their hold, and they leave behind them; not cas- 
tles and domains, but golden foot-prints, which, whoever fol- 
lows, finds them ever and ever leading him upward to the 
immortal regions. 

" For a rich guerdon waits on minds that dare. 
If aught be in them of immortal seed, 
And reason governs that audacious flight 
Which heavenward they direct." — Wordsworth. 

In no situations do we so much as in such as these recall 
the truth uttered by the meditative poet just quoted : 
" High is our calling, friend ! Creative art — 
Whether the instrument of words she use. 
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues, 
Demands' the service of a mind and heart, 
Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest part, 
Heroically fashioned — to infuse 
Faith in the whispers of the lonely muse, 
While the whole world seems adverse to desert. 
And oh! when nature sinks, as oft she may, 
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress, 
Soil to be strenuous for the bright reward, 
And in the soul admit of no decay, 
Brook no continuance of weak-mindedness- 
Great is the glory, for the strife is hard." 
Let us, then, at this momeat, either endeavor to look at the 



happiness which.Spenser enjoyed here for ten bright years, 
than at the melancholy finale. Here he worked busily 
and blissfully at his great poem. Forms of glory, of high 
valor and virtue, of female beauty and goodness, floated 
richly through his" mind. The imperial Grloriana, the heav- 
enly Una, * 

" Whose angel face, 
A* tjie great eye of Heaven, shined bright, 
And made a sunshine in the shady place ;" 

the sweet Belphoebe, the gallant Britomart, and the brave 
troop of knights, Arthur the magnanimous, the Red-Cross 
Knight, the holy and hardly-tried, the just Artega)l, and all 
their triumphs over Archimagos, false Duessas, and the 
might of dragon natures. This was a life, a labor which 
clothed the ground with golden flowers, made heaven look 
forth from between the clouds and the mountain tops, and 
songs of glory wake on the winds that swept past his tow- 
ers. Here he accomplished and saw given to the world 
half his great work — a whole, and 4m immortal whole as it 
regarded his fame and great mission in the world — to 
breathe lofty and unselfish thoughts into the souls of men; 
to make truth, purity, and high principle the objects of 

Here, too, he married the woman of his heart, chosen on 
the principle of his poetry, not for her lands, but for her 
beauty and her goodness. Nothing is known of her, not 
even her name, except that it was Elizabeth, that she was 
eminently beautiful, and of low degree. Some conjecture 
her to be of Cork, and a merchant's daughter, but Spenser 
himself says she was a country lass. Thus, in the Faerie 
Queene : 

" Such were these goddesses which yon did see: 
But that fourth moid, which there amid them traced 
Who can aread what creature may she bee ; 
Whether a' creature, or a goddess graced 
With heavenly gifts from heaven first enraoed ! 

8PEN8EB, 89 

Bat whatso tore ahe was, she worthy was 

To be the fourth with these three other placed : 

Yet was she certes but a country lasse ; 

Yet she all other country lasses far did passe. 
So far, as doth the daughter of the day 
All other lesser lights in light ezcell : 
80 far doth she in beautiful array 
Above all other la s s es bear the bell : 
Ne less in virtue that beseemes her well 
Doth she exceed© the rest of all her race ; 
For which the Graces that there wont to dwell 
Have for more honor brought her to this place, 

And graced her so much to be another Grace. 
Another Grace she well deserves to be, 
In whom so many graces gathered arej I J 
Excelling much the mean of her degree ;.'.,' 
Divine resemblance, beauty sovereign Tarey , j 
Firm chastity, that spight no blemish dare ; l K K -»' 

All which she with such courtesie doth grace 
That all her peres can not with her compare, 
But quite are dimmed when she is in place; 

She made me often pipe, and now to pipe apace. 
Sunfte of the world, great glory of the sky, 
That all the earth doth lighten with thy rayes, 
Great Gloriana, greatest majesty, 
Pardon thy shepherd, 'mongst so many lays 
Ashe hath sung of thee in all his days, 
To make one mencine of thy poor handmaid, 
And underneath thy feet to place her praise. 
That when thy glory shall be fin* displayed 

In future age, of her this mention may be made." 

Faerie Queene, b. xii., c. x." 

These were known in Spenser's days to be an affectionate 
monument of immortal verse to bis wife, still more nobly 
erected in his Epithalamion ; and to identify it more, in his 
Amoretti he tells us that his queen, his mother, and his 
wife were all of the same name. 

" The which three times thrice bapfty hath me made 
With gifts of body, fortune, and of minde, 
Ye three Elizabeths forever live, 
_ ._ m That thus such graces unto me did give." 


Her*. tvx\ he enjoyed the memorable risk of Sir Walter 
R.i:*i*h. whkh he commemorates in Colin Clout. He had 
sow ready tor the press the first three books of his Faerie 
l^seeae: and these he read to Raleigh during his Tint, 
prceobbr as he has described it in pastoral style, as they sat 
together under the jreen alders on the banks of the Mulls. 
- 1 mte, at wm my trade, 
Uaiflr the fa* of Mob* mat mooatam hare, 
Keeping bt eheep mim the cocOy shade 
Of the green akasa by the MaBa'a ahore. 
There a strange ahep het d ch a nced to find me out; 

Whether aQmed with bt pipe's delight, 
Wbuw piemimt «nd yihrilkd mr about, 

Qc thither fad by maacev I know not right, 
Wan when I asked fiem what place he came, 

Andbtw be bight* aimatifhedid ycleep 
The Shepherd of the Oceaa by name. 

And mid he came far from the amis aaa deep. 
He. «im*r nw hemie m me same ahade, 
r*nwked aw to pay torn plea s ant fit," Ax. 

Raleigh was enchanted with die poem. He was just re* 


Here it comes out that, however much more clothed with 
trees, and however much better this spot was to Spenser's 
days, it was still " a waste where he was forgot/' a place 
into which Raleigh considered his friend as banished, and 
as unfit for any " man in whom was aught regardful/' He 
left it, published his poem, tried court expectation and at- 
tendance once more, but found them still more bitter and 
sterile than his Irish wilderness, and came back. 

When we hear Kilcolman described by Spenser's biog- 
raphers as " romantic and delightful," it is evident that they 
judged of it from mere fancy ; and when all writers about 
him talk of the Mulla " flowing through his grounds," and 
" past his castle," they give the reader a most erroneous idea. 
The castle, it must be remembered, is on a wide plain; 
the hills are at a couple of miles or more distant ; and 
the Mulla is two miles off. We see nothing at the castle 
but the wider boggy plain, the distant naked hills, and the 
weedy pond under the castle walls. Such is Kilcolman. 

Here the poet was startled at midnight from his dreams 
by the sound of horse's hoofs beating in full gallop the stony 
tracks of the dale, and by a succeeding burst of wild yells 
from crowding thousands of infuriated Irish. Fire was put 
to the castle, and it was soon in flames. Spenser, conceal- 
ed by the gloom of one side of the building, contrived to 
escape with his wife, and most probably his three boys 
and girl, as they were saved, and lived after him, but the 
youngest child in the cradle perished in the flames, with all 
his property and unpublished poems. On a second visit to 
England he had published three more books of his Faerie 
Queene ; and there is a story of six more being lost by his 
servant, by whom they were sent to England. This could 
not be the fact, as he had himself but recently returned 
from the publication of the second three. Probably the 
rumor arose from some other MSS. lost in that manner. 
Fleeing to England, distracted at the fate of his child and 
his p r op er ty , he died mere, heart-broken and in poverty, at 



an inn or lodging-house in Ring-street. Westminster, tod 
was buried in Westminster Abbey, at the expense of the 
Earl of Essex, " his hearse attended," says Camben, "by 
poets, and mournful elegies and poems, with the pens thtl 
wrote them, thrown into his tomb." 

There is much that we naturally are anxious to know 
counoctod with the final fate and family of Spenser. How 
liiti children actually escaped. What became of them and 
their claim on the property 1 When was the property of 
Kilcolman lost to the poet's descendants t Of all this next 
to nothing is known. The literati of that age do not seem 
to have givon themselves any trouble to preserve the facti 
of the history of their illustrious cotemporaries. Shaks- 
poure and Spenser were left to the cold keeping of care- 
loss tmditiou. The particulars, beyond what we have al- 
ready given, are very few. 

S | tensor's widow returned to Ireland, and there brought 
up her children. Of these, Sylvanus, as eldest son, inherit* 
v\\ K outdo and Kilcolman. It appears that he found some 
difliculiy with lib mother, Spenaer*s widow, who married 

flPENSEK. * .. 48 

the estate of his cousin Hugoline, of Rennie. This Hugo- 
line was the son of Peregrine, the poet's youngest son, who 
had Rennie made over to him by his eldest brother, Sylva- 
nus. Hugoline took part with his Catholic relatives, and, 
siding with King James at the Revolution, was outlawed, 
and his property at Rennie made over to his cousin Will- 
iam. Thus the descendants of Sylvanus, or the eldest son 
of the poet, became the only known posterity of the poet. 
The descendants of William, and therefore of Sylvanus 
Spenser, the elder male line, possessed Rennie till 1734, 
soon after which this line became extinct. There are still 
in Ireland persons claiming to be descendants, by the moth- 
er's side, from Spenser ; ' and the Travers, of Clifton, near 
Cork, are lineal descendants of Spenser's sister Sarah and 
John Travers, a friend of the poet's, who accompanied him 
to Ireland, and had the town lands of A rd en bone and 
Knocknacaple given to him by Spenser as his sister's mar- 
riage dowry. The descendants of this sister number among 
many distinguished families of Ireland, those of the Earls 
of Cork and Ossary, Earl Shannon, Lord Doneraile, Earl 
of Clanwilliam, &c. 

The fame of Spenser is not quite rooted out of the minds 
of the neighboring peasantry. I inquired of an old man 
and his family, who live close by the castle, whom that 
castle formerly belonged to, and they replied, " To one 

"Who was bet" 

" They could not tell : they only knew that many offi- 
cers from Fermoy, and others, came to see the place." 

" Ay, I have heard of him," I added. " He was an 
Englishman, and the Irish burned him out of the castle, and 
he fled to England." 

« Ob no ! nothing of the kind. He lived and died there, 
and was buried just below the castle, which used to be a 
church-yard. Bones are often dug up, and on the western 
side of the mound there had been a nunnery." 

* * J *> 

-2c -jidMSBL-n a' :ae -*.»**■ • met i -m 
sure* ess iuma— jlut^ ji" it?»! nut if 

IaiiiI "it!,! -r £-nm>. «• bt «vt nan 
.1 ae «u *x?~* v.- ^^_,j. j IMS. leea 


There are two reasons why I proposed to omit the 
homes and haunts of Shakspeare from the present volumes ; 
the first, because I have found it impossible to include the 
dramatic poets in the compass of these two, and must re- 
scire them for a third ; and the second, because I have al- 
ready, in my Visits to Remarkable Places (vol*i.), devoted 
a considerable article to almost the only place where his 
homes and haunts still remain, Stratford- upon -Avon, A 
very little reflection, bowever t convinced me that an entire 
omttsiofi of the haunts of this great national poet from these 
»"* two volumes would be received an a disappointment 
by a numerous class of readers. Shakspcare is not merely 
a dramatic poet. Great and peerless as is his dramatic 
fame, the very elements, not of dramatic art and fame 
alone, but of universal poetry, and that of the highest order, 
are so diffused throughout all his works, that the character 
of poet soars above the character of dramatist in biro, like 
some heaven-climbing lower above a glorious church* Ev- 

ery line, almost every word, is a living mass of poetry; 
those are scattered through the works of ail authors as such 
exponents of their deepest sentiments as tney can not com- 
maud themselves They arc like the branches, the bads, 
the flowers and leaves of a great tree of poetry, making a 
magnificent whole, and rich and beautiful as nature itself, 
down to its minutest portions. To leave out Shakspeare 
were, indeed, to play Hamlet with the part of Hanolet him- 
self omitted j it were to invite guests, and get the host to 
absent himself. In the Walhalla of British poetry, the stat- 
ue of Shakspeare must be first admitted and placed in the 
center, before gradations and classifications are thought of. 
He is the universal genius, whose presence and spirit must 
and will pervade the whole place. 

And yet, where are the homes and haunts of Shakspeare 
in London? Like those of a thousand other remarkable 
men, in the accidents and the growth of this great city 
they are swept away. Fires and renovation have carried 
every thing before them. If the fame of men depended on 
bricks and mortar, what reputations would have been ex- 
tinguished within the last two centuries in London ! In 
no place in the world have the violent necessities of a rap- 
id and immense development paid so little respect to the 
"local habitations'* of great names. The very resting- 
places and tombs of many are destroyed, and their bones, 
like those of Chutterton, have been scattered by the spades 
of the unlettered laborer. 

We may suppose that Shakspeare, on his coming up to 
London, would reside near the theaters where he sought 
his livelihood. The first appears to have been that of 
Black friars. It has long been clean gone, and its locality 
is now occupied by Play-house-yard, near Apothecaries* 
Hall, and the dense buildings around. Play-house-yard de- 
rives its name from the old play-house. In Knight's Lon- 
don, it is suggested that this theater might be pulled down 
soon after the permanent close of the theaters during the 

S H A K B p E A I E, 

Commonwealth, by the Puritans j but the real old theater 
of Shakspeare mast, had that not been the case, have per- 
ished entirely in the fire of London t which cleared all this 
ground, from Tower-street to the Temple. If Shakspeare 
ever held horses at the theater door on his first coming to 
town, it would be here, for here he seems to have been 
first engaged. The idea of his holding horses at a theater 
door, bold and active fellow as be had shown himself in his 
deer-stealing exploits, and with friends and acquaintances 
in town, has been scouted, especially as he was then a full- 
grown man of twenty -three. The thing, however, is by no 
means improbable. Shakspeare was most likely as inde- 
pendent as he was clever and active. On arriving in town, 
and seeing an old acquaintance, Thomas Green, at this the- 
ater, he might, like other remarkable men who have made 
their way to eminence in London, be ready to turn his 
hand to any thing till something better turned up. Green, 
who was a player, might be quite willing to introduce 
Shakspeare into lhat character and the theater; but it had 
yet to be proved that Shakspeare could make an actor of 
himself, and, till opportunity offered, what so likely to seize 
the attention of a hanger about the theater as the want of 
careful horse-holder for those who came there in such 
style, which appears was then common enough* We have 
the statement from Sir William Davenant, and therefore 
from a eotemporary* admirer, and assumed relative. We 
are told that the speculation was not a bad one. Shaks- 
peare,, by his superior ago and carefulness, soon engrossed 
ill this business, and had to employ those boys, who had bo- 
ore been acting on their own account, as bis subordinates; 
bence they acquired and retained, long after he had 
Minted into an actor himself, within the theater, the 
ime of Shakspeare *s boys. That he became "an actor at 
ne of the play-houses, and did act exceedingly well," Au- 
rey tells us. He is supposed to have acted Old Knowell 
in Ben Junson's "Every Man in hia Humor;" and Oldys 

11 A K 3 t £ A K E. 

tells us that a relative of Sbakspeare, then In advanced age, 
but who in his youth had been in the habit of visiting Lon- 
don for the purpose of seeing him act in some of his own 
plays, told Mr. Jones, of Tarbeck, that tJ he had a faint rec- 
ollection of having once fie en him act a part in one of his 
own comedies, wherein, being to personate a decrepit old 
man, he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak and 
drooping, and unable to walk, that he was furced to be 
supported, and carried by another person to a table, at 
which he was seated among some company who were eat- 
ing, and one of them sang a song*" This is supposed to 
have been in the character of Adam, in *■ As You Like It," 
and hence it has been inferred, in connection with his act* 
ing the Ghost in Hamlet, and Old K no well, that be took 
chiefly old or elderly characters. 

Every glimpse of this extraordinary man, who, however 
much be might have been acknowledged and estimated in 
his own day, certainly lived long before his time, is deeply 
interesting. That he was estimated highly we know from 
Jonson himself; 

" Sweet gwan of Avon, what a right it wore 
To soo thee in oar w a Lore yet Appear, 
And make those High la upon the banks of Thames 
That did so take Eliza and our James/' 

When the two monarehs under whom Bhakspeare lived 
admired and patronized him, we may be sure that Shaks* 
peare's great merits were perceived, and drat vividly, 
though the age had not that intellectual expansion which 
could enable it to rise above its prejudices against a player, 
and comprehend that Skakspeare's dramas were not mere- 
ly the most wonderful dramas, but the most wonderful ex- 
positions of human life and nature that had ever appeared. 
People were too busy enjoying the splendid scenes pre- 
sented to them by this great genius, to note down for the 
gratification of posterity the dayly doings, connections, and 
whereabouts of the man with whom they were so familiar. 

fl li A K S PIS a a B. 


He grew rich, however, by their flocking to his theater, 
and disappeared from among them. 

In this theater of Blackiriars he rose to great popularity 
both as an actor and dramatic author, and became a pro- 
prietor. It was under the management of Richard Bur- 
bage, who was also a shareholder in the Globe Theater at 
Bank side. To the theater at Bank side Shakspeare also 
transferred himself, and there he became, in 1GG3, the les- 
see. There he seems to have continued about ten years, 
or till 1613 ; having, however, so early as 1597, purchased 
one of the best houses in his native town of Stratford, re- 
paired and improved it, and that so much that he named it 
New Place. To this, as his proper home, he yearly retir- 
ed when the theatrical season closed ; and having made a 
comfortable fortune, when the theater was burned down in 
1613, retired from public life altogether. 

Bankside is a spot of interest, because Shakspeare lived 
there many years during the time he was in London, It 
is that portion of South wark lying on the river side between 
the bridges of Black friars and South wark. This ground 
was then wholly devoted to public amusements, such as 
they were. It was a place of public gardens, play-houses, 
and worse places. Park Garden was one of the most fa- 
mous resorts of the metropolis. There were the bear- gar* 
dens, where Elizabeth, her nobles, and ladies used to go 
and solace themselves with that elegant sport, bear-baiting. 
There, also, was the Globe Theater, of which Shakspeare 
ame licensed proprietor, and near which he lived. The 
icaler was an octagon wooden building, which has been 
lade familiar by many engravings of it. In Henry the 
iflh, Shakspeare alludes to its shape and material : 

*■ Can tub cockpit hold 
The Tasty field* of France 1 Or may we cram 
Within Ihi* trwden the very * Bjwjuej 
That did affright the air at Agincourt ?" 

It was Dot much to be wondered at that this wooden 
v, I.— C 

tt £ --it— V -r.ii u:» 
s :=-* :-mt - N.«r :. r-r. 

"-inn.; >i "tii» scuri — •* 

I H A K S P I A 1 E. 51 

in the very year after it was burned down, there was a 
dreadful fire in Stratford, which consumed a good part. of 
the town, and put his own house into extreme danger. ' 

These were the scenes where Shakspeare acted, for 
which he wrote his dramas, and where, like a careful and 
thriving man as he was, he made a fortune before he was 
forty, calculated to be equal to <£1000 a year at present. 
He had a brother, also, on the stage at the same time with 
himself, who died in 1607, and was buried in St. Savior's 
Church, Southwark, where his name. is entered in the par- 
ish register as " Edmund Shakspeare, a player." 

The place where he was accustomed particularly to re- 
sort for social recreation was the Mermaid Tavern, Friday 
street, Cheapside. This was the wits' house for a long pe 
riod. There a club for beaux esprit* was established by 
Sir Walter Raleigh, and here came, in their several days 
and times, Spenser, Shakspeare, Philip Sidney, Jonson, 
Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Marlowe, Selden, Cot- 
ton, Carew, Martin, Donne, Wotton, and all the brave 
spirits of those ages. Here Jonson and Shakspeare used 
to shine out by the brilliancy of their powers, and in their 
" wit combats,'* in which Fuller describes Jonson as a Span- 
ish great galleon, and Shakspeare as the English tnan-of- 
*oar. " Master Jonson, like the former, was built far high- 
er in learning ; solid, but slow in his performances. Shaks- 
peare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but 
lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides* tack about, and 
take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit 
and his invention." Enough has been said of this cele- 
brated club by a variety of writers.. There can be no doubt 
that there wit and merriment abounded to that degree, that, 
as Beaumont has said in his epistle to Jonson, one of their 
meetings was enough to make up for all the stupidity of 
die city for three days past, and supply it for long to come ; 
to make the worst companions right witty, and " downright 
fools more wise." There is as little doubt, however, that, 


with Jonson in the chair, drinking would be as pre-eminent 
at the wit . The Tenet which he had inscribed oyer the 
door of the Apollo room, at the Devil Tavern, another of 
their resorts, are, spite of all vindications by ingenious pens, 
too indicative of that. 

" Welcome all who lead or follow 

To the oracle of Apollo : 

Here he speaks out of his pottle, 

Or die tin-pot, his tower bottle: 

All his answers are divine ; 

Truth itself doth flow like wine. 

Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers, 

Cries old Sam, the king of stinkers. 
■ He tile half of life abuses 

That sits watering with the Moses, 

Those doll gods no good can mean us : 

Wine— it is the cream of Venus, 

And the poet's horse accounted : 

Ply it, and 70a all are mounted. 

'Tis the tine Phoebian liquor, 

Cheers the brain, makes it the quicker; 

Pays all debts, cures all diseases, 
, And at once the senses pleases. 

Welcome all who lead- or follow 

To the oracle of Apollo." 

There is not any reason to believe that Sbakspeare, lov- 
er of wit and jollity as he was, was a practical upholder of 
this pernicious doctrine. He may often make his characters 
speak in this manner, but personally he retired as soon as 
he could from this bacchanal life to his own quiet hearth 
at Stratford ; and if we are to believe his sonnets address- 
ed to his wife, and they possess the tone of a deep and real 
sentiment, he seriously rued the orgies in which he had 

" O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide, 
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, 
Tuat did not better for my life provide 
Than public means which public manners breeds : 

I H A I S P I A I I. 08 

Hence comes it that my name reoeivefra brand, 

And almost thence my nature is subdued 
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand ; 

Pity me, then, and wish I were renewed. 
While, lik* a willing patient, I will drink 

Potions of eyseU,* 'gainst my strong infection. 
No bitterness that I will bitter think, 

No double penance to correct correction. 
Pity me, then, dear friend, and I assure ye 
Even mat your pity is enough to cure me." 

We can not read these and many other portions of his 
sonnets, we can not see Shakspeare retiring every year, 
and as soon as able, altogether from the bacchanalian and 
dissipated habits of the literary men of the day, to the 
peaceful place of his birth, and the purity of his wedded 
home, without respecting his moral character as much as 
we admire his genius. The praises and the practice of 
drunkenness by. literary men, and poets especially, havo 
entailed infinite mischief on themselves and on their follow- 
ers. What -woes and degradations are connected with the 
history of brilliant men about town, which have tended to 
stamp the general literary character with the brand of im- 
providence and disrespect— jails, deaths, picking out of 
gutters, sponging-houses, and domestic misery— how thick- 
ly do all these rise on our view as we look back through 
the history of men of genius, the direct result of the absurd 
rant about drinking and debauch ! . With what a beautiful 
purity do the names of the greatest geniuses of all rise 
above these details, like the calm spires of churches through 
the fogs and smokes of London I How cheering is it to 
see the number of these grow with the growth of years! 
Skakspeare, Spenser, Sidney, Milton, Cowper, Scott, 
Wordsworth, Southey, Shelley, have all been sober and do- 
mestic men ; and the sanction which they have given by their 
practice to the proprieties of life, will confer on all future 
ages blessings as ample as the public truths of their teach* 
• Vinegar.- 


ing. The Mermaid Tavern, like the other haunts of Shaks- 
peare, has disappeared. It was swept away by the firo. 
If any traces -of his haunts remain, they must be in the 
houses of the great, where he was accustomed-to visit, as 
those of the Lords Southampton, Leicester, Pembroke, 
Montgomery, and others. These are, however, now a]] 
either gone, or so cut up and metamorphosed that it were 
vain to look for them as abodes hallowed by the footsteps 
of Shakspeare. If it be true that he was commanded to 
read his play of Falstaff in love— the Merry Wives of Wind- 
sor — to Queen Elizabeth, it would probably be at White- 
hall or St, James's, for Somerset House was comparatively 
little occupied by her. 

The very places in London more particularly illustrated 
by his genius have too much followed the fate of those in 
which he lived. It is true, the Tower, Westminster Pal- 
ace, and some other of those public buildings and old lo- 
calities where the scenes of his national dramas are laid, 
•still remain, spite of time and change ; and the sites of oth- 
ers, though now covered with wildernesses of fresh liouses, 
may be identified. But The Boar's Head in East Cheap 
is annihilated ; it, too, fell in the great fire, and the modern 
improvements thereabout, the erection of new London 
Bridge, and the cutting of King William-street, have swept 
away nearly all remaining marks of the neighborhood. It 
is supposed that the present statue of William IV. stands 
not very far from the spot where Hal reveled and Sir John 
swaggered and drank sack. 

Over London, and many a spot in and about it, as well 
as over a thousand later towns, forests, and mountains, of 
this and other countries, wherever civilized man has played 
his part, will the genius of Shakspeare cast an undying 
glory ; but to see the actual traces of his existence we must 
resort to the place of his nativity and death. There still 
stand the house and the room in which he was born ; there 
stands the house in which he wooed his Ann Hathaway, 


and the old garden in which he walked with her. There 
-stands his tomb, to which the great, and the wise, and the 
gifted from all regions of the world have made pilgrimage, 
followed by millions of those who would be thought so, die 
frivolous and the empty ; but all paying homage, by the 
force of reason, or the force of fashion, vanity and imita- 
tion, to the universal interpreter of humanity. It is well 
that the slow change of a country town has permitted the 
spirit of veneration to alight there, and cast its protecting 
wings over the earthly traces of that existence which dif- 
fused itself as a second life through all the realms of intel- 

There is nothing missing of Shakspeare's. there but the 
house which he. built, and the mulberry-tree which he plant- 
ed. The tree was hewn .down, the house was pulled down 
and dispersed piecemeal, by the infamous parson Gastrell, 
who thus " damned himself to eternal fame" more thor- 
oughly than the fool who fired the Temple of Diana. 
There, only a few miles distant, is the stately hall of Charle- 
cote, whither (he youthful poacher of Parnassus was car- 
ried before the unlucky knight. There, too, and, oh shame I 
shame to England, shame to the lovers of Shakspeare, 
shame to those who annually turn Stratford and their club 
into a regular '* Eatans will," on pretense of honoring Shaks- 
peare ; there, too, live the descendants of the nearest rel- 
ative of Shakspeare— of his sister Joan— in unnoticed and 
unmitigated poverty ! Seven, years ago, on my visit to this 
place, I pointed out this fact ; and now, that the disgrace- 
ful fact still remains, I will once more record the words I 
then wrote. 

41 As I went to Sbottry, I met with a little incident, which 
interested me greatly by its unexpectedness. As I was 
about to pass over a stile, at the end of Stratford, into the 
fields leading to that village, I saw the master of the na- 
tional school mustering his scholars to their tasks. I stop- 
ped, being pleased with the look of the old man, and said, 

56 I B A X I f 1 A 1 I. 

1 You seem to have a considerable number of lads here ; 
•hall you raise another Shakspeare from among them, think 
you Y ' Why/ replied the master, ' 1 have a Shakspeare 
now in the school' I knew that Shakspeare had no de- 
scendants beyond the second generation, and I was not 
aware that there was any of his family remaining. But it 
seems that the posterity of bis sister, Joan Hart, who is 
mentioned in his will, yet exist ; part under her marriage 
name of Hart, at Tewkesbury, and a family in Stratford, of 
the name of Smith. 

M ' I have a Shakspeare here,' said the master, with evi- 
dent pride and pleasure. * Here, boys, here !' He quick- 
ly mustered his laddish troop in a row, and said to me, 
• There now, sir, can you tell which is a Shakspeare V -■ I 
glanced my eye along the line, and instantly fixing it on 
one boy, said, ' That is the Shakspeare.' ' You are right,' 
•aid the master, ' that is the Shakspeare ; the Shakspeare 
cast of countenance is there. That is William Shakspeare 
Smith y a lineal descendant of the poet's sister.' 

" The lad was a fine lad of, perhaps, ten years of age ; 
and, certainly, the resemblance to the bust of. Shakspeare 
in the church at Stratford is wonderful, considering he is 
BOt descended from Shakspeare himself, but from his sister; 
and that the seventh in descent ' What is odd enough is, 
whether it be mere accident or not, that the color of 
the lad's eyes, a light hazel, is the very same as that 
given to those of the Shakspeare bust, which, it is well 
known, was originally colored, and of which exact copies 

" I gave the boy six-pence, telling him I hoped he would 
make as great a man as his ancestor — the best term I could 
lay hold of for the relationship, though not the true one. 
The boy's eyes sparkled at the sight of the money, and 
the healthful, joyous color rushed into his cheeks ; his fin- 
gers continued making acquaintance with so large a piece 
of money m his pocket, and the sensation created by so 


great an event in the school was evident ~ It sounded odd- 
ly enough, as I was passing along the street in the evening, 
to hear some of the same schoolboys say one to another, 
( That is the gentleman who gave Bill Shakspeare six- 
pence.' ^ 

" Which of all the host of admirers of Shakspeare, who 
has plenty of money, and does not know what to do with it, 
will think of giving that lad, one of the nearest representa- 
tives of the great poet, an education, and a fair chance to 
raise himself in the world ? The boy's father is a poor 
man; if I be not fanciful, partaking somewhat of the Shaks- 
peare physiognomy, 41 but also keeps a small shop, and ekes 
out his profits by making his house a ( Tom-and -Jerry.' 
He has other children, and complained of misfortune. He 
said that some years ago Sir Richard Phillips had been 
there, and promised to interest the public about him, but 
that he never heard any more Of the man's merits 
or demerits I know nothing : I only know that in the place 
of Shakspeare's birth, and where the town is full of the 
4 signs' of his glory ; and where Oarrick made that pomp- 
ous jubilee, hailing Shakspeare as a demigod, and calling 
him * the god of our idolatry ;' and where thousands, and 
even millions, flock to do homage to the shrine of this denlf* 
god, and pour out deluges of verse,, of the most extravagant 
and sentimental nature, in the public albums ; there, as is 
usual in such cases, the nearest of blood to the object of 
such vast .enthusiam are poor and despised : the 'flood of 
public admiration, at its most towering height, in its. most 
vehement current, never for a moment winds its course in 
the slightest degree to visit them with its refreshment ; nor, 
of the thousands of pounds spent in the practice of this de- 
votion, does one bodle drop into their pockets. 
" Garrick, as I have observed, once 

* Inland, when, in 1793, he collected hit " Views on the Avon," was 
much struck with the likeness of this bust in Thomas Hart, one of tint 
fnoakj who then Hred in Shakspeare's house. 



' Called the world to worship on the banks 
. Of Aron, famed in song. Ah, pleasant proof 
That piety has still in human hearts 
Some place— * spark or two not yet extinct 
The mulberry-tree was hong with blooming wreaths, 
The mulberry-tree stood center of the dance, 
The mulberry-tree was hymn'd with dulcet airs, 
And from his touchwood trunk the mulberry-tree 
Supplied such reHcs as devotion holds 
Still sacred, and preserves with pious care. 
So 'twas an hallowed time. Decorum reign'd, 
And mirth without offense. No few return 'd 
Doubtless much edified, and all refresh'd.' 

Cowper J $ Ta*k, b. yi. 

" But it does not appear that Garrick and his fellow- wor- 
shipers troubled themselves -at all about the descendants 
of the poet's sister ; the object, in fact, seemed at the mo- 
ment to be rather to worship Garrick than Shakspeare; 
how, then, could any ray of sympathy diverge from two 
*demi-gods' to the humble relatives of one of them? And 
why should it? I hoar honest utilitarians asking-, why 1 

a H A I g P I A I B. 59 

" It might, also, be whispered, that it would not be much 
more irrational to extend some of that enthusiasm and 
money, which are now wasted on empty rooms and spurious 
musty relics, to at least trying to benefit and raise in the' 
scale of society beings who have the national honor to be 
relics and mementos of the person worshiped, as well as 
to old chairs, and whitewashed butchers 9 shops. Does it 
never occur to the votaries of Shakspeare, that these are 
the only sentient; conscious, and rational things connected with 
his memory which can feel a living sense of. the honor con* 
ferred on him, and possess a grateful knowledge that the 
mighty poet of their house has not sung for them in vain, 
and that they only, in a world overshadowed with his glory, 
are not unsoothed by its visitings ?"* 

Seven years have gone over since this was written, and 
what has been the effect ? The Shakspeare Club have 
gone down to Stratford, and feasted and guzzled in honor 
of Shakspeare, and the representatives of Shakspeare in the 
place have been left in their poverty. There seems to be 
some odd association of ideas in the minds of Englishmen 
on the subject of doing honor to genius. To reward war- 
riors, and lawyers, and politicians, places, titles, and estates 
are given. To reward poets and philosophexs, the prop- 
erty which they honestly, and with the toil of their whole 
lives, create, is taken, from them, and that which should form 
an estate for their descendants to all posterity, and become 
a monument of fame to the nation, is conferred on book- 
tellers. The copyright of authors, or, in other words, the 
right to tHe property which they made, was taken away in 
the reign of Queen Anne, "for the benefit of literature ;" 
so says the act. Let the same principle, in God's name, be 
carried out into all other professions, and we shall soon 
come to an understanding on the subject. Take a lord's 
or a squire's land from him and his family forever, after a 
given number of years, for the benefit of aristocracy ; take 
• Viriti to Bemsrkable Places, voL i., p v 98-103. 


the fanner's plow and team, his harrows and his corn, Jbr 
At* btaefit of agriculture ; take the mill-owner's mills, with 
all their spinning-jennies, and their cotton, and their wool, 
and their silk, and their own new inventions, for the bene- 
fit of manufacturing ; take the merchant's ships and their 
cargoes, the shopkeeper's shop and his stores, the lawyer's 
parchment and his fees, the physician's and surgeon's physic 
and fees, for the benefit of commerce, trade, law, and phys- 
ic : and let the clergy suffer no injury of neglect in this re- 
spect; let their churches, and their glebes, and tithes, be 
taken for the benefit of religion ; let them all go shares 
with the authors in this beautiful system of justice and en- 
couragement, and then the whole posse will soon put their 
heads together, and give back to the author his rights, while 
they take care of their own. 

But till this be done — so long as the children and de- 
scendants, and nearest successors of the author are rob- 
bed by the state, while the poet and philosopher crown 
their country with glory, and fill it with happiness, and 
their country in return brands their children with disgrace, 
and fills them with emptiness — while they go in rags, and 
the bookseller in broad-cloth — in leanness, and the book- 
seller, endowed by the state with the riches of their ances- 
tors, in jollity and fat— so long let those who are anxious 
ID do honor to the glorious names of our literature, honor 
them with some show of common sense and common feel- 
iag. Honor Shakspeare, indeed! Has he not honored 
himself sufficiently 1 What says John Milton, another glo- 
i son of the Muse 1 

4 What needs my 8hakspeare for his honorVl bones, 
The labor of an age in piled stones? 
Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid 
Under a star-ypointing pyramid ? 
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame ! 
What need'st thou each weak witness of thy name? 
Thou in our wonder and astonishment 
tUth built thyself a long-lived monument" 

8HAK8PEA1S. 61 

Bat if this honor be not needed, what needs there for our 
Shakspeare, the still weaker witness of his name, of guz- 
zling and gormandizing? Is there anyjthe remotest con* 
section between the achievements of pure intellect and 
seven-gallon barrel stomachs of anniversary topers 1 Be- 
tween the still labors of a divine imagination, and the up- 
roarious riot of a public feed when half-seas over f Let 
mock turtle do honor to mock heroes ; but what has Shaks- 
peare, and the honor of Shakspeare, to do with the " hip I 
hips !" and the swilling of mere herds of literary swine 1 
To become part and parcel of such a herd, were Dickens 
and Talfourd invited down to Stratford this very year. 
They wisely eschewed the honor. 

Let us suppose, for a moment, that the spirit of Shaks- 
peare could hear the hiccoughings of the crew assembled 
in his name, to honor him forsooth ! If he were permitted 
to descend from the serene glory of his seventh heaven, 
and appeared at the door of their dining-room with the mea- 
ger descendants of die Shakspeare family crowding sadly 
behind him, what are the indignant words that he would 
address t<5 the flushed and bloated throng of- his soi-disant 
worshipers 1 They have been already addressed to like 
ears by the great Master of love, and of the philosophy 
of true honor, " I was an hungered, and ye gave me no 
meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink ; I was a 
stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed me 
not ; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. * * . * 
biasmmk as ye did it not to the least of these, ye did it ma 
to aie."* No, the sycophantic humbugs never did it to 
Shakspeare. What cares he, in his seventh heaven of glory 
and of poetry, for their guzzlings 1 What have they to do 
with him or his honor f Is it not a precious imposture, to 
make a feast to a man's honor, and not to invite to it his 
nearest relatives, especially when they live at the next door 1 
In the name of the national reputation, let this wretched 
* Mfttthew, xxv., 43-45. 


and etrorisric farce be put down by the good sense of the 
British public If these people will not honor Shakspeare 
by honoring his family, let them at least, abstain from in- 
sshing their poverty and their neglect by this public parade, 
and tins devouring of joints. 

Hear what Robert Southey says : " The last descendants 
of Milton died in poverty. The descendants of Shaks- 
peare* are living in poverty, and in the lowest condition 
of life. Is this just to these individuals ? Is it grateful to 
those who are the pride and boast of their country ? Is it 
honorable or becoming to us as a nation, holding — the bet- 
ter part of us assuredly, and the majority affecting to hold 
— the names of Shakspeare and Milton in veneration ? To 
have placed the descendants of Shakspeare and Milton in 
respectability and comfort in that sphere of life where, 
with a full provision for our natural wants and social enjoy- 
ments, free scope is given to the growth of our intellectual 
and immortal part, simple justice was all that was required 
—only that they should have possessed the perpetual copy- 
right of their ancestors' works— only that they should not 
have been deprived of their proper inheritance."! 

The time is evidently not yet come for setting this great 
matter right ; for doing this great act of justice toward the 
teachers of the world and glorifiers of our national name ; 
for executing this due redress. We have yet much to 
learn from those divine minds, whom, in Southey *s words, 
we profess to venerate. But still the public mind is not 
destitute of its glimmerings of the truth, and its responsi- 
bilities. Since I wrote the pages quoted, numerous indi- 
viduals have written to inquire if nothing can be done to 
remove the opprobrium of our treatment to the Shakspeare 
family. Many visitors have desired to see the boy thus 
pointed out, and have made him presents, but lie still re- 
mains unprovided for. A clergyman, about two years ago, 
wrote to me from the west of England, expressing the in- 
* Such are Southey'f words. t Colloquies, vol. ii., p. 312. 


terest he felt in this youth, whom he had seen at Stratford, 
and his anxious desire to have a subscription raised to ed- 
ucate him, and put him into some honorable way of life. 
He begged me to make a move, in which he would zeal- 
ously co-operate, to interest a sufficient number of literary 
and influential individuals to agitate the question, and com- 
mence the subscription. I made the attempt, but in vain. 
Some parties gave, professions which ended in nothing, 
others which began in nothing ; some doubted the chance 
of success, and some successfully chanced to doubt One 
of the first persons whom I was naturally induced to write 
to for advice and co-operation was Mr. Charles Knight. 
Mr. Charles Knight had recently published a voluminous 
edition of Shakapeare's works, with elaborate criticisms and 
life ; his apparent enthusiasm about Shakspeare suggested 
him instantly as a most likely person to unite in a plan for 
vindicating the honor of the nation toward the living rep- 
resentatives of the poet. I begged him to say whether he 
would do so, and whether he would be good enough to 
point out any means or parties by which this .might be 
prosecuted. This enthusiast of Shakspearian honors did 
not even observe the ordinary courtesy of a reply. On the 
contrary, the Countess of Lovelace, the worthy representa- 
tive of another great bard, expressed the readiest and most 
zealous desire to move all those within the reach of her in- 
fluence in the matter. But, in a word, it did not succeed. 
The honor of Shakspeare lay too much on the national 
tongue instead of on the heart, yet to procure justice to the 
living members of bis family. 

Let us still trust that that time will come. I will not be- 
lieve that this great and intellectual nation, which has given 
an estate and titles to the family of Marlborough, and the 
same to the family.of Wellington, will refuse all such marks 
of honor to the Shakspeare family. Shall the heroes of 
the sword alone be rewarded 1 Shall the heroes of the 
pen, those far nobler and diviner heroes, be treated with -a 


penniless contempt ? In this nation the worship of mili- 
tary honors is fast subsiding, the perception of the great- 
ness and beneficence of intellect is fast growing. We are 
coming to see that it is out of our immortal minds, and not 
out of our swords and cannons, that our highest, purest, 
and most imperishable glory has grown and will grow. 
The people every day are more and more coming to this 
knowledge, and making it felt by government and the 
world. Let the people, then, wait no longer of Shakspeare 
clubs ; let them leave them to their bottles and their beef; 
let them wait of no dilettanti authors, commentators, or 
scribbling publishers ; let them wait of no governments, 
but lot the people stand forward, and pay a national honor 
to Shakspeare, and in Shakspeare to justice and to intel- 
lect. The money, I have said, which is spent in visiting 
the trumpery collected as his at Stratford would have pur- 
chased a large estate for the descendants of the Shakspeare 
family. That has not been done, and never will be done ; 
but a penny a piece from every person in this kingdom, 
who has derived days and months of delight from the pa- 
ges of Shakspeare, would purchase an estate equal to that 
of Strathfieldsaye, or of Blenheim. What a glorious trib- 
ute would this be from the people of England to their great 
dramatic poet — the greatest dramatic poet in the world ! 
How far would it rise above the tributes to violence and 
bloodshed ! The tribute of a nation's love to pure and 
godlike intelloct ! This estate should not be appropriated 
on the feudal principle of primogeniture ; should not he 
the estate of one, but of the family ; should be vested in 
trustees chosen by the people, to educate, and honorably 
settle in the world evert/ son and daughter of the Shaks- 
pearian family ; and to support and comfort the old age of 
the unfortunate and decrepit of it That it should not en- 
courage idleness and a mischievous dependence, all such 
persons, when educated and endowed with a sufficient sum 
to enable them to make their way in the world, should be 



left so to make their way. The nation would then have 
discharged its parental duties toward them, and they could 
expect no more. They should be educated to expect no 
more, and more should not be extended to them, except in 
case of utter misfortune or destitution, and then only on a 
scale that should be in itself no temptation. 

Such an estate, founded by the people, would be the 
noblest monument ever yet erected to any man, or on any 
occasion. Shakspeare has a decent monument at Strat- 
ford, and an indifferent one in Westminster Abbey ; this 
would be one worthy of him and of the nation which pro- 
duced him. It would take away from us a melancholy 
opprobrium, and confer on him and the British people an 
equal glory. 


The chief places connected with the name of Cowley 
are Barn-Elms and Chertsey, both in Surrey. Cowley is 


of their compositions it will be readily inferred that they 
were- not successful in representing or moving the affec- 
tions. " For these reasons," Johnson adds, " that though 
in- his own time considered of unrivaled excellence, and as 
having taken a flight beyond all that went before him, 
Cowley's reputation could not last. His character of 
writing was, indeed, not his own : he unhappily adopted 
that which was predominant. He saw u certain way to 
present praise ; and, not sufficiently inquiring by what 
means the ancients have continued to delight through all 
the changes of human manners, he contented himself with 
a deciduous laurel, of which the verdure in its spring was 
bright and gay, but which time has been continually steal- 
ing from his brows." 

In "Cowley, in fact, you will find many beautiful senti- 
ments, and much learning ; but he seems always playing 
with his matter, not dealing earnestly with it ; constructing 
toys and gewgaws, not everlasting structures. You have 
artifice instead of feeling, and conceits and often downright 
fustian instead of heart, soul, and human passion. Who 
would now willingly wade through pages of such doggerel 
as fJ»iff t 

" Since 'tis my doom, Lore's undershrieve, 

Why this reprieve f ^. 

Why doth she my adyowson fly, 

Incumbency ? 
To sell thyself dost thou intend 

By candle's end ; 
And hold the contract thus in doubt, 

v Life's taper out f 
Think but how soon the market fails," &c. 

"Who can tolerate, after being raised to some expectation 
by a beginning like the following, the end which comes t 

" Begin the song, and strike the living lyre : 
Lo ! how the years to come a numerous and well-fitted quire, 

All hand in hand do decently advance, 
And to my song with smooth and equal measure dance; 


While the dance lasts, how long soe'er it bay 
My music 1 ! voice shall bear it company, 

Till all gentle notes be drowned 
In the last trumpet's dreadful sound. 

Bat stop, my 1 
Hold thy Pindaric Pegasus closely in, . «. 
Which does to rage begin — 
'Tis an unruly and a hard-mouthed horse 
'Twill no unskillful touch endure, 
Bat flings writer and reader too that aits not sure." 

As a specimen of his fiction, Johnson has quoted his de- 
scription of the Archangel Gabriel : 

" He took for skin a cloud most soft and bright, 
That e'er the mid-day sun pierced through with light; 
Upon his cheeks a lively blush he spread, 
Washed from the morning beauties' deepest red ; 
An harmless, fluttering meteor shone for hair, 
And fell adown his shoulders with loose care ; 
He cuts out a silk mantle from the skies, 
Where the most sprightly azure pleased (he eyes ; 
This he with starry vapors sprinkles all, 
Took in their prime before they grow ripe and fall ; 
Of a new rainbow, ere it fret or fade, 
The choicest piece cut out, a scarf is made." 

This comes but indifferently after a passage of Byron or 
Shelley. But, in fact, Cowley seems to have been a man 
who could not be permanently and decidedly any thing. 
He could not rise out of affectations, and dubious, half-way 
sort of positions, either in poetry or in life. He would fain 
pass for an ardent lover, and general admirer of the fair 
sex, and published a poem called " The Mistress," on the 
ground stated in the preface to one of its editions, " that 
poets are scarcely thought freemen of their company, with- 
out paying some duties, or obliging themselves to be true 
to love." This is genuine Cowley: he did not write a 
poem on a love subject because he was full of the subject, 
but because it seemed to be expected of a poet It was 
not passion and admiration that fired him, but it was nee- 


essary to appearance! that he should do it He was un- 
luckily always spying about on the outside of his subject, 
and never plunging boldly into it. He was like a man 
who, instead of enjoying his house, should always be stand* 
ing in the front and asking passengers what they thought 
of it, and if it did not look very fine ; or, if not, where he 
could lay on some plaster, or put up a veranda. If his 
heart and sou} had been engaged, there would have been 
less opportunity for his eternal self-consciousness ; he would 
have done his work for the love of it, and because he could 
not help it, and not because he found it becoming to do 
some sort of work. Of love, therefore, says his biogra- 
pher, he never knew any thing but once, and then dare not 
tell his passion* 

He was a strong Loyalist ; went over to France after the 
queen of Charles I. retired thither, and became secretary 
to Lord Jermyn, afterward Earl of St. Alban's, and was 
employed in such compositions as the royal cause required, 
and particularly in copying and deciphering the. letters 
which passed between the king and queen. He afterward 
came back, and occupied the somewhat equivocal charac- 
ter of spy on the republican government, and detailer of 
its proceedings to the royal party abroad. " Under pre- 
tense of privacy and retirement, he was to take occasion 
of giving notice of the posture of things in this nation." 
This soon led to his arrest and incarceration ; and he was 
not set at large without a guarantee of a thousand pounds. 
As it was supposed, he now published his poems, with 
the object of writing something in his preface which should 
give government an idea of the abatement of his loyalty. 
This gave great offense to the royal party, and was in sub- 
sequent editions withdrawn. Continuing to live in England 
as if contented with the existing government, on the death 
of Cromwell he wrote verses, as is said, in praise of him, 
and which verses he suppressed j and then went over again 
to. France, as soon as the Commonwealth gave signs of 


dissolution ; and came back in the crowd of royalists, eager 
for the spoil of the nation. Like many others, however, 
who had been more decided and consistent than himself 
he did not get what he expected, the Mastership of the 

This, and the ill success of his play, " Gutter of Coleman- 
street," which also was accused of being' a satire on the 
king, filled Cowley with a desperate desire of retreating 
into the country. Whenever he was in trouble at court, 
this passion for solitude came rapidly upon him. Under 
the Commonwealth,- when imprisoned as a spy, he intro- 
duced into the preface to his poems, that " his desire had 
been for some days past, and did still very vehemently 
continue, to retire himself to some of the American plant- 
ations, and to forsake this world forever." His courtly 
ambition being now again disappointed, he styled himself 
the melancholy Cowley, and resolved to ruralize in earnest. 
He had formerly studied physic, and obtained a diploma, 
but never practiced ; having now, however, convinced him- 
self that he was a lover of the country, he determined to 
practice that, and so betook himself to Barn-Elms. M He 
was now," says Sprat, "weary of the vexations and for- 
malities of an active condition. He had been perplexed 
with a long compliance to foreign manners. He was sati- 
ated with the arts of a court, which sort of life, though his 
virtue made it innocent to him, yet nothing could make it 
quiet. These were the reasons that moved him to follow 
the violent inclinations of his own mind, which, in the 
greatest hurry of his own business, had still called upon 
him, and represented to him the delights of solitary studies, 
of temperate pleasures, and a. moderate income below the 
malice and flatteries of fortune." 

It was not from a mind like Cowley's that we should 
expect a deep contentment as the result of this choice, 
and it is said not to have been the case. At first his pov- 
erty debarred him the necessary domestic comfort, but 


through the influence of his old patrons, the Earl of St. 
Alban's, and the Duke of Buckingham, he secured a lease 
of some of the queen's lands, which afforded him an ample 

Barn-Elms lies about half a mile from Barnes, near the 
road leading from Hammersmith suspension bridge to 
Wimbledon. It is an old estate, and in Cowley's time 
must have been tolerably solitary. Since then the road 
just mentioned has been made across the estate, and an 
inn built close to its entrance gate. It still, however, pre- 
sents the aspect of antiquity. The land is rich and flat, 
and the present park is thickly scattered with the trees 
from which it derives its name. Some of these are re- 
duced to mere massy fragments of trunks, which give a 
venerable aspect to the place. The house here is now oc- 
cupied by Sir Lancelot Shadwell, the vice-chancellor of 
England. The spot is remarkable for many other associa- 
tions than those with Cowley. 

The old house here was called Queen Elizabeth's Dairy, 
and, from the richness of the meadow land, seems admira- 
bly calculated for a dairy on a grand scale. The property 
belonged to the canons of St. Paul's, having been granted 
to them by Ring Athelstan ; but it was leased to Queen 
Elizabeth, and she granted her interest in it to Sir Francis 
Walsingham and his heirs. Here, in 1569, that subtle 
courtier entertained the queen and her whole court, where 
I suppose they would drink milk and be very rural. The 
Earl of Essex married Sir Francis's daughter, the widow 
of Sir Philip Sidney, and resided here frequently. No 
other man than Jacob Tonson afterward lived in this house, 
to which he built a gallery, wherein he placed the portraits 
of the members of the Rit-kat Club, which had been paint- 
ed for him by Rneller. The members of the club were 
also entertained here frequently by the munificent book- 
seller, their secretary. Garth wrote the verses for the 
toasting-glassos of the club, which, as they are preserved 

i* his work*, have t 
aeautis* of the eoan 


the principal 

aoesm of tW sue century : Lady 

o#U, Lady Enei, Lady Hyde, «d Lady Wharton. 

MQft'f galk-ry waa partly pefled down a good many 

year* ajro f and partly united to a barn, §o as to form a rid- 

iMgwhnul. Tim picture* were removed to Bay ford berry* 

tk« Mat of William Baker, E*fr near Hertford. 

hi George the Second's time, Heydegger, his master of 
llM re vela, wis the tenant, and the following whim of his 
was played off on his royal master* The king gave him 
tool in* that lie would sup with him one evening, and that 
We won Id como from Richmond by water. It waa Hey- 
ifogfpr 1 * profession to invent novel amusements, and he 
Wis resolvod to surprise his majesty with a specimen of 
Wfe an. The king's attendants, who were in the secret, 
x\**ui*ihI that bo should not arrive at Barn-Elms before 
«tghfl% and It waa with difficulty that he found bis way np 
lilt avenue to the house. When he came to the door all 
.lark* and he began to he angry that Heydegger should 
W so ill prepared for his reception. Heydegger 
*W king to vent his anger, and aflected to make 
twtward apologies, when, in an instant, the bouse and ew- 
in a blaze of Ught, a great number of h 
so disposed as to communicate with 
MM* «in! ** to lighted at the same hunt. The 
cV*i at the device, and went away c 

C U W L E V, 


the boose which Cowley inhabited has lung been pulled 
down. From what I could lean* on the spot, and it was 
little, it seems to have stood near the present stable-yard. 
The walk of the old gardens still remain, and old mulberry 
and other fruit trees bear testimony to the occupation by 
wealthy families for ages. The grounds are now disposed 
in the fashion of a considerable park, with these old gar* 
den* and extensive shrubberies adjoining. A carriage 
drire of considerable extent leads from the Barnes road 
down to the bouse, on one hand giving a level prospect 
over the meadows toward Hammersmith, and on the other 
bounded with the tall hedge and thick trees inclosing the 
park. The whole, with ite rich meadow land, its old elms, 
and old gardens and shrubberies of fine evergreens, is al- 
most too goodly for our ideas of the fortunes of a poet, and 
accords- more truly with the prestige of a successful lawyer. 
The house of Cowley at Chertsey yet remains, though 
it baa been considerably altered ; it is still called the Porch 
House, hut the porch has been cut away because it project- 
ed intii tliu street. Over the frontdoor is a t ah let of stone, 
let into the wall, on which is inscribed — 

♦• Hera the hat accent* fell fnom Cowley '» tongue/' 

His garden and grounds were on the level of the mead- 
ows, as level as the meadows of Barn-Etma. TKese mead- 
ows He along the road, as yon go from AWy bridge to St* 
Anns Hill, and a pleasant brook runs through them, skirt- 
ing the garden. The country around is very agreeable, 
and the nearness of St* Arm's Hill, ^ v i l li its heathy sides, 
and noble views far and wide, is a great advantage* For 
a heart that loved solitude, there need have been no pleas- 
anter spot, especially as the little town of Chertsey could 
afford all creature comforts, and the occasional chat of the 
clergyman, the doctor, and a resident family or two. Bat 
in Cowley's time, how much deeper must 
retirement of such a retreat here \ how 

V ♦.*.. L— D 

st have been the 
much further it 


was from London ! Now it is only a few hours* distance 
by the Southwestern Rail-way ; then it was a journey — 
they took a night's rest on the way ! His letter to Sprat 
from this place gives us an odd kind of idea of his enjoy- 
ment of the place. 

" 7b Dr. Thomas Sprat. 

"CherttT,lbySl, 1M. 
" The first night that I came hither I caught bo great a 
cold, with a defiuxion of rheum, as made me keep my 
chamber ten days ; and, two after, had such a bruise on 
my ribs with a fall, that I am yet unable to move or tarn 
myself in my bed. This is my personal picture here to 
begin with. And, besides, I can get no money from my 
tenants, and have my meadows eaten up every night by 
cattle put in by my neighbors. What this signifies, or may 
come to in time, God knows ; if it be ominous, it can end 
in nothing less than hanging. Another misfortune has 
been, and stranger than all the rest, that you have broken 
your word with me, and failed to come, even though you 
told Mr. Bois you would. This is what they call Monstri 
simile. I do hope to recover my late hurt so far within 
five or six days, though it be uncertain whether I shall 
ever recover it, as to walk about again. And then, me- 
thinks, you and 1, and the dean, might be very merry upon 
St. Ann's Hill. You might very conveniently come hither 
^ Wa ? ? f Ham P ton Court, lying there one night. I 
write this in pain, and can say no more. Verbum sapienti." 

Poor Cowley did not long enjoy his retreat here, if he 
did enjoy it at all. Within two years he died at the Porch 
House (in 1667), in the forty-ninth year of his age. Ha 
was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey, 
Chancer and Spenser. 


Perhaps no man ever inhabited more houses than our 
gTeat epic poet t yet scarcely one of these now remains. 
The greater part of his residences were in London, and in 
the hundred and seventy-two years since his decease, the 
whole of this great metropolis has been, as it were, in a 
ferment of growth and extension. The great fire of Lon- 
don swept away an immense mass of the old houses ; and 
if we look around us now, we see how very few of the an- 
cient framed tenements which then prevailed now remain. 
A^ain t Milton generally chose his houses, even in the city, 
with a view to quiet and retirement. They were, say his 
biographers, generally garden houses, where he enjoyed 
the advantages of a certain remoteness from noise, and of 
eotne openness of space* These spaces the progress of 
population has filled with dense buildings, in the course of 
the erection of which, the old solitary houses have been 
polled down. 

Milton, as is well known, was bom m Bread-street, 
Cheapsi J e, at the sign of the Spread Eagle, The spread 
eagle was the armorial bearing of the family. His father 



aa eminent scrivener, living and practicing there at 
the time of Mifron's birth, which touk place on the 9th of 
December, 160$. This house was destroyed in the fire of 
London. During his boyhood, which was passed here, 
Milton was educated at home, in the first instance, by a 
private tutor, Thomas Young. This man Aubrey calls 
M a Puritan in Essex, who cut his hair short." Young had 
suffered persecution for his religious faith, and it is sup- 
posed that from him Mihon imbibed a strong feeling for 
liberty, and a great predilection for the doctrines which he 
held. He was much attached to him, as he has testified by 
his fourth elegy, and two Latin epistles. It has been re- 
marked, that however much Milton might be swayed by 
the principles of his tutor, he never was by his cut of hair ; 
for. through all the reign of the Roundheads, he preserved 
his flowing locks. After the private lutor was dismissed, 
he was sent to St. Paul's School. This appears to have 
been in his fifteenth year. Here, too, he was a favorite 
■>lsr. Thfl IMP *n.'Agier was Alexandrr litll. and 


seized upon, that from his twelfth year he seldom ever re- 
tired from his books to bed before midnight; and that his 
eyes, originally weak, thus received the first causes of their 
future mischief. That, perceiving the danger of this, it 
could not arrest his ardor of study, though his nocturnal 
vigils, followed by his dayly exercises under his masters, 
brought on foiling vision and pains in the head. Humphrey 
Lownes, a printer, living in Bread-street, supplied him, 
among other books, with Spenser and Sylvester's Du Bar- 
tas. Spenser was devoured with the intensest enthusiasm, 
and he has elsewhere called him his master. 

Todd, the generally judicious biographer of Milton, 
praises his father for his discernment in the education of 
his son. The father, who was a very superior man, and es- 
pecially fond of and skilled in music, certainly appears to 
have at once seen in his son the evidences of genius, and 
to have given to it every opportunity of development ; but 
it is to be regretted that his fatherly encouragement was 
not attended with more prudence, and that he had not, in- 
stead of encouraging the habit of nocturnal study, the most 
pernicious that a student can fall into, restrained it. Had 
he done this, the poet might have retained his sight, and 
who shall say with what further advantage to the world ! 

At seventeen, Milton entered as a pensioner at Christ 
College, Cambridge. He was found to be a distinguished 
classical scholar, and conversant in several languages. His 
academical exercises attracted great attention, as well as 
hia verses, both in English and Latin. His Latin elegies, 
in his eighteenth year, have always been regarded with won- 
der; tad, indeed, in his Latinity, both in verse and prose, 
perhapsno modern writer has surpassed him. Hampton, 
the translator-of Polybius, pronounced him the first English- 
man who, since the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses 
Ktth classic elegance. His extraordinary merit and ac- 
quisitions found, from the authorities of his college/gener- 
al applause, spite of a disposition to severity, induced by his 


sturdy opposition to them in opinion, on a plan of academ- 
ical studies then under discussion. 

Milton here, it appears, on the testimony of Aubrey, suf- 
fered an indignity from his tutor, which it was not in his 
high and independent nature to endure with impunity. He 
refers to the fact in his first elegy. He mentions threats 
and other things, which his disposition could not tolerate ; 
that he was absent in a state of rustication, and felt no de- 
sire to revisit the reedy banks of the Cam. Aubrey says, 
from the information of our author's brother Christopher, 
that Milton's first tutor at Cambridge was Mr. Chappell, 
from whom receiving some unkindness (ke tohippetLkimJ, 
he was afterward, though it seemed against the rules of 
the' college, transferred to the tuition of one Mr. TovelL 
This information stands in the MS. Mat. Askmol. Oxon., 
No. 10, p. iii. Warton, remarking on the fact, adds, that 
Milton " hated the place. He was not only offended at the 
college discipline, but had even conceived a dislike to the 
face of the country — the fields about Cambridge. He 
peevishly complains that the fields have no soft shades to 
attract the Muses, and there is something pointed in his 
exclamation, that Cambridge was a place quite incompati- 
ble with the votaries of Phoebus." 

It was not very likely that a youth of perhaps eighteen, 
who was writing the elegies and epistles in Latin which 
drew upon him so much notice, would submit quietly to so 
degrading a treatment. This treatment, it appears from 
Warton, was common enough, nevertheless, at both Cam- 
bridge and Oxford, among the tutors at that time. But 
Milton spurned it, as became his great spirit and noble na- 
ture, and was in consequence, probably, rusticated for a 
time. But this could not have been long, nor could it have 
been accordant to the wishes of the fellows of his college. 
The offense was against the tutor, not against the heads of 
the college, in the poet's mind. In his Apology for Smeo- 
tymnus, he thanks an enemy for the opportunity of express- 


ing his grateful sense of the kindness of the fellows, in 
these words : " I thank him ; for it hath given me an apt 
occasion to acknowledge publicly, with all grateful mind, 
that more than ordinary favor and respect which I found 
above any of my equals, at the hands of those courteous 
and learned men, the fellows of the college wherein I 
spent some years; who at my parting, after I had taken 
two degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how 
much better it would content them if I would stay ; as by 
many letters full of kindness and loving respect, both before 
that time and long after, I was assured of their good affec- 
tion to me/' . 

Leaving Cambridge, Milton went to reside some time 
at Horton, near Colnbrook, in Buckinghamshire. His fa- 
ther had retired from his practice, on a competent fortune, 
to this village. This portion of his life was, probably, one 
of the most delightful periods of it. He had acquired great 
reputation for talent and learning at college ; he had tak- 
en his degree of M.A., and in this agreeable retirement 
he not only indulged himself, as he tells us, in a deep and 
thorough reading of the Greek and Latin authors, but prob- 
ably then contemplating his visit to Italy, made himself 
master of its language and well acquainted with its litera- 
ture. To such perfection did he carry this accomplish- 
ment, that in Italy he not only spoke the language with 
perfect fluency, but wrote in it so as to astonish the most 
learned natives. Five years he devoted to these classical 
and modern studies, but not to these alone. He was here 
actively at work in laying the foundation of that great poet- 
ical fame which he afterward achieved. Born in the city, 
he now made himself thoroughly familiar with nature. . In 
the woods and parks, and on the pleasant hills of this pleas- 
ant country, he enjoyed the purest delights of contempla- 
tion and of poetry. Here he is supposed to have imbued 
himself with the allegoric romance of his favorite Spenser, 
and also to have written his own delightful Arcades, Co- 


inus, L* Allegro, II Penseroso, and Lycidas. It is a feet 
which his biographers have not seemed to perceive, but 
which is really significant, that the very Italian titles, L 'Al- 
legro and II Penseroso, of themselves almost identify the 
productions of" this period and place, where he was busy 
with the preparation for his visit to Italy. The county of 
Buckingham appeared always to be from this time a par- 
ticular favorite with him ; and no wonder/ for it is full of 
poetical beauty, abounds with those solemn and woodland 
charms which are so welcome to a mind brooding over po- 
etical subjects, and shunning all things and places that dis- 
turb. It abounds, being so near the metropolis, also with 
historic associations of deep interest. 

41 This pleasant retreat," says Todd, " excited his most 
poetical feelings ; and he has proved bimself, in his pic- 
tures of rural life, to rival the works of nature, which he 
contemplated with delight. In the neighborhood of Hor- 
ton, the Countess Dowager of Derby resided ; and the Ar- 
cades was performed by her grandchildren at this seat, call- 
ed Harefield Place. It seems to me that Milton intended 
a compliment to his fair neighbor, for fair she was, in his 
L 'Allegro: 

'Towers and battlements it sees ' 

Bosom'd high in tufted trees, 
Where, perhaps, some beauty lies, 
The cynosure of neighboring eyes.' 

The woody scenery of Harefield, and the* personal ac- 
complishments of the countess, arc not unfavorable to this 
supposition ; which, if admitted, tends to confirm the opin- 
ion that L' Allegro and II Penseroso were composed at 
Horton. The Masque of Comus, and Lycidas, were cer- 
tainly produced under the roof of his father." 

The whole of these poems breathe the Bpirit of youth, 
and of scenes like those in which he now dayly rambled. 
Whether 1/ Allegro and II Penseroso were written, as Sir 
William Jones contends, at Forest Hill, in Oxfordshire, or 

M I L T O W. g| 

here, need not be much contested. If they were written 
there, it most have been many years afterward, after his 
return from abroad, and after his first marriage ; for it was 
at Forest Hill that he found his wife. But for the reason 
assigned, and for that of their general spirit, 1 incline to 
the belief that they were written at Horton, as there is 
plenty of evidence that Com us and the Arcades were. 
These latter poems overflow with the imagery and the feel- 
ing of the old wooded scenery of Buckinghamshire. 

" Comus. I know each lano, and every alley green, 
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood. 
And every bosky bourne from side to side, 
My dayly walks and ancient neighborhood." 

How full of the old pastoral country are these lines : 

" Sec. Bro. Might we but hear 

The folded flocks penned in their wattled cotes, 
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, 
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock 
Count the night watches to his feathery dames, 
Twonld be some solace yet, some little cheering, 
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs." 

There is no other poet who has been able to transfuse 
the very spirit of nature into words, as it is done in the fol- 
lowing passages, except Shakspeare, on whose soul images 
of rural beauty and repose fell with equal felicity of effect. 

" This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 
Had ta'en their supper on the savory herb 
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were -in fold, 
I sat me down to watch upon a bank 
With ivy canopied, and interwove 
With flaunting honey-suckle, and began, 
Wrapped in a pleasing fit of melancholy, 
To meditate my rural mhutrelsy, 
Till Fancy had her fill ; but ere a close, 
The wonted roar was up amid the woods," &c. 

How exquisite is every image of this passage : 

" Return, Sicilian Muse, 
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast 

98 m i l t o w. 

Their bells, and flowerets of a thousand bus*. 
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use.. 
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gashing brooks, 
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks ; 
Throw hither all your quaint enamel'd eyes. 
That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers, 
, And purple all die ground with vernal flowers. 
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 
The tufted prow-toe and pale jessamine, 
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet, 
The glowing violet, 

The-musk rose, and the well-attired woodbine. 
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, 
And every flower that sad embroidery wears; 
Bid Amaranthns all his beauty shed, 
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears, 
To strow the laureate hearse where Lycid lies," 

A power of poetic landscape-painting like this is only the 
result of genius deeply instructed in the school of nature. 
But the time was now come for^the survey of other and 
more striking scenes than those of the woodlands and pas- 
toral uplands of Buckingham. The tour of Milton in -Italy 
is a marked portion of his life, and no doubt opened wide 
fields of poetic imagination and of artistic experience in 
his mind. He visited Nice, Leghorn, Pisa, Florence ; in 
the vicinity of which last city, at the village of Belloguardp, 
or at Arcetri, it is supposed that ne paid his visit to Galileo. 
Thence he went on to Sienna and Rome; he afterward 
proceeded to Naples, and was intending to visit Sicily and 
Athens, when the news of the revolutionary troubles in En- 
gland reached him, and caused him to retrace his steps 
through Rome and Florence; whence he visited Lucca, 
and crossing the Apennines to Bologna, Ferrara, and Ven- 
ice, he then hastened homeward by Verona, Milan, and 
along the Lake Leman to Geneva, and so on through France. 

In every city of Italy he was cordially and honorably re- 
ceived by the most distinguished persons of the age, and 
studied die works of the great masters, in both painting 


and sculpture, with an effect which ia believed to be appar- 
ent m hia great work, Paradise Lost. The sacrifice which 
he made to the spirit of patriotism by this return is elo- 
quently adverted to by Warton. "He gave up/' he re- 
marks, " these countries, connected with his finer feelings, 
interwoven with his poetical ideas, and impressed upon 
his imagination by his habits of reading, and by long and 
intimate converse with the Grecian literature. But so prev- 
alent were his patriotic attachments, that hearing in Italy 
of the commencement of the national quarrel, instead of 
proceeding forward, to feast his fancy with the contempla- 
tion of Scenes familiar to Theocritus and Homer, the fires 
of Etna, and the porticoes of Pericles, he abruptly changed 
his course, and hastily returned home to plead the cause 
of ideal liberty. Yet in this chaos of controversy, amid 
endless disputes concerning religious and political reforma- 
tion, independenoy, prelacy, tithes, toleration, and tyranny, 
he sometime* seems to have heaved a sigh for the peacea- 
ble enjoyments of lettered solitude, for. his congenial pur- 
suits, and the more mild and ingenious exercises of the 
Muse.' 9 

But though he might sigh for these, he never suffered 
them to draw him aside from the path of what he deemed 
the most sacred duty, both toward God and man ; he sac- 
rificed not only his desire of , visiting classical regions, and 
of lettered ease, but he was willing to risk the achievement 
of what he considered — and. which eventually proved to be 
-'the crowning act of his eternal fame, the writing of his 
groat epic. He had, conceived, as he tells us himself, the 
■chem of his Paradise Lost ; on that he placed his hope 
of immortality ; but even that he heroically resolved to post- 
pone all he had seen his country rescued from her oppress- 
or tad placed on a firm ground of freedom. The casu- 
alties of life might have robbed him and the world forever 
of the projected work, but he ventured all for the great 
etoie of his country and of man, and was rewarded. 

MILT o N. 

A <' 1? ? has been repeatedly told as the occasion of Mil- 

•kV fraSxsii journey, and very generally believed, which 

ftJI has shown to be told also in the preface to " Poesies 

4t Marguerite. Eleanore Clotilde, depuis Madame de Sur- 

rufe, Poete Francaise du xv. Siecle," of another poet, a 

tout* do Puytendrc. exactly agreeing in all the particulars, 

rxft»pT that the ladies were on foot. That Milton needed 

iso such romantic incentive to his Italian tour is self-evident, 

taring a sufficient one in his classical and poetic tastes; 

Hit as it appeared in a newspaper, and obtained general 

credence, it may be worth transcribing. 

m It is well known that in the bloom of youth, and when 
He pursued his studies at Cambridge, this poet was ex- 
tremely beautiful. Wandering one day, during the sum- 
Mr; far beyond the precincts of the University, into the 
country, he became so heated and fatigued that, reclining 
Itimsclf at the foot of a tree to rest, he fell asleep. Before 
W woke, two ladies, who were foreigners, passed in- a car- 
riage: agreeably astonished at the loveliness of his an- 


1 * Ye eyes, ye human stars ! ye authors of my liveliest 
1 1 If thus, when shut, ye. wound me, what must have 
proved the consequence had ye been open 1" Eager from 
this moment to find the fair incognita, Milton traversed, jmft 
in Tain, through every part of Italy. His poetic fervor be- 
came incessantly more and more heated by the idea which 
he had formed of his unknown admirer ; and it is in some 
degree to her that his own times, the present times, and 
the latest posterity, must feel themselves indebted for sev- 
eral of the most impassioned and charming compositions 
of the Paradise Lost." 

Now, to say nothing of the incoherence of this story— of 
the questions that naturally suggest themselves, of how 
these young men, too far off to recognize their companion 
as the object of this flattering attention, could know that 
the ladies were foreigners, and that tho one who wrote the 
paper was the youngest, and was very handsome — it is evi- 
dent that, had a young Cantab found himself awaking, now- 
adays, under a tree, with a paper of Italian verses in his 
hand, and his comrades ready with a story of a couple of 
beautiful young ladies, foreigners, traveling in a carriage, 
and the youngest, who was very handsome, putting this pa- 
per into his hand, he would very naturally have deemed 
himself the subject of. a most palpable quiz. .Yet did -the 
world, in a simpler age, not only gravely receive this nar- 
ratife as a fact, but Anna Seward did it into vexse. 

Beturned from Italy, not from the vain quest after an 
imaginary and romantic fair one, but with his mind stored 
*ith knowledge and poetic imagery, which he had not pur- 
wed in vain, Milton took up his residence in London, in 
order to be ready, as occasion presented itself, to serve his 
country. He had no longer the inducement to return to 
HortWL He had seen his mother laid in. the grave before 
to went ; his father had probably quitted Horton when the 
civil war broke out, and betaken himself to die security of 
Beading, a fortified town; for on the surrender o£ that 



town to the Earl of Essex, in 1643, the old man came up 
to London to his son, with whom he continued to reside 
till his death, about four years afterward. 

During the five years spent by Milton at Horton, be- 
tween leaving Cambridge and setting out on his travels, be 
did not entirely bury himself there in his classical books 
and poetic musings in the woods and fields. He had occa- 
sional lodgings in London* m order to cultivate music, for 
which he had always a great passion, to prosecute his math- 
ematics, to procure books, to enjoy the society of his friends, 
among whom were many of his old college friends, and, no 
doubt, to perfect himself in. the speaking of the French and 
Italian languages, which it is not to be supposed he could 
do at Horton. Now, however, duty as well as inclination 
fixed him almost wholly in London. Great events were 
transpiring, and he felt a persuasion that he must bear his 
part in them. There was one circumstance which drew 
him for a while from the metropolis, and it was this. He 
became attached to a young lady in Oxfordshire, and is 


Tint t place where Milton spent some part of his life, and 
where, in all probability, he composed several of his earli- 
est compositions. It is a small village on a pleasant hill, 
iboot five miles from Oxford, called Forest Hill, because 
k formerly lay contiguous to a forest, which has since been 
cot down. The poet chose this place of retirement after 
hi* first marriage, and he describes the beauties of this re- 
treat in that fine passage of his L 'Allegro : 
'Sometime walking not unseen, 

By hedgerow elms, on hillocks green, — 

While the plowman, near at hand, 

Whistles o'er the farrowed land, 

And the milkmaid singeth blithe, 

And the mower whets his scythe 

And every shepherd tells his tale 

Under the hawthorn in the dale. 

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, 

While the landscape round it measures ; 

Basset lawns, and fallows gray, 

Where the nibbling flocks do stray; 

Mountains, on whose, barren breast 

The laboring clouds do often rest ; 

Meadows trim with daisies pied, 

Shallow brooks and rivers wide ; 

Towers and battlements it sees 

Bosom'd high in tufted trees ; .. . 

Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes 

From betwixt two aged oaks,' &c. 

"It was neither the proper season of the year, nor time 
of the day, to hear all the rural sounds, and see all the ob- 
Jtcti mentioned in this description ; but, by a pleasing 
CQ Bcanence of circumstances, we were saluted on our ap- 
Potta to the village with the music of the mower and his 
■fythe; we saw the plowman intent upon his labor, and 
the milkmaid returning from her country -employment. 

"As we ascended the hill, the variety of beautiful ob- 
jects, the agreeable stillness and natural simplicity of the 
"fob scene, gave us the highest pleasure. We at length 
*»«hed the spot whence Milton undoubtedly took moat of 

I 1 L T O I. 

it is cm the top of amU, from which there ba 
proved cm all sides. The distant mount- 
■BB. that eeemed to support the clouds ; the Tillage and 
twrret a, pertly shrouded in owes of the finest verdure, and 
paxth- raised above the groves last surrounded them ; the 
dark plains and meadows, of a grayish color, where the 
sheep were feeding aft large; in short, the view of the 
streams and rivers, convinced ns that there was not a single 
useless or idle word in the above-mentioned description, 
but that it was a most exact and lively r ep r esen tation of 
nature. Thus will this fine passage, which has always been 
admired for its elegance, receive an additional beauty from 
its exactness. After we had walked, with a kind of poet- 
ical enthusiasm, over this enchanted ground, we returned 
to the village. 

44 The poet's house was dose to the church; the greatest 
part of it has been pulled down; and what remains belongs 
to an adjacent farm. I am informed that several papers, in 
Milton's own hand, were found by the | 


-brier, which he could not mention twice in the same 

" If erer I pass a month or six weeks at Oxford in Hie 
summer, I shall he inclined to hire and repair this venera- 
ble mansion, and to make a festival for a circle of friends 
in honor of Milton, the most perfect scholar, as well as the 
tnbtimest poet that oar country ever produced. Such an 
honor will he less splendid, but more sincere and respect- 
ful, (ban all the pomp and ceremony on the banks of the 

That Sir William might be, and probably was mistaken 
in supposing that the Allegro was written at Forest Hill, I 
think is apparent from the character of that poem and of 
the Penseroso, which bear/ to me, evident marks of a more 
youthful muse than the Comus and the Lycidas. They 
deal more in mere description, and, what is more, the poet 
himself placed them in his original volume, prior to those 
poems, as if written prior. The images quoted by Sir 
William will apply to a thousand other scenes in England, 
and where Milton himself never was. They are such as a 
thousand hill- tops in our beautiful pastoral land can show 
na. They may be found equally in his earlier haunts in 
Buckinghamshire. Nevertheless, Sbotover is not the less 
interesting, nor do the scenes the less apply to it. There 
Milton undoubtedly did walk and muse, 

" By hedgerow elms on hillock* green," 
and hear the plowman's whistle, the milkmaids song, and 
the mower's ringing scythe, and rest his eye on its land- 
scape, tinted and varied as he describes it. There he saw 
the distant mountains of Wales, and the shepherds under 
the hawthorns, down in the dales below him, each " telling 
his tale ; n , that is, not telling a story to some -one, or mak- 
ing lore, hut " telling the tale," or number of his flock, be- 
fine penning them for the night, or letting them loose in die 
That Milton lived at Forest Hill some time, there is DO 


doubt ; but when, and how long, and how often, are ] 
that now can not be very well cleared up. Sir Will- 
iam Jones represents him to have chosen this retirement 
after his first marriage. Now Milton was not married be- 
fore 1643, at which time he was in his thirty-fifth year. 
But Com us and Lycidas were written long before then, 
and so, no doubt, were 1/ Allegro and II Penseroso. Mose- 
ly, in his Address to the Reader, in the volume of Mihon's 
poems containing all these pieces, published in 1646, tells 
us that these poems were known to be written, and that he 
solicited ^ them to accompany Lycidas and Comus ; and 
Milton, in presenting this volume to his friend Rouse, says 
plainly that they were the productions of his early youth :. 
" Gemelle cultu simplici gandena liber, 

Fronde licit gemina, 

Munditiaque nitons non operoaa; 

Quem mamu attutit 

Juveniles olim, 

Secula tamen hand nimii poet*,*' ftc 
This settles the question of the location of the poems; 
but the question of when, and how long, and how often 
Milton resided at Forest Hill, still remains. That he did 
not reside there long, immediately after his marriage, ifl 
very clear, from the statement of his nephew and biog- 
rapher, Phillips. " About Whitsuntide, or a little after, ha 
took a journey into the country : nobody about him cer- 
tainly knowing the reason, or that it was more than a jour- 
ney of recreation. After a month's stay, home he return 
a married man, that went out a bachelor ; his wife being 
Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, then a 
justice of peace, of Forestil, near Shotover, in Oxfordshire." 
This account is confirmed by Anthony Wood, who states 
that Milton courted, married, and brought his wife to his 
house in London in one month's time; and that she was 
very young. She continued, however, as we shall present- 
ly see, only a few weeks with her husband, and returned to 
Forest Hill. 


Now, as Milton kept this courtship so profound a secret, 
hk quite probable that it might be going on much longer 
than any of his friends were aware o£ When he set out 
oi sis journey, of which nobody knew the cause, he no 
doubt knew it. Somewhere, and some time before, he had 
most likely seen this Mary Powell — where, and how long 
Wore, who shall now say 1 It is possible, therefore, that, 
for taght any one of his friends knew, he might have been 
it Forest Hill, and sojourning there occasionally, attracted 
by this attachment ; and that he now set out with an inten- 
tion of bringing his courtship to an end, as he did. As it 
tamed out, his wife was discontented with the dullness of 
bb dwelling, being accustomed to much gayety at home, 
sod left him. Of this we shall speak more anon, but here 
we are inquiring only into the probability of the extent of 
his residence or residences at Forest Hill. The marriage 
took place in the midst of the Revolutionary wars. Soon 
after, the house and property of Mr. Powell, Milton's fa- 
ther-in-law, were -seized by the Parliamentary army, he 
being a Cavalier; and the wife, who had deserted her hus- 
band in her father's prosperity, now, in his adversity, came 
back, and soon brought her father and family, to seek pro- 
tection under the roof so coolly abandoned before. The 
father-in-law and family appear to have lived with Milton 
till 1647, or about three years. 

Mary Powell, Milton's first wife, died in 1652, or about 
nine years after her marriage. Now, these nine years 
were all years of the ascendency of the Parliamentary 
power, and consequently of danger and uncertainty to the 
Powell family. It must be to Milton's interest with Crom- 
well that they must look for any kind of security ; and dur- 
ing these nine years there would be many occasions when 
Milton might find it agreeable to spend a certain time in 
the country, and at Forest Hill. It is said that Mr. Pow- 
ell, Milton's father-in-law, had, indeed, another mansion in 
&e neighborhood, and allowed Milton and his family occs> 


of this. Thus, though Milton, from bis 
rotary to Cromwell, and from his con t inu- 
la the cause of the Commonwealth, always 
hare, bis house in London, it is quite likely 

these nine years he resided, in the summer 

uiifrequentiy at Forest Hill. 
„ has said that he composed some of his later pro- 
fcetJupii there. It would be just the retreat for such pur- 
ports when he required close and unbroken retirement 
tal tlie excitements and personal interruptions of town, 
Richards, a sub- commissioner under a recent commis- 
sion of tho reign of George IIL, gave Mr. Todd this intel- 
ligence; "Milton married a daughter of Justice Powell, 
of Sandhurst, in the vicinity of Oxford, and lived in a house 
at Forest Hill, about three miles from Sandhurst, where 
the late laureate Warton told me Milton wrote a great part 
af his Paradise Lost Warton found a number of papers 
of Milton's own writing in that house, and also many of 
Justice Powell's, which the late Mr, Crewe, father to the 
lite Viscountess Falmouth, permitted him to take, and 
make what use of them he thought proper. The late Mr, 
Mickle translated part of Camoens' Luciad in the same 
house, he being, at the time 1 visited him, a lodger in that 
house, Mr, Mickle married the daughter of Mr, Tomktns, 
a fanner, the tenant to Mr. Crewe. The time I allude to 
of visiting my worthy friend Mickle was in 1772 and 1773 ; 
and my conversations had with Mr. Wanon and Mr. Crewe 
were from 1781 to I7S6," 

Having now clearly settled the fact that Forest Hill, near 
Shot over, was a residence of Milton, and probably through 
ft course of nine years, at various times, and the scene of 
•ome of those great literary and political works on which 
lie was arduously engaged during those years ; and that 
while his birth-place in Bread -street, and his parental home 
At Horton, were both destroyed, this has been nearly so, 
we will tiow notice a little more closely the condition of his 


home during those nine yean of his first marriage. That 
marriage appears to have been a great mistake ; to have 
destroyed to a great degree his domestic comfort, and to 
have occasioned the world to entertain a very unfavorable 
idea of Milton's disposition. The facts, drawn from his 
various biographers, are briefly these. 

At Whitsuntide, in 1643, and in his thirty- fifth year, as 
we learn from his nephew Phillips, in the passage quoted, 
he married Mary, the daughter of Richard Powell, living 
at Forest Hill, near Sbotover, and a justice of peace fur 
Oxfordshire. He brought his wife to Loudon. She was 
very young, and had been accustomed to a gay life. Ac- 
cording to Aubrey, " Bho was brought up and bred where 
there was a great deal of company and merriment, as (lan- 
cing, &c ; and when she came to livo with her husband, 
she found it solitary, no company coming to her ; and she 
often heard her nephews cry and be beaten. This life was 
irksome to her, and so she went to her parents." Phillips 
says the same ; that she was averse to the philosophic life 
of Milton, and sighed for the mirth and jovial ness to which 
she had been accustomed in Oxfordshire. It was a great 
mistake altogether. Milton was now a man of a sober 
tge ; he was yet but a schoolmaster, though he had a large 
and haudsomo house in Aid ersgate- street, in a garden. 
This was necessary for the accommodation of his pupils, 
as well as for his quiet study, and prosecution of those 
great questions of tho age in which ho was engaged, writ- 
ing for the Republican cause, and against its enemies. All 
this must have been immensely dull to a young girl, who, 
from all the glimpses we can get of her, was, though per- 
haps handsome and fascinating, but of an ordinary nature, 
and one who had been educated to frivolity and mere en- 
joyment of the fashionable gayeties of life. What was 
more, the very work on which Milton was zealously en- 
gaged, the defense of the Parliamentary cause, and the de- 
feat of the kingly, and which abstracted him from her so- 

94 M I L T O H. 

ciety, was perfect poison to her and her family— all Ugh 
Royalists. " Her relations/' says Phillips, M being general- 
ly addicted to the Cavalier party, and some of them possi- 
bly engaged in the king's service, who at this time had his 
headquarters at Oxford, and was in some prospect of suc- 
cess, they began to repent them of having matched the. eld- 
est daughter of the family to a person so contrary to them 
in opinion ; and thought it would be a blot in their escutch- 
eon, whenever that events should come to flourish again." 
It was these circumstances, operating together, which in- 
duced his young wife to desert Milton. All that we can 
learn confirms the idea that her family was a regularly 
worldly-minded one ; and the only wonder is that they 
should ever have agreed to the match at alL Milton was 
then comparatively unknown. He was but a schoolmaster, 
and must have been pretty well known to all that came in 
contact with him to hold very liberal opinions. However, 
scarcely was the match made, than the family began to 
suspect they had made a great blunder. The wife naked 
leave, after a week, to go home and see her parents ; and 
the whole affair reminds us of the matrimonial history of a 
great poet of our own day. The wife goes home in good 
humor, and then sends her husband word that she does not 
mean to come back again. It does not appear that the 
wife or wife's friends ever set up the plea that Milton was 
mad, however they might think so. Luckily, Milton was a 
sober, moderate man, and not accustomed to run into debt. 
Had he, like Lord Byron, been pretty well dipped in debt, 
and expecting a large property with his wife, and not im-, 
mediately getting it, but, on the contrary, all his creditors 
on his back in the expectation of it, he might have been 
quite as mad as he was. Like Lord Byron, however, he 
had not nine executions in his house in one week— enough 
to craze the sanest creature ; and so Milton went on for a 
good while, calmly and manfully laboring at his Artopagti- 
tea, or Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, one 


of the noblest works in oar language. His wife had gone 
home, at the invitation of her friends, to spend the remain- 
ing part of the summer with them : we have seen why they 
invited her. The good, easy man gave her leave to stay 
till Michaelmas. Michaelmas came, but no wife ; the visit 
had only been a pretense for desertion. He sent for her, 
and she refused to come. He sent letter after letter ; these 
remained unanswered. He dispatched a messenger to 
bring her home; the messenger was dismissed from her 
father's boose with contempt. This very properly moved 
his spirit, and he resolved to repudiate her. To justify this 
bold step, be published four treatises on divorce : The 
Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ; The Judgment of 
Martin Bucer concerning Divorce ; his famous Tetrachor- 
dam, or Expositions upon the four chief places of Scripture 
which treat of Marriage, or Nullities of Marriage; and Co- 
Uutaion. It is probable that the lady and her friends would 
have thanked him for the divorce, had the world gone well 
with them ; and that, like the great poet of our time, he 
tmgbthave lived and died without further sight of his pret- 
ty runaway ; but the political scene was now fast chang- 
ing. The royal power was rapidly waning ; the Powells 
were getting into trouble, or foresaw it fast approaching, 
from their active participation in the royal cause. Milton, 
oa the other hand, was fast rising into popular note. He 
was the very man that they were likely to need in the com- 
ug storm ; and", with true worldly policy, they forgot all 
fceir pride and insults — were willing to forget the offended 
husband's public exposure of his wife's conduct, and his 
active measures for repudiation ; and a plan was laid for 
retaking him. The plot was thus laid : Milton was accus- 
totted to visit a relative in St. Martin's-le-Grand ; and 
ta*i as it had been" concerted on her part, he was aston- 
"W to see his wife come from another apartment, and, 
&ffing on her knees before him, beg forgiveness for her 
conduct After some natural astonishment, and some re- 

96 M I L T O N. 

luctance on his part to a reconciliation, after what had 
passed, he at length gave way to her tears, and forgave 
and embraced her. 

" Soon his heart relented 
Toward her, his life so late, and sole delight, 
Now at his feet submissive in distress."' • 

It has been supposed that the impression made upon his 
imagination and his feelings, on this occasion, contributed 
no little to his. description of the scene in Paradise Lost, in 
which Eve addresses herself to Adam for pardon and 

• And certainly Milton, on this occasion, displayed no lit- 
tle magnanimity and nobility of character. His domestic 
peace and reputation had been most remorselessly attack- 
ed, yet, says Fenton, " after this reunion, so far was he from 
retaining an unkind memory of the provocations which he 
had received from her ill conduct, that when the king's 
cause was entirely oppressed, and her father, who had been 
active in his loyalty, was exposed to sequestration, Milton 
received both him and his family to protection and free en- 
tertainment in his own house, till his affairs were accom- 
modated by his interest with the victorious faction/' The 
old father-in-law had to smart for his attachment to the roy- 
al cause. He was publicly announced as a delinquent, 
and fined <£676, 12*., 3d. ; besides that his house was seiz- 
ed by the Parliamentary party. 

It would be agreeable if from this time we could find 
data for believing that the returned wife and her friends 
showed a generous sense of the kindness of the poet. But 
we can not. It appears from Milton's nuncupative will, 
that the old man never paid him a penny of the promised 
marriage portion of oClOOO ; and that the three daughters, 
too true daughters of such a mother, had behaved to him 
very undutifully. The whole of the view that we obtain 
of the Powell family is of a piece. After the royal power 
was restored, and Milton was in danger and disgrace, we 


' of no protection afforded by them to him ; no protect- 
ing roof extended, no countenance even to the daughters, 
their mother now being dead ; but the father being poor, 
and out of favor, the daughters were Buffered to take their 
rate. One died early, having married a master-builder; 
one died single ; and the third married a weaver in Spital- 
field*. It should be recollected that all three daughters 
survived their father as well as mother, yet it does not ap- 
pear that they received the slightest notice or assistance 
from their rich relations of Shotover. Yet his third daugh- 
ter, Deborah, had great need of it, and, in many respects, 
well deserved it She lived to the age of seventy-six. 
This is the daughter that used to read to her father, and 
was well known to Richardson and Professor Ward : a 
woman of a very cultivated understanding, and not inele- 
gant of manners. She was generously patronized by Ad- 
disori, and by Queen Caroline, who sent her a present of 
fifty guineas. She had seven sons and three daughters, of 
whom Caleb and Elizabeth are remembered. Caleb emi- 
grated to Fort Saint George, where, perhaps, he died. 
Elizabeth, the youngest daughter, married Thomas Foster, 
a weaver in Spitalfields, as her mother had done before her, 
ud bad seven children, who all died. She is said to have 
been a pkin^sensible woman, and kept a petty grocer's or 
chandler's shop, first at Lower Holloway, and afterward at 
Cod-lane, near Shoreditch Church. In April, 1750, Comus 
*m acted for her benefit: Doctor Johnson, who wrote the 
prologue, says, "She had so little acquaintance with diver- 
noa or gayety, that she did not know what was intended 
when % benefit was offered her." The profits of the per- 
formance were only <£67, the expenses being deducted, al- 
though Dr. Newton contributed largely, and Jacob Ton- 
ton gave <£20. On this trifling augmentation to their small 
rtoek, she and her husband removed to Islington, where 
they both soon died. 
Such is the history of Milton's posterity ; that of SbaksV 
Vol. L-E 

98 M 1 L T O V. 

peare was sooner terminated, though the descendants of 
his sister Joan still exist, in a poverty disgraceful to the 

With his two succeeding wives, Milton appears to have 
lived in great harmony and affection. His second wife, a 
daughter of -Captain Woodcock, of Hackney, died in child- 
birth within a year of their marriage ; and his sonnet to her 
memory bears testimony to his tender regard for her. His 
third wife, Elizabeth Minshull, of Cheshire, survived him, 
and went to reside in her native county, among her own 

From this melancholy review of Milton's domestic histo- 
ry, let us now return to his homes in London after his re- 
turn from Italy. He came back with great intentions, but 
to the humble occupation of a schoolmaster ; and here we 
encounter one of the most disgraceful pieces of chuckling 
over his lowly fate, to be found in that most disgraceful life 
of our great poet and patriot, by Dr. Johnson. The Lives 
of the Poets, by Johnson, in the aggregate, do him no cred- 
it. In point of research, even, they are extremely defi- 
cient ; but the warped and prejudiced spirit in which they 
are written destroy them as authority. On Milton's head, 
however, Johnson poured all the volume of his collected 
bile. Such a piece of writing upon the greatest epic poet, as 
well as one of the most illustrious patriots of the nation, is 
a national insult of the grossest kind. Take this one pass- 
age as a specimen of the whole. " Let not our veneration 
for Milton forbid us to look with some degree of merriment 
on great promises and small performances; on the man 
who hastens home because his countrymen are contending 
for their liberty, and, when he reaches the scene of action, 
vapors away his patriotism in a private boarding-school.' 9 
The passage is as false as it is malicious. Milton did not 
promise to come home and put himself at the head of ar- 
mies or of senates. He knew where his strength lay, and 
he came to use it, and did use it most effectually. He did 


not say, " I will be another Cromwell," bat he became the 
Cromwell of the pen. It was precisely because he was 
poor— that he had no interest or connections to place him 
in the front ranks of action, that he showed the greatness 
of his resolve, in hastening to the scene of contest, and 
standing ready to seize such opportunity as should offer, to 
strike for his country and for liberty. He desired to do- 
bis doty in the great strife, whatever might be the part he 
could gain to play ; and had he only sincerely desired to 
do that, and had yet not done it for want of opportunity, 
he would still have been worthy of praise for his laudable 

But every thing that Milton promised he performed : who 
performed so much 1 He did not make great promisee, 
and show small performances ; he did not vapor away his. 
patriotism in a private boarding-school. He took to a 
school, because he must live; but he soon showed that 
every moment not required for teaching his private pupils, 
was ardently and unceasingly devoted to teaching the na- 
tion and the world. His pen was worth a thousand swords; 
his thoughts flew about and slew faster than bullets or can- t 
non-balls ; his word became the word of exhortation and ; 
command to his country. In his hand lay victory, not for 
the day and the time only, but for all time. Shame to the- 
old bigoted lexicographer! must every true son of his 
country and lover of truth exclaim, when he reads what 
Milton wrote and what he did. To say nothing of his 
Tractate of Education, and a number of other works; to 
say nothing of his Paradise Lost, and all his other noble 
poems; all breathing the most lofty and godlike sentiments 
— those sentiments which create souls of fire, of strength 
and tratb t <in every age as it arises; what are his Arcopa- 
gitica t his Tenure of Rings and Magistrates? his Eicono- 
clastes? his Defentio Populi? his Dcfensio Secunda? his 
Treatise on the Means of Removing Hirelings out of the 
Church 1 his Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Gases 1 his State 

100 MILTON. 

Letters, written at the command of Cromwell and the Par- 
liament 1 Are these nothing 1 If ever there was a mag- 
nificent monument of human genius, of intellectual power, 
and glorious patriotism, built up by one man, it exists in 
these immortal works. Vapored away his patriotism in a 
private boarding-school ! There was no private boarding- 
school which could long hold such vaporing as this ; it was 
of a kind that did, or it needs must, come forth to the face 
of the government, the country, and mankind. The poor 
schoolmaster, who on the plains of Italy heard the cry of 
his country for help, flew to her rescue as confidently as if 
he had been a prince, with fleets and armies at his com- 
mand. In a poor hired dwelling he prepared his missiles 
and' warlike machines. Men like Johnson, in the bigotry 
of despotism, might despise him and them ; for they were 
but a few quires of paper and a gray goose-quill ; but he 
soon shot that quill higher against the towers of royalty, 
deeper into the ranks of the oppressors, than ever the bul- 
lets of Cromwell and Fairfax could pierce. His papers 
flew abroad, the unfurled banners of liberty, before which 
kings trembled, and the stoutest myrmidons dropped their 
arms. The poor schoolmaster became speedily the oracle 
of the government. His Tenure of Kings and Magistrates 
vindicated in unanswerable eloquence the right of nations 
to call their monarchs to account for their offenses against 
the laws. His Defense of the People from the accursed 
charges of the hireling Salmasius flew through Europe, 
and struck kings and servile senates dumb. By the side 
of Cromwell the visage of the blind but divine old 
was seen, with awe and wonder ; the learned and the l 
from distant realms came to gaze upon the unequaled twain ; 
and when the inspired secretary exclaimed, 

" Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones 
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold/' 

the guilty persecutors shrunk aghast, for they knew that 
where the voice of Milton could reach, the arm of Crom- 

MILTOM. 101 

well could reach too. Who shall eay how much of the re- 
nown of England at that day sprung from the pen and soul 
of John Milton ! how muoh he inspired of that which Crom- 
well did ! and how much of the grand march of political 
and social renovation, which is now going on throughout 
the world, originated in the vaporings of the poor school- 
master I Before his fame how pales that of him who has 
dared thus to revile him ! What are all the works of John- 
son — and we are inclined to give them their, fullest due— 
when compared with those of Milton, and their conse- 
quences 1 Before him 

" Whose tool wu like a ftar, and dwelt apart," 
it became the man who so worthily chastised the meanness 
of a Chesterfield, to have bowed with humility and rever- 
ential love. As it is, we turn with disgust from this hu- 
miliating spectacle, of Johnson, the reviler of the noble 
dead, to Johnson, the friend of Goldsmith, the vindicator 
of Savage, and the sympathizer with the poor and suffering. 
Of all the various residences of Milton in London, as I 
have remarked, scarcely one has escaped the ravages of the 
fire, and the progress of improvement and population. The 
habit which he had of selecting houses standing in gardens, 
on account of their quietness, has more than any thing else 
tended to sweep them away. These places, as population 
increased, were naturally crowded, and the detached houses 
pulled down to make way for regular streets. His first 
lodging was in St. Bride's Church-yard, Fleet-street, on his 
return from Italy. Here he began educating his two neph- 
ews, John and Edward Phillips. Of this lodging nothing 
now remains. The house, as I learn from an old and most 
respectable inhabitant of St. Bride's parish, who lives in 
the church-yard, and very near the spot, was on the left 
hand, as you proceed toward Fleet-street through the ave- 
nue. It waB a very small tenement, very old, and was 
burned down on the 24th of November, 1824, at which 
time it was. occupied by a hair-dresser. It was-r-a proof 

102 MILTON. 

of its age— without party walls, and much decayed. The 
hack part of the Punch-office now occupies its site. 

These lodgings were too small, and he took a garden- 
house in Aldersgate-street, situated at the end of an entry, 
that he might avoid the noise and disturbance of the street. 
To his nephews he here added a few more pupils, the sons 
of his most intimate friends. This house was large and 
commodious, affording room for his library and furniture. 
Here he commenced his career of pure authorship, all he 
did having public reform and improvement for its object. 
Here he wrote, as a fitting commencement, a treatise Of 
Reformation, to assist the Puritans against the bishops, as 
he deemed the Puritans deficient in learning for the defense 
of the great principles they were contending for. That 
Milton would turn out a stern reformer of church matters, 
might be clearly seen from a passage in his Lycidas, writ- 
ten before he was twenty-nine years old. In this he is said 
even to anticipate the execution of Laud. The passage is 

" How well could I have spared for thee, young swain. 

Enow of such as for their bellies' sake 

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold ? 

Of other care they little reckoning make 

Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, 

And shove away the worthy bidden guest ; 

Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold 

A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least 

That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ' 

What recks it them ? What need they f They are sped; 

And when they list, their lean and flashy songs 

Orate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; 

The hungry sheep look up and are not fed, 

But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw, 

Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: 

Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw 

Dayly devours apace, and nothing said; 

But that two-handed engine at the door 

Stands ready to smite once, and smites no more.'* 
Here ha next wrote his treatise, Of Practical Episcopa- 

MILTON. 108 

cy f in defense of the Smectymneans, against Archbishop 
Usher; then, Reasons of Church Government, urged against 
Prelacy. In this work he revealed to his readers his plans 
lor a great poem — the Paradise Lost; which only was de- 
ferred till the advocacy which the times demanded of him 
should be completed. Here he finished the controversy, 
by his Apology for Smectymnus, in 1642 ; and in 1643 mar- 
ried Mary Powell, and saw her desert him at the instiga- 
tion of her time-serving family. This led to bis writings 
of Divorce. These were followed by a Treatise of Edu- 
cation ; and, finally, by his famous Areopagitica — altogeth- 
er an extraordinary mass of labor to proceed from the pri- 
vate abode of a poor vaporing schoolmaster ! 

It was in this house, on the approach of the troops of 
Prince Rupert to the capital in 1642, soon after the battle 
of Edge Hill, that Milton placed in imagination, if not in 
actual ink, his proudly deprecatory sonnet : 
"Captain, or colonel, or knight in arms, 

Whose chance on these defenseless doors may' seize, 
If deed of honor did thee ever please, 
Guard them, and him within protect from harms. 
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms 
That call lame on such gentle acts as these, % 
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas, 
Whatever clime the son's bright circle warms. 

Lift not thy spear against the Moses' bower: 
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare 

The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower 
Went to the ground; and the repeated air 

Of sad Electra's poet had the power 
To awe th f Athenian walls from ruin bare." 

His next remove was to a house in Barbican, now also, 
without doubt, removed : this was a larger house, for it 
wai necessary to accommodate, not only his wife, but all her 
ktoily. "When it is considered," says Todd, "that Mil- 
t® 11 cheerfully opened his doors to those who had treated 
ton* with indignity and breach of faith ; to a father, who, 
acc °rfKng to the poet's nuncupative will, never paid him 

104 MILTON. 

the promised marriage portion of a thousand pounds ; and 
to a mother, who, according to Wood, had encouraged the 
daughter in her perverseness ; we can not hut concede to 
Mr. Hayley's conclusion, that the records of private- life con- 
tain not a more magnanimous example of forgiveness and 
beneficence. They are supposed to have left him soon aft- 
er the death of his father, who ended a long, life in 1647, 
and whose declining days had been soothed by every atten- 
tion of a truly affectionate son." 

From the Barbican issued the first volume of his poems, 
including Comus, Lycidas, L 'Allegro, U Penseroso, fcc; 
a strange Parnassus, as it now seems to us. In 1647, his 
large troop of inmates having left him, he once more flitted, 
to use the good old Saxon term, into a smaller house in 
Holborn, opening backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields; 
this house will now bq sought in vain. Here he published, 
in 1649, his bold Tenure of Rings and Magistrates, in which 
he vindicated what the Parliament had done in 1648, in the 
execution of the king ; this was followed by some other 
political pamphlets. As he had made himself a marked 
man before, this open defense of the royal decapitation 
bound him up at once with the measures of the ruling gov- 
ernment. Such a champion was not to be overlooked ; and 
accordingly, immediately afterward, he was invited by the 
Council of State, without any expectation or solicitation on 
his part, to become Latin secretary ; as they had resolved 
neither to write to others abroad, nor to receive answers 
from any, except in that language, which was common to 
them all. Thus the vaporing schoolmaster, without any 
anxious solicitation, any flatteries, or compromise of his 
dignity and integrity, had steadily advanced to that post in 
which he could effectually serve his country. He was here 
not merely the secretary, he was the champion of the gov- 
ernment ; and, accordingly, the Eicon Ba*ilike 9 attributed to 
Ring Charles himself, was ordered by him to have an an- 
swer ; which answer was his Eiconoclastes, or the Image- 

Jf ILTON. 106 

breaker. Then came his great Defense of the People of 
England against Salmasius ; this work was received, both 
at home and abroad, with the greatest excitement, abuse, 
and applause, as the different parties were affected : at 
Paris and Toulouse it was burned ; at home, Milton was 
complimented on his performance of his task, by the visits 
or invitations of all the foreign ministers in London ; his 
own government presented him with a thousand pounds, as 
a testimony of their approbation of the manner in which he 
had acquitted himself ; and even Queen Christina, of Swe- 
den, the patron of Salmaaius, could not avoid applauding 
it, and soon after dismissed Salmasius from her court. The 
work itself/ and the effect it produced, are said to have 
shortened the Hfe of Salmasius, who died about two years 
afterward, without having finished his reply, upon which 
he was laboring. 

On being made Latin secretary, Milton quitted Holborn, 
and took lodgings in Scotland-yard, near Whitehall : here 
be lost his infant son; and his own* health being impaired, 
he removed to a more airy situation ; that is, into one of 
his favorite garden-houses, situated in Petty-France, West- 
minster, which opened into St. James's Park, in which he 
continued till within a few weeks of the Restoration : in 
this home some of the greatest domestic events of his life 
occurred. ' Here he lost the entire use of his eyes ; his left 
*yo having become quite dark in 1651 — the year in which 
be published his Defenrio Popidi — the second in 1653. 
Ha enemies triumphed in his blindness as a judgment from 
Heaven upon his writing against the king ; he only replied 
ty taking them, if it were a judgment upon him to lose his 
eTe *» what sort of judgment was that upon the king, which 
<** him his head; and by adding, that he had charity 
•wtagh to forgive them. We have seen that he laid the 
foundation of this deprivation in his youth, by unremitted 
*& nocturnal study ; and, when writing the Defense of the 
"ftogle, the physicians announced to him that he must de- 



t r «- 

trie ami VB^mred nil to 

in: wife, May Powell ; 
* jbe inn nm autgiiters, 
inn. QT das OUtorred 
He mftemmrd 
flfCqtti Woodcock, of 
& 3"" ** their mar- 

MILTON. 107 

This memorable dwelling is yet standing. It no longer 
opens into St. James's Park. The ancient front is riow its 
back, and overlooks the fine old, but house-surrounded 
garden of Jeremy Bentham. Near the top of this ancient 
front is a stone, bearing this inscription : " Sacred to Mil- 
ton, the Prince op Poets." This was placed there by 
no less distinguished a man than William Hazlitt, who 
rented the house some years, purely because it was Mil- 
ton's. Bentham, when he was conducting people round 
his garden, which is now in the occupation of Mr. Gibs,. 
the engineer, used to make them sometimes go down on 
their knees to this house. The house is tall and narrow, 
and has nothing striking about it. No doubt, when it open- 
ed into St. James's Park, it was pleasant ; now it fronts 
into York-street, which runs in a direct line from the west 
end of Westminster Abbey. It is number 19, and is occu- 
pied by a cutler. The back, its former front, is closed in 
by a wall, leaving but a very narrow court ; but above this 
wall, as already said, looks into the pleasant garden of the 
late venerable philosopher. 

Bat the time of the Restoration was approaching, and 
Milton began. to retrace his steps toward the city, by much 
the same regular stages as he had left it. After secreting 
himself in Bartholomew-close till the storm had blown 
over, and his pardon was signed, he once more took a house 
in Holborn, near Red Lion Fields ; and thence removed 
to Jewin-street, near Aldersgate. All these places have 
been rebuilt, and no house of Milton is now to be found in 
these thickly-populated parts. People have often wonder- 
ed why Milton always showed such a preference for the 
city. There are many reasons. In the first place, he was 
born and brought up till his seventeenth year in it ; the as- 
sociations of youth form strong attractions. In the second, 
a* Dr. Johnson considerately tells us, Aldersgate-street and 
the like were not then so much out of the world as now. 
Besides this, after the Restoration, it would be far more 


M I . I. I ■ ■ I \ , 

agreeable to Milton to be at some distance from the West 
End, where cavaliers and courtiers were now flaunting with 
newly-revived insolence; and nothing but taunts, insults* 
and the hearing of strange and most odious doings* could 
have awaited htm, Here Milton married his third and last 
wife, Elizabeth Minshull, of a good family in Cheshire, 
with whom he seems to have lived in great affection; so 
much so, that he wished to leave her all that was left him 
of his property* 

From Je win-street he made his last remove, as to his 
London residences, into Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields. 
Bunhill Fields were probably, in those days, open, and airy # 
and quiet ; at present, with the exception of the Artillery 
Ground itself, and the thickly-populated burial-ground 
which contains the bones of Bunyan and De Foe, the whole 
of that neighborhood is covered with a dense mass of 
modern houses. Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields, is no longer 
to be found. The nearest approach that you get t even to 
the name, is Artillery Place, Bunhill Row, which is merely 
a row of new houses adjoining the Artillery Ground, and a 
new churchy which has been erected in that busy, ordinary, 
and dingy street, still called Bunhill Row. Besides an Art 
of Logic, his Treatise on True Religion, Heresie, Schism, 
Toleration, and what best means may he used against the 
grmtffk of Popery ; his Familiar Letters in Latin ; and a 
translation of a Latin Declaration of the Poles in favor of 
John III., their heroic sovereign — the last two published in 
the last year of his life j his residence in Bunhill Fields was 
made remarkable by the publication of Paradise Lost, Par- 
adise Regained, and Samson Agonist es, He left, moreover, 
in manuscript, a Brief History of Muscovy, and of other 
less known Countries lying Eastward of Russia as far as 
Cathay, which was published in 1682, and his System of 
Theology, which was long supposed to have perished, but 
has been recovered and published of late years, much to 
the scandal of the orthodox. 

MILTON. 109 

Thus to the last did this wonderful man live and labor. 
Never did any man less " vapor away his patriotism." There 
is something singularly interesting and impressive' in our 
idea of him, as he calmly passed his latter days in his quiet 
habitation in Bunhill Fields. He had outlived the great bat- 
tle of king and people, in which extraordinary men and as 
extraordinary events had arisen, and shaken the whole civ- 
ilized world. Charles I„ Laud, and Strafford had fallen 
in their blood ; the monarchy and the Church had fallen. 
Pym, Hampden, Marvel, Vane, and the dictator Cromwell, 
had not only pulled down the greatest throne in Europe, 
bat had made all others seem to reel by the terrific prece- 
dent. All these stern agents, with the generals Ireton, 
Harrison, Lambert, Fleetwood, and their compeers, who 
had risen from the people to fight for the people, were 
gone, like the actors in an awful tragedy who had played 
their role ; some had perished in their blood, others had 
been torn from their graves ; the monarchy and the Church, 
the peerage and all the old practices and maxims, were 
again in' the ascendant, and had taken bloody vengeance ; 
yet this one man, he who had incited and applauded, who 
had defended and made glorious, through his eloquence and 
his learning, the whole Republican cause, was left untouch- 
ed. As if some especial guardianship of Providence had 
shielded him, or as if the very foes who pulled the dreaded 
Cromwell from his grave, feared the imprecations of pos- 
terity, and shrunk from the touch of that sacred head — 
there sat the sublime old man at his door, feeling with 
grateful enjoyment the genial sunshine fall on him. There 
he sat, erect, serene, calm, and trusting to God the Father 
of mankind. He had lived even to fulfill that long-deferred 
task of poetic glory ; the vision of Paradise Lost passed be- 
fore him, and had been sung forth in the most majestic 
strains that had ever made classical the English tongue, 
His trust in Providence had been justified ; he had served 
ins country, and had yet not missed his immortality, Shs 

110 M I L T O W. 

great and the wise came from every quarter to convene 
with him ; and the wonderful passages through which he 
and his nation had lived, were food' for the musings of die 
longest day or the most solitary moments. 

Many have thought that those melancholy lines in Sam- 
son Agonistes, commencing 

" O 1ms of sight ! of thee I meet complain," 

were his own wretched cogitations. But Milton, unlike 
Samson, had no weak seductions from the path of his great 
duty to reproach himself with ; and far likelier were it 
that the whole apostrophe to light, spoken in his own char- 
acter in the opening of the third book of Paradise Lost, 
was the more usual expression of his feelings : 
" Thee I revisit safe,' 
And feel thy soVran, -vital lamp ; but thou 
Revirit'gt not these eyes, that roll in vain 
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; 
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, 
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet, not the more 
Cease I to wander where the Moses haunt 
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sonny hill, 
8mit with the love of sacred song; bat chief 
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, 
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow, 
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget 
Those other two equaled with me in fate, 
80 were I equaled with them in renown, 
Blind Thamyris and blind M aeonides, 
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old : 
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move 
Harmonious numbers ; as the wakeful bird 
Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid, 
• Tones her nocturnal note." 

Such is the view that Richardson has given us of him in 
his declining days: "An ancient clergyman, of Dorset- 
shire, Dr. Wright, found John Mikon in a small chamber 
hung with rusty green, sitting in an elbow-chair, and dress- 
ed neatly in black ; pale, but not cadaverous ; his hands 


and fingers gouty, and with chalk stones. He used, also* to 
sit in a gray, coarse cloth coat, at the door of his house in 
Bdnhill Fields, in warm, sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh 
air ; and so, as well' as in his room, received the visits of 
people of distinguished parts as well as quality." 

Much pains have been taken to represent- Milton as mo- 
rose and exacting in domestic life ; and as proof of it has 
been adduced, the leaving of him by his first wife, and the 
statement that he made his daughters read to him in Latin 
and Greek, though he would not allow them to learn a 
syllable of those languages. If these things were true, I 
should be the last man to defend them, or to endeavor to 
gloss them over ; but they are at least very doubtful. We 
must remember that these were the charges of his enemies, 
and they were many and bitter, and by no means truthful. 
The causes for bis wife's desertion we have already exam- 
ined, and they reflect discredit on her and her family, and 
not on him. In that account, all that is generous and hon- 
orable lies on his feide. As to his daughters, probably they 
did not wish to learn the classical languages ; and how 
they could read in them, while ignorant of them, so as to 
satisfy his ear, is not so easily conceivable, when we recol- 
lect that when Elwood did not understand what he was 
reading, he immediately detected it, and stopped him. Be 
*&! however, as it may, Dr. Newton tells us, that all who 
"id written accounts of Milton agreed that " he was affa- 
ble and instructive in conversation, and of an equal and 
weerful temper." It is not so easy to excuse him for re- 
fokg to leave any of his property to his daughters, ** be- 
^ose they had been very undutiful to him." No doubt he 
had much to complain of in that disposition which they had 
imbibed from their mother and her family, but it became a 
I* 1 *** man, like Milton, to cherish a great affection toward 
*u own children, and to manifest toward them a great for- 
giveness. • 
There is ah eoisode in the later life of Milton wUdb~w$ 

112 MILTON. 

are made acquainted with by Thomas Elwood, die Quaker, 
and which has something very pleasing and picturesque 
about it. It is that of his abode at Chalfont St. Giles, in 
Buckinghamshire. Elwood, who was the son of a country 
justice of peace, was one among the first converts to Quak- 
erism, and has left us a most curious and amusing auto- 
biography. In this he tells us that, while Milton lived in 
Jewin-street, he was introduced to him as a reader, the 
recompense to Elwood being that of deriving the advant- 
age of a better knowledge of the classics, and -of the for- 
eign pronunciation of Latin. A great regard sprung up 
between Milton and his reader, who was a man, not only of 
great integrity of mind, but of a quaint humor and a poetical 
taste. On the breaking out of the plague in London, Mil- 
ton, who was then living in Bunhill Fields, wrote to Elwood, 
who had found an asylum in the house of an affluent Quak- 
er, at Chalfont, to procure him a lodging there. He did 
so ; but before Milton could take possession of his country 
retreat, Elwood, with numbers of other Quakers, was hur- 
ried off to Aylesbury jail. The persecution of that sect 
subsiding for a while, Elwood, on his liberation, paid Milton 
a visit, and received the MS. of Paradise Lost to take home 
and read. With this, Elwood had the sense to be greatly 
delighted, and, in returning it, said, "Thou hast said a 
great deal upon Paradise Lost; what hast thou to say 
upon Paradise Found ?" Milton was silent a moment, as 
pondering on what he had heard, and then began to con- 
verse on other subjects. When, however, Elwood visited 
him afterward in London, Milton showed him the Parodist 
Regained, saying, ** This is owing to you, for you put it 
into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont; 
which before I had not thought of." 

Thus, in this abode at Chalfont, we hear the first mention 
of Paradise Lost, and to it we owe Paradise Regained. 
It is supposed that Milton wrote the whole of the latter 
poem there, and that he must have done, or the greater 

MILTON. 118 

part of it, from his being able so soon after his return to 
show it to Elwood. 

It says much for the proprietors of the cottage at Chal- 
font, and for the feeling of the country in general, that this 
simple dwelling has been sacredly preserved to this time. 
You see that all the others near it are much more modern. 
This is of the old framed timber kind, and is known, not 
only to the whole Tillage, but the whole country round, as 
Milton's house. Mr. Dunster, in the additions to his edition 
of Paradise Regained, says that the cottage at Chalfont "is 
not pleasantly situated ; that the adjacent country is ex- 
tremely pleasant ; but the immediate spot is as little pictur- 
esque or pleasing as can well be imagined." He might 
hare recollected, that it could signify very little to Milton 
whether the spot was picturesque or not, if it were quiet, 
and had a good air ; for Milton was, and had been, long 
quite blind. But, in feet, the situation, though not remark- 
ably striking, is by no means unpleasing. It is the first 
cottage on the right hand as you descend the road from 
Beaconsfiejd to Chalfont St. Giles. 

Standing a little above the cottage, the view before you 
is very interesting. The quiet old agricultural village of 
Chalfont lies in the valley, amid woody uplands, which are 
seen all round. The cottage stands facing you, with its 
gable turned to the road, and fronting into its little garden 
and field. A row of ordinary cottages is built at its back, 
and face the road below. To the right ascends the grass 
field mentioned; but this, with extensive old orchards 
above the house, is pleasing to the eye, presenting an idea 
of quiet, rural repose, and of meditative walks in the shade 
of the orchard-trees, or up the field, to the breezy height 
above. Opposite to the house, on the other side of the 
way, is a wheelwright's dwelling, with his timber reared 
among old trees, and above it a chalk-pit, grown about 
with bushes. This is as rural as you can desire. The old 
i is covered in front with a vine ; bears all die marks 

114 M I L T O IT. 

of antiquity ; and is said by its inhabitant, a tailor, to have 
been but little altered. There was, be says, an old porch 
at the door, which stood till it fell with age. Here we 
may well imagine Milton sitting, in the sunny weather, as 
at Bunhill Fields, and enjoying the warmth, and the calm 
sweet air. Could he have seen the view which here pre* 
sented itself, it would have been agreeable ; for though in 
this direction the ascending ground shuts out distant pros- 
pect, its green and woody upland would be itself ja pleas- 
ant object of contemplation ; shutting out all else, and 
favorable to thought. The house below consists of two 
rooms, the one on the left, next to the road, a spacious one, 
though low, and with its small diamond casements sug- 
gesting to you that it is much as when Milton inhabited it. 
Here he no doubt lived principally ; and to all probability, 
here was Paradise Regained dictated to his amanuensis, 
most likely at that time his wife, Elizabeth MinshulL The 
worthy tailor and his apprentice were now mounted on a 
table in it, busily pursuing their labor. 

Outside, over the door, is an armorial escutcheon, at die 
foot of which is painted, in bold letters, Milton. The old 
man, who was very civil and communicative, said that it 
was not really the escutcheon of Milton, but of General 
Fleetwood, who purchased the house for Milton, and who 
at that time lived at the manor-house, and lies buried in 
the church here. Of this, El wood tells us nothing, but, 
on the contrary, that he procured the house for Milton. 
Whether this escutcheon be really Fleetwood's or not, I 
had no means of ascertaining, as it was not only very in* 
distinct, but too high to examine without a ladder ; but as 
Milton's armorial bearing contained spread eagles,. and as 
there were birds in the shield, it no doubt had been intended 
for Milton by those who placed it there. Fleetwood's living 
at Chalfont might be an additional reason for Milton's 
choosing it for his then retreat; but Elwood, and not Fleet- 
wood, took the house, and it is doubtful even whether 

MILTOIf. 116 

Fleetwood was still living, being one of the regicides con- 
demned, but never executed. Independent, however, of 
any other consideration, Milton had many old associations 
with Buckinghamshire, which would recommend it to him; 
and in summer the air amid the heaths and parks of this 
part of the country is peculiarly soft, delicious, and fra- 

We come now to Milton's last house, the narrow house 
appointed for all living, in which he laid his bones beside 
those of his father. This was in the church of St, Giles, 
Cripplegate. He died on Sunday, the 8th of November, 
1674, and was buried on the 12th. His funeral is stated 
to have been very splendidly and numerously attended. 
By the parish registry we find that he was buried in the 
chancel: "John Milton, gentleman. Consumption. Chan- 
cell. 12. Nov., 1674." Dr. Johnson supposed that he had 
no inscription, but Aubrey distinctly states that " when the 
two steppes to the communion-table were raysed in 1600, 
his stone was removed." Milton's grave remained a whole 
century without a mark to point out where the great poet 
lay, till in 1793 Mr. Whitbread erected a bust and an in- 
scription to his memory. What is more, there is every 
reason to believe that his remains were, on this occasion 
of raising the chancel and removing the stone, disturbed. 
The coffin was disinterred and opened, and numbers of 
relic-hunters were eager to seize and convey off fragments 
of his bones. The matter at the time occasioned a sharp 
controversy, and the public were at length persuaded to 
believe that they were not the remains of Milton, but of a 
female, that by mistake had been thus treated. But when 
the workmen had the inscribed stone before them, and dug 
down directly below it, what doubt can there be that the 
remains were those of the poet? By an alteration in the 
church when it was repaired in 1682, that which was the 
old chancel ceased to be the present one, and the remains 
of Milton thus came to lie in the great central aisle. The 




monument erected by WhitbreaJ marks, as near as possi- 
ble, the place* The bust is by Bacon. It is attached to a 

pillar, and beneath it is this inscription : 

Jvus MlLTOS, 

Author of Paradise tott,* 

Bom Dee r ., 1608. 

Dted Nov T + , 1674. 

Hii lather, John Milton, died March, 1646. 

They were both interred in this church. 

Samuel WhJtbread posuit, 1793. 

This church is remarkable for the marriage of Oliver 
Cromwell having taken place in it, and for being the burial- 
place of many eminent men. In the chancel, in close 
neighborhood with Milton, lay old John Speed, the chron- 
icler, and Fox, the maxtyrologist, whose monuments still 
remain on the wall. That of Speed is his bust, in doublet 
and ruITi with his right hand resting on a hook, and his left 
on a skull. It is a niche, representing one of the folding 
shrines still seen in Catholic churches on the Continent. 
There is a monument, also, seen there, to a lady of the fam- 
ily of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Sh&kspeare notoriety ; and an- 
other of some noble peraon, having beneath the armorial 
escutcheon an opening representing skulls, bones, and 
names, within a barred grating, supposed to be symbolic 
of purgatory. The burial-ground of Bunhill Fields, where 
Bunyan and De Foe lie, belongs also to this parish, and 
their interments are contained in the registry of this church. 

Thus the Prince of Poets, as Hazlitt styled Mm, sleeps 
in good company. The times in which he lived, and the 
part he took in them, were certain to load his name with 
obloquy and misrepresentation ; but tbe solemn dignity of 
his life, and the lofty tone and principle of his writings, 
more and more suffice not only to vindicate him, but to 
commend him to posterity. No man ever loved liberty and 
* This word "loft," with a little 1 in the inscription. 



virtue with a purer affection; no man ever laborad in their 
cause with a more distinguished zeal ; no man ever brought 
to the taak a more glorious genius, accomplished with a 
more consummate learning. Milton was the noblest model 
of a devoted patriot and true Englishman ; and the study 
of his works is the most certain means of perpetuating la 
his country spirits worthy of her greatness* 


" In the midst of obscurity passed the life of Butler, a 
man whose name can only perish with his language. The 
mode and place of his education are unknown ; the events 
of his life are variously related ; and all that can be told 
with certainty is, that he was poor." 

Such are the expressive words with which Dr. Johnson 
winds up his meager account of the witty author of Hudi-' 
bras. A more significant finish to a poet*s biography could 
scarcely be given* A more striking instance of national 
neglect, and the ingratitude of posterity, is nowhere to be 

Strenshara, in Warwickshire, claims the honor of his 
birth* His father is said to have been an honest farmer 
there, with a small e state , who made a shift to educate his 
son at the grammar-school at Worcester, whence he is 
supposed to have gone to the university, but whether of 
Oxford or Cambridge, is matter of dispute. His brother 

B O T L E I. l]g 

I that it was Cambridge, but could not tell at which 
hall or college. Dr. Nash discovered that his father was 
r of a house and a little land, worth about eight pounds 
r, which, in Johnson's time, was still called Butler* $ 

we consider the humble position of the father, 
we* osji only wonder that he contrived to give him an edn> 
cation si a classical school at all, and may very well doubt, 
with As) great lexicographer, whether he in reality ever 
did sandy at Cambridge. Having, however, given his son 
a learned education, his resources were exhausted, he had 
■o pa tron a g e, and the young roan became, and might prob- 
ably dunk himselTfbrtunate in doing so, a clerk to a justice 
of peace, Mr. Jefferys, of Earl's Croomb, in Worcester- 
shire. Here he appears to have passed an easy and agree- 
able life. " He had," says Johnson, " not only leisure for 
study, but for recreation ; his amusements were music and 
painting ; and the reward of his pencil was the friendship 
of the celebrated Cooper. Some pictures, said to be his, 
were shown to Dr. Nash at Earl's Croomb ; but when he 
inquired for them some years afterward, he found them 
destroyed to stop windows, and owns that they hardly de- 
served a better fate." 

From this gentleman's service he passed into that of 
the Countess of Kent. The celebrated John Selden 
was then steward of the countess, and it was probably 
through him, or for his purposes, that Butler was intro- 
duced into the family. He was much noticed by Selden, 
and employed by him as an amanuensis. Whether this 
was the actual capacity in which he stood in the family of 
the countess, is, like almost every other event of his life, 
however, quite unknown. One thing seems certain, that, 
both at Mr. Jefferys' and here, he had been turned loose 
into great libraries, the sort of pasture that he of all others 
liked, and had devoured their contents to some purpose, 
as is manifested in his writings. These were the real col- 

190 BUTLEI. 

leges at which he studied, and where he laid up enormous 
masses of information. 

His next remove was into the family of Sir Samuel Luke, 
one of GromwelTs officers. This was the decisive circum- 
stance of his life. Sir Samuel was the hero of his future 
poem — the actual Hudibras. But he was here in the very 
center of republican action, and sectarian opinion and dis- 
cussion. In Sir Samuel he had a new and rich study of 
character; in those about him, a new world, abounding 
with all sorts of persons, passages, and doctrines, which x 
made him feel that he also had a world unknown still in 
himself, that of satirical fun infinite. Into this world he 
absorbed fell the new views of things ; the strange shapes 
that came to and fro ; the strange phraseology and sound* 
of conventicle hymns that assailed his ears. The historian 
and poet of the new land of Goshen, where all was lights 
while the neighboring Egypt of royalty was all in dark- 
ness, was born into it; and Hudibras, and his Squire 
Ralph, Sidrophel, Talgol and Trulla, the Bear and Fiddle* 
all sprung into immortal existence. 

The story of the utter neglect of Butler by the king and 
court, at the time that not only they, but all Royalists in the 
kingdom, were bursting with laughter over Hudibras, is 
too well known. Once it was hoped that he was on the 
verge of good fortune, and Mr. Wycherley was to intro- 
duce him to the all-powerful Duke of Buckingham. The 
story of this interview is too characteristic . to be passed 

" Mr, Wycherley," says Packe, " had always laid hold 
of an opportunity which offered of representing to the 
Duke of Buckingham how well Mr. Butler had deserved 
of the royal family, by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and 
that it was a reproach to the court that a person of his loy- 
alty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the want 
he did. The duke always seemed to hearken to him with 
attention enough ; and after some time undertook to rec* 

BUTLER. 121 

oamend his pretensions to bis majesty. Mr. Wycherley, 
io hopes to keep him steady to bis word, obtained of his 
grace to name a day when he might introduce that mod- 
est and unfortunate poet to his new patron. At last an ap- 
pointment-was made, and. the place of meeting was agreed 
to be the Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended 
accordingly; the duke joined them ; but, as the d — i would 
have it, the door of the room where they sat was open, 
and his grace, who had seated himself near it, observing a 
pimp of his acquaintance — the creature, too, was a knight 
— trip by with a brace of ladies, immediately quitted his 
engagement to follow another kind of business, at which 
he was more ready than at doing good offices to men of 
desert, though no one was better qualified than he, both in 
regard of his fortune and understanding, to protect them ; 
and from that time to the day of his death, poor Butler 
never found the least effect of his promise !" 

The. brightest gleam of his life would seem to be between 
his quitting Sir Samuel Luke's and the publication of his 
Hudibras; but when this exactly took place, and how long 
this lasted, we are not informed. It must, however, have 
taken place between the king's return, which was in 1659, 
and 1664, some five years or so. During this period he 
was made secretary to the Earl of Carberry, president of 
the principality of Wales, who made him steward of Lud- 
low Castle when the Court of Marches was revived. 

This was a post in which a poet might feel himself well 
placed. This ancient castle of the Lacys and Mortimers 
stands at the west end of the town of Ludlow, on a bold 
rock, overlooking the River Corve, and near the confluence 
of that river and the Teme. Many striking events had 
occurred here since the time that William the Conqueror 
bestowed it on Roger de Montgomery, from whose de- 
scendants it passed successively into the bauds of the crown, 
the Warines, the Lacys, and the Mortimers. On the bord- 
ers of Wales, it was a strong-hold for the crown of England, 

Vol. I.— F 

122 BUTLER. 

and after it fell again into the hands of the king, became 
the palace of the President of the Marches, and often the 
residence of princes. Here the young king -Edward V. 
lived, and left it only to proceed to London into the mur- 
derous hands of his uncle, Richard III., who, within two 
months of his quitting this quiet asylum, had him and his 
brother smothered in the Tower. Here Prince Arthur, 
eldest son of Henry VII., was married to Catharine of Ar- 
agon, who, after his death, was married to his brother, 
Henry VIII. ; her divorce finally leading to the Reforma- 
tion in England. Here Sir Philip Sidney's father, Sir 
Henry Sidney, had lived, as President of the Marches ; 
and many a scene of splendor and festivity had lit up the 
venerable towers, on the occasion of royal visits, and other 
seasons of rejoicing. Above all, it was for one of those 
occasions that the youthful Milton had composed his Co-, 
mus ; and on a visit of Charles I., in 1631, to the Earl of 
Bridgwater, then President of the Marches; it was per- 
formed before him, the work being founded on a real inci- 
dent occurring in the lord president's own family, which 
is thus related by Nightingale : "When he had entered 
on his official residence, he was visited by a large assem- 
bly of the neighboring nobility and gentry. JHis sons, the 
Lord Brackley and Sir Thomas Egerton, and his daughter, 
the Lady Alice, being on their journey, 

" To attend their father 1 * state, 
And new intrusted scepter/' 

were benighted in Haywood Forest, in Herefordshire, and 
the lady for a short time was lost. The adventure being 
related to their father on their arrival at the castle, Milton, 
at the request of his friend, Henry Lawes, who taught 
music in the family, wrote the Mask. Lawes set it to 
music, and it was acted on Michaelmas night; the two 
brothers, the young lady, and Lawes himself, each bearing 
a part in the representation. 9 ' 

This single circumstance of being the scene of the first 

BUTLER. 123 

representation of the Mask of Comus, one of Milton's moat 
be aut if u l compositions, has given a perpetual interest to 
Ludlow Cattle. 

The genius of Butler was of a different stamp. It want- 
ed the sublimity, the pathos, and tender sensibilities of that 
of Milton ; but, on the other band, for perception of the 
ridiculous; for a diving into the closest folds of cant and 
fanatical pretense ; for a rough) bold, and humorous power 
of sketching ordinary Hfe, it was unrivaled* A tower is 
still shown as the place where he wrote a part of his Hu- 
dibras. Whether it be the 'precise fact or not, it is idle to 
inquire. There our author has resided ; there he is said 
to have written something or other, and the very room and 
spot of its composition' are pointed out. It is best not to 
be too critical ; and, on the other hand, if we believe, in 
general, that where a man of genius has lived he has also 
written, we shall seldom be far wrong. There is little 
doubt that here Butler, possessed of more leisure and in- 
dependence than at any other period of his life, did really 
revise and prepare his work for press, of which the first 
part was published in 1663, and the second in the year fol- 

^Here he married Mrs. Herbert, a lady of good family, 
jrith whom he lived in comfort, if not in affluence. Of the 
place where Comus was first acted by the real personages 
of it, and where Butler brought forth his Hudibras, some 
idea may be gratifying to the reader. It was deserted in 
the first year of William and Mary, in consequence of the 
dissolution of the Court of the Marches. From an inven- 
tory of die goods found in Ludlow Castle, bearing date 
1708, in the eleventh year of Queen Anne, there appeared 
to be then forty rooms entire. Many of the royal apart- 
ments were in that condition; and the couch of state and 
the velvet- hangings were preserved. In the chapel there 
were still to be seen on the panels many coats of arms; 
and in the hall many of the same kind of ornaments, to- 

124 BUYLfil. 

getber with lances, spears, firelocks, and old armor. < Ob 
the accession of George I., an order came down to unroof 
the buildings, and strip them of their lead. Decay conse- 
quently ensued. Several panels bearing the arms of- the 
lords president were converted into wainscoting for a 
public house in the town, a former owner of which enriched 
himself by the sale of materials clandestinely carried away. 
There remains, also, a rich embroidered carpet, hung up 
m the chancel of St. Lawrence's Church, said to be part 
of the covering of the council-board. > The Earl of Ppwia, 
who previously held the castle in virtue of a long lease, 
acquired the reversion in fee by purchase from the crown 
hi 1811. 

The whole is now a scene, of veperable ruin. The cas- 
tle rises from the point of a headland, and its foundations 
are ingrafted into a bare gray rock. The north front con- 
sists of square towers with high connecting walls, which 
are embattled with deep interstices ; and the old fosse, and 
part of the rock, have been formed into walks, which in 
1722 were planted with beech, elm, and lime trees by the 
Countess of Powis, and those trees, now grown to maturi- 
ty, add exceedingly to the dignity and beauty of the scene* 
Through a chasm on the west runs the broad and shallow 
River Teme. It were too long to describe all this mass of 
ruins, with its various courts, remains of barracks, and es- 
cutcheoned walls. The first view of the interior of the cas- 
tle is fine. The court is an irregular square area, not very 
spacious, but the lofty embattled structures with which it 
is surrounded, though in ruin, still preserve their original 
outlines. The spacious hall is of sixty feet by thirty, the 
height about thirty-five feet, and is ornamented with a door 
with a beautiful pointed arch. The once elegant saloon, 
where the splendid scene of Comus was first exhibited ; 
where chivalry exhausted her choicest stores, both of inven- 
tion and wealth, and where hospitality and magnificence 
blazed for many ages in succession, without diminution or 

B U T L E I. 125 

decay, is now totally dilapidated, and neither roof nor floor 

From the time of Butler's quitting this scene of his ease 
and happiness, he seems to have experienced only poverty 
and neglect. His wife's fortune is said to have been lost 
through bad securities; his expectations from the royal 
person, or the royal party whom he had so immensely 
served, were wholly disappointed ; and in 1680 he died, 
where, on the authority of the son of his truest friend and 
benefactor, Mr. Longueville, he had lived some years, in 
Rose-street, Covent Garden. Mr. Longueville exerted him- 
self to raise a subscription for his interment in Westminster 
Abbey, but in vain ; he therefore buried him at his own 
cost in the church-yard of Covent Garden. About sixty 
years afterward, Mr. Bailey, a painter, Mayor of London, 
and a friend U> Butler's principles, bestowed on him that 
monument in Westminster Abbey, which is well known. 

Such were the life, fortunes, and death of the author of 
Hudibras, whose name, as Johnson justly observes, can 
only perish with his language. It was his misfortune to 
look for protection to a monarch, who only protected cour- 
tesans, and the most disgusting of libertines. Butler should 
havebeen a pimp, and not a poet, and he would soon have 
found employment enough. His neglect is but one oppro- 
brium more added to the memory of a monarch, whose 
whole life was a nuisance and a disgrace to the country 
which tolerated him. 

DKTDEN. 12? 

Acuity as he delights us with the masterly vigor of his reas- 
oning powers ; with his harmony and nerve of style ; and 
with the stiletto stabs of his annihilating satire. But from 
any necessity of criticism on his genius, the familiar ac- 
quaintance of every true lover of poetry with the merits and 
beauties which have fixed his immortality, fortunately for 
my space, fully exempts me. Even over the long succession 
of literary events in his life we must pass, and fix our at- 
tention on Us homes and haunts. For nearly forty years, 
from 1660 to 1700, he was before the public as an active 
author; and on the disappearance of Milton from the field 
of life, he became, and continued to be, the most marked 
man of his time; yet it is astonishing how little is known 
of his town haunts and habits. Of his publications, the ap- 
pearance of his dramas, the controversies into which he fell 
with his literary cotemporaries, his change of religion, and 
his clinging to the despotic government of the Stuarts, we 
know enough ; but of his home life next to nothing. That 
he lived in Gerrard-street, and was a constant frequenter 
of Will's Coffee-house, Covent Garden, seems to be almost 
all that is known of his town resorts. Like Addison, and 
most literary men who have married titled ladies, he did 
not find it. contribute much to bis comfort. His wife was 
Lady Elizabeth Howard, the eldest daughter of the Earl 
of Berkshire, and sister of his friend, Sir Robert Howard. 
Her temper is said to have been very peculiar, and that 
she looked down on Dryden as of inferior rank, though he 
was descended from a very old family, mixed with the most 
distinguished men of the nobility, and was the first man of 
his time ; but conceit or the blindness of aristocratic pride 
do not alter the real nature or proportion of things, except 
in the vision of the person afflicted with them. Dryden 
was the great personage, and his titled wife the little one, 
and on him, therefore, lay the constant pressure of the un- 
equal yoke he bore. 
What, no doubt, rendered the conduct of his wife worse, 

128 d & y d e x. 

was the pride of her family on the one hand, and the un- 
lucky connection of Dryden's brothers with ordinary trades. 
His family, and that of -bis mother, the Pickerings, had 
taken a decided part during the civil wan for the Parlia- 
ment, while that of his wife had been as zealous on the Roy* 
alist side. Besides this, Erasmus, his immediate younger 
brother, was in trade in Ring-street, Westminster; James, 
the fourth brother, was a tobacconist in London) one of 
his sisters was married to a bookseller in Little Britain, and 
another to a tobacconist in Newgate-street ; these would 
be dreadful alliances to a family proud and poor. "No 
account,*' says Mitford, in his life of the poet,. " has been 
transmitted of the person, of Dryden's wife, nor has any 
portrait of her been discovered. I am afraid her personal 
attractions were not superior to her mental endowments; 
that her temper was wayward, and that the purity of her 
character was sullied by some early indiscretions. A let- 
ter from Lady Elizabeth to her son at Rome is preserved, 
as remarkable for the elegance, of the style as the correct- 
ness of the orthography. She says : ' Your father is much 
at woon as to his health, and his defhese-is wosce, but much 
as he was when he was heare ; give me a true account how 
my deare son Charles is head dus. 9 Can this be the lady 
who had formerly held captive in her chains the gallant 
Earl of Chesterfield 1" 

"Lady Elizabeth Dryden," says Scott, "had long dis- 
turbed her husband's domestic happiness. ' His invectives,' 
says Malone, * against the married state were frequent and 
bitter, and were continued till the latest period of his life ;' 
and he adds, from most respectable authority, that the fam- 
ily of the poet held no intimacy with his lady, confining 
their intercourse to mere visits of ceremony. How could 
they? how could the tobacconist, and the other tobacco- 
nist's wife, and the little bookseller's wife of Little Britain, 
venture under the roof of the proud lady of the proud 
house of Howard, with ' her weak intellects and her violent 
temper?' " 

D R Y D E N. 130 

A similar alienation, also, it is said, took place between 
her and her relatives, Sir Robert Howard, perhaps, being 
excepted ; for ber brother, the Honorable Edward How- 
. ard, talks of Dryden's being engaged in a translation of 
Virgil as a thingiie had learned merely by common report. 
Her wayward disposition, M alone says, was, however, the 
effect of a disordered imagination, which, shortly after Dry- 
den's death, degenerated into absolute insanity, in which 
state she remained until her own death, in 1714, probably 
in the seventy-ninth year of her age. 

Poor Dryden ! what with his wife— consort one can not 
call her, and helpmeet she was not — and with a tribe of 
tobacconist brothers on one hand, and proud Howards on 
the other ; and a host of titled associates, and his bread to 
dig with his pen, one pities him from one's heart. Well 
might he, when his, wife once said it would be much better 
for her to be a book than a woman, for then she should 
have more of his company, reply, " I wish you were, my 
dear, an almanac, and then I could change you once a 
year." It is not well to look much into such a home, ex- 
cept for a warning. Yet the outside of that life, like many 
others, would have deceived an ordinary spectator. There 
all was brilliant and imposing. " Whether," says Sir Wal- 
ter Scott, " we judge of the rank which Dryden held in .so- 
ciety by the splendor of his titled and powerful friends, or 
by his connections among men of genius, we must consider 
him as occupying at one time as high a station, in the very 
foremost circle, as literary reputation could gain for its 
owner*' Independent of the notice with which he was hon- 
ored by Charles himself, the poet numbered among his 
friends most of the distinguished nobility. The great Duke 
of Ormond had already begun that connection which sub- 
sisted between Dryden and three generations of the house 
of Butler. Thomas Lord Clifford, one of the Cabal minis- 
try, was uniform in patronizing the poet, and appears to 
have been active in introducing hhn to the king's favor. 


130 drVden. 

The Duke of Newcastle loved him sufficiently to present 
him with a play for the stage ; the witty Earl of Dorset, 
then Lord Buckhurst, and Sir Charles Sedley, admired m 
that loose age for the peculiar elegance of his loose poetry, m 
were his intimate associates, as is evident from the turn of 
The Essay on Dramatic Poesy, where they are the speak- 
ers. Wilmot, earl of Rochester, soon to act a very differ- 
ent part, was then anxious to vindicate Dryden's writings ; 
to mediate for him with those who distributed the royal fa- 
vor, and was thus careful, not only of his reputation, but 
his fortune. In short, the author of what was then held 
the first style of poetry, was sought for by all among the 
great and gay who wished to maintain some character for 
literary taste. It was then Dryden enjoyed those genial 
nights described in the dedication of the Assignation, when 
'discourse was neither too serious nor too light, bat always 
pleasant, and for the most part instructive; the raillery 
neither too sharp upon the present, nor too . censorious 
upon the absent ; and the cups such only as raised the con- 
versation of the night, without disturbing the business of 
the morrow/ He had not yet experienced the disadvan- 
tages attendant on such society, or learned how soon liter- 
ary eminence becomes the object of detraction, of envy, of 
injury, even from those who can best feel its merit, if they 
are discouraged by dissipated habits from emulating its 
flight, or hardened by perverted feeling against loving its 
possessors." But all this came ; and, in the mean time, the 
poet had to work, like Pegasus in the peasant's cart, for 
the means to maintain this intercourse with such lofty so- 
ciety. And what did all these great friends do for him! 
They procured him no good post in return for good serv- 
ices rendered to their party, but the poet's meager office of 
the laureateship, which, added to that of historiographer to 
royalty, brought him <£200 a year, and his butt of canary. 
Poor Dryden ! with the cross wife, and the barren blaze 
of aristocracy around him, the poorest coal-heaver need not 
have envied him. 

D I T D E N. 131 

Neither did " glorious John" escape his share of annoy- 
ance from his cotemporaries of the pen, nor from the pub- 
lishers. He had a controversy with his friend and brother- 
in-law, Sir Robert Howard, on the true nature of dramatic 
poetry, which speedily degenerated into personal bitterness, 
and a long estrangement Then came the Rehearsal, that 
witty farce in which he was ridiculed in the character of 
Bayes, and his literary productions, as well as personal 
characteristics, held up to the malicious merriment of the 
world by a combination of the wits and fashionable pen- 
men of the time; among them the notorious Villiers, duke 
of Buckingham, the author of Hudibras, the Bishop of Ro- 
chester, and others. The miserable Elkanah Settle was 
set up as a rival of him ; and after these rose in succession 
the hostile train of the licentious Lord Rochester, Lord 
Shaftesbury, Milbourne, Blackmore, and others, by whom 
every species of spite, misrepresentation, and ridicule were 
for yean heaped upon him. Nor did his enemies restrain 
themselves to the use of the pen in their attacks upon him. 
One of the most prominent events of Dryden's life is that 
of a ruffianly attack upon him as he returned from his club 
at Will's Coffee-house, on a winter's night. Lord Mul- 
grave had published a satire, called an Essay on Satire, in 
which Rochester and other wits and profligates of the time 
were introduced. The poem was a wretched affair; but 
Dryden, to oblige Mulgrave, had undertaken to revise it 
Much labor he could* not have bestowed upon it, it was so 
flat and poor; but Rochester thought fit to attribute it to 
Dryden himself; and a set of ruffians, supposed to be hired 
by him and the Duchess of Portsmouth, who had been also 
reflected on, fell on the poet as he passed through Rose- 
street, Covent Garden, on his way from Will's Coffee-house 
to his own bouse in Gerrard-street. A reward of ,£50 was 
in vain offered in the London Gazette and other newspa- 
pers for the discovery of the perpetrators of the outrage. 
The beating was, in those loose times, thought a good joke. 

132 D R Y l> E N. 

The Rose Alley ambuscade became almost proverbial ; and 
even Mulgrave, the real author of the satire, and upon 
whose shoulders the blows ought in justice to have de- 
scended, in his Art of Poetry, thus mentions the circum- 
stance with a pitiful sneer : 

" Though praised and punished for another's rhymes, 
'His own deserve as great applause tometimet" 

Thus attacked with pens and cudgels by the envious 
writers of the day, Dry den was nearly starved by the 
booksellers. On one occasion, provoked by the refusal of 
tiinely supplies by Jacob Tonson, he did not do as Johnson 
did by Cave, knock him down with a quarto, but ran him 
through with a triplet, describing the bibliopole's person : 

" With leering looks, hull-faced, and freckled fair, 
With two left legs, and Judas-colored hair, 
And frowzy pores that taint the ambient air." 

" Tell the dog," said the poet to the messenger by whom 
he sent these complimentary lines, " that he who wrote 
these can write more." But he needed not to write more ; 
they were as effective as ha could desire. Jacoby howev- 
er, on his part, could make his tongue as pungent as Dry- 
den could his verse. Johnson, in the " Life of Dry den," 
relates that Lord Bolingbroke one day making a call on 
Dry den, he heard another person enter the house. u That," 
said Dryden, " is Tonson. You will take care not to de- 
part before he goes away ; for I have not completed the 
sheet which I promised him ; and if you leave me unpro- 
tected, I shall suffer, all the rudeness to which his resent- 
ment can prompt his tongue." 

Perhaps the happiest hours of Dryden's life, next to 
those spent over his finest compositions in his study, were 
passed at Will's Coffee-house. After dinner, at two o'clock, 
he used to repair thither, where assembled all the most fa- 
mous men of the time. There he reigned supreme. He 
had a chair placed for him by the chimney in winter, and 
near the balconv in summer; where, says his biographer, 

D R V D E V. 133 

he pronounced, ex cathedrd, his opinions upon new publi- 
cations, and in general upon all matters of doubtful criti- 
cism. Latterly, all who had occasion to ridicule and attack 
him, represent him as presiding in this little senate. His 
opinions, however, were not maintained with dogmatism, 
but he listened to criticism, provided it was just, from 
whatever unexpected and undignified quarter it happened 
to come. In general, however, it may be supposed that 
few ventured to dispute his opinion, or to place themselves 
m the gap between him and the object of his censure. 

Dryden's house, which he appears to have resided m 
from the period of his marriage till his death, was, as I 
have said, in Gerrard-street ; the fifth on the left hand, 
coming from Little Newport-street, now No. 43. The back 
windows looked upon the gardens of Leicester House, of 
which, circumstance the poet availed himself to pay a hand- 
some compliment to the noble owner. His excursions to 
the country seem to have been frequent ; perhaps the more 
so, as Lady Elizabeth always remained in town. In his 
latter days, the friendship of his relations, John Dry den, of 
Chesterton, and Mrs. Steward, of Cotterstock, rendered 
their houses agreeable places of abode to the aged poet. 
They appear, also, to have had a kind solicitude about his 
Kttle comforts, of value infinitely beyond the contributions 
they made toward aiding him. 

The principal traits of his domestic life have been col- 
lected together by Malone. From these, and from the pen 
of Congreve, we learn that he was, in youth, of handsome 
form and agreeable countenance; modest in his manner, 
Telttctant to intrude himself on the notice and company of 
others, easily chilled and rebuffed by any thing like a distant 
Iwbavior. He is described as most amiable and affection- 
ate in his family, generous beyond his means, and most for- 
giving of injuries ; all noble traits of character. Malone 
related, on the authority of Lady Dry den, that at that time 
*he poet's little estate at Blakesley was occupied by one 

134 DYRDBK. 

Harriots, grandson of the tenant who held it in Dryden's 
time, who stated that his grandfather used to take great 
pleasure in talking of him. He was, he said, the easiest 
and the kindest landlord in the world ; and. never raised the 
rent during the whole time he possessed the estate. The 
two most unfortunate circumstances in his life, next to his 
marriage, was his going over from Puritanism ta popery, 
and from the liberal opinions of his family to the adherence 
of the worst of kings. For these changes it would be dif- 
ficult to assign any better motive than that of mending his 
fortunes. But if this were the case, he was bitterly pun- 
ished for it in both instances. The monarch* that he flat- 
tered were Stuarts,' and the last of them being driven oat, 
left him to encounter all the scorn, the sarcasms and sacri- 
fices that were sure to come against him with the Dutch 
monarch of 1688. He was, instead of gaining more from 
royalty by his change,, deprived of that which he had— tthe 
laureateship and office of historiographer ; and saw them 
conferred, with <£300 a year, on his unworthy rival, Shad- 
well. The change of his religion was equally unpropitioua. 
His sons became more connected with Rome than England. 
Charles, the eldest, was chamberlain of the household of 
Pope Innocent XIL, but having suffered by a fall from a 
horse, he returned to England, and was drowned in attempt- 
ing to swim across the Thames at Datchett, ne"ar Windsor, 
in August, 1704. The second son, John, also went to 
Rome, and acted as the deputy of Charles, in the pope's 
household ; he died at Rome. Both of these sons were 
poetical, and published. Erasmus Henry, the third son, 
went also to Rome, and became a captain in the pope's 
guards. He afterward returned to England, and succeed- 
ed to the family title of baronet, but not to the estate of 
Canons- Ashby, where he, however, continued to live with 
the proprietor, Edward Dryden, his cousin, till his death 
in 1710. Thus terminated the race of the great satiric poet 
In the county of Northampton there are various places 

OR YD EN. 185 

connected with Dryden. He was of the old family of the 
Drydens, or Pridens, of Canons- Ashby, which family there 
atiO remains. The poet was born at the parsonage-house 
of Aldwinkle All-Saints. His father was Erasmus Dry- 
den, and his mother Mary Pickering, the daughter of the 
rector of Aldwinkle, a son of the well-known Sir Gilbert 
Pickering, a zealous Puritan. It appears that our author's 
father lived at Tichmarsh, and that his son was born under 
his grandfather's roof At Tichmarsh, accordingly, we 
find Dryden receiving his first education, whence he pro- 
ceeded to Westminster, and studied under Dr. Busby, and 
thence to Cambridge. 

Scott says, "If we can believe an ancient tradition, the 
poem of the * Hind and Panther* was chiefly composed in 
t country retirement at Rushton, in Northamptonshire. 
There was an embowered walk at this place, which, from 
die pleasure which the poet took in it, retained the name 
of Dryden's Walk ; and here was erected, about the mid- 
dle of the last century, an urn, with the following inscrip- 
tion s ' In memory of Dryden, who frequented these shades, 
and is here said to have composed his poem of •*. The Hind 
and Panther." 

This spot was, no doubt, the old house and park of the 
Treshams^ that old, zealous Catholic family, of which one 
member, Sir Francis Tresham, played so conspicuous a 
part in the Gunpowder Plot. This Sir Francis Tresham 
had been actively engaged in the affair of the Earl of Es- 
sex, and his head, had only been rescued from the block by 
his father bribing a great lady, and some people about the 
court, with several thousand pounds. This business was 
so closely veiled, that for some time the direct proofs of 
Tresham's connection with the business escaped the hands 
of the historians. The late examinations into the treasures 
of the State Paper Office have, however, made this fact, 
like so many others, clear. Long ago, also, original docu- 
ments, folly proving it, fell into the hands of Mr. Baker, 

DRYDEN. 137 

under torture, be implicated the Jesuits, Garnet and Green- 
way, in some treason in Queen Elizabeth > time, then re- 
tracted the confession, and died in. agony, as the Catholics 
believed, of poison. Such was the career and end of this 
strange man. The family estate passed away into the hands 
of the Cockaynes, and is now the property of Mr. Hope. 
Could mere be a more inspiring solitude for the composi- 
tion of a poem, the object of which was to smooth the way 
for the return of Catholic ascendency, and that by a poet 
warm with the first fires of a proselyte zeal? 

Among other places of Dryden's occasional sojourn may 
be mentioned Charlton, in Wiltshire, the seat of his wife's 
father, the Earl of Berkshire, whence lie dates the ihtro* 
duction to his Annus Mirabilis; and Chesterton, in Hunt- 
ingdonshire, the seat of his kinsman, John Driden, where 
he translated part of Virgil In the country he delighted 
in the pastime of fishing, and used, says M alone, to spend 
some time with Mr. Jones, of Ramsden, in Wiltshire. 
Durfey was sometimes of this party ; but Dryden appears 
to have underrated his skill in fishing, as much as his at-, 
tempt at poetry. Hence Fen ton, in his epistle to Lam- 
bard : 

" By long experience, Durfey may, no doubt, 
Enmare a gudgeon, or sometimes a trout ; • 
Yet Dryden once exclaimed in partial spite, 
1 He JE#& T because the man attempts to write." 

And, finally, Canons-Ashby connects itself inevitably with 
hia name. It was the ancient patrimony of the family. It 
was not his father's, it was not his, or his sons, though the 
title generally connected with it fell to his son, and there 
his son lived and died ; yet, as the place which gives name 
and status to the line, it will always maintain an association 
with the memory of the poet. These are the particulars 
respecting it collected by Mr. Baker. The mansion of the 
Drydens, seated in a small deer park, is a singular building 
of different periods. The oldest part, as early as the be- 



ginning of the sixteenth century, or perhaps earlier, is built 
round a small quadrangle. There is a dining-room in tjie 
house thirty feet long by twenty feet wide, which is said fe 
be entirely floored and wainscoted with the timber of one 
single oak, which grew in this lordship. In mis vooas^ff 
various portraits of persons o£ and connected withfctMf4s^*~ 
ly. The drawing-room is traditionally supposed to hsjrjrjbgftn " 
fitted up for the reception of Anne of Denmark, qajt^of 
James I. The estate is good, but not so large as Saemijfk 
owing to the strange conduct of the late Lady Pvffjb 
who cut off her own children, three sons and, two djg&b' 
tors, leaving the whole ancient patrimonial ; 
them to the son of her lawyer, the lawyer himsehti 
to have it, or make such a will. The estate hem was. It 
appears, regained, but only by the sacrifice of one in Lin- 
colnshire. Such are the strange events in the annals of 
families which local historians rarely record. How little 
could this lady comprehend the honor lying in the name of 
Dryden ; how much less the nature and duties of a mother. 
The monument of the poet in Westminster Abbey is fa- 
miliar to the public, placed there by Sheffield, duke of 
Buckingham, bearing only a single word, the illustrious 
name of — Dryden. 


Addison was a fortunate man ; the houses in winch be 
lived testify it, II is fame as a poet, though considerable 
in his own time, has now dwindled to a point which would 
Dot warrant us to include him in this work, were not his 
reputation altogether of that kind which inseparably binds 
him up with the poetical history of his country. He was 
not only a popular poet in his own day, but he was the 
friend and advocate of true poetry wherever it could be 
found. It was he who, in the Spectator, first eounded bold- 
ly and zealously abroad the glory of John Milton, In our 
time the revival of true poetry, the return to nature and to 
truth, have been greatly indebted to the old ballad poet- 
ry of the nation, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Soutbey, Scotr, 
and others, attribute the formation of their taste in the high- 
est degree to the reading of Percy's Reliques of Ancient 
English Poetry* But it was Addison who long before had 
pointed out these sources and these effects. It was he 


who brought forward again the brave old ballad of CI 
Chace; who reminded us that Sir Philip Sidney had 
that it always stirred his heart like the sound of a trun 
It was he who showed us the inimitable touches of na 
and of true pathos in it He showed us how alive wai 
old bard who composed it to all the influences 'of na 
and of circumstances.' How the stanza, 

" The hounds ran swiftly through the woods, 
The nimble deer to take, 
That with their cries the hills and dales 
An echo shrill did make," 

carried you at once to the scene. With what life, and 11 
and graphic power he introduced his heroes, and by t 
gallant bearing won at once your interest for them* 

" Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come, 
His men in armor bright ; 
Full twenty hundred Scottish spears 
Ail marching in our sight. 

" All men of pleasant Tivy-dale, 
Fast by the Biter Tweed ; 
* O cease your sport/ Earl Percy said, 
1 And take your bows with speed ; 

11 * And now with me, my countrymen, 
Your courage forth advance, 
For there was never champion yet, 
In Scotland or in France, 

" ' That ever did on horseback come, 
But if my hap it were, 
I durst encounter, man for man, 
With him to break a spear.' 

44 Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed, 
Most like a baron bold, 
Bode foremost of the company, 
Whose armor shone like gold. 

" ' Show me/ said he, * whose men you be, 
That hunt so boldly here, 
That, without my consent, do chase 
And kill my fallow deer;' 

A D D I tf O N. 141 

" The first man that did answer make 
Was noble Percy, he ; 
Who said, ' We list not to declare, 
Nor show whose men we be/ " 

It was Addison who made his cotemporaries fully aware 
of the truly noble sentiments which animated that fine bal- 
lad; the challenge of Douglas, and its acceptance by Per- 
cy, being a splendid instance. 

" ' But trust me, Percy, pity it were 
And great offense to kill 
Any of these oar guiltless men, 
For they have done no ill. 
" < Let thou and I the battle try, 
And set our men aside,' 
'Accursed be he/ Earl Percy said, 
1 By whom this is denied.' " 

The life and vigor of the description of the battle— the im- 
pression given of the indomitable bravery of the British 
nee— the exploit of Widdrington — the proud boast x>f the 
English monarch of the abundance of brave men in his 
kingdom— all were forcibly demonstrated by Addison ; nor 
tat the beautiful pathorf of the poem. 

" Next day did many widows come 
Their husbands to bewail ; 
They washed their wounds in brinish tears, 

But all would not prevail. 
* Their bodies bathed in purple gore 

They bare with them away, 
They kissed them dead a thousand times, 
Ere they were clad in clay." 

Equally did Addison, vindicate and commend to our 
hearts the sweet ballad of the Babes in the Wood, and oth- 
618 of the true school of nature and feeling. Who shall 
n 7 that it was not owing to these criticisms that Bishop 
^cy himself was led to the study and the collection of 
^ precious relies of former ages, that lay scattered about 
"^g the people.? The services of Addison to the poet- 
ry of England are far greater through what he recommend- 

142 a d d i a o w. 

ed than what he composed ; and the man who, more than 
all others, contributed to make periodical literature what 
it has become, and gave us, moreover, Sir Roger de Cov- 
erley, and the spirit of true old English life which sur- 
rounds him, with all those noble papers in which religion 
and philosophy so beautifully blend in the Spectator, must 
ever remain enshrined in the most grateful remembrance 
of his countrymen. 

Addison, I have said, was a fortunate man. It is well 
for us that he was in that one case so fortunate. It was the 
service that his pen could render to the government of the 
time, that raised him from the condition of a poor clergy- 
man's son to a minister of state, and thus gave him afterward 
leisure to pursue those beautiful speculations in literature 
which have had so decided and so permanent an influence on 
our literature and modes of thinking. Addison had his faults, 
and was not without a few of those thorns in the side which 
few escape in their progress through the wilderness of the 
world ; but, so far as we are concerned, we owe to him 
nothing but love and admiration. Thus' much said, wo 
must, in this brief article, leave all the details of his life and 
progress, of his travels and his literary contests and achieve- 
ments, as matters well known, and confine ourselves to a 
survey of the abodes in which he lived. 

He was born at the parsonage of Milston, in Wiltshire, 
an humble dwelling, of which a view may be seen in Miss 
Aikin's life of him; his father being then incumbent of the 
parish. He was sent to schools at Shrewsbury and Lich- 
field, and then to the Charter-house, where he formed that 
acquaintance with Richard Steele which resulted in such 
lasting consequences to literature. Thence he went to 
Oxford, where he continued till the age of five-and-twenty, 
when, finding that, notwithstanding his fellowship and the 
resource of his pupils, he was so far from realizing a live- 
lihood that he was greatly in debt, be gave up all thought 
of taking orders, and devoted himself to public business 


Folly to qualify himself for this, be applied to Montague, 
afterward Lord Halifax, with whose friendship he was al- 
ready honored, as well as with that of Lord Somers, and 
procured from government a pension of «£300 a year to en- 
able him to make the circle of European travel, and ac- 
quaint himself with the real condition of those countries 
with which every English statesman must come into con- 
tinual practical contact. He first went over to France, saw 
Paris, and then settled down at Blois to make himself mas- 
ter of the language. He continued nearly a year and a 
half at Blois, and it was to his intense study during this 
time that he owed his great knowledge of French litera- 
ture. He then sailed, from Marseilles for Italy. " It was 
in December, 1700," says Miss Aikin, " that he embarked 
at Marseilles for Genoa, whence he proceeded through 
Milan, Venice, Ravenna, and Loretto to Rome ; thence to 
Naples by sea, and proceeded by Florence, Bologna, and 
Turin, to Geneva ; where he arrived exactly one year from 
bis quitting Marseilles, and two and a half after his depart- 
ure from England. At Geneva he was met by the news 
of the death of. King William. This was followed by the 
dismissal of the Whigs from office, the consequent loss of his 
pension, and the blasting of all his hopes of further advant- 
age from them for the present. Instead, therefore, of attend- 
ing on Prince Eugene, as secretary from the English king, 
as was appointed for him, he turned aside on his own slen- 
der resources to take a survey of Germany. After making a 
pleasant tour through the Swiss cantons, he descended into 
the plains of Germany, but found the inhabitants all in 
arms, and full of apprehension of the Bavarian troops, and 
was advised not to trust himself in the territories of the 
Duke of Bavaria. He therefore lost all opportunity of see- 
ing Munich, Augsburg, and Ratisbon, and was obliged to 
make his way through the Tyrol to Vienna. In Vienna he 
felt himself in great anxiety on account of money, and made 
bis way back through Holland home. Before reaching it, 

i 1 

io- nzret vcaTi vtu. riif toi a: tm l»u*i ir SnniEeser.. r^ 
reia-TL tut uuii.* t ofi^Tt f*i tax atur nt Tana i: Ea- 
gia:u itt i*-* eura^L n vmti i. prten. m in* ^ hoilj * 
i»it:ui4tuii. it «r.t xi*« ^"iiip rjiuM. oiil urimu^ai *=xis-Jcb> 
uuLci a hh unit l mur. 3n-"easiu intfni. iuc nr*w csxs- 

Aui"ii'.TT»Juin. iiiwt uk y^m* a: ri"~iiif •vgnggmins r^iss 
o: i:i« viiir:r-int bui. drr-sunr uh mien. ' Trim. 3ji i*- 
t;*i nt wrrun-1 va* thhu- am. vi lisrt jsl'~.« inn. I- ae 

I'm ensure a. :urrun«anir& iron, tie mnxiiut «??*■■■» :o 
int zumtsur ant uu xnciiL of nimgfla irun. a* «zrp> 
ctsqt-vmai r i»ia ii tin nusiiaiu. a: l runniest m»g ac f»- 
Ut±r-n>-iLv a: bl ear. an um in niirt Ciaxir-^r 2Kui^ed 
nun 27 uh smruuc rnumts: n: nir uuioet imae zneae if- 
i-r*tfn: aaruaa Z'"isrBa:L. n nu- LizrjnsEaa ac L^*r»- 
iu-±. si ; * iiiit J .i7«~ v-'usL tbcnac in* ihul. -vu. «i 

\ li l> 1 - .» \. 1 i."> 

pointmcnt to the lord-lieutenancy, and resided ibr some 
time in that capacity in Dublin. After this, he removed 
to a lodging at Kensington, owing to his increasing inti- 
f at Holland House, and was about this time a frequent 
at Northwick Park, with the first Lord Northwick, 
and there one of the best portraits of him, by Kneller, still 

'In 1716, he married the Dowager Coiintess of Warwick; 
but five years before this, that is, in 1711, he had made the 
purchase of Bilton, as a suitable residence for a person of 
bis position in the state, and of that high connection to- 
ward which he was already looking. Before, however, we 
indulge ourselves with a view of Addison at Bilton, let us 
tee tire mode of his life in town, on the authority of Pope, 
Spenee, and Johnson : " Of the course of Addison's famil- 
iar day, before his marriage, Pope has given a detail. He 
had in die house with him, Budgell, and perhaps Philips. 
His chief companions were Steele, Budgell, Philips, Carey, 
Davenant, and Colonel Brett. With one or other of these 
he always breakfasted. He studied all morning; then 
dined at a tavern ; and went afterward to Button's. 

" Button had been a servant in the Countess of War- 
wick's family, who, under the patronage of Addison, kept 
a coffee-house on the south side of Russell-street, about 
two doors from Covent Garden. Here it was that the wits 
of that time used to assemble. It is said, when Addison 
suffered any vexation from the countess, he withdrew the 
company from Button's house. 

- From the coffee-house he went to a tavern, where he 
often sat late, and drank too much wine. In the bottle, 
discontent seeks for comfort, cowardice for courage, and 
baafaralness for confidence. It is not unlikely that Addison 
was first seduced to excess by the manumission which he 
obtained from the servile timidity of his sober hours. He 
that feels oppression from the presence of those to whom 
he knows himself superior, will desire to set loose his pow* 

Vol. I.— G 



; ever asked 


being enslaved 

en of conversation ; and who i 
Bacchus was able to preserve I 
by bis auxiliary ? 

" Among those friends it was that Addison displayed tbe 
elegance of his colloquial s cc ompbabnienta, which may 
easily be supposed such as Pope represents them. The 
remark of MandeviUe, who, when he had passed an even- 
ing in his company, declared that he was a parson in a tie- 
wig, can detract little. from his character; he was always 
reserved to strangers, and was not incited to uncommon 
freedom by a character like that of MandeviUe." — Joaajos'* 
Life of Addison. 

The statement made by Dr. Johnson, in his Lives of the 
Poets, and by Spence, that Addison's marriage, like that 
of Dryden, was not a happy one, has lately been strongly 
argued against by Miss Aikin. One would gladly be able 
to acquiesce in it, and if we could believe the painter as 
wull as Miss Aikin, we should be inclined to believe the 
Countess of Warwick possessed both unusual sense and 


Spectator. If we are to beliere tradition, that he planted 
ami of the trees now standing around it, he must have taken 
great pleasure in its embellishment. On his death, he left 
k to his only child, Charlotte Addison, who could not have 
been much more than two years old. Here she spent her 
long life, from the death of her mother, the countess, dying 
in 1797, at about eighty years of age. Miss Addison, for 
she was nerer married, is said to have been of weak intel- 
lect, a fact by many traced to the want of real and spiritual 
anion between her parents, a supposition which the re- 
searches of our own times into the nature of man tend 
greatly to confirm. With the usual effect of aristocratic 
prejudice on a feeble mind, she is said to have been espe- 
cially proud of her mother, but to have rarely mentioned 
her father. Being left to the care and education of her 
mother, this does not very strongly corroborate the case 
which Miss Aikin labors to establish. It does not tell very 
eloquently for that true affection which she tells us the 
countess bore toward Addison, and which she endeavors to 
prove by proving Addison's affection for her, evidenced 
by his making her his sole executrix, and guardian of 
h» child. By the fruits we must judge of the woman 
as well as the tree, and the fruit of Lady Warwick's 
education of her child was, by all accounts, this, that she 
left her ashamed of her father the commoner, though an 
immortal man, and proud of her mother, a lady — and noth- 
ing more. There are many stories of the eccentricities 
and increasing fatuity of poor Miss Addison floating in the 
village and neighborhood of Bilton, which may as well die 
out with time. The disposal of her property marks the 
tendency of her feelings. Her grandfather, Dr. Lancelot 
Addison, was a native of Cumberland. There, at the time 
of Miss Addison making her will, still remained many near 
and poor relations, whom she entirely passed over, as she 
had done in her lifetime, and bequeathed Bilton to the 
Honorable John Bridgraan Simpson, brother to Lord 


A D D i a U X. 

Bridgman, whose representative is now Earl of Bradford. 
This gentleman she chose to consider her nearest relation, 
because her mother's relation, though very near he could 
not be. Her mother, the countess, was the daughter of 
Sir Thomas Middleton, of Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, by 
a daughter of Sir Orlando Bridgman; so that this Mr. 
Bridgman Simpson, a relative of her grandmother, could bs 
no very near relative of her own, while she must have had 
first cousins of the paternal line in plenty. Those relatives of 
her own name, and who would have handed down the prop- 
erty, bound up with the name of Addison, as a monument 
of their family fame, disputed her will, bat ineffectually. 
She is buried mere in the chancel of the church, but the 
gratitude of that aristocratic person on whom, to the preju- 
dice of her own name and blood, she bestowed her whole 
estate, has never to this hour proved warm enough to fur- 
nish a single stone, or a single line, to mark where she lies. 
As if the name of Addison were something noxious or dis- 
graceful, and should be carefully kept out of all mention 


Since Miss Addison's death, the house at Bilton has been 
successively occupied by Mrs. Brookes and Miss Moore ; 
by Mr. Apperley, the well-known Nimrod of sporting lit- 
erature; by Sir Charles Palmer, Bart.; by the Vernon 
family; by the Misses Boddington; and, lastly, by Mr. 
Simpson himself Mr. Simpson has considerably improved 
the house, rebuilding the back part facing the garden ; but, 
on the other hand, he cut down a considerable part of a 
fine avenue of limes, stretching along one side of the gar- 
den down to a wood befow, called Addison's Walk. This 
avenue is said to have been planted by Addison, and term- 
inated in a clump of evergreens, where was an alcove 
called Addison's Seat. It was not till about half this ave- 
nue was felled that Mr. Simpson heard that it was Addi- 
son's Walk, and caused the destruction to stop. He is 
now a very old man, and has not resided at Bilton since the 
death of his wife. The house is, however, furnished ; and 
after reading Miss Aikin's statement, that " a small number 
of pictures collected by Addison still, it is believed* re- 
main in the house, which are mostly portraits of his cotem- 
poraries, and intrinsically of small value," how great was 
my delight and surprise to find what and how many these 
paintings were ! But let us make a more regular approach 
to this gem of an old house, to the actual country seat of 
our " dear short face," the Spectator. 

Issuing from Rugby, Bilton salutes you from the hill on 
the opposite side of the valley, which you have to cross in 
order to reach it. A lofty mass of trees, on a fine airy el- 
evation ; a small gray -church, with finely tapering spire in 
front of them, show y6u where Bilton lies ; but house or 
village you do not discern till you are close upon them. It 
was not till I had approached within a few hundred yards 
of Addison's house, or the hall, as it is called, that I' saw 
the cottages of the village stretching away to my right hand ; 
and a carriage-road, diverging to my'left toward the church, 
brought me within view of the house; there it stood in the 


midst of the fine old trees. A villager informed me that 
no one lived there but the gardener, nor had done for years. 
The autumn had dyed all the trees with its rich and yet 
melancholy hues ; they strewed the ground in abundance, 
and there was a feeling of solitude and desertion about the 
place which was by no means out of keeping, when I re- 
flected that I was approaching the house of Addison, so 
long quitted by himsel£ A fine old avenue of lime-trees, 
winding with the carriage-drive, brought me to* the front 
of the house. It is a true Elizabethan mansion, not too 
large for a poet, yet large enough for any country gentle- 
man who is not overdone with his establishment. The 
front of the main portion is lofty, handsome, and in excel- 
lent repair. A projecting tower runs up from the porch, to 
the roof. Over the door b cut, in freestone, some mathe- 
matical or masonic sign — a circle inclosing two triangles ; 
and near the top is the date of 1623. On the right hand; 
a wing of lower buildings runs forward from the main 
erection, forming, as it were, one side of a court. These 
buildings turn their gables toward you, and are covered 
with ivy. On the left hand, but standing back in a stable- 
yard, are the outbuildings, seeming, however, to balance 
the whole fabric, and giving it an air of considerable ex- 
tent. All round, adjoining the buildings and along the av- 
enue, grow evergreens in tall and luxuriant masses. 

On the other side of the house lies the old garden, re- 
taining all the characters of a past age. The center con- 
sists of a fine lawn; the upper part of which, near the 
house, has recently been laid out in fancy flower-beds, in 
the form of a star, and corner beds to make up the square. 
The rest appears as it might be when Addison left it. On 
the right a square-cut holly hedge divides it from the fields, 
which are scattered with lofty trees, among which are for- 
eign oaks, said to be raised from acorns brought home by 
the poet. To the left, the garden is bounded by a still 
more massy square-clipped hedge of yew, opening half 


way down into a large kitchen-garden, being, at the same 
time, at the upper end, an old Dutch flower-garden. At 
the far side of this garden, opposite to the entrance through 
the yew hedge, is an alcove, and down that side extends 
the Hme avenue, called Addison's Walk. At the bottom 
of this garden are fish-ponds, and in the field below an oak 
wood. Thus, amid lofty trees, some of them strong, old, 
and crooked, presenting a scene worthy of making part of 
a picture of Claude Lorraine, you look down over the gar- 
den to rich fields descending into the country below. At 
die bottom right-band corner is an alcove, shut in by a 
group of evergreen shrubs and pine-trees from the house, 
hot overlooking the fields and woodlands, called Addison's 
Seat ; and a very pleasant seat it is, full of quiet retirement. 
Such is the exterior of Bilton. The interior of the main 
part of the house consists principally of two large rooms, a 
dining and drawing room. These extend quite through, 
are lighted at each end, and the projection in front forms 
a sort of little cabinet in each room. These two fine large 
rooms are hung round with the paintings placed here by 
Addison : whether they are few and of no intrinsic value 
will soon be seen. 

In the dining-room are, first, full-lengths of James I., by 
Mark Garrard; Lord Crofts, Villiers, duke of Buckingham, 
by Balthazar Gerbier ; the Duke of Hamilton, Henry Rich, 
earl of Warwick, Prince Rupert, and Prince Maurice, all 
by Vandyck ; Sir Thomas Middleton, the Countess of War- 
wick's father, by Sir Peter Lely ; and in the small division 
in front of the room, Chief Justice the Earl of Nottingham, 
by Michael Dahl ; Mr. Secretary Craggs, by Sir Godfrey 
Kneller, a man of fair complexion, and handsome, amiable 
countenance, in a light blue dress ; Sir John Vanburgh, by 
Verelat ; and Lord Halifax, by Kneller. These are chiefly 
three-quarter figures. 

On the staircase is one of the four well-known equestri- 
an Charles the Firsts, by Vandyck, the horse by Stone, one 


* j J * x *. 


this, there is another portrait of the Earl of Warwick, by 
Kneller, as a young man ; a head of Gustavus Adolphus, 
by Meirveldt ; and, lastly, of the heiress of the house, Miss 
Addison herself. She is here a child, nor is there any one 
of her of a later age. If this portrait of her was done dur- 
ing Addison's life, it must have been represented as older 
than she really was ; she could not be much more than two, 
and here she appears at least five years of age. It is a full 
length. The child stands by a table, on which is a basket 
of flowers, and she holds a pink flower in her hand against 
her bosom. She has the air of an intelligent child, and, 
as usual, wears one of Kneller' s light blue draperies, with 
a lace-bordered apron, and stomacher of the same. 

Such are the paintings at Bilton. They include a most 
interesting group of the friends and cotemporaries of Ad- 
dison, besides others. It is a rare circumstance that they 
have been permitted to remain there, when his library and 
his medals have been dispersed. Altogether, Bilton is one 
of the most satisfactory specimens of the homes and haunts 
of our departed literary men. 

Of Holland House, the last residence of Addison, it would 
require a long article to give a fitting idea. This fine old 
mansion is full of historic associations. It takes its name 
from Henry Rich, earl of Holland, whose portrait is in 
Bilton. It was built by his father-in-law, Sir Walter Cope, 
in 1607, and affords a Very good specimen of the architect- 
ure of that period. The general form is that of a half H. 
The projection in the center, forming at once porch and 
tower, and the two wings supported on pillars, give great 
decision of effect to it. The stone quoins worked with a 
sort of arabesque figure, remind one of the style of some 
portions of Heidelberg Castle, which is what is called on 
the Continent roccoco. Here it is deemed Elizabethan; 
but the plain buildings attached on each side to the main 
body of the house, with their shingled and steep-roofed 
towers, have a very picturesque and Bohemian look. Al- 




together, it is a charming old pile, and the interior corre- 
sponds beautifully with the exterior. There is a fine en- 
trance hall, a library behind it, and another library extend- 
ing the whole length of one of the wings and the house up 
stairs, one hundred and five feet in Jength. The drawing- 
room over the entrance hall, called the Gilt Room, extends 
from front to back of the house, and commands views of 
the gardens both way ; those to the back are very beautiful. 

In the house, are, of course, many interesting and. valua- 
ble works of art ; a great portion of them memorials of the 
distinguished men who have been accustomed to resort 
thither. In one room is a portrait of Charles James Fox, 
as a child, in a light blue dress, and with a close, reddish, 
woolen cap on his head, under which show lace edges. 
The artist is unknown, but is supposed to be French. The 
countenance is full of life and intelligence, and the " child 9 ' 
in it is, most remarkably, " the father of the men." The 
likeness is wonderful. You can imagine how, by time and 
circumstance* that child's countenance expanded into, what 
it became in maturity . There is also a portrait of Addison, 
which belonged to his daughter. It represents him as 
much youngei than any other that I have seen. In the 
Gilt Room are marble busts of George IV. and William 
IV. On the staircase is a bust of Lord Holland, father at 
the second earl and of Charles Fox, by Nollekens. This 
bust, which is massy, and full of power and expression, is 
said to have brought Nollekens into his great repute. The 
likeness to that of Charles Fox is very striking. By the 
same artist there are also the busts of Charles Fox, the late 
Lord Holland, and the present earl. That of Frere, by 
Chantry, is very spirited. There are also, here, portraits 
of Lord Lansdowne, Lord John Russell, and family por- 
traits. There is also a large and very curious painting of 
a fair, by C allot, and an Italian print of it. 

In the library, down stairs, are portraits of Charles James 
Fox — a very fine one ; pf the late Lord Holland ; of Tal- 


leyrand, by Ary Scheffer, perhaps the best in existence, 
and the only one which he said that he ever sat for ; of Sir 
Samuel RoxniUy; Sir James Mackintosh; Lord Erskine, 
by Sir Thomas Lawrence ; Tierney ; Francis Horner, by 
Raeburn, so like Sir Walter Scott by the same artist, that 
I at first supposed it to be him ; Lord Macartney, by Phil- 
lips ; Frere, by Shee ; Mone, lord Thanet ; Archibald 
Hamilton; late Lord Darnley; late Lord King, when 
young, by Hoppner ; and a very sweet, foreign fancy por- 
trait of the present Lady Holland. We miss, however, 
from this haunt of genius, the portraits of Byron, Brougham, 
Crabbe, Blanco White, Hallam, Rogers, Lord Jeffery, and 
others. In the left wing is placed the colossal model of 
the statue of Charles Fox, which stands in Bloomsbury 

In the gardens are various memorials of distinguished 
men. Among several very fine cedars, perhaps the finest 
b said to have been planted by Charles Fox. In the quaint 
eld garden is an alcove, in which are the following lines, 
placed there by the late earl : 

"Here Bogers sat— end here for ever dwell 
With me, those pleasures which he sang so well." 

Beneath these are framed and glazed a copy of verses 
in honor of the same poet, by Mr. Luttrell. There is also 
in the same garden, and opposite this alcove, a bronze bust 
of Napoleon, on a granite pillar, with a <?reek inscription 
from the Odyssey, admirably applying the situation of 
Ulysses to that of Napoleon at St. Helena : " In a far-dis- 
tant isle he remains under the harsh surveillance of base 

The fine avenue leading down from the house to the 
Kensington road is remarkable for having often been the 
walking and talking place of Cromwell and General Lam- 
bert. Lambert then occupied Holland House ; and Crom- 
well, who lived next door, when he came to converse with 
him on state affairs, had to .speak very loud to him, because 

A H D I S O N. 

he was deaf. To avoid being overheard, they used to walk 
in this avenue. 

The traditions regarding Addison here are very slight 
They are, simply, that he used to walk, when composing 
his Spectators, in the long library, then a picture gallery; 
with a bottle of wine at each end, which he visited as he 
alternately arrived at them; and that the room in which 
he died, though not positively known, is supposed to be the 
present dining-room, being theu the state bed-room. The 
young Earl of Warwick, to whom he there addressed the 
emphatic words, " See in what peace a Christian can die ! M 
died also, himself, in 1721 , but two years afterward. The 
estate then devolved to Lord Kensington, descended from 
Robert Rich, earl of Warwick, who sold it, about 1762, to 
the Bight Honorable Henry Fox, afterward Lurd Holland* 
Here the early days of the great statesman, Charles James, 
were passed; and here lived the late patriotic translator 
of Lope de Vega, amid the society of the first spirits of the 
age. It has been rumored that the present amiable and 
intelligent possessor, his son, contemplated pulling down 
this venerable and remarkable mansion. Such a thought 
never did and never could for a moment enter his mind, 
which feels too proudly the honors of intellect and taste, 
far above all mere rank, which there surround his name 
and family. 





Oat is certainly not one of our most eminent poets* He 

is clever, amiable, and displays much knowledge of life, 
both in town and country, It is rare, however, that he 
rises into any thing like genuine poetry. When he does 
that, rt is when be elevates his theme by a spirit of devo- 
tion, which, however, is not too often. The best instances 
of this are to be found , perhaps, in his Lines on Night, in 
the first canto of Rural Sports, in his Contemplation on 
Night, and in A Thought on Eternity, It were to be wished 
that description as vivid had in Gay been oftener united to 
sentiment as elevated, in such lines as these: 

* ( To Neptune's bounds t stray 
To take my farewell of the parting day ; 
For in the deep the sua his glory hides 
A streak of gold the sea and laud divides, 
The purple cluads their amber linings show, 
And edged with flame rolls every wave below. 
Here pensive I behold the Wing light. 
And o'er the distant billow lose my fight. 
Now Night in silent state begins to rise, 
And twinkling orbs bestrew th* undoudy skies j 
Her borrowed luster growing Cynthia ltrndt, 
And in the main a glittering path extends; 
Million!) of worlds hang in the spacious air, 
Which round their anna their animal circles steer* 
Sweet contemplation elevates my sense t 
WMle I survey the works of Providence. 
O could the Muse in loftier t»t rains rehearse 
The glorious Author of the universe, 
Who reins the winds, gives the vast ocean bounds, 
And circumscribes the flaming worlds their rounds; 
My soid should overflow in song* of praise, 
And my Creator's name inspire my lays 4" 


158 GAY. 

The Contemplation on Night is equally worthy of a true 
poet, and concludes with the following lines, which prop- 
erly follow, and seem to continue, those just quoted. 

" When the pore soul is from the body flown, 
No more shall Night's alternate reign be known ; 
The son no more shall rolling light bestow, 
But from the Almighty streams of glory flow. 
Oh ! may some nobler thought my soul employ, 
Than transient, empty, sublunary joy. 
The stars shall drop, the son shall lose his flame, 
Bnt thou, O God ! forever shine the i 

Spite, however, of such occasional passages as these, and 
of much graphic depicting of town and country life and 
scenery ; spite of the easy flow and the moral of his fables, 
John Gray can not claim to be included here, except in the 
character of the close and life-long friend of Pope and 
Swift So intimately is he mixed up with their homes and 
haunts, that it seems requisite to say something of his own. 
But where were these ? His haunts may be traced, but 
home of his own he seems never to have had. Gay was 
an easy, good-natured fellow, but he had no great feeling 
of independence ; and without being able or desirous to 
say that he was a mean, far less a disgraceful, hanger-on 
of the great, he was still a hanger-on. His home was at 
first in or near Barnstaple, Devonshire, where he was born; 
then a mercer's shop in London; then lodgings, and the 
literary coffee-houses of London ; then the house of the 
Duchess of Monmouth ; and, finally, that of the Duke of 
Queensbury. For several years before his death, the house 
of the Duke of Queensbury was his home, wherever that 
was,- at Burlington Gardens, in town, or at Amesbury or 
Petersham, in the country. Gay was as regular a part of 
the ducal family as any old court minstrel was of a palace 
of old. The duke was his treasurer, and the duchess his 
warm and generous patroness and friend. 

All that we can require to know of Gay, Johnson, in a 

GAY. 160 

more good-humored vein than was his wont, has summed 
up for us. 

It was in 1688, the year of the Revolution, that he was 
born at Barnstaple, where he received his education. In 
London, he soon quitted the mercer's shop, and became the 
secretary of the Duchess of Monmouth, in which capacity 
he found leisure enough to write and publish his Rural 
Sports, which he inscribed to Pope, and thus won his 
friendship. So much pleased was Pope with his manners 
and conversation, that he soon became his fast and intimate 
friend, and introduced him to Swift. The three, as we 
have seen, formed a bond of attachment and\of familiar in- 
tercourse, lbs* Gay's death only put an end to. Of Gay's 
various publications it is not necessary here to speak* 
They are chiefly his Rural Sports, already mentioned; 
The Shepherd's Week ; The Wife of Bath, a Play ; What 
D'ye Call it, a Mock Tragedy ; Three Hours after Mar- 
riage, a Comedy; The Captives; The Beggar's Opera; 
Polly ; The Distressed Wife ; his Fables ; Trivia, or the 
Art of Walking the Streets ; The Fan ; Tales ; Epistles ; 
Gondibert, a Poem ; and various small compositions. 

His plays were- seldom successful, with the exception of 
The Beggar's Opera, which was extremely so, and still 
continues so with certain classes. The origin of this sin- 
gular production Pope has thus detailed : 

" Dr. Swift had been observing once to Mr. Gay what an 
odd, pretty sort of a thing a Newgate Pastoral might make. 
Gay was inclined to try at such a thing for some time, 
but afterward thought it would be better to write a comedy 
on the same plan. This was what gave rise to the Beg- 
gar's Opera. He began on it; and when first he men- 
tioned it to Swift, the doctor did not much like the proj- 
ect As he carried it on, he showed what he wrote to both 
of us, and wo now and then gave a correction, or a word, 
or two of advice ; but it was wholly of his own writing. 
When it was done, neither of us thought it would succeed. 

160 GAT. 

He showed it to Congreve, who, after reading it over, said, 
* It would either take greatly, or be damned confoundedly.' 
We were all at the first night of it, in great uncertainty of 
the event ; till we were very much encouraged by over- 
hearing the Duke of Argyle, who sat in the next box to 
us, say, 'It will do-— it must do! I see it in the eyes of 
them !' This was a good while before the first act was 
over, and so gave us ease soon ; for that duke, besides his 
own good taste, has a particular knack, as any one now 
living; in discovering the taste of the public He was quite 
right in that, as usual : the good-nature of the audience ap- 
peared stronger and stronger every act, and ended in a 
clamor of applause." 

Pope has also recorded the following particulars of its 
popularity. "This piece was received with greater ap- 
plause than was ever known. Besides being acted in Lon- 
don sixty-three days without interruption, and received the 
next season with equal applause, it spread into all the great 
towns of England ; was played in many places to the thir- 
tieth and fortieth time ; at Bath and Bristol, fifty, &c It 
made its progress into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, where 
it was performed twenty-four days successively. The la- 
dies carried about with them the favorite songs of it in 
fans, and houses were furnished with it in screens. The 
fame of it was not confined to the author only. The per- 
son who acted Polly, till then obscure, became all at once 
the favorite of the town ; her pictures were engraved, and 
sold in great numbers ; her life written ; books of letters 
and verses to her published, and pamphlets made even of 
her sayings and jests. Furthermore; it drove out of En- 
gland, for that season, the Italian opera, which had carried 
all before it for ten years." 

From that time to the present, the effect has been, to a 
certain degree, the same, in a certain class ; the songs of 
The Beggar's Opera have begun again to be sung, and a 
manifest tendency has been produced to exalt into this ad- 

A Y. Ml 

miration of the multitude, highwaymen and women of the 
town. Neither can it he denied that it has given birth 
anew, in the shape of novels, to Newgate literature. The 
oddity of it was, that in opposition to the storm of repre- 
hension which followed it from the press, Swift defended 
it for the excellence of its morality, and because M it placed 
all kinds of vice in the strongest and most odious light." 
This was sufficiently contradicted by the public admiration 
of its heroes, heroines, its songs, and its very slang. Yet 
we find Gay representing himself in a letter to Swift, as a 
martyr to morality. " For writing in the cause of virtue, 
and against the fashionable vices, I am looked upon at 
present as the most obnoxious person almost in England/ 9 
If Gray's self-love could so far blind and persuade him, 
there can be no reader of his collected poems at the pres- 
ent day who can agree with him. There is a far too con- 
siderable quantity of his writings which are utterly vile 
and filthy, and fit only to be bound up with Rochester, or, 
rather, not to be bound up at all ; and it may be questioned 
whether the prudent lessons of his fables, and the better 
sentiments scattered through his other poetry, could by 
any means even neutralize the effect of his pages of defile- 
ment, were not the better more commonly read, and the 
worse left to oblivion by the purer spirit of the age. 

The origin of his Shepherd's Week, which, though coarse, 
has much nature in it, is also curious. Steele, in some pa- 
pers in the Guardian, had praised Ambrose Philips as the 
Pastoral writer who was second pnly to Theocritus, Vir- 
gil, and Spenser. Pope, who had also published pasto- 
rals, not pleased to be overlooked, drew up a comparison 
of his own compositions with those of Philips' s, in which 
he civilly gave himself the preference, while he seemed to 
disown it. So enraged was Philips, that he brought a 
sturdy cudgel to Button's coffee-house, and put it over the 
mantel-piece, saying, " That was for Pope when he could 
catch him there." Pope, on his part again, is supposed to 



have incited Gay to write the Shepherd's Week, to show 
that, if it be necessary to copy nature with minuteness, ru- 
ral life must be exhibited such as grossness and ignorance 
have made it. But intended only to burlesque Philips, 
these pastorals became popular, and were eagerly read for 
their truth to country life by those Who took no interest in 
the literary squabble. 

If we add to the places already mentioned the house of 
Dr. Arbuthnot, at Hampstead, where Gay used occasional- 
ly to domicile himself we have a sufficient index to lis 
homes and haunts. 


Pope, who was born in London, spent nearly the whole 
of bis life between Bin field, in Windsor Forest , and Twick- 
enham. They were his only two con eta nt residences ; the 
time which he passed in London, he passed but as a vis- 
itor, or lodger. Town poet, or poet of society, as he 
seems, he was In separably attached to the country, though 
it waa the country of an easily accessible vicinity to town, 
and itself pretty thickly inhabited by people of rank and 
intelligence. From the time that his father purchased the 
property at B infield, with the exception of a short time at 
school at Twyford* near Winchester, and at another school 
in >f3ry»Ie-bone, which was removed while he was there 
to near Hyde Park Corner, Pope never quitted Binfield as 
a residence till he bought Twickenham* He went soon 
after his twelfth year from school, and he continued to re* 
tide at B infield till 17 16, when he was twenty-eight years 
of age ; and singularly enough, he lived at Twickenham 

164 rorL 

twenty-eight yean more, dying in May 1744, at the age of 

A* is the case of many other people, who, with all their 
philosophy, are not content to rest their claims to distinc- 
tion on their own virtues and achievements, there was an 
attempt on the part of Pope to hang his family on an aris- 
tocratic peg ; and, as was to be expected in the case of a 
man who did not spare his enemies and who wrote Dun- 
ciads, there was as stout an attempt to pull4his peg out. 
In his epistle to Dr. Arburthnot, he makes this claim for 
his parentage : 

" Of gentle blood, pert shed in honor's cane, 
While yet in Britain honor had applause, 
Each parent sprang/' 

And in a note to that epistle we are further informed, 
" that Mr.. Pope's father was a gentleman of family in Ox- 
fordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose 
sole heiress married the Earl of Lindsay. * His mother was 
the daughter of William Tumor, of York," &c In reply 
to this, Warton tells us, that when Pope published this 
note, a relation of his own, a Mr. Pottinger, observed mat 
his cousin, Pope, had made himself out a fine pedigree, 
but he wondered where he got it ; that he bad never heard 
any thing himself of their being related to the Earls of 
Downe ; and, what was more, he had an old maiden aunt, 
equally related, a great genealogist, who was always talk- 
ing of her family, but never mentioned this circumstance, 
on which she certainly would not have been silent had she 
known any thing of it. That the Earl of Guildford had 
examined the pedigree and descents of the Downe family 
for any such relationship ; and that at the Heralds' Office, 
this pedigree, which Pope had made out for himself was 
considered to be as much fabricated as Mr. Ireland's de- 
scent from Shakspeare. 

This was one of Pope's weaknesses. No man did move 
than he did in his day to free literature from the long deg- 

pops. 165 

radation of servile, fulsome dependence on patrons. He 
created a property for himself by his own literary exertions, 
and set a splendid example to literary men of independ- 
ence. He showed them that they might be free, honora- 
ble, and even wealthy, by their own means. He had the 
pride to place himself on equal terms with lords when 
they were intellectual, but he scorned to flatter them. It 
was a pride worthy of a literary man, and it was well tint 
when he departed from this just feeling, and would fain set 
op a claim to rank with them on their own terms of family 
and descent — a proceeding which undermined his true and 
unassailable principle of the dignity of genius — that he 
should receive a due reprimand from the hands of his ene- 
mies. The moment that he abandoned in any degree the 
patent of God, the long and luminous descent of genius 
from heaven — a patent far above all other patents, a de- 
scent far higher than all other descents — it was a fitting 
retribution that the pigmies of the Dunciad should fling it 
in his face that his father was a mechanic, a hatter, or a 
cobbler, as it appears, from his reply to Lord Hervey and 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, that they did ; who them- 
selves had thus addressed him in print : 

" None thy crabbed -numbers can endure, 
Hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure. n 

The simple fact was, that Pope's grandfather, the high- 
est they could trace the family, was a clergyman in Hamp- 
shire. The second son was Alexander, the father of the 
poet. This Alexander was intended for mercantile offices, 
and was sent out to reside in a family in Lisbon, where he 
embraced Catholicism, and transmitted that faith to his son. 
He afterward settled in Lombard-street, in London, as a 
hnen-merchant, where Pope was born ; and, acquiring an 
independence, retired first to Kensington, and afterward to 
Binfield, where he purchased a house and about twenty 
acres of land. This was pedigree enough for a poet, who 
needs none. In a truer tone, he pronounces the genuine 

109 pops. 

honors of both his parents and himself in these words : * A 
mother, on whom I never was obliged so far to reflect as 
to say she spoiled me; and a father, who never found him- 
self obliged to say that he disapproved my conduct* In a 
word, I think it enough that my parents, such as they 
were, never cost me a blush ; and that their son, such as 
he is, never cost them a tear/ 9 

. Improving on this in his prologue to his Satires, he dis* 
claims any adventitious distinctions for his parents what- 
ever, and draws a beautiful character of his father: 

" Born to bo pride, inheriting no strife, 
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife ; 
Stranger to civil and religions rage, 
The good man walked innoxious through hit age; 
No courts he saw, no suits Would ever try, 
Nor dared an oath, or hazarded a lie. 
Unlearned, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, 
No language but the language of die heart; 
By nature honest, by experience wise, 
Healthy by temperance and by exercise ; 
His life, though long, to sickness passed unknown, 
His death was instant, and without a groan." 

From these parents, however, Pope inherited a feeble 
and crooked frame. This circumstance, added to his being 
the only child of his father, led to his domestic education 
and habits. When «ight years old he was 'placed under 
the tuition of the family priest. From him he passed to 
the schools mentioned, and at the early age of twelve re- 
turned home. ' This, he says, was all the instruction he re- 
ceived. He continued, however, to educate himself; and 
as Milton had done in Buckinghamshire, so he at Binfield 
in the shades of Windsor Forest, pursued steadily his stud- 
ies, both of books and nature. One of his earliest favorite 
books was Homer ; and at T wyford school he wrote a sat- 
ire on the master, for. which he was severely castigated. 
Both these facts indicated his future character and pursuits. 
At Binfield he not only went on strenuously with die study 

FOFL 167 

of Latin, Greek, sod French, but he commenced author* 
At twelve he wrote his Ode to Solitude ; a subject with 
which his situation made him well acquainted. Pope was 
one of the very rare instances of a genius which was at 
once prococious and enduring. But the secret of this was, 
that he did not exhaust his young powers out of mere pu- 
erile vanity, but went on reading all the best authors, En- 
glish, French, Italian, Greek, and Latin, and wrote rather 
to imitate and practice different styles. To his sedulous 
practice of all kinds of styles, as those of Spenser, Waller, 
Cowley, Rochester, Dorset, but especially Chaucer and 
Dryden, may be attributed that great mastery of language, 
and that exquisite harmony of versification, in which he has 
never yet been excelled* 

A great advantage to him in these pursuits was the 
friendship of Sir William Trumbull, who was not only an 
excellent scholar, but a man of great taste, and had seen 
the world. Sir William had been embassador to the Otto- 
man Porte, and afterward-one of the sacretaries of William 
III.; he had now retired to East Hamstead, his native 
place, near Binfield, where he soon found out the promise 
of Pope, and became his guide and friend so long as he 
lived. Sir William introduced him to Wycherley, then an 
old man ; Wycherley introduced him to Walsh ; and the 
literary connections of the young poet spread so rapidly, 
that at seventeen he was an avowed poet, and frequented 
Will's Coffee-house, which was on the north side of Russell- 
street, in Coven t Garden, where the wits of the time used 
to assemble ; and where Dryden had, when he lived, been 
accustomed to preside. But even while giving his evenings 
to society of the highest kind here, he was, during the day, 
pursuing his studies in town, and particularly prosecuting, 
under good masters, his knowledge of French and Italian* 
Neither, freely as he had written, had he rushed so very 
prematurely into print; it was not till 1709, when he was 
twenty-one, that he published his Pastorals, including some 


verses of Horaer and Chaucer, in Jacob Tonson's Miscel- 
lany, This miscellany seemed to be the great periodical 
of the time ; but the same year in which Pope's contribu- 
tions appeared in it, brought forth the Taller, which was 
succeeded by the Guardian and Spectator. 

In 1711 Pope published his Essay on Criticism: this 
was soon followed by the Rape of the Lock ; and Pope, 
still only twenty-three, was at once on the pinnacle of pop- 
ularity, In 1715, or at the age of twenty -seven, he had 
already proceeded boldly with his grand enterprise, the 
translation of the Iliad of Homer, and had issued the first 
volume of iL This groat work, however, had been pre- 
ceded by the Windsor Forest, in 1712, and other detached 
poems, as his Ode on St. Cecilia's Day r in 1713 ; his Tem- 
ple of Fame, in 1714 ; and his Key to the Lock, in 1715* 
Long before his Homer was out he numbered among his 
acquaintance and friends every great and distinguished 
name of the time — Swift, Bolingbroke, Gay, Addison* 
Steele, Congreve, Mr. Secretary Craggs, Lord Halifax, 
Prior, Mallet, Arbuthnot, Parnell, Lord Oxford, Garth, 
It owe, Lady Mary Wort ley Montagu, &c. All this Pope 
had accomplished by the age of twenty-seven, and while at 
Bin field. Binfield will, therefore, always remain a place 
of lively interest to the lovers of our national literature, 
and especially to the admirers of the polished, acute, logic- 
al, and moral intellect of Pope* 

Binfield lies near Wokingham, and about two miles 
north of Caesar *s camp, a pleasant village* surrounded with 
handsome huusos, nnd in the midst of the trad called the 
Royal Hunt, The house in which Pope's father, and 
Pope too, resided, till he went to Twickenham, is a small, 
neat brick house, on the side of the London road. Within 
about half a mile of this house, and within a retired part 
of the forest, on the edge of a common, is the spot where, 
it is said, Pope nsed to compose many of his verses ; on a 
large tree are inscribed, in capital letters, the words, Here 

Pcpemng .- this sentence used to be annually refreshed at 
the expense of a lady of Wokingham* There used also 
to be a seat under this tree, but that has long disappeared ; 
the fact is, however, that tradition likes to fix on some par- 
ticular spot, and especially some tree, as a particulpjr e 
ject of a poet's attachment ; it is a palpable affair, and sa£* 
is tie & the ordinary mind ; but Pope, no doubt, especially 
when planning and working out his poem of Windsor For- 
est, used to ramble all through these scenes, and they may 
all be considered as associated with his memory and genius* 
Of the town life of Pope we rind hut few traces, consid- 
ering the well-known times, and the personages among 
whom he moved. Where his settled lodgings were I find 
no exact mention ; he was sometimes at friends* houses, or 
at that of Jervas, the painter, which was probably near St. 
Jamea's Park; as when Mr. Blount writes to Pope, in 
1716. endeavoring to persuade him to make a journey to the 
Continent with him, he exhorts him to leave " laziness and 
the elms of St James's Park/' Now this summer Jervas 
was on a visit to Swift in Ireland, and during his absence 
Pope made use of his house as his town sojourn; it was 
exactly at the crisis of Pope's removal from Bin field to 
Twickenham, and no doubt was a great convenience to 
him till his own house was fully ready for him. Hit de- 
scription of this house, in a letter to Jervas, will be well 
remembered by the readers of his letters : " As to your 
inquiry about your house, when I came within the walls, 
they put me in mind of those of Carthage, where you find, 
like the wandering Trojan, 

4 Amman, picturt paacit inani f 

for the spacious mansion, like a Turkish caravansera, en- 
tertains the vagabonds with bare lodgings, I rule the 
family very ill, keep bad hours, and lend out your pictures 
about the town. See what it is to have a poet in your 
house. Frank, indeed, does all he can in such circum- 
stances ; for, considering he has a wild beast in it, he con- 
Vol. L— H 



stantly keeps the door chained : every time it is opened 
the links rattle, the rusty hinges roar. The house seem/ 
so sensible that you are all its support, that it is ready tt 
drop in your absence ; but I- still trust myself tinder its 
roo£ as depending that Providence will preserve bo many 
Raphaels, Titian*, and Guides as are lodged in your cabi- 
net. Surely the sins of one poet can hardly be so heavy 
as to bring an old house over the heads of so many paint- 
ers* In a word, your house is falling ; \mt what of that t 
I am only a logger!" 

This was mere pleasant badinage. During Jervas'4 ab- 
sence, Pope made a journey on horseback to Oxford, a 
place he was fond of visiting ; and his account of his jour- 
ney, and mode of passing his time there, given in a letter 
to Martha Blount, is a pleasant near peep into his life. 
" Nothing could have more of that melancholy which ones 
used to please me than my last day's journey; for; after 
having passed through my favorite woods in the forest, 
with a thousand reveries of past pleasures, I rode over 

P.OPE* 171 

in the most dusky parts of the University, and was as dead 
to the world as any hermit of the desert. If any thing was 
alive or awake in me, it was a little vanity, such as even 
those good men used to entertain when the monks of their 
own order extolled their piety and abstraction ; for I found 
myself received with a sort of respect which the idle part 
of mankind, the learned, pay to their own species; who 
are as considerable here as the busy, the gay, and the am- 
bitious are in your world. Indeed, I was treated in such 
a manner, that I could not but sometimes ask myself, in 
my mind, what college I was founder of, or what library I 
had built. Methinks I do very ill to return to the world 
again — to leave the only place where I make a figure ; and 
from seeing myBelf seated with dignity in .the most con- 
spicuous shelves of a library, put myself into the abject 
posture of lying at a lady's feet in St. James's Square." 

There is a good deal of the poetical and picturesque in 
this account, as in another, of a ride to Oxford about two 
years before, there is of the picturesque and ludicrous. 
Pope and his ootemporaries, Swift, Addison, and Steele, 
have made immortal the triad of great publishers of their 
day — Tonson, Lintot, and Curll. Curll issued to the light 
a stolen volume of Pope's letters, to the poet's astonish- 
ment ; and, on Pope's very natural anger, with very bibli- 
opolical coolness, replied, that Mr. Pope ought to be very 
much obliged to him for making them known, for they did 
him so much credit. Jacob Tonson was the John Murray 
of his day; he turned out the most splendid editions of 
standard works, and was, moreover, the secretary of the 
great political Whig, or Kit-cat Club, of which the dukes 
of Somerset, Richmond, Grafton, Devonshire, and Marlbor- 
ough; the Earls of Dorset, Sunderland, Manchester, Whar- 
ton, and Kingston ; Lords Halifax and Somers ; Sir Rich- 
ard Steele, Addison, Congreve, Garth, Mainwaring, Pulte- 
ney, and many other distinguished men, were members. 
These,/ such was the munificence of the great bibliopole, 

: . < K!« 'I'll :ilVi>rds ;i run- 

m A :i lhTM 1 <»t" Lord Bur 

.... lie had most likely mentioiu 

, •'« shop, far he had but just enter 

yn who should come trotting up be 

v,i poniard Lintot. Pope had an ins 

j^'s design, and in a letter to Lord Bi 

J04W19 and characteristic account of th 

£11 which took place between them. 

t i,st Lintot, who was more accustomcc 

authors than of horses, sat uneasily in h: 

he expressed some solicitude, when Lii 

U they had the day before them, it wc 

ait a while under the woods. When t 

"Sec here," said Lintot, " what a might 

have in my pocket ! What if you amuse 

ing an ode till wo mount again ? Lore 

what a clever miscellany you might make 

41 Perhaps I may,'* said Pope, " if wo ric 

is an aid to my fancy ; a round trot ve: 

my spirits ; then jog on apace, and I'll 1 

can." Silence ensued for a full hour, c 

stopped short, and broke out, " Well, sir, 

gone V 9 " Seven miles," answered I 

sir," exclaimed Lintn* «• t .* 

* o r a. 198 

boon after he could not speak ; and there is Sir Richard, 
in that rambling old chariot of hia, between Fleet-street 
tod St. Giles's Pound, shall make you half a Job." 'Pope 
jogged on to Oxford, and dropped Lin tot as soon as he 

We may imagine Pope, during his occasional risits to 
London, looking in at Lintot's to see what was coming out 
new, or spending a morning with Swift at his lodgings ; 
with fiolingbroke ; or with Gay, at the Duke of Queens- 
bary's; with Lord Burlington, or Lord Halifax; and in 
the evening meeting in full conclave all the wits and phi- 
losophers of the time, at Will's Coffee-house, or at But- 
ton's, to which the company which used to meet at Will's 
sad been transferred by the influence of Addison. This 
was also called the Hanover Club, because the members 
adhered to the Whig principles and the house of Hanover. 
But Pope was equally welcome at the Tory Club, which 
had been constituted by his great friends, Bolingbroke and 
Harley, on the downfall of the Whigs at the peace of 
Utrecht, in opposition to the Kit-cat Club, and where these 
noblemen, their great champion Swift, Sir William Wynd- 
ham, Lord Bathurst, Dr. Arbuthnot, and other men of note 
of that .party assembled. This was called the October 
Club, from the month in which the great alteration in the 
ministry took place. Later, when the dissensions arose 
between Harley and Bolingbroke, a more exclusively lit- 
erary club was formed, of which Swift, Gay, Parnell, and 
Arbuthnot were members. This was the Scriblerus Club, 
amid whose convivialities originated the History of Marti- 
na* Scriblerus ; the Discourse on the Bathos, and Gulli- 
ver's Travels. 

* At all these places, Pope, who, having friends of all par- 
ties, would not commit himself to any political party, was 
always welcome, though the casual influence of party did 
not fail to take its effect, and do the work of estrangement 
among many of the leading spirits of the time. Pope at 



ways professed to hold Whig principles ; but, in fact, there 
was little distinction of political principle at that period, 
the chief difference being that of mere party. To the na- 
tion and its interests, it was of little consequence what 
leader was in power. 

Amid all the convivialities, the excitements of wine, wit, 
and conversation, which so many meetings of celebrated 
men opened to Pope, he began to find himself growing dis- 
sipated, and his health suffering. His wise old friend, Sir 
William Trumbull, warned him of his danger with an af- 
fectionate earnestness, and it is supposed with due effect 
44 1 now come,*' said he, " to what is of vast moment — I 
mean, the preservation of your health, and beg of you earn- 
estly to get out of all tavern company, and fly away tan- 
quam ex incendio. What a misery it is for you to be de- 
stroyed by the foolish kindness — it is all one, real or pre- 
tended — of those who are able to bear the poison of bad 
wine, and to engage you in so unequal a combat. As to Ho- 
mer, by all I can learn, your business is done ; therefore 


ber; who, availing themselves of his vivacity, laid a delib- 
erate plan to engage him in an affair derogatory to his rep- 
utation. But he cut wisely these connections, and Lon- 
don, with a valediction to be found in his verses written in 
the character of a philosophical rake : 

44 Dear, damned, distracting town, farewell, 
Thy fools no more 111 tease," &c 

• • • • 

44 To drink and droll be Bowe allowed 
Till the third watchman toll ; 
Let Jervas gratis paint, and Fronde 
Save threepence and his soul. 
44 Farewell Arbuthnot's raillery 
On every learned sot; 
And Garth, the best good Christian he, 
Although he knows it not. 
" Lintot, farewell ! thy bard must go : 
Farewell, unhappy Tonson! 
Heaven gives thee for thy loss of Bowe, 
Lean Phillips and fat Johnson. 
44 Why should I stay ? both parties rage ; 
My vixen mistress squalls ; 
The wits in envious feuds engage, 
And Homer-— damn him— calls. 1 * 

Here, then, ends Pope's town life, or that part of his life 
when he gave himself most up to it. We now accompany 
him to his new and his last residence, his beloved Twick- 
enham, or Twitenham, as he used to write it. 

It seems that Pope did not purchase the freehold of the 
house and grounds at Twickenham, but only a long lease. 
He took his father and mother along with him. His father 
died there the year after, but his mother continued to live 
till 1733, when she died at the great age of ninety-three. 
For twenty years she had the singular satisfaction of see- 
ing her son the first poet of his age ; caressed by the great- 
est men of the time, courted by princes, and feared by all 
the base. No parents ever found a more tender and duti- 
ful son. With him they shared in honor the ease and dis- 

176 FOFl 

tincdon he had acquired. They were the cherished objects 
of his home. Swift paid him no false compliment when 
he said, in condoling with him on his mother's death, "You 
are the most dutiful son I have ever known or heard a£, 
which is a felicity not happening to one in a million." 

The property at Twickenham is properly described by 
Roscoe as lying on both sides of the highway, rendering it 
necessary for him to cross the road to arrive at the higher 
and more ornamental part of his gardens. In order to ob- 
viate this inconvenience, he had recourse to the expedient 
of excavating a passage under the road from one part of 
his grounds to the other, a fact to which he alludes in these 

" Know all the toil the heavy world can heap 
Rolls o'er my grotto, nor disturb* my sleep." 

The lower part of these grounds, in which his house 
stood, constituted, in fact, only the sloping bank of the riv- 
er, by much the smaller portion of his territory. The pass- 
age, therefore, was very necessary to that far. greater part, 
which was his wilderness, shrubbery, forest, and every 
thing, where he chiefly planted and worked. This pass- 
age he formed into a grotto, having a front of rude stone- 
work opposite to the river, and decorated within with 
spars, ores, and shells. Of this place he has himself left 
this description : 

" I have put the last hand to my works of this kind, in 
happily finishing the subterranean way and grotto. I found 
there a spring of the clearest water, which falls in a per- 
petual rill, that echoes through the cavern night and day. 
From the River Thames you see through my arch, up a walk 
of the wilderness, to a kind of open temple wholly compos- 
ed of shells in the rustic manner; and from that distance 
under the temple, you look down through a sloping arcade 
of trees, and see the sails on the river passing suddenly and 
vanishing, as through a perspective glass. When you shut 
the door of this grotto, it becomes on the instant, from a lu- 

-POPE. 1W 

miaous room, a camera ofocura, on the walls of which all 
the objects of the river, hills, woods, and boats are forming 
a moving picture, in their visible radiations ; and when you 
have a mind to light it less, it affords you a very different 
scene. It is finished with shells, interspersed with looking- 
glass in regular forms, and in the ceiling is a star of the 
same material, at which, when a lamp of an orbicular fig- 
ure of thin alabaster is hung in the middle, a thousand 
pointed rays glitter, and are reflected over the place. There 
are connected to this grotto, by a narrow passage, two 
porches, one toward the river, of smooth stones, full of 
light and open; the other toward the garden, shadowed 
with trees* rough with shells, flints, and iron ore. The bot- 
tom is paved with simple pebbles, as is also the adjoining 
walk up the wilderness to the temple, in the natural taste, 
agreeing not ill with the little dripping murmur, and the 
aquatic idea of the whole place. It wants nothing to com- 
plete it but a good statue with an inscription, like that beau- 
tiful antique one which you know 1 am so fond o£ You 
will think I have been very poetical in this description ; but 
it is pretty near the truth." 

To this prose description Pope added this one in verse : 
" Thoa who shalt stop, where Thame* 1 translucent ware 

Shines a broad mirror through the shadowy cave ; 

Where lingering drops from mineral roofs distill, 

And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill; 

Unpolished gems no ray on pride bestow, 

And latent metals innocently glow ; 

Approach ! great Nature studiously behold, 

And eye the mine without a wish for gold. 

Approach; but awful! Lo ! the Egerian grot, 

Where, nobly pensive, St. John sat and thought ; 

Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole, 

And the bright flame was shot through Marchmant's tool, 

Let inch, such only, tread this sacred floor, 

Who dare to love their country, and be poor." 

But it was not merely in forming this grotto that Pope em- 
ployed himself; it ww in buHdings^ extending 1^ house, 

178 pope. 

which was in a Roman style, with columns, arcades, and 
porticoes. The designs and elevations of these buildings 
may be seen by his own hand in the British Museum, drawn 
in his usual way on backs of letters. The following pas- 
sage, in a letter to Mr. Digby, will be sufficient to gire us 
his idea of both his Thamesward garden and his house in 
a summer view : " No ideas you could form in the winter 
could make you imagine what Twickenham is in this warm 
summer. Our river glitters beneath the unclouded sun, at 
the same time that ite banks retain the verdure of showers; 
our gardens are offering their first nosegays ; our trees, like 
new acquaintance brought happily together, are stretching 
their arms to meet each other, and growing nearer and 
nearer every hour. The birds are paying their thanksgiv- 
ing songs for the new habitations I have made them. My 
building rises high enough to attract the eye and curiosity 
of the passenger from the river, where, upon beholding a 
mixture of beauty and ruin, he inquires, What house is fall- 
ing, or what chuTch is rising 1 So little taste have our com- 
mon Tritons for Vitruvius ; whatever delight the poetical 
gods of the river may take in reflecting on their streams, 
my Tuscan porticoes, or Ionic pilasters." 

Pope's architecture, like his poetry, has been the subject 
of much and vehement dispute. On the one hand, his grot- 
toes and his buildings have been vituperated as most taste- 
less and childish ; on the other, applauded as beautiful and 
romantic. Into neither of these disputes need we enter. 
In both poetry and architecture a bolder spirit and a bet- 
tor taste have prevailed since Pope's time. With all his 
foibles and defects, Pope was a great poet of the critical 
and didactic kind, and his house and place had their pecul- 
iar beauties. He was himself half inclined to suspect the 
correctness of his fancy in such matters, and often rallies 
himself on his gimcracks and crotchets in both verse and 
prose. Thus, in his first epistle of his first book of Horace, 
addressed to Bolingbroke ; 

pope. 179 

" Bat when no prelate's lawn with haircloth lined 
Is half so incoherent as my mind ; 
When — each opinion with the next at strife, 
An ebb and flow of follies all my life— 
I plant, root np ; I build, and then confound i 
Turn round to square, and square again to round; 
Ton never change one muscle of your face ; 
You think this madness but a common case." 

Pope's building madness, however, had method in it. Un- 
like the great romancer and builder of our time, be never 
allowed such things to bring him into debt. He kept bis 
mind at ease by such prudence, and soothed and animated 
it under circumstances of continued evil by working among 
his trees, and grottoes, and vines, and at his labors of poetry 
and translation. At the period succeeding the rebellion of 
1715, when that event had implicated and scattered so many 
of his. highest and most powerful friends, here he was la- 
boring away at his Homer with a progress which astonish- 
ed every one. Removed at once from the dissipations and 
distractions of London, and from the agreeable interrup- 
tions of such society, he found leisure and health enough 
here to give him vigor for exertions astonishing for so weak 
a frame. The tastes he indulged here, if they were not 
faultless according to our notions, were healthy, and they 
endured. To the end of his life he preserved his strong at- 
tachment to his house and grounds. In 1736, writing to 
Swift, he says : " I wish you had any motive to see this 
kingdom. I could keep you, for I am rich ; that is, I have 
more room than I want. I can afford room for myself and 
two servants. I have, indeed, room enough ; nothing but 
myself at home. The kind and hearty housewife is deadl 
The agreeable and instructive neighbor is gone ! Yet mj 
house is enlarged, and the gardens extend and flourish, as 
knowing nothing of the guests they have lost. I have more 
fruit-trees and kitchen garden than you have any thought 
of; nay, I have melons and pine-apples of my own growth. 
I am as much * better gardener as I am a worse poet than 


i job saw me ; bat gardening is mare akin to philos- 
ophy, for Tully sap, * Jgrkmltmntp rtxrima sapiential" 
And toward the end of the same year be says, in a letter to 
Ralph Allen, 4t I am now as busy plan ting for myself as I 
wmi lately in planting for another; and 1 tbank God for 
every wet day and for every fog that gives me the head- 
ache, but prospers my works. They will indeed outlive 
me, but I am pleased to think my trees will afford fruit and 
shade to others when I shall want them no more. And it 
is no sort of grief to me that those others will not be thing* 
of my own poor body; but it is enough that they are crea- 
tures of the same species, and made by the same hand that 
made me" 

In 1743, the last year of his life, he was still inspired by 
the same tastes, and occupied in the same pursuits. "I 
have lived," says he, March 24th, 1743, "much by myself 
of late, partly through ill health, and partly to amuse my- 
self with little improvements in my gardens and house, to 
which, possibly, I shall, if I live, be much more confined." 

Of the mode of Pope's life here we have, from the let* 
tern of himself and his friends, a pretty tolerable notion* 
He was near enough town to make occasional visits to it, 
and his frieuds there near enough to visit him. His friend* 
and acquaintances were every distinguished man and 
woman of the time, whether literary characters or states- 
men- The greater part of them may be set down as his 
guests here, at one period or another. He delighted to 
have his most intimate friends near him, and some one or 
more of them with him* Bishop Atterbury and War bur- 
ton, the Duke and Duchess of Queensbury, Gay's great 
patrons ; Sheffield, duke of Buckingham, Lady Suffolk, 
Lord and Lady Hervey, Lords Bathurst, Halifax, Oxford, 
Bolingbroke, Burlington, Lady Scudamore, the Countess 
of Winchilsea, Lord -chancel lor Harcnurt, and his son Sir 
Simon Harcourt, the Duke of Chandos, Lords Carlton, Pe- 
terborough, and Lansdowne, Lady Mary Wortley Monta- 

POPE. 181 

ga, Addison, Steele, Swift, ParneO, Gay, Rowe, and all 
the literary men of the age. What an array of those who 
wrote, and of those who admired letters, were the frequent- 
ers of Twickenham. In fact, in a letter to Swift in 1736, 
Pope says, " I was the other day recollecting twenty-seven 
great ministers, or men of wit and learning, who are all 
dead, and all of my acquaintance within twenty years past." 

But Pope loved to get those he most delighted to con- 
verse with to reside near him. Bolingbroke settled at 
Dawley, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu at Twicken- 
ham itself! The latter remarkable woman was a little too 
near. All the world is familiar with' Pope's intense admi- 
ration of her, his having her picture drawn by Sir Godfrey 
K nailer to gaze on every day, his worship of her, and their 
quarrel, which knew no reconciliation. 

But Pope's attachments were, for the most part, strong 
and enduing. Except in the case of the flattered, spoiled, 
and satirical Lady Mary, there is scarcely a friend of Pope's 
who was not a friend for life. With the Blounts, the Al- 

" And honest, hatleas Cromwell, with red breeches," 

people who could confer no distinction, but had qualities 
worth loving, he maintained the most steady friendship 
to the last. On Martha Blount^ the woman who above all 
others he most loved, he has conferred an immortality as 
enduring as his own. 

But his three most intimate friends, after all, were Swift, 
Bolingbroke, and Gay. These congenial souls were here 
much, often, and for long times together. With Pope they 
not only entered into literary plans, read together, wrote 
together, and joked and feasted together, but with him they 
worked at his grotto and in his garden. They helped him 
to construct his quincunx ; to plant, to sort spars and stones, 
tad to fix them in the wall. Lord Peterborough, who had 
ran so victorious a career in Spain, did not disdain to lay 
on « helping hand. 

POPE. 18$ 

in whose groves we had yesterday a dry walk of three 
hours. It is the place that of all others I fancy, and I am 
not yet out of humor with it, though I have had it some 
months ; it does not cease to be agreeable to me so late in 
the season (October) ; the very dying of the leaves adds a 
variety of colors that is not unpleasant. I look upon it as 
upon a beauty I once loved, whom I should preserve a re- 
spect for in her decay; and as we should look upon a 
friend, with remembrance how he pleased us once, though 
now declined from his gay and flourishing condition. 

" I write an hour or two every morning, then ride out a 
hunting upon the downs, eat heartily, talk tender senti- 
ments with Lord B., or draw plans for houses and gardens, 
open avenues, cut glades, plant firs, contrive water-works, 
all very fine and beautiful in our own imagination. At 
night we play at commerce, and play pretty high. I do 
more. I bet too; for I am really rich, and must throw 
away my money, if no deserving friend will use it I like 
this course of life so well, that I am resolved to stay here 
till I hear of somebody's being in town that is worth com- 
ing after." 

In another letter to these sisters, he gives us a curious 
peep at court life. '* First, then, I went by water to Hamp- 
ton Court, unattended by all but by my own virtues, which 
were not of so modest a nature as to keep themselves or 
me concealed ; for I met the prince, with all his ladies, on 

horseback, coming from hunting. Mrs. B-^ and Mrs. 

L " (Mary Bellenden and Mary Lepell, maids of hon- 
or to the queen) "took me into protection, contrary to 
the laws against harboring papists, and gave me a dinner, 
with something I liked better, an opportunity of convers- 
ing, with Mrs. H " (Mrs. Howard, afterward Countess 

of Suffolk). " We all agreed that the life of a maid of 
honor was of all things the most miserable ; and wished 
that every woman that envied it had a specimen of it. 
To eat Westphalia ham in a morning, ride over hedges 

184 pops. 

and ditches on borrowed hacks, come home in the heat of 
the day with a fever, and — what is worse a hundred times 
•—with a red mark in the forehead from an uneasy hat; all 
this may qualify them to make excellent wives for fox* 
hunters, and bear abundance of ruddy-complexioned chil- 
dren. As soon as they can wipe off the sweat of the day, 
they must simper an hour, and catch cold in the princess's 
apartment ; from thence, as Shakspeare has it, * to dinner 
with what appetite they may ;' and after that, till midnight, 
walk, work, or think, which they please. I can easily be* 
lieve no lone house in Wales, with a mountain and a rook- 
ery, is more contemplative than this court ; and, as a proof 

of it, I need only tell you, Mrs. L (Mary Lepell) 

walked with me three or four hours by moonlight, and we 
met no creature of any quality but the king, who gave au- 
dience to the vice-chamberlain, all alone, under the garden 

" In short, I heard of no ball, assembly, basset-table, or 
any place where two or three were gathered together, ex- 
cept Madam Kilmansegg's, to which I had the. honor to be 
invited, and the grace to stay away. 

" I was heartily tired, and posted to Park (g.Bushy t); 

there we had an excellent discourse of quackery; Dr. 

S— was mentioned with honor. Lady walked a 

whole hour abroad without dying after it, at least in the 
time I stayed, though she seemed to be fainting, and had 
convulsive motions several times in her head. I arrived 
in the forest by Tuesday at noon." 

At anothor time we find him at Orchard Wyndham, the 
seat of Sir William Wyndham, in Somersetshire. " The 
reception we met with/' says he, " and the little excursions 
we made, were every way agreeable. I think the country 
abounds with beautiful prospects. Sir William Wyndham 
is at present amusing himself with some real improve- 
ments, and a great many visionary castles. We are often 
entertained with sea views and sea-fish ; and were at some 

fori. 186 

places in the neighborhood, among which I was mightily 
pleased with Dunster Castle, near Minehead. It stands 
upon a great eminence, and hath a prospect of that town, 
with an extensive view of the Bristol Channel, in which are 
seen two small islands called the Steep Holms and Flat 
Holms, and on the other side we could plainly distinguish 
die divisions of the fields on the Welsh coast All this 
journey I performed on horseback." To how many read- 
ers will this fine scene here mentioned be familiar ! 

But another visit of Pope's to Stanton Harcourt, Oxford- 
shire, an old mansion of Lord Haroourt's, who lent it to 
him for the summer, has furnished us with a description 
which, though somewhat long, we must take in full. So 
much delighted was Pope with it, that he has described it 
twice ; once to Lady Mary Wordey Montagu, and once to 
the Duke of Buckingham. The following account is made 
complete by a careful comparison of both these letters ; 
but may be supposed to be addressed to Lady Mary* 

" I am fourscore miles from London ; and the place is 
such as I would not quit for the town, if I did not value 
you more than, nay, every body else there ; and you will 
be convinced how little the town has engaged my affections 
in your absence from it, when you know What a place this 
is which I prefer to it. I shall therefore describe it to you 
at large, as a true picture of a genuine ancient country 

" Yon: must expect nothing regular in my description of 
a house which seems to be built before rules were in fash* 
ion. The whole is so disjointed, and the parts are so de- 
tached from each other, and yet so joining again, one can 
not tell how, that in a poetical fit you could imagine it had 
been a village in Amphion's time, when twenty cottages 
had taken a dance together, were all out, and stood still 
in amazement ever since, 

"You must excuse me if I say nothing of the front ; in- 
deed, I do not know which it is. A stranger would be 

.186 r o r b. 

grievously disappointed who should think* to get into this 
house the right way. One would reasonably expect, after 
the entry through the porch, to be let into the hall ; but 
alas! nothing lessl you find yourself in a brew-house. 
From the parlor you think to step into the drawing-room, 
but, upon opening the iron-nailed door, you are convinced, 
by a flight of birds about your ears, and a cloud of dust in 
your eyes, that it is the pigeon-house. On each side of our 
porch are two chimneys, that wear their greens on the out- 
side, which would do as well within; for whenever we 
make a fire, we let the smoke out of the windows. Over 
the parlor window hangs a sloping balcony, which time 
has turned to a very convenient pent-house. The top is 
crowned with a very venerable tower, so like that of the 
church just by, that the jackdaws build in it as if it were 
the true steeple. 

" The great hall is high and spacious, flanked on one 
side with a very long table, a true image of ancient hospi- 
tality. The walls are all over ornamented with monstrous 
horns of animals, about twenty broken pikes, ten or a doz- 
en blunderbusses, and a rusty matchlock musket or two, 
which we were informed had served in the civil wars. 
There is one vast arched window, beautifully darkened 
with divers scutcheons of painted glass. There seems to 
be a great propriety in this old manner of blazoning upon 
glass, ancient families, like ancient windows, in the course 
of generations being seldom free from cracks. One shining 
pane, in particular, bears date 1286, which alone preserves 
the memory of a knight whose iron armor has long since 
perished with rust, and whose alabaster nose has moldered 
from his monument. The youthful face of Dame Elinor, 
in another piece, owes more to that single pane than to all 
the glasses she ever consulted in her life. Who can say, 
after this, that glass is frail, when it is not half so perishable 
as human beauty or glory ? And yet I can not but sigh to 
think that the most authentic record of so ancient a family 

pops. 187 

should be at the mercy of every boy who flings a stone ! 
In this hall, in former days, have dined gartered knights 
and courtly dames, with ushers, sewers, and seneschals, 
and yet it was but the other night that an owl flew in hith- 
er, and mistook it for a barn. 

" This ball lets you, up and down over a very high thresh- 
old, into the great parlor. It is furnished with historical 
tapestry, whose marginal fringes do confess the moisture 
of the air. The other contents of this room are a broken- 
bellied virginal, a couple of crippled velvet chairs, with 
two or three moldered pictures of moldy ancestors, who 
look as dismally as if they came fresh from hell with all 
their brimstone about them. These are carefully set at the 
further corner, for the windows being every where broken, 
make it bo convenient a place to dry poppies and mustard- 
seed in, that the room is appropriated to that purpose. 

"Next to this parlor lies, as I said before, the pigeon- 
house, by the side of which runs an entry that leads, on 
one hand and on the other, into a bed-chamber, a buttery, 
and a small hole called the chaplain's study. Then follow 
the brew-house, a little green and gilt parlor, and the great 
stairs, under which is the dairy. A little further on the 
right, the servants' hall ; and, by the side of it, up six steps, 
me old lady's closet for her private devotions, which has a 
lattice into the said hall, that, while she said her prayers, 
she might cast an eye on the men and maids. There are, 
upon the ground floor, in all, twenty-six apartments, hard 
to be distinguished by particular names, among which I 
must not forget a chamber that has in it a huge antiquity 
of timber, which seems to have been either a bedstead or a 

" The kitchen is built in form of the Rotunda, being one 
▼ait vault to the top of the house, where one aperture 
serves to let out the smoke and let in light. By the black- 
ness of the walls, the circular fires, vast caldrons, yawning 
months of ovens and furnaces, you would think it either 

M8 popi. 

the forge of Vulcan, the cave of Polyphemus, or the tenv 
pie of Moloch. The horror of mis place has made auchae 
impression on the country people, that they habere At 
witches keep their Sabhath here, and that once a year the 
devil treats them with infernal venison, a roasted agar 
stuffed with tenpenny nails. 

"Above stairs we have a number of rooms:. you i 
pass out of one into another but by the asce nt and 4 
of two or three stairs* Our best room is very long and low, 
of the exact proportions of a bandbox. In moat of these 
rooms there are hangings of the finest work in the worU| 
that is to say, those which Arachna spins from her own 
bowels, Were it not for this only furniture, the whole 
would be a miserable scene of naked walls, flawed ceinnem, 
broken windows, and rusty locks. Its roof is so decayed, 
that after a favorable shower we may r with God's b l es sing, 
expect a crop of mushrooms between the chinks of the 
floors. n 

" All the doors are as little and low aa those to the cab- 
ins of packet-boats ; and the rooms have, for many years, 
had ho other inhabitants than certain rats, whose very age 
renders tbem worthy of this venerable mansion, for the 
very rats of this ancient seat are gray. Sinoe. these have 
not yet quitted it, we hope, at least, that this house may 
stand during the small remnant of days these poor i 
have to live, who are too infirm to remove to 
They have still a small subsistence left mem in the few re- 
maining books of the library. 

" We had never seen half what I have described but for 
an old, starched, gray-headed steward, who is as much an 
antiquity as any m the place, and looks like an old family 
picture walked out of its frame. He failed not, aa we past- 
ed from room to room, to entertain us with several rela- 
tions of the family ; but his observations were particularly 
curious when he came to the cellar. He showed where 
stood die triple rows of butts of sack, and where now 

popi. 189 

ranged the bottles of tent for toasts in a morning. He 
pointed to the stands that supported the iron-hooped bogs- 
hsads of strong beer ; then, stepping to a corner, he lagged 
oat the tattered fragments of an untrained picture. ' This/ 
Kys he, with tears in his eyes, * was poor Sir Thomas, once 
of all this drink ! He had two sons, poor young 
1 1 who never arrived to the age of this beer ; they 
both fell ill in this very cellar, and never went out upon 
their own legs/ He could not pass by a heap of broken 
bottles without taking up a piece, to show us the arms of 
the family upon it. He then led us up the tower by dark, 
winding stone steps, which landed us into several little 
rooms, one above another. One of these was nailed up ; 
tnd our guide whispered to us a secret occasion of it. It 
seems the coarse of this noble blood was a little interrupt- 
ed, about two centuries ago, by a freak of the Lady Frances 
with a neighboring priest, since which the room has been 
nailed up, and branded as the Adultery Chamber. The 
ghost of Lady Frances is supposed to walk there, and some 
prying maids of the family report that they have seen a lady 
m a farthingale through the keyhole ; but this matter is 
hashed up, and the servants are forbid to talk of it. 

" I must needs have tired you by this long description ; 
bat what engaged me in it was a generous principle to 
preserve the memory of that which must itself soon fall into 
dost ; nay, perhaps, part of it, before this letter reaches your 
bands. Indeed, I owe this old house the same gratitude 
that we do to an old friend, who harbors us in his declining 
condition, nay, even in his last extremities. I have found 
this an excellent place for retirement and study, where no 
one who passes by can dream there is one inhabitant ; and 
even any body that could visit me does not venture under 
my roof You will not wonder that I have translated a 
great deal of Homer in this retreat ; any one that sees it 
will own that I could not have chosen a fitter or more like- 
ly place to converse with the dead." 

190 pops. 

No one, after reading this, can doubt that Pope ; 
ed that rare talent of' painting in words which Thomson 
called so truly * the portrait painting of Nature/* and which, 
in a letter to Doddingtoh from Italy, he justly laments 
as so rare a faculty. " There are scarcely any to be met 
with who have given a landscape of the country through 
which they traveled, seen thus with the mind's eye, though 
that is the first thing which strikes, and what all readers 
of travels demand." " We must lament," says Walton, 
" that we have no more letters of Bishop Berkeley, who, 
we see by this before us (from Naples), possessed the un- 
common talent of describing place* in the most lively and 
graphical manner, a talent in which he has only been equal- 
ed or excelled by Gray, in many of those lively and inter- 
esting letters published by Mason ; those especially written 
during his travels." The want continues to the present 
hour ; the want of the art of bringing the things you speak 
of livingly before the reader. It is this want, which can 
only be supplied by the same principles of study in die wri- 
ter as in the painter, which first suggested to me the ne- 
cessity of " Visits to Remarkable Places." No one could 
have made such visits more effectual than Pope. This is a 
merit for which he yet has received little or no praise ; and 
yet no talent is rarer, and few more delightful. In his let* 
ters, especially those addressed to his two lovely, charming^ 
and life-long friends, Martha and Teresa Blount, mc$ ft* 
ing portraitures of places abound. His description ft 8v 
Walter Raleigh's old mansion and gardens at Sherbourne 
is a master- piece of the kind. You are now at Letcombe, in 
Berkshire, with Swift, where the author of Gulliver used 
to run up a hill every morning before breakfast; now at 
Bevis Mount, near Southampton, with his friend Lord Pe- 
terborough, the conqueror of Spain ; and in his journeys to 
Bath, or to Lord Cobham's at Stowe, you peep in at a num- 
ber of country houses, and rich peeps they are. Bath and 
London society is sketched with great vivacity and gusto; 

POPE. 191 

bat such sketches are more common than these peeps into 
aristocratic country life. Thus you have him rolling along 
slowly from Cobham toward Bath, drawn by the very horse 
on which Lord Derwentwater rode jn the Rebellion, but 
then employed by Lord Cobham in rolling the garden. He 
looks in at Lord Deloraine's on the Downs. He lies one 
night at Rowsham, the seat of Colonel Cotterell, near Ox- 
ford ; " the prettiest place for water-falls, jets, ponds in- 
closed with beautiful scenes of green and hanging wood, 
ever seen." Then at Mr. Howe's in Gloucestershire, " as 
fine a thing of another kind, where Nature has done every 
thing, and luckily, lor the master has ten children." Then 
he calls at Sir William Codrington's, at Durhams, eight 
miles from Bath,- where he thus describes his entertain- 
ment : " My reception there will be matter for a letter to 
Mr. Bethel. It was perfectly in his spirit. All his sisters, 
in the first place, insisted that I should take physic prepar- 
atory to the waters, and truly I made use of the time, place, 
and persons to that end. My Lady Cox, the first night I 
lay there, mixed my electuary ; Lady Codrington pounded 
sulphur; Mrs. Bridget Bethel ordered broth; Lady Cox 
mounted first up stairs with the physic in a gallipot ; Lady 
Codrington next, with the vial of oil ; Mrs. Bridget third, with 
pills ; the fourth sister with spoons and tea-cups. It would 
hare rejoiced the ghost of Dr. Woodward to have beheld 
this jw&cession." But two years before his death he was 
Igslfcal Stowe, when he says, " All the mornings we break- 
fast and dispute ; after dinner and at night, music and har- 
mony ; in the garden fishing ; no politics, and no cards nor 
novel reading. This agrees exactly with me, for the wan{ 
of cards sends us early to bed." 

This was the way he describes spending the latter part 
of his life : " Lord Bathurst is still my constant friend, but 
his country seat is now always in Gloucestershire, not in 
this neighborhood. . Mr. Pulteney has no country seat ; 
and in town I see him seldom. In the summer I generally 

192 pope. 

ramble for a month to Lord Cobham's, or to Bath, or < 

Such were the homes and haunts of Pope. In his life, 
one thing is very striking. How much the literary men of 
die time and the nobility associated; bow little do they 
now. Are our nobility grown less literary, or our authors 
less aristocratic 1 It may be said that authors now are 
more independent, and can not flatter aristocracy. But no 
man was more independent, and proud of his independ- 
ence, than Pope. But I leave this question to wind up this 
article with a glance at Twickenham as it is. 

Pope was anxious that some of his friends should have 
die lease of his house and grounds, and prevent their 
being pulled to pieces ; but it was never done. Since his 
day they have gone through various hands. His house has 
long been pulled down ; his willow has fallen down in ut- 
ter decay; his quincunx has been destroyed. Two new 
tenements, having the appearance of one house, with a por- 
tico opening into the highway, have for some years been 
built at the further extremity of Pope's grounds next to the 
Thames. The house itself was stripped, immediately after 
his death, of all mementoes of him, by the operation of his 
own will. To Lord Bolingbroke he left his own copy of 
his Translation of Homer, and his other works. To Lord 
Marchmont, other books, with the portrait of Bolingbroke 
by Richardson. To Lord Bathurst, the three statues of 
the Hercules of Farnese, the Venus de Medici, and the 
Apollo in chiaro oscuro, by Kneller. To Mr. Murray, the 
marble head of Homer, by Bernini, and Sir Isaac New* 
ton, by Guelfi. To Dr. Arbuthnot, another picture of Bo- 
lingbroke. He left to Lord Littleton the busts in marble 
of Shakspeare, Spenser, and Milton, presented to him by 
the Prince of Wales. His library went among his friends; 
the pictures of his mother, father, and aunts, to his sister- 
in-law, Mrs. Racket*. Of that of Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu, by Kneller, there is no mention; but all the 

F OF E. 1M 

inrniture of bis grotto, with the urns for hi* garden, given 
by the Prince of Wales, he left to Martha Blount. Thus 
flew abroad those precious relics, then ; and what changes 
in the place itself I A new house is at this moment rising 
on a part of the Thames bank, so that there are actually 
three tenements on the spot, and it is cut up and divided 
accordingly. With all this havoc, there are still, however, 
more traces of Pope left than might have been expected. 
The Thames is there ; nothing can remove or cut up that. 
The scene across the river is woody, rich, and agreeable as 
ever. The sloping bank from the road to the river, once 
Pope's garden, is a pretty garden still. There is even at 
the end nearest to London a conservatory still standing, 
which has all the characteristics of another age, and proba- 
bly was Pope's. It has Tuscan columns, and large panes 
of glass fit for sash windows. But a fine, fantastic sort of 
Swiss villa is rapidly rising, called by the people about 
Elizabethan. It has deep, depending eaves, full of wood- 
en ornament, and a lofty tower. It is the property of a Mr. 
Young, a wholesale tea-dealer. Around were lying heaps 
of lime and other building materials, when I visited it a 
few weeks ago, and troops of work-people were busily 
employed where the lords, ladies, and literati of George 
IL's reign resorted. 

The subterranean passage, or grotto, still runs under the 
road, spite of Bowles telling us that all these things were 
pulled down and done away with. It is secured by iron 
gates at each end, and far more of the original spar and 
thell-work remains than you could have believed. Near 
the opening facing the Thames, under some ivied rock- 
work, stands the figure of a nun in stone, which, no doubt, 
has been placed there by some occupant subsequent to 

On the opposite side of the road there is a field of some 
half dozen acres, still bearing traces of its former character. 
This was Pope's larger garden and wilderness, where he 

Vol. L— I 

194 pope. 

used to plant and replant, contrive and recontrive, pull down 
and build up, to his heart's content Around it still are 
braces of shrubberies, and over all are scattered many of 
those trees which, upward of a hundred yean ago, Pope 
said he was busy planting for posterity. They are now 
stupendous in size— Spanish chestnuts, elms, and cedars. 
No doubt many of them have been felled, but what remain 
are lofty and magnificent trees. The walks and shrubber- 
ies are to a great extent annihilated ; the center of the field 
was planted with potatoes. In the midst of a clump of old 
laurels, near the road, there is a remains of a large tree, 
hewn out into the shape of a seat, not unlike a watchman's 
box, which is said to have been Pope's, but is doubtful 
At the top of the grounds is another grotto, that which was 
erected by Sir William Stanhope, who purchased the es- 
tate, or the lease of it, at Pope's death. This grotto seems 
to have formed the passage to still further grounds; for 
we are informed that Sir William Stanhope not only 
built two wings to Pope's house, but extended his grounds. 
There was placed over the entrance of this grotto a bast of 
Pope in white marble, and on a white marble slab the fol- 
lowing inscription : 

" The humble roof, the garden's scanty lino, 
HI spoke the genius of a bard divine: 
But fancy now displays a fairer scope, 
And Stanhope's plans unfold the soul of Pope." — Clart. 

These Taunting lines, which represent the addition of 
another grotto and another field as unfolding the soul of 
Pope, and Sir William Stanhope as somebody capable of 
far greater things than the poet himself, still remain, the 
monument of the writer's and the erector's folly. The 
bust, of course, is gone. The grotto is lined with spars; 
pieces of basalt, perhaps the very joints of the Giant's 
Causeway sent to Pope by Sir Hans Sloane in 1742, but 
two years before Pope's death; some huge pieces of glazed 
and striped jars of pottery; and masses of stalactites and 

pope. 105 

of stone worn by the action of the waters, evidently brought 
from some cavernous shore or bed of a torrent, perhaps 
from a great distance, and no doubt at a great expense. 
As this, however, was the work of Sir William Stanhope, 
and not of Pope, the whole possesses little interest. Every 
trace of the temple of which Pope speaks, as being in full 
view from his grotto, is annihilated ; and if the small obe- 
lisk, having a funeral urn on each side, said to have been 
placed in a retired part of the grounds, remain, it escaped 
my observation. It had this inscription in memory of his 

Ah! Editha, 

Matrum Optima, 

If ulMrum Ai pfwH— ii^ 


Lord Mendip, who married Sir William Stanhope's 
daughter, is said to have been particularly anxious to re- 
tain every trace of Pope. Yet in his care to maintain, he 
must have very much altered. He stuccoed the house, 
and adorned it, says a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, 
in an elegant style. He inclosed the lawn, and propped 
with uncommon cafe the far-famed weeping willow, sup- 
posed to be the parent stock of the willows in Twicken- 
ham Park. Yes, Pope is said to have been the introdu- 
cer of the weeping willow into England ; that, seeing some 
twigs around the wrapping of an article of vertu sent to 
Lady Sylvius from abroad, he planted these, saying they 
might belong to some kind of tree yet unknown in En- 
gland. From one of these sprung Pope's willow, and from 
Pope's willow thousands. Slips of his tree were anxiously 
sought after; they were even transmitted to distant climes; 
and in 1789, the Empress of Russia had some planted in 
ber garden at Petersburgh. Notwithstanding every care, 
old age overcame this willow, and in spite of all props, it 
perished, and fell to the ground in 1801. 

On the decease of Lord Mendip in 1802, the property 



was sold to Sir John Briscoe, Bart-; after whose death it 
was again sold to the Baroness Howe. This lady and her 
husband, Sir J, Waller Wathen, with a tasteless Vandalism, 
leveled the house of Pope to the ground ; extirpated ruth- 
lessly almost every trace of him in the gardens, and erect- 
ed that house already mentioned at the extremity of Pope's 
property, now occupied as two tenements. This house of 
the unpoetical Lady Howe was also erected on the site of 
an elegant little villa, belonging to Hudson, the painter, the 
master of Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

Such are the revolutions which have passed over Pope's 
villa and its grounds. Where he, and such celebrated 
gardeners as Swift, BoHugbroke, and Gay labored, I found 
potatoes, black with the disease of 1846, growing. The 
giant trees planted by his hands, which still lift aloft their 
noble heads, we know not how long may escape some fresh 
change. The whole of the larger garden of Pope in which 
they grow, bears the evidences of neglect on its face* Lau* 
rels grow wild under the lofty hedges* The stones of Stan^ 
hope's grotto lie scattered about; and vast quantities of 
the deadly nightshade, as if undisturbed for years, display- 
ed to my notice its dark purple and burnished berries of 

The remains of Pope rest, with those of his parents, in 
Twickenham church. In the middle aisle, the sexton 
shows you a P in one of the stones, which marks the 
place of their interment. To see the monuments to their 
memory, you must ascend into the north gallery, where at 
the east end, on the wall, you see a tablet, with a Latin 
inscription, which was placed there by Pope in honor of 
his parents ; and on the side wall of the gallery nearest 
the west is a tablet of gray marble, in a pyramidal form, 
with a medallion profile of the poet. This was placed 
her© by Bishop Warburton, and bears the following in* 
script! on : 

pope. 197 

Alexavdko Porx, M. H. Gutielmus Episcopos, Glocestriensis, 

Amkntie causa fac i car: 1761. 

Poeta loquitur. 


Heroes and kings, your distance keep ; 
In peace let one poor poet sleep. 
Who never flattered folks like yon: 
Let Horace blush, and Virgil too. 

By one of those acts which neither science nor cariosity 
can excuse, the skull of Pope is now in the private collec- 
tion of a phrenologist. The manner in which it was ob- 
tained is said to have been this. On some occasion of al- 
teration in the church, or burial of some one in the same 
spot, the coffin of Pope was disinterred, and opened to see 
the state of the remains ; that by a bribe to the sexton of 
the time, possession of the skull was obtained for a night, 
and another skull returned instead of it. I have heard that 
fifty pounds were paid to manage and carry through this 
transaction. Be that as it may, the skull of Pope figures 
in a private museum. 


The principal scenes of residence of Dean Swift lie in 

Ireland. Johnson, in his life of the dean, makes it doubtful 
whether he was really an Englishman or an Irishman by 
birth. He says: "Jonathan Swift was, according to on 
account said to be written by himself, tho son of Jonathan 
Swift, an attorney, and was born at Dublin on St, Andrew's 
day, 1667; according to his own report, as delivered by 
Pope to S pence, he was dotti at Leicester, the son of a 
clergyman, who was minister of a parish in Herefordshire, 
During his life the place of his birth was undetermined. 
He was contented to be called an Irishman by the Irish r 
but would occasionally call himself an Englishman. The 
question may, without much regret, be left in the obscurity 
in which he delighted to involve it," 

There has long ceased to be any obscurity about the 
matter. His relations, justly proud of the connection! have 
set that fully in the light which Swift himself characteris- 
tically wrapped in mystification* He was of an English 

family, originally of Yorkshire, but hi* gran J father Thorn- 
as Swift was vicar of Goodrich in Herefordshire. Taking 
an active part with Charles L against the Parliament, he 
was expelled from hid living ; yet he died at Goodrich, and 
was buried under the altar there. The account of the plun- 
dering of his parsonage by the Parliament army, given in 
the appendix to Scott 1 * life of the dean, is so lively a de- 
scription of such an affair, that I will transcribe it : 

'■ When the Karl of Stamford was in Herefordshire, In 

Cuber, Kit 2, and pillaged all that kept faith and alle- 
ice to the king, information was given to Mrs. Swift, 
wife of Thomas Swift, parson of Goodrich, that her house 
was designed to he plundered* To prevent so great * 
danger T she instantly repaired to Hereford, where the earl 
then was, some ten miles from her own home, to peti- 
tion him that no violence might be offered to her house 
or goods. He most nobly, and according to the goodness 
of his disposition, threw the petition away, and swore no 
small oath a that she should be plundered to- morrow. The 
good gentlewoman, being out of hope to prevail, and see- 
ing that there was no good to be done by petitioning him, 
I speeds home as fast as she could, and that night removed 
as much of her goods as the shortness of tho time would 
permit. Next morning, to make good the Earl of Stam- 
ford's word, Captain Kirle's troop, consisting of seventy 
horse and thirty foot, which were hangers on — birds of prey, 
came to Mr. SwifVs bouse. There they took away all his 
si on of victuals, com, household stuff, which was not 
nveyed away* They empty his beds, and fill the ticks 
rith malt ; they rob him of his cart and six horses, and 
make this part of their theft the means to convoy away the 
rest. Mrs. Swift, much affrighted to see such a sight as 
this, thought it best to save herself, though she lost her 
goods ; therefore, taking up a young child in her arms, be- 
gan to secure herself by flight, which one of the troopers 
perceiving, be commanded her to tfay, or, holding a pistol 


to her breast, threatened to shoot her dead. She, good 
woman, fearing death whether she went or returned, at last, 
shunning that death which was next unto her, she retires 
hack to her house, where she saw herself undone, and yet 
durst not oppose* or ask why they did so. Having thus 
rifled the house and gone, next morning early she goes 
again to Hereford, and there again petitions the earl to 
show some compassion to her and her ten children, and 
that he would be pleased to cause her horses and some part 
of her goods to he restored to her. The good earl was so 
far from granting her petition, that he would not vouchsafe 
so much as to read it. When she could not prevail herself, 
she makes use of the mediation of friends. These have the 
repulse also, his lordship remaining inexorable, without any 
inclination to mercy. At last, hoping that all men's hearts 
were not adamant relentless, she leaves the earl, and makes 
her addresses to Captain Kirle, who, upon her earnest en- 
treaty, grants her a protection for what was left ; but for 
restitution, there was no hope of that. This protection cost 
her no less than thirty shillings* It seems paper and ink 
are dear in those parts. And now, thinking herself secure 
in bis protection, she returns home, in hope that what was 
left she might enjoy in peace and quietness. She had not 
been long at home ere Captain Kirle sends her word that, 
if it pleased her, she might buy four of her own six horses 
again, assuring her, by her father's servant and tenant, that 
she should not fear being plundered any more by the Earl 
of Stamford's forces while they were in those parts. En- 
couraged by these promises, she was content to buy her 
own, and deposited eight pounds ten shillings for four of 
her horses. And now, conceiving the storm to be blown 
over, and all danger past, and placing much confidence in 
her purchased protection, she causes all her goods secured 
in her neighbor's houses to be brought home ; and since it 
could not he better, rejoiced that she had not lost all. She 
had not enjoyed these thoughts long ere Captain Kirle 

• W I P T. SOI 

sent unto, her for some vessels of eider, whereof having 
tasted, but not liking it, since he could not have drink for 
himself he would have provender for his horses, and there- 
fore, instead of cider, he demands ten bushels of oats. 
Ml*. Swift, seeing that the denial might give some ground 
fcr aqoarrel, sent him word that her husband had not two 
bushel* of oats in a year for tithes, nor did they grow any 
on their glebe, both of which were most true. . Yet, to show 
how wDHng she was, to her power, to comply with him, 
that the messengers might not return empty, $h* sent him 
forty shillings to buy oats. Suddenly after, the captain of 
Goodridge castle sends to Mr. Swift's house for victual and 
corn. Mrs. Swift instantly shows him her protection. He, 
to answer show with show, shows her his warrant ; and so, 
without any regard to her protection, seizeth upon that 
provision which was in the house, together with the cider 
which Captain Kirle had refused. Hereupon Mrs. Swift 
write* to Captain Kirle, complaining of this injury, and the 
•ffiront done to him in slighting his protection ; but before 
the messenger could return with an answer to her letter, 
some from the castle came a second time to plunder the 
house, and they did what they came for. Presently after 
comes a letter from Captain Kirle in answer to Mrs. Swift's, 
that the Earl of Stamford did by no means approve of the 
injuries done to her, and withal, by word of mouth, sends 
to her for more oats. She, perceiving that as long as she 
gave they would never leave asking, resolved to be drilled 
no more. The return not answering expectation, on the 
third of December, Captain Kirle's lieutenant, attended by 
a considerable number of dragoons, comes to Mr. Swift 9 * 
ho**e and demands entrance; but the doors being kept 
that against them, and not being able to force them, they 
broke down two iron bars in a stone window, and so, with 
swords drawn and pistols cocked, they enter the house. 
Being entered, they take all Master Swift's and his wife 9 * 
apparel, hi* books and hi* children's clothes, they being in 



S W I P T. 

bed ; and these poor children that hung by their clothes, 
they being unwilling to part with them, they swung them 
about until, their hold-fust failing, ihey dashed them against 
the walla. They took away all his servants* clothes, and 
made so clean work with one that they left him not a shirt 
to cover his nakedness. There was one of the children, an 
infant, lying in the cradle ; they robbed that, and left not 
the poor soul a rag to defend it from the cold. They took 
away all the iron, pewter, and brass ; and a very fair cup- 
board of glasses, which ihey could not carry away, they 
broke to pieces ; and the four horses lately redeemed are 
with them lawful prize again, and nothing left of all the goods 
but a few stools, for his wife, children, and servants to sit 
down and bemoan their distressed condition. Having taken 
away all, and being gone, Mrs, Swift, in compassion to her 
poor infant in the cradle, took it up, almost starved with 
cold, and wrapped it in a petticoat which she took off from 
herself; and now hoped that having nothing to lose would 
be a better protection for their persons than that which they 
purchased of Captain Kirle for thirty shillings. But, as if 
Job's messenger would never make an end, her three maid- 
servants, whom they in the castle had compelled to carry 
the poultry to the castle, return and tell their mistress that 
they in the castle said they had a warrant to seize upon 
Mrs, Swift and bring her into the castle, and they would 
make her three ma id -servants wait on her there, and added 
things not fit for them to speak nor us to write. Hereupon 
Mrs* Swift fled to the place where her husband, for fear of 
the rebels, had withdrawn himself. She had not been 
gone two hours before they come from the castle, and bring 
with them three teams to carry away what was before de- 
signed for plunder, but wanted means of conveyance. 
When ihey came there was a batch of bread hot in the 
oven. This they seize on ; her children, on their knees, en» 
treat but for one loaf, and at last, with much importunity, 
obtained it j but before the children had eaten it, they took 


even that one loaf away, and left them destitute of a mor- 
sel of bread among ten children. Ransacking every cor* 
nor of the house that nothing might be left behind, they 
And s> small pewter dish in which the dry-nurse had put pap 
to feed the poor infant, the mother who gave it suck being 
fled to save her life. This they seize on too. The nurse 
entreats, for God's sake, that they would spare that, plead* 
ing that, in the mother's absence, it was all the substance 
which was or could be provided to sustain the life of the 
child, that ' knew not the right hand ftom the left,' a motive 
which prevailed with God himself, though justly incensed 
against Nineveh. 

M Master Swift's eldest son, a youth, seeing this barbar- 
ous cruelty, demanded of them a reason for this so hard 
usage. They replied that his father was a traitor to the 
king and Parliament, and added, that they would keep 
them so short that they would eat the very flesh from their 
arms ; and to make good their word, they threaten the mill- 
er, that if he ground any corn for these children, they would 
grind him in his own mill ; and not contented with this, 
they go to Mr. Swift's next neighbor, whose daughter was 
his servant, and take him prisoner : they examine him on 
oath what goods of Mr. Swift's he had in his custody. He 
professing that he had none, they charge him to take his 
daughter away from Mr. Swift's service, or else they threat- 
en to plunder him ; and to make sure work, they make him 
give them security to obey all their commands. Terrified 
with this, the neighbors stand afar off, and pity the dis- 
tressed condition of these persecuted children, but dare not 
come or send to their relief By this means the. children 
and servants had no sustenance, hardly any thing to cover 
tfaem, from Friday, six o'clock at night, until Saturday, 
twelve at night, until at last, the neighbors, moved with the 
lamentable cries and complaints of the children and servants, 
one of the neighbors, overlooking all difficulties, and show- 
ing that he durst be charitable in despite of these monsters, 

204 BWIFT. 

ventured in, and brought them some provision. And if the 
world would know what it waa that so exasperated these 
rebels against this gentleman, die Earl of Stamford, a man 
that is not bound to give an account of all his actions, gave 
two reasons for it : first, because he had bought arms and 
conveyed them into Monmouthshire, which, under his lord- 
ship's good favor, was not so ; and, secondly, because, not 
long before, he preached a sermon in Rosse upon that 
text, 'Give unto Csssar the things that are Caesar's/ in 
which his lordship said he had spot mij^ union in endeavor- 
ing to give Caesar more than his doe. These two crimes 
cost Mr. Swift no less than <£300." # 

With the memory of such things as these in the family, 
there need be no wonder at the dean's decided tendency to 
Toryism. His father and three uncles, that is, four out of 
ten sons, and three or four daughters of the persecuted 
clergyman, fled to Ireland, where the eldest son, Godwin 
Swift, a barrister, married a relative of the Marchioness of 
Ormond, and was made, by the Marquis of Ormond, his at- 
torney-general in the palatinate of Tipperary. This God- 
win married the co-heiress of Admiral Deane ; the second 
son, a daughter of Sir William Davenant Another was 
Mr. Dryden Swift, so called after his mother, who was a 
Dryden, and a near relation of the poet's. Thus Swift was 
of good family and alliance. He was the only son of Jon- 
athan Swift, the eighth son of Thomas Swift, the vicar of 
Goodrich, who was so plundered. His mother was Abi- 
gail Erick, of Leicestershire, descended from the most an- 
cient family of the E ricks, who derive their lineage from 
Erick the Forester, a great commander, who raised an army 
to oppose the invasion of William the Conqueror, by whom 
he was vanquished, but afterward employed to command 
that prince's forces. In his old age he retired to his house 
in Leicestershire, where his family has continued ever 
since, has produced many eminent men, and is still repre- 
* MercvriuM Rwicu*. London, 1638. 

■ W I F T. 905 

tented by the Heyricks of Leicester town, and the Herricks 
of Beaumanor. 

Swift's father was a solicitor, and steward to the Society 
of the Ring's Inn, Dublin ; but he died before Swift was 
born, and left his mother in such poverty that she was not 
able to defray the expenses of her husband's funeral. He 
was born on the 30th of November, 1667, St. Andrew's 
Day, in a small house, now called No. 7, in Hoey's Court, 
Dublin, which is still pointed out by the inhabitants- of that 
quarter, and, by tbaHsntiquity of its appearance, seems to 
vindicate the truth of the tradition. Here a circumstance 
occurred to him as singular as the case of his father, who, 
as a child in the cradle, had his clothes stripped from him 
by the troopers of Captain Kirle. His nurse was a woman 
of Whitehaven, and being obliged to go thither in order to 
see a dying relative, from whom she expected a legacy, 
out of sheer affection for the child, she stole on shipboard, 
unknown to his mother and uncle, and carried him with 
her to Whitehaven, where he continued for almost three 
years ; for, when the matter was discovered, his mother 
tent orders by all means not to hazard a second voyage till 
he could better bear it. The nurse was so careful of him, 
that before he returned he had learned to spell, and by the 
time that he was five years old he could read any chapter 
in the Bible. 

After his return to Ireland he was sent, at six years old, 
to Kilkenny school, and thence, at fourteen, he was trans- 
ferred to the University at Dublin. At Kilkenny, it is said 
that Mi name is still shown to strangers at the school, cut, 
boy fasUflU, upon his desk or form. At the University, like 
Goldsmith, he was more addicted to general reading and 
poetry than to the elastics and mathematics. He was poor, 
and the sense of his poverty on his proud spirit made him 
reckless, and almost desperate. He got into dissipation to 
drown his mortification. Between the 14th of November, 
1685, and the 8th of October, 1687, he incurred no less 

206 8 ff I F T. 

than seventy penalties for non-attendance at chapel, for 
neglecting lectures! for being absent at the evening roll-call, 
and for town-haunting, the academical phrase for absence 
from college without license* These brought censures, 
suspension of his degree j and, on his part, satirical sallies 
against the college authorities. Ho finally received his 
degree of bachelor of arts by special grace t that is, not by 
his own fair acquisition. His uncles, Godwin, and, after 
his death, Dryden, had borne the cost of bis education ; bis 
mother bad gone over to her native Leicester and friends, 
md, on obtaining his degree, be passed over to England to 
aer. His mother was related to the wife of Sir William 
Temple, and, through her, Swift was received into Sir 
William's house as his private secretary* This brings us 
to the first home which Jonathan Swift may almost be said 
to have had. 

Sir William, according to some authorities, was residing 
at this time at Sheen, near Richmond; according to others, 
be had retired to his favorite residence of Moorpark, near 
Famham, in Surrey, Whichever place it was originally, it 
soon became Moorpark. Here William III. used to visit 
Temple ; and here, as at Sheen, it was that the Dutch mon- 
arch, as is related as a most important fact, taught Swift to 
cut asparagus the Dutch way. The fact is Dutch and 
economical, and worthy to be known to all gardeners, and 
all other people who undertake this useful operation. It 
consists in cutting with a short and circular stroke, not with 
a wide, sweeping one. Id the first case, you cut off only 
the head of asparagus you want; in the other, you meet 
probably cut off half a dozen heads that have not yet ap- 
peared above the soil Still, this was only half the ad- 
vantage derived from the royal gardener ; he taught Swift 
bow to eat the asparagus when cut; and Swift used always 
to tell his guests that King William ate the stalks as well 
as the beads. If be taught him how to make them eatable, 
it is a great pity that the secret is lost. William is said, 

8 W I F T. 201 

also, to have offered Swift a troop of hone* which might 
naturally arise o«t of their cutting Aorferadish for dinner at 
the same time, though of this the biographers do not inform 
as. Certain it is, that Swift must have become a great 
favorite with William, or have thought so ; for, though he 
respectfully declined becoming a trooper, he gave the king 
to understand that he had no objection to become a canon; 
and the king, as Swift wrote his uncle, desired him not to 
take orders till he gave him a prebend. Such was the 
opinion entertained by both Sir William Temple and Swift 
of his standing in the monarch's estimation, that he was em- 
ployed by Sir William, who was himself laid up with the 
gout, to lay before the king reasons why his majesty ought 
to assent to the bill for triennial Parliaments. Swift could 
strengthen Sir William's opinion by several arguments 
drawn from English history ; but all his arguments had 
no effect on William III., who knew how to cut triennial 
Parliaments as cleverly as asparagus. This was Swift's 
first dip into politics, and, though he said it helped to cure 
him of vanity, it did not of addicting himself to the same 
unsatisfactory pursuit in after life. 

Swift's residence at Moorpark is marked by all the char- 
acteristics of his after life, and by two of those events which 
are mixed up with its great mystery, and which brought 
after them its melancholy ending.- He was so morose, bit- 
ter, and satirical, that Mr. Temple, nephew to Sir William, 
stated that Sir William for a long time very much dis- 
liked him " for his ill qualities, nor would allow him to sit 
down at table with him." Though related to Lady Tem- 
ple, Sir William had engaged him only in the capacity of 
reader and amanuensis, at a salary of ©620 a year and his 
board, and looked upon him as 4< a young fellow taken into 
a low office who was inclined to forget himself!" We can 
well believe that the proud and unbending spirit which, 
through life, never deserted Swift, made him feel that he 
was thus regarded, and excited his most hostile and dis- 

208 ■ W I F T. 

agreeable qualities. He was also very defective in bis 
education, and the consciousness of this in a towering spirit 
like Swift's, while it mortified him, could not make him 
humble. Yet his better qualities at length prevailed. He 
took to study ; was commended by Sir William ; and this, 
on his part, induced a more respectful deportment toward 
Sir William, whose fine mind and noble character no one 
eoold better estimate than Swift, and it ended, notwith- 
standing an occasional jar, and a parting at one time, with 
Swift's becoming the most zealous, attentive, and affection- 
ate friend of Sir William, who admitted him to his most en- 
tire and cordial confidence. 

The whole period of Swift's residence at Moorpark was 
two years. During this time he went for a while to Oxford 
to take his degree, and he was absent twice in Ireland; 
once a few months on account of his health, and the sec- 
ond time when Swift, anxious for some means of inde- 
pendence, and Temple only offering him an employment 
worth a hundred a year in the office of the rolls in Ireland, 
they parted with mutual displeasure. Swift then went to 
Ireland, where, the heat of their difference having abated 
on both sides, through Sir William's influence, he obtained 
the prebend of Kilroot, in the diocese of Connor, worth 
about a hundred pounds a year. To this small living he 
retired, and assumed the character of a country clergyman. 
But this life of obscurity and seclusion was not likely long 
to suit the reckless, aspiring nature of Swift. He sighed 
to return to the intellectual pleasures and persons who re- 
sorted to Moorpark, and Sir William had not the less sen- 
sibly felt the absence of Swift, than Swift the absence of 
Moorpark. He returned within the year, and was wel- 
comed back with warmth and respect, and thenceforward 
stood in a new position. With his abrupt departure from 
Kilroot, two very different stories have been connected; 
one which, if true, would sink his character forever ; ths) 
other, which has never been questioned, evidencing the 

■ w i r t. 209 

noblest qualities in that character. The first of these stories 
is that he attempted violence on the daughter of a farmer, 
one of his parishioners. Of this it is enough to quote the 
words of Sir Walter Scott, which, after giving the particu- 
lars of the refutation of this calumny, are : 4I It is sufficient 
for Swift's vindication to observe, that he returned to Kil- 
root after his resignation, and inducted his successor in face 
of the church and of the public ; that he returned to Sir 
William Temple with as fair a character as when he left 
him ; that during all his public life in England and Ireland, 
when he was the butt of a whole faction, this charge was 
never heard of; that when adduced so many years after 
his death, it was unsupported by aught but sturdy and gen- 
eral averment; and that the chief propagator of the calumny 
first retracted his assertions, and finally died insane." 

That there might be something on which this charge was 
founded is by no means improbable, and that Swift, as al- 
leged, was brought before a magistrate of the name of 
Dobbs ; for it is confessed that in his youth he was of a dis- 
sipated habit, and it is far more likely that these habits in- 
duced that constitutional affection, with giddiness, deaf- 
ness, and ultimate insanity, which made his future life 
wretched, than that it was owing to eating an over quantity 
of stone-fruit. In this point of view, the life of Swift pre- 
a deep moral lesson ; for no man, if that were the 
b, ever drew down upon himself a severer chastisement ; 
but, as regards this particular fact, it could by possibility 
be nothing so flagrant as was endeavored to be propagated 
by the report. The second statement one is unwilling to 
weaken, because, in itself, it is so beautiful; yet in the 
dean's life there are so many proofs of his making pro- 
fessions of patriotism and generosity to cover and screen 
Us private purposes, that one is equally tempted to sus- 
psjst a certain share of policy. The fact is thus stated : 
• *In an excursion from his habitation, he met with a cler- 
with whom be formed an acquaintance, which 

310 awiPT. 

proved him to be learned, modest, well-principled, the fa- 
ther of eight children, and a curate at the rate of forty 
pounds a year. Without explaining his purpose, Swift bor- 
rowed this gentleman's black mare— having no bone of his 
own — rode to Dublin, resigned the prebend of Kilroot, and 
obtained a grant of it for this new friend. When be gave 
die presentation to the poor clergyman, he kept bis eyes 
steadily fixed on the old man's face, which, at first, only ex- 
pressed pleasure at finding himself preferred to a laving; 
but when he found that it was that of his benefactor, who 
bad resigned in his favor, his joy assumed so touching an 
expression of surprise and gratitude, that Swift, himself 
deeply affected, declared he had never experienced so much 
pleasure as at that moment. The poor clergyman, at Swift's 
departure, pressed upon him the black mare, which he did 
not choose to hurt him by refusing ; and thus mounted for 
the first time on a horse of his own, with fourscore pounds 
in his purse, Swift again rode to Dublin, and there em* 
barked for England, and resumed his situation at Moorpark 
as Sir William Temple's confidential secretary." 

The incident is a charming one ; and we may admit the 
facts as regards the clergyman to be fully true, and that the 
pleasure of Swift must have been great in having the op- 
portunity of thus making a good man happy ; but, in order 
to place the transaction on its probably correct basis, we 
must not forget that Swift was confessedly already most 
thoroughly weary of the obscurity of Kilroot, and longing 
for return to Moorpark. This takes a good deal of the ro- 
mance out of it Without, therefore, astonishing ourselves 
at the unworldly generosity of a young man abandoning his 
own chance in life to serve a poor and meritorious man, we 
may suppose to the full that Swift was glad to do the good 
man such a service while it jumped with his own wishes. 
No man was more cloar-sighted than Swift as to the conse- 
quences of such things ; and none could better estimate the 
wide difference in the mode of doing the thing, between 

SWIFT. 311 

faying, u Well, I'm tired of this stupid place; I must away 
again to England ; but I'll try to get the living for you/' and 
leaving the high merit of such a personal sacrifice to be at- 
tributed to him. In any way, it was rich in consequences* 
He left behind a family made happy ; grateful hearts, and 
tongues that would sound his praises through the country ; 
and what a prestige with which to return to Moorpark I He 
came back Uke a hero of romance. That, judging by the 
after life of the dean, is probably the true view of the affair. 
He did a good deed, and he took care that it presented to 
the p*i>Hc its best side. 

These ten years of life at Moorpark, which ended only 
with the death of Sir William Temple, were every way a 
most* important portion of Swift's life. Here he laid at 
once the foundation of his fame and his wretchedness. 
Here, with books, leisure, and as much solitude as he 
pleased with the conversation of Sir William Temple, and 
the most distinguished literati of the age who visited him— 
Swift, in so auspicious an atmosphere, not only thought and 
studied much, but wrote a vast deal, as it were to practice 
his pen for great future efforts, when he felt his mind and 
his knowledge had reached a sufficient maturity. He in* 
forms his friend, Mr. Kendall, that he had " written, and 
burned, and written again upon all manner of subjects, 
more than perhaps any man in England." He wrote Pin* 
daric Odes; translated from the classics; and exercised 
Us powers of satire till he could confidently to himself 
predict the force of that " hate to fools" which he after- 
ward assumed as his principal characteristic. Besides 
this, he was deeply engaged in assisting Sir William in 
the controversy on the superiority of ancient or modern 
learning, in which Temple, Boyle, Wotton, and Bentley 
were all involved. This occasioned Swift's " Battle of the 
Books," though it was not printed till some years after- 
ward. Here, also, he wrote his famous " Tale of a Tub,' 9 
which more than any other cause stopped effectually the 

212 SWIFT. 

path of his ambition toward a bishopric. Though not 
known avowedly as an author, Swift was now well known 
ai a man of great ability to many literary men, and was on 
terms of particular friendship with Congreve. 

But his literary pursuits here had not so completely ss> 
grossed him as to prevent his engaging in what, in aa^ 
other man, would have been termed more tender ones ; m 
Swift they must take some other name, be diet whet it 
may. The history of his conduct, too, with regard Co every 
woman to whom he paid particular court, is the most ex- 
traordinary thing in all literary research ; there have been 
several ways of accounting for it, into which it is not my 
intention to descend ; let the causes have been what they 
may, they stamp his character for intense selfishness be- 
yond all possibility of palliation. If Swift felt himself dis- 
qualified for entering into matrimonial relations from what- 
ever cause or motive, as it is evident he did, he should 
have conducted himself toward women of taste and feeling 
accordingly; but, on the contrary, he never, in any in- 
stance, seems to have put the slightest check on himself in 
this respect. He paid them the most marked attentions ; 
in some instances he wooed, with all the appearances of 
passion, and proposed marriage with the most eager im- 
portunity ; he saw one after another respond to his warmth, 
and then he coolly backed out, or entered into such a tan- 
talizing and mysterious position — where the woman had to 
sacrifice every thing, peace of mind being destroyed, and 
character put into utmost jeopardy — as wore their very 
hearts and lives out. He played with women as a cat 
does with mice. So that they were kept fast bound with- 
in his toils, cut off from all the better prospects of life, 
sacrificed as victims to his need of their society, he cared 
nothing. He was alarmed and agitated almost to madness 
by the fear of losing them ; yet this was a purely selfish 
feeling; he took no measures to set their hearts at rest; he 
placed them in such circumstances that he could not do it; 


■ W I F T. 218 

to satisfy one he mast immolate another. Some of the 
finest and moat charming women of the age were thus 
kept, as it were, with a string round their hearts, by which 
1m could pluck and torture them at pleasure, and keep 
ftem walking forever over the burning plowshares of 
agonizing uncertainties, and the world's oblique glances. 
There is nothing which can ever reclaim Swift's memory, 
in this r es p e ct , from the most thorough contempt and in- 
dignaaasl of every manly mind. 

Every instance of what are called love-affairs, in which 
Swift was oancerned, presents the same features, even 
under the softened effect of the coloring of his most laud- 
atory biographer, Sir Walter Scott. While Swift was at 
Leicester, his mother was afraid of his forming an im- 
prudent attachment to a young woman there ; at which 
Swift, knowing himself pretty well, only laughed. His 
flirtations, he represented, were only " opportunities of 
amusement ;" a " sort of insignificant gallantry which he 
toward the girl in question ;" a " habit to be laid 
whenever he took sober resolutions, and which, 
should he enter the Church, he should not find it hard to 
lay down at the porch/' This is base language, and that 
of Scott is hardly better. He says, " It is probably to a 
habit, at first indulged only from vanity or for the sake of 
amusement, that we are to trace the well-known circum- 
stances which imbittered his life and impaired his reputa- 

And is this all 1 Are habits of indulging vanity, and 
of amusing one's self with the affections and the happiness 
of others, to be thus coolly talked of 1 •• Circumstances 
which imbittered his life, and impaired his reputation," 
indeed ! Swift had the greatest right to imbitter his own 
life, and impair his own reputation, if he pleased, but that 
is not the question ; it was because he most recklessly, for 
the indulgence of his vanity and his self-love, imbittered 
the lives of those who listened to him, and impaired their 

214 SWIFT. 

reputations, that he was culpable in p rop o rtion to his brill* 
iant powers, and placed himself thereby in the category 
of heartless villains. These are severe words ; but I have 
always felt, and still can not avoid feeling, that their appli- 
cation to Swift is most just and necessary. Perhaps no 
instance of mere meanness was ever more striking than 
that shown in his second courtship. The lady in this case 
was not a simple country girl, but was Jane Waryng, the 
sister of an ancient college companion ; to this young lady, 
in his affected pastoral style, he had given the name of Vari- 
na. Let it be remembered that this was in Ireland, while 
he was bearing the name, and performing the functions, of 
a clergyman. His suit for this lady was continued for four 
or five years with all the appearances and protestations of 
the deepest attachment ; he proposed marriage in the most 
unequivocal terms. The young lady does not seem to have 
responded very cordially to his advances, for a long time, 
in fact, till that very response put a speedy end to the dis- 
graceful farce. When she did agree to accept him and 
his offer, "he seemed," says Scott, "to have been a little 
startled by her sudden offer of capitulation." He then as- 
sumed quite another tone ; let Scott's own language re- 
late what he did : " Swift charged Varina with want of 
affection and indifference; stated his own income in a 
most dismal point of view, yet intimated that he might 
well pretend to a better fortune than she was possessed 
of! He was so far from retaining his former opinion 
as to the effects of a happy union, mat he inquired wheth- 
er the physicians had got over some scruples they ap- 
peared to entertain on the subject of her health. (He 
had made this delicate health before a plea for entreating 
her to put herself under his care.) Lastly, he demanded 
peremptorily to know whether she would undertake to 
manage their domestic affairs with an income of rather 
less than three hundred pounds a year ; whether she would 
engage to follow the methods he should point out for the 

SWIFT. 215 

improvement of her mind ; whether she could bend all her 
affections to the same direction which he should give his 
own, and so govern her passions, however justly provoked, 
as at all times to resume her good humor at his approach ; 
and, finally, whether she could account the place where he 
resided more welcome than courts and cities without him. 
These premises agreed, as indispensable to please those 
who, like himself, ' were deeply read in the world, 1 he in- 
timates his willingness to wed her, though without person- 
al beauty or large fortune." 

This language requires no comment ; it is the vile shuf- 
fle of a contemptible fellow, who, taken at his word, then 
bullies and insults to get off again. 

The next victim of this wretched man was Esther John- 
sen, the Stella of this strange history. This young lady 
was the daughter of the steward of Sir William Temple at 
Moorpark ; she was fatherless when Swift commenced his 
designs upon her; her father died soon after her birth, 
and her mother and sister resided in the house at Moorpark, 
and were treated with particular regard and esteem by 
the family. Miss Esther Johnson, who was much younger 
than Swift, was beautiful, lively, and amiable. Swift de- 
voted himself to her as her teacher, and under advantage 
of his daily office and position, engaged her young affec- 
tions most absolutely. So completely was it understood 
by her that they were to be married when Swift's income 
warranted it, that on the death of Temple, and Swift's pref- 
erment to the living of Laracor in Ireland, she was in- 
duced by him to come over and fix her residence in Trim 
near him, under the protection of a lady of middle age, 
Mrs. Dingley. The story is too well known to be minute- 
ly followed ; Swift acquired such complete mastery over 
her, that he kept her near him and at his command the 
greater part of his life, but would neither marry her, nor 
allow her to marry any one else, though she had excellent 
offers. It was not till many years afterward, when this 

state of dependence, uncertainty, and arbitrary selfishness 
had nearly worn her to the death ; and when these were 
aggravated by fears for her reputation, and then by the ap- 
pearance of a rival on the scene, that she extorted from 
him a marriage, which was still kept a profound secret, 
unacknowledged, and which left her just in the position she 
was in before, that of a mere companion in presence of a 
third party, when he chose* The rival just mentioned 
was a Miss Vanhomrigb, the daughter of a widow lady, 
whose house he frequented during his life in London. 
This young lady, to whom he, on his uniform plan, which 
tended to prevent unpleasant claims by the evidence of 
letters, gave the name of Vanessa, as he termed himself 
Cadenus, was high-spirited and accomplished. When 
Swift, in his usual manner, had for a long time paid every 
marked attention to Miss Vanhomrigh, and was regarded 
both by herself and the whole family as an acknowledged 
lover, yet never came to plain terms, the young lady came 
boldly lo them herself. The gay deceiver was thunder- 
struck ; he had for a few years been living in the most in* 
rim ate state of confidence with Stella, as her affianced 
lover ; she had all the claims of honor and affection upon 
him that a wife could have ; for, though maintaining the 
strictest propriety of life under the closest care of Mrs. 
Dingley, she was devoting her time, her thoughts, the very 
flower of her life, and the hazard of her good name, to his 
social happiness* This plain dealing, therefore, on the part 
of Vanessa, was an embarrassing blow, " We can not 
doubt," says Scott, " that he actually felt n the shame, dis- 
appointment, guilt, surprise, " expressed in his celebrated 
poem, though he had not the courage to take the open and 
manly course of avowing those engagements with Stella, 
or other impediments, which prevented his accepting the 
hand and fortune of her rival/' 

The fox, in fact, was taken in his wiles. He had got 
more on his bands than, with all his cunning, he knew how 

6WIF T# 

to manage. Hia selfish tyranny had been able to control, 
and put off poor Stella, but Vanessa was a different kind 
of subject, and put the wretched shufRer into great alarm 
and anxiety. He retired to Ireland ; but this did not 
mend the matter : it tended rather to make it worse ; fur 
Miss Vanhomrigh bad property there, and speedily an- 
nounced to the guilty dean her presence in Dublin. He 
was now id as pretty a fix as one could wish such a double* 
dealer to be. " The claims of Stella," says Scott, n were 
preferable in point of date, and to a man of honor and 
good faith, in every respect inimitable. She bad resigned 
her country, her friends, and even hazarded her character, 
in hope of one day being united to Swift, But if Stella 
had made the greater sacrifice, Vanessa was the more im- 
portant victim. She had youth, fortune, fashion ; all the 
acquired accomplishments and information in which Stella 
was deficient * possessed at least as much wit, and certain- 
ly higher powers of imagination. Sho had, besides, enjoy- 
ed the advantage of having in a manner compelled Swift 
to hear and reply to the language of passion. There was 
in her case no Mrs, Dingley, no convenient third party, 
whose presence in society and community in correspond- 
ence necessarily imposed upon both a restraint, convenient 
perhaps to Swift, but highly unfavorable to Stella." 

The consequences were such as might be expected. 
Swift endeavored to temporize and amuse Miss Vanhom- 
righ, and to get her to return to England, but in vain. She 
never ceased to press, to her, the important question, and to 
keep him in what he used to call a ** quickset hedge." She 
importuned him with complaints of cruelty and neglect, 
and it was obvious that any decisive measure to break this 
acquaintance would he attended with some such tragic 
t*quence as, though late, at length concluded their 
story. He was thus compelled to assume a demeanor of 
kindness and affection to Vanessa, which, of course, soon 
was reported to Stella, and began to produce in her the 

Vol, I— K 

iwir t. 

Her heart was 
» ; her health ga ve way ; and ! 
> a prirate marriage, in order 


that they should continue to live scpsratel j. 
guarded mauner at before* The grand 
dow was to soothe and wheedle Yaoesf 
hypocrite lover to her while he was the 
woman ; a fine situation for a clergyman 
we may believe, with a woman of Miss 
perataetiL, was no easy task. His next piss 

of her by inducing her to marry some esse else, i 
purpose he presented to her Dean Winter, % \ 
character and fortune, and Dr. Price, 
op of CasheL It was in vain ; she rejected i 
emptorily, and at length, as if to hide her i 
repose in nature, she retired to Marl ev Abbey, her I 
and property near Celbridge. But the dreams of 1 
jealousy pursued her thither with only the race 
She heard whispers of Stella being actually the 
Swift, and she determined to know the truth. For 
purpose she wrote at once to Stella, and put the 
question to her, The result of this was rapid and i 
In a few days she saw the dean descend from his hone ■* 
her gate, and advance to her door dark and fierce ft* • 
thunder-cloud. He entered, threw down a letter upon the 
table before her, and with a look black as night, stalked out 
agam without a word, mounted, and rode away. As soon it 
Miss Vanhomrigh recovered in some degree from her ter- 
ror and amazement, she took up the letter, opened it, and 
found it her own to Stella ! 

Stella herself confirmed the fatal truth by a candid avow* 
al and Miss Vanhomrigh sank under the shock. For eight 
years, trusting probably to the promises of Swift, and the 
apparently failing health of Stella, she had maintained die 

SWIFT. 210 

unequal contest with her deep-rooted passion and Swift's 
mysterious conduct, but this revelation of hie villainy was 
her death. However, she lived only to revoke in haste her 
will, which had been made in favor of Swift, and to leave 
her fortune to Mr. Marshall, afterward one of the judges 
of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and Dr. Berke- 
ley , the celebrated philosopher, and afterward Bishop of 
Cloyne ; and to command the publication of all the letters 
which bad passed between Swill and herself, as well as the 
celebrated poem of Cadenus and Vanessa* 

Stella died in 1727-8, having borne the secret and cor- 
roding suffering of the position imposed by the selfishness 
of Swift for upward of thirty years- Mrs, Wbiteway, a lady 
who was on terms of great intimacy with Swift, and spent 
much time at the deanery of St. Patrick^, stated, that when 
Stella was on her death-bed, she expostulated with Swift 
on his having kept their marriage unnecessarily secret, and 
expressed her fear that it might leave a stain on her reputa- 
tion, to which Swift replied, " Well, my dear, if you wish 
it, it shall be owned/ 1 Stella replied, "It is too late /" 

Scott says ** he received this report of Mrs. Wbiteway 
with pleasure, as vindicating the dean from the charge of 
cold-blooded and hard-hearted cruelty to the unfortunate 
Stella, when on the verge of existence." How does it vin- 
dicate him from any such charge 1 The avowal was never 
made by him ; and so dubious was the very fact of the 
marriage left, as far as any act of Swift's was concerned, 
that its very existence has since been strenuously denied, 
especially by Mr, Monck Mason in his History of St. Pat- 
rick's Cathedral. The simple truth is, that the whole of 
Swift's conduct to Stella for thirty-three years was a piece 
uf " cold-blooded and hardhearted cruelty," which admits 
of no defense. Such was the treatment which all ladies 
who manifested an attachment to Swift received at his hands; 
i» it any wonder that such a man went mad 1 

These circumstances have given a singular character to 


the biography of Swift ; the letters of Stella and Vanessa, 
which have been published, convert it, by their passion and 
heart-eloquence, into a species of romance ; in which, how- 
ever, Swift himself plays the part of a very clever, witty, 
and domineering, but certainly not attractive hero. Moor- 
park will always possess an interest connected with Stella. 
It was amid its pleasant groves that, young, beautiful, and 
confiding, she indulged with Swift in those dreams of after 
life which he was so bitterly to falsify* There la a cavern 
about three quarters of a mile from the mansion, called 
Mother LudlanTs Hole, which the country tradition repre- 
sents as having been a frequent resort of Swift and Stella 
in their walks. It lies half way down the side of the hill, 
covered with wood toward the southern extremity of the 
park. It seems to have been hewn out of the sandstone 
rock, and to have increased considerably in its dimensions 
since it was described by Grose, The greatest height of 
this excavation may be about twelve feet, and its breadth 
twenty, but at the distance of about thirty feet from the en- 
trance it becomes so low and narrow as to be passable only 
by a person crawling on his hands and knees. From the 
bottom of the cave issues a small, clear stream, and two 
stone benches have been placed for the accommodation of 
visitors. The gloom and uncertain depLh of the grotto, the 
sound of the water, and the beauty of the surrounding sol- 
itary scene, surveyed through the dark arched entrance, 
shagged with weeds and the roots of trees, give the spot 
an impressive effect. Grose gives a jocose account of the 
origin of the name of the cave. Old Mother Ludlam, he 
tells us, was a while witch, one who neither killed hogs, 
rode on broomsticks, nor made children vomit nails and 
crooked pins, but, on the contrary, did all the good she could. 
That the country people, when in want of any article, say 
a frying-pan or a spade, would come to the cave at mid* 
night, and, turning three times round, would three times 
say t " Pray, good Mother Ludlam, lend me such a thing, 

f w t r r. 

and I will return it within two days,'* The next morning, 
on going there again, the article would be found laid at the 
entrance of the cave* At length the borrower of a large 
caldron was not punctual iu returning it, which ao irritated 
the good mother, that when it did come she refused to take 
it in again, and in course of time it was conveyed away to 
Waverley Abbey, and, at the dissolution of the monaster- 
ies, was deposited in Frensham Church. From the hour of 
the non-appearance of the caldron, however, at its proper 
time, Mother Ludlam never would lend the slightest thing. 
The resorts and residences of Swift in London, during 
his I iie there, have no very peculiar interest. He frequented 
freely the houses of the great political characters with whom 
he was connected. His immediate friends were Harley, 
Bolingbroke, Godolphin. He was a frequent attendant at 
Leicester House, the court of the Prince of Wales, after- 
ward George II. He was on the most familiar terms with 
all the literati, Gay, Pope, Addison, and for a considerable 
period, Steele, etc. Ho was often at Twickenham for 
months together, and Button's Coffee-house was the con- 
stant resort of the wits of the time, among whom he played 
a very conspicuous part* It is not in these places, however, 
that the deep interest of Swift's life has settled, and r there- 
fore, we pass at once across the Channel to Ireland, and 
seek hia homes there. We have already noticed his brief 
abode at Kilroot j his next residence was at Laracor, in 

Swift was about thirty-two years of age when he attend- 
ed Lord Berkeley, one of the lords-justices of Ireland^ to 
that country as his chaplain and private secretary, Berke- 
ley had promised him the first good church living ibat fell 
vacant, but the rich deanery of Derry soon after falling out, 
he would only sell it to Swift for a thousand pounds. Swift 
resented this in such a manner, that to prevent making so 
formidable an enemy, he gave him the next vacancy — the 
rectnry of Agher, and the vicarage of Laracor and Rath- 

222 swift. 

beggan. These livings, united, amounted to about <£230 
yearly ; and the prebend of Dunlavin being added in the 
year 1700, raised Swift's income to between «£350 and 
.£400. His manner of taking possession of Laracor, where 
he resolved to live, was characteristic. He was a great 
walker, and ho is said to have walked down incognito to 
Laracor from Dublin, making doggerel rhymes on the places 
which he passed through. Many anecdotes are related 
of this journey. Arriving, he entered the curate's house, 
demanded his name, and announced himself bluntly " as his 
master." All was bustle to receive a person of such con- 
sequence, who, apparently, was determined to make his 
consequence felt. The curate's wife was ordered to lay 
aside the doctor's clean shirt and stockings, which he car- 
ried in his pocket ; nor did Swift relax his airs of domina- 
tion until he had excited much alarm, which his subsequent 
and friendly conduct to the worthy couple turned into re- 
spectful attachment. 

These brusqucrics of the dean's were, no doubt, very 
amusing to himself, and are agreeable enough to read o£ 
but they must have been any thing but agreeable to those 
upon whom they were played off. They betray a want of 
regard to the feelings of others, and were, every one of 
them, offenses against the best laws of society, which every 
one who regards the kindly sparing of the feelings of the 
humble and the modest ought to condemn. However re- 
spectful might be the after attachment of this worthy cu- 
rate and his wife, we may well believe that the first strange 
rudeness and severity of the dreaded dean would leave a 
wound and a terror behind that were not deserved, and 
that no one ought willingly to inflict. There were cases 
where folly merited the eccentric chastisement which Swift 
gave them. The farmer's wife who invited him to dinner, 
and then spoiled the dinner by repeatedly complaining that 
it really was too poor for him to sit down to, though the ta- 
ble groaned with good things, deserved, in some degree, 

8 W I P T. 

the retort, " Then why did you not get a better I you knew 
I was coming ; I have a good mind to go away and dine 
on a red herring." Yet even there, the good-natured coun- 
try habit of the woman was somewhat too severely punish- 
ed. She meant well. 

Swift seemed to settle down at Laracor in good earnest. 
He found the church and parsonage much neglected and 
dilapidated, and set about their repairs at once. He was 
active and regular in the discharge of his clerical duties. 
He read prayers twice a week, and preached regularly on 
Sundays. The prayers were thinly attended, and it was 
on one of these occasions that Lord Orrery represents him 
as addressing the clerk, Roger Coxe, as u My dearly be- 
loved Roger." The truth of the anecdote has been disput- 
ed, and is said to exist in an old jest-book, printed half a 
century before. This does not, however, render it at all 
improbable that Swift did not make use of the jest, espe- 
cially when we know that Roger was himself a humorist 
and a joker ; as, for instance, when Swift asked Roger why 
he wore a red waistcoat, and he replied, because he be- 
longed to the church militant. 
Swift took much pleasure in his garden at Laracor; con- 
verted a rivulet 
that ran through 
it into a regular 
canal, and plant- 
ed on its banks 
avenues of wil- 
lows. As soon as 
he was settled, 
Stella, and her 
companion, Mrs. 
Dingley, * came 
over and settled 
tTxxxA's Hotm. down too. They 

W a house near the gate of Knightsbrook, the old reai- 

W4 B W 1 F T. 

dence of the Percivals, almost half a mile from Swift's 
bouse, where they lived when Swift was at Laracor, or 
were the guests of the hospitable vicar of Trim, Dr. Ray- 
mond. Whenever Swift left Laracor for a time, as on his 
annual journeys to England, the ladies then took possession 
of the vicarage of Laracor, and remained there during his 
absence. The site of Stella's house is marked on the Ord- 
nance Survey of the county of Meath. 

The residence of Swift at Laracor includes a most im- 
portant portion of his life. It was, at the least, twelve 
years, as he took possession of his living in 1700, and quit- 
ted it for the deanery of St Patrick in 1713. Here he was 
fully occupied with the duties of his parish, and the united 
labors of authorship and politics. Hardly was he settled 
when he wrote his pamphlet on the Dissensions between 
the Nobles and Commons of Rome, which applied to the 
impeachment by the Commons of Lords Somen, Oxford, 
Halifax, and Portland, on account of their share in the par- 
tition treaty. This brought him at once into the intimacy 
of Somen, Sunderland, and Halifax. Here he soon after 
published his Tale of a Tub, which had been written at 
Moorpark. This created a vast sensation, and though anon- 
ymous, like most of Swift's works, was soon known to be 
his, and his society was eagerly sought by men of the highest 
distinction both for rank and genius. Among the latter, Ad- 
dison, Steele, Tickell, Philips, and others, at once became 
his friends. He now made use of his influence with gov- 
ernment to obtain the gift of the first-fruits and tenths to 
the Church of Ireland, which he effected. Besides this 
boon to the Church at large, he increased the glebe of Lar- 
acor from one acre to twenty ; and purchasing the tithes 
of Effcrnock, when he was not overburdened with money, 
settled them forever on his successors. Here he amused 
himself with his quizzes upon Partridge the astrologer, 
under the title of Isaac Bickerstaff, which almost drove that 
notorious impostor mad. Here he wrote the celebrated 

W I FT. 380 

on Baucis and Philemon, and other of his poems. 
Here, in 1710, he made his grand political transit from the 
Whigs to the Tories, and became the great friend, assist- 
ant, and political counselor of Harley and Bolingbroke ; 
living, during his long sojourns in London, on the most fa- 
miliar terms with those noblemen, and also with Pope, Gay, 
and all the more celebrated authors. 

It is a singular subject of contemplation, and shows what 
momentous influence a mere private man may acquire in 
England by his talents, that of Swift's political achieve* 
ments at this time. Here was a country clergyman of an 
obscure parish in Meath, with a congregation, as he him- 
self said, of "some half-score persons," who yet wielded 
the destinies of all Europe. It was more by the power of 
his pen in " The Examiner," and by his counsels and influ- 
ence, than by any other means, that the Tories were ena- 
bled to turn out of office the long-triumphant Whigs, and, 
by the peace of Utrecht, put a stop to the triumphs of Marl- 
borough on the Continent. The vengeance which the To- 
ries took on their adversaries the Whigs, on regaining 
power for a time, in Anne's reign, is, perhaps, the most 
startling thing in the history of party. The Whigs had 
steadily pursued the war against Louis the Fourteenfh, in 
which William had been engaged all his life. For nearly 
half a century, that is, from 1667 to 1713, had that French 
monarch driven on a desperate contest for the destruction 
of the liberties of Europe. In Spain, in the Netherlands, 
in Holland, in Italy, and Oermany, had his generals, Cati- 
nat, Luxemburg, Cond6, Turenne, Vendome, Vi liars, Me- 
lac, ViDeroi, Tallard, &c, &c. r led on the French armies 
to the most remorseless devastations. To this day, the suc- 
cessive demon deeds of Turenne, Melac, Crequi, and their 
soldiers, are vividly alive in the hearts and the memories 
of the peasantry of the Palatinate, where they destroyed 
nearly every city, chased the inhabitants away, leaving 
all that beautiful and fertile region a black desert, and, 

8 W I F T. 

throwing the bones of the ancient Germanic emperors out 
of their graves in the Cathedral of Speir, played at bowls 
with their skulls. To extinguish Protestantism, and to ex- 
tend the French empire, appeared Louis's two great ob- 
jects, in which he was supported hj all the spiritual power 
of the king of superstitions, the pope, Revoking the Edict 
of Nantes, be committed the most horrible outrages and de- 
struction on bis own Protestant subjects- He hoped t on 
die subjugation of Holland and tbe reformed states of Ger- 
many, to carry out there the same horrors of religious anni- 
hilation. Except in the person of Bonaparte, never has 
the spirit of conquest and of political insolence shown it- 
self in so lawless , determined , and offensive a form as in 
this ostentatious monarch. William III., before his acces- 
sion to the British throne, had been the most formidable 
opponent to his progress, But he had contrived to set his 
grandson , Philip V., on tbe throne of Spain, in opposition 
to the claims of Austria, and, by the fear of the ultimate 
union of these two great nations under one sceptre, alarm- 
ed all Europe. Id vain was the united resistance of Aus- 
tria and Holland, till England sent out its great general, 
Marlborough ; and the names of Marlborough and the Sa- 
voyard, Prince Eugene, became as those of the demi-gods 
in tbe temple of war ; and Blenheim, RamiJlies, Oudenarde, 
and Malplaquet, arose from their ages of obscurity into con- 
tinental pyramids of England's military renown. 

But of what avail was all this renown ? What was won 
by it, except the empty glory itself? At the crowning mo- 
ment — at the hour of otherwise inevitable retribution to the 
bloody and unprincipled monarch of France, and of recom- 
pense to those nations whose blood he had so lavishly shed, 
and whose surface he had covered with ashes, ruins, and 
horrors, instead of cities, peaceful villages, and fair fields — 
tbe Whigs were expelled from office by the Tories, and all 
the fruits of this long and bitter war were snatched away 
from us and our allies, To deprive the Whigs of tbe glory 

iwift. 997 

of a successful war, to dash down as abortive all the tri- 
umphs of the Whig general, Marlborough, these men rush- 
ed into peace without consulting the allies, and left no re- 
sults to the great European struggle but the blood which 
had been shed and the misery that had been endured. 
Louis, then eighty-fire years of age, and tottering toward 
the grave, saw himself at once released from the most ter- 
rible condition into which his wicked ambition had plunged 
him — from the most terrible prospect of humiliation and 
disgrace which could wring such a mind. He had reduced 
his kingdom to the last stage of exhaustion by half a cen- 
tury's incessant contest with Europe ; by bribing the En- 
glish monarchs, Charles II. and James II., and many En- 
glish nobles, to refuse help to the suffering Continent ; and 
by bribing and paying the armies of German princes whom 
he could induce to become traitors to their nation. His 
people were fiercely imbittered against him ; no taxes could 
be raised ; his best generals were defeated on all hands, and 
a short time would, most probably, have seen Marlborough 
and Eugene anticipate the allies of our day, by marching 
directly upon and taking possession of Paris. So sensible 
of this was Louis, that his haughty tone was totally gone ; 
he ordered his embassadors to give up Alsace, and even to 
assist in driving Philip, his own grandson, out of Spain, by 
privately paying the allies a million of livres monthly for 
the purpose. The Tories came in at this critical juncture, 
and all was changed. They offered Louis a most unexpect- 
ed peace. At once he lifted again his head and his heart ; 
Alsace remains to this day a part of France, Spain has de- 
scended to the Bourbon, and the glory of Marlborough is 
without a single result except Blenheim House, the duke- 
dom to his family, and sixty-two millions and a half of tax- 
alio*, which that war cost the English people. The peace 
of Utrecht roused the indignation of the whole civilized 
world. Volumes have been written in reprehension of it, 
»nd even enlightened Conservatives of our time, as Hal- 


grave-yard is pretty well filled with headstones and 
tottha, and some that seem to belong to good families. The 
chnrab-yard is surrounded by a wall and trees, and in a 
thatched cottage at the gate lives the sexton. He said he 
had built the house himself; that he was seventy-five or so ; 
and his wife, who had been on the spot fifty years, as old ; 
but that the incumbent, a Mr. Irvine, was eighty-four, and 
that he was but the third from Swift. Swift held it fifty-five 
years, the next incumbent nearly as long, and this clergy- 
man thirty-six, or thereabouts. It must, therefore, be a 
healthy place. The old man complained that all the gentry 
who used to live near were gone away. His wife used to 
get <£20 at Christmas for Christmas-boxes, " and now she 
does not get even a cup o' tay. Poor creature ! and she 
so fond of the tay I" 
* Like his house at Dublin, Swift's house here is gone. 
There remains only one tail, thick ruin of a wall. " What 
is that?" I asked of a man at a cottage door close by. 
" It's been there from the time of the dane," said he. For 
a moment I imagined he meant the Danes, but soon recol- 
lected myself. Close to it, at the side of the high road, is 
a clear spring, under some bushes, and margined with great 
stones, which they call "the Dane's Cellar" and "the 
Dane's Well." " He was a very good man to the poor," 
say they. " He was a fine, bright man." This, however, 
is all the remains of his place here. The present vicar has 
built himself a good house in the fields, nearer to Trim ; 
and not only the dean's house is all gone except this piece 
of wall, but his holly hedge, his willows, and cherry-trees 
have vanished. A common Irish hut now stands in what 
was his garden. The canal may still be traced, but the 
river walk is now a marsh. ' 

Trim, where Stella lived when Swift was at Laracor, 
though the county town of Meath, is now little more than a 
large village. It bears, however, all the marks of its an- 
cient importance*. The ruins all about it, on the banks of 


MV I F T. 

km in his Constitutional History, join in tlie condem- 

Yet this mighty change, with all its countless conse- 
quences, could be effected, almost wholly, by the simple 
vicar of a simple Irish parish. It was Swift who helped to 
plan and carry out tins grand scheme of defeat and mortifi- 
cation to the Whigs, who had excited his wrath by with- 
holding from him preferment. It was he, more than all 
men together, who, in the Examiner, painted the scheme 
in all his affluence of delusive colors to the nation, and 
roused the English people, by the cry of English blood and 
English money wasted on the Continent, to demand imme- 
diate peace. While we lament the deed, we must confess 
the stupendous powers of the man. 

But all this could not win him the keenly-coveted bish- 
opric He could reverse the history of total Europe, he 
could reverse the victorious arms of Marlborough and Eu- 
gene, he could put forth his hand and save France and its 
proud monarch from just humiliation, but he could not ex- 
tort from the reluctant queen, even by the combined hands 
of Oxford and Bolingbroke, the object of bis own ambition, 
a mitre. The Tale of a Tub stood in his way ; it was only 
just in time that his friends, themselves falling, secured for 
him the deanery of St. Patrick's, to which he retired to act 
the ostensible patriot by indulging his own private resent- 
ment against his enemies and his fate, 

Laxacor is about two English miles from Trim. It lies 
in a drearyish sort of a farming country, and to Swift, full 
of ambition, and accustomed to town life and the stirring 
politics of the time, with which he was so much mixed up, 
one would have thought must prove a perfect desert. 
There is no village there, nor does there appear to have 
been one. It was a mere church and parsonage, and huts 
were very likely scattered about hero and there, as they are 
now. The church still stands ; one of the old, plain, bam- 
Hka structures of this part of the country, with a low belfry. 

SWIFT. 231 

Stella. The inscription on the dean's slab is expressive 
" of that habit of mind which his own disappointments and 
the oppressions of his country had produced." It was 
written by himself : 

" Hie depositnm est corpus 

Jonathan Swift, 8. T. D. 

Hojus Eeclesie Cathedralis 


Ubi Neva indignatio 

Cor lascerare neqnit. 

Abi Viator 

Et imitare, si poteris,. 

Strenuum pro virili 

Libertatis vindicatorem. 

Obiit 19°. die mensis Octobris, 

▲.D.1745. Anno JEtatis 78." 

Over this monument has been placed his bust in marble, 
sculptured by Cunningham, and esteemed a good likeness. 
It was the gift of T. T. Faulkner, Esq., nephew and suc- 
cessor to Alderman George Faulkner, Swift's bookseller, 
and the original publisher of most of his works. The in- 
scription over his amiable and much-injured wife is as fol- 
lows : " Underneath lie the mortal remains of Mrs. Hester 
Johnson, better known to the world by the name of Stella, 
under which she is celebrated in the writings of Dr. Jona- 
than Swift, Jean of this Cathedral. She was a person of 
extraordinary endowments and accomplishments of body, 
mind, and behavior, justly admired and respected by all 
who knew her, on account of her many eminent virtues, as 
well as for her great natural and acquired perfections. She 
died January 27th, 1727-8, in the forty-sixth year of her 
age, and by her will bequeathed one thousand pounds to- 
ward the support of a chaplain to the hospital founded in 
this city by Dr. Steevens." 

In an obscure corner, near the southern entrance, is a 
■mall tablet of white marble, with the following inscription : 

"Her© lieth the body of Alexander M'Gee, servant to Doc- 
tor Swift, dean of St. Patrick's* His grateful master caused 
this monument to be erected in memory of his discretion, 
fidelity, and diligence in that humble station. Obi it Man 
24, 1721-2, ^tatis 29." 

There are other monuments, ancient and modern, in the 
cathedral worthy of notice, but this is all that concerns our 
present subject. How little, indeed, seems to remain in 
evidence of Swill, where he lived so many years, and played 
so conspicuous a part. The hospital for the insane which 
he founded is perhaps his most genuine monument. It 
still flourishes. The sum which was made over by the 
dean's executors For this purpose was «£7720. This has 
been augmented by Parliamentary grants and voluntary 
donations, and is capable of accommodating upward of a 
hundred pauper patients, besides nearly an equal number 
of paying ones. 

At the deanery house there is an excellent portrait of 
Swift, by Bindon. Another, by Bindon, and said to be one 
of the best likenesses of him, is in the possession of Dr\ Hill, 
of Dublin ; and there is a third at Howth Castle. Bat 
nothing can, to the visitor, fill np the vacuum made by tbe 
destruction of the house in which he lived. We want to 
see where the author of the D rapier's Letters and of 
Gulliver's Travels lived ; where he consersed with Stella 
aud Mrs. White way, and joked with Sheridan and Del any, 
and where he finally sank into moody melancholy, and 

Of all the lives of Swift which have been written, it 
would be difficult to say whether Dr. Johnson's or Sir 
Walter Scott's is the most one-sided. Johnson's is like 
that of a man who had a personal pique, and Scott's is 
that of a regular pleader. In his admiration of his author, 
he seems unconsciously to take all that conies as excellent 
and right, and slurs over acts and principles in Swift 
which in another he would denounce as most disgraceful 


When we recollect that Swift was bitterly disappointed in 
his ambition of a miter, and that he retired to Ireland to 
brood not only over this, but over the utter wreck of his 
political patrons and party, the iin partial reader finds it 
difficult to concede to him so much the praise of real pat- 
riotism as of personal resentment* He was ready to lay 
hold od any thing that could at once annoy govern m ©n t 
and enhance his own popularity. In all relations of life, 
an intense selfishness was his great characteristic, if we 
except this in his character of author : there he certainly 
displayed a great indifference to pecuniary profit, and 
was not only a stanch friend to his literary associates, but 
allowed them to reap that profit by his writings winch ho 
would not reap himself. But in all other respects his self- 
ishness is strikingly prominent He did not hesitate to 
sacrifice man or woman for the promotion of his comfort 
or his ambition. We have spoken of his treatment of wom- 
en, we may take a specimen of his treatment of men. 
In the celebrated case of Wood, the patentee, and the 
D rapier* a Letters, nothing could be more recklessly un- 
just than his conduct, or more hollow man his pretenses. 
He wanted a cause of annoyance to Walpolc, and against 
the government generally. Government had given a con- 
tract to Wood to coin a certain quantity of halfpence for 
Ireland, and this he seized hold on. He represented 
Wood as a low iron-monger, an adventurer ; his halfpence 
as Tile in quality and deficient in weight ; and the whole 
as a nuisance, which would rob Ireland of its gold, and en- 
rich England at its expense* Now Scott himself is obliged 
to admit that the whole of this was false. Wood, instead 
of the mere iron- monger on whom he heaped all the charges 
and epithets of villainy and baseness that he could, even to 
that of a *• wood-louse/' was a highly respectable iron-mas- 
ter of Wolverhampton, His coinage, on this outcry being 
raised by Swift, was submitted by government to Sir Isaac 
Newton to be assayed, when it was reported by Sir Isaac 

284 b w i p t. 

to be better than bargain ; and is admitted bj Scott to have 
been better than Ireland had been in the habit of having, 
and, in fact, he says, a very handsome coinage. So far from 
an evil to Ireland, Scott admits, as is very obvious, that it 
was one of the best things Ireland could have, a sufficient 
stock of coin. But the ignorant population, once possessed 
with the idea of imposition, grew outrageous, and flung the 
coinage into the Liffey, and Swift chuckled to himself over 
the success of his scheme, and the acquisition of the repu- 
tation of a patriot. In the mean time, he had inflicted a real 
injury on his infatuated fellow-countrymen, and a loss of 
<£60,000 on his innocent victim, Wood. Scott says that 
Wood was indemnified by a grant of <£30OO yearly for 
twelve years. The simple fact I believe to be, that, though 
granted, it was never paid ; Wood, who had nine sons, lost 
by this transaction the fortune that should have provided 
for them. One of these sons was afterward the introdu- 
cer of platina into England. The real facts respecting 
Wood's coinage may be found in "Ruding's Annals of 

There is another point in which Swift's biographers and 
critics have been far too lenient toward him. Wonderful 
as is his talent, and admirable as his wit, these are dread- 
fully defiled by his coarseness and filthiness of ideas. Wit 
has no necessary connection with disgusting imagery ; and 
in attempting to excuse Swift, his admirers have laid the 
charge upon the times. But Swift out-Herods the times 
and his cotemporaries. In them may be found occasional 
smuttiness, but the filthy taint seemed to pervade the whole 
of Swift's mind, and his vilest parts are inextricably woven 
with the texture of his composition, as in Gulliver's Trav- 
els. There is nothing so singular as that almost all writers 
speak of the wit of Swift and of Rabelais, without, as it 
regards the latter, once warning the reader against the 
mass of most revolting obscenity which loads almost every 
page of the Frenchman. Even Rogers, moral and refined 

swift. 335 

m his own writings, talks of " laughing with Rabelais in his 
easy chair/' but he never seems to reflect that far the great- 
er portion of readers would have to blush and quit his com- 
pany in disgust. It is fitting that in an age of moral refine- 
ment, youthful readers should at least be made aware that 
the wit that is praised is combined with obscenity or gross- 
ness that can not be too emphatically condemned. 

Among the places connected with the history of Swift's 
life, the residence of Miss Vanhomrigh — Vanessa — is one 
of the most interesting. The account of it, procured by 
Scott, was this : " Marley Abbey, near Celbridge, where 
Miss Vanhomrigh resided, is built much in the form of a 
real cloister, especially in its external appearance. An 
aged man, upward of ninety by his own account, showed 
the grounds to my correspondent. He was the son of Miss 
Vanhomrigh's gardener, and used to work with his father 
in the garden when a boy. He remembered the unfortu- 
nate Vanessa well, and his account of her corresponded 
with the usual description of her person, especially as to 
her embonpoint. He said she went seldom abroad, and 
saw littte company ; her constant amusement was reading, 
or walking in the garden. Yet, according to this authority, 
her society was courted by several families in the neigh- 
borhood, who visited her, notwithstanding her seldom re- 
taining that attention ; and he added, that her manners in- 
terested every one who knew her. But she avoided com- 
pany, and was always melancholy, save when Dean Swift 
was there, and then she seemed happy. The garden was 
to an uncommon degree crowded with laurels. The old 
man said that when Miss Vanhomrigh expected the dean, 
she always planted with her own hand a laurel or two 
against his arrival. He showed her favorite seat, still 
called Vanessa's Bower. Three or four trees and some 
laurels indicate the spot They had formerly, according 
to the old man's information, been trained into a close ar- 
bor. There were two seats and a rude table within the 


bower, the opening of which commanded a view of the 
Liffey, which had a romantic effect, and there was a small 
cascade that murmured at some distance. In this seques* 
tered spot, according to the old gardener's account, the 
dean and Vanessa used often to sit, with books and writing 
materials on the table before them. Vanessa, besides mus- 
ing over her unhappy attachment, had # during her residence 
in this solitude, the care of nursing the declining health of 
her younger sister, who at length died about 1720, This 
event, as it left her alone in the world, seems to hare in- 
creased the energy of her fatal passion for Swift, wbile be, 
on the contrary, saw room for still greater reserve, when 
her situation became that of a solitary female without the 
society or countenance of a female relation.'* 

Marley Abbey, Vanessa's house, is now the residence of 
Mr, Henry Grattan, M.P. 

In D 1 Alton's History of the County of Dublin, p. 344, 
there is an account of the present state of Del vi lie, the res- 
idence of Dr_ Del any. 


The author of The Seasons was born at Ed nam-, a 
couple of miles or so from Kelso, on the Hth of Septem- 
ber, 1700* His father was the minister of the parish, and 
it was intended to bring him up to the same profession. 
The early childhood only of Thomson was spent here, for 
his father removed to South dean, near Jedburgh, having 
obtained the living of that place. 

Ednam has nothing poetical about it. It lies in a rich 
farming country of ordinary features. The scenery is flat, 
and the village by no means picturesque. It consists of a 
few farm-houses, and long rows of hinds* cottages. David 
Macbeth Moir, tho Delta of Blackwood's Magazine, de- 
scribed the place some years ago in these lines : 
" A rural church ; Home scattered cottage roofs, 

From whose secluded hearth* the thin blue smoke 

Silently wreathing through the br eezeless air, 

Ascended mingling with the summer sky ; 

A rustic bridge, mossy and weather-stained ; 

A fairy streamlet, flinging to itself; 

And here and there a venerable tree 

In foliaged beauty ; of these elements, 

And only these, the simple scene was formed.' 1 



Yet even this description is too favorable, It would in- 
duce us to believe that the spot bad something of the pic- 
turesque — it has nothing of it. The streamlet sings little 
even to itself through that flat district ; the mossy bridge 
has given way to a good, substantial, but unpoetical stone 
one. The landscape is by no means ovcr-cnriched by fine 
trees. There are some limes, I believe they are, in the 
churchyard. The old church has been pulled down since 
Thomson's time, and the new one now standing is a poor, 
barn-like affair, with a belfry that would do for a pigeon 
cote* The manse in which the poet was born has also dis- 
appeared, and a new, square, un picturesque one been built 
upon the site. Perhaps no class of people have less of the 
poetical or the picturesque in them than the Presbyterian 
cleTgy of Scotland. The bard, dry, stern Calvinism im- 
parted by John Knox has effectually expelled all that 
The country people of Scotland are generally intelligent, 
and have a taste for poetry and literature; but to a cer- 
tainty they do not derive this from their clergy. In no 
country have I found the parish clergy so ignorant of gen- 
eral literature, or so unacquainted with any thing that is 
going on in the world, except the polemics of their own 
Church, The cargo of Geneva which Knox imported has 
operated on the religious feeling of Scotland worse than 
any gin or whisky on its moral or physical condition. It is 
a spirit as unlike Christianity as possible. One is all love 
and tenderness j the other all bitterness and hardness : the 
one is gentle and tolerant; the other fierce and intolerant: 
the one careless of form, so that the life and soul of 
charity and piety are preserved ; the other is all form and 
doctrine — doctrine, hard, metaphysical, rigid, and damna- 
tory. On the borders, too, in many places, the very people 
seem to me more ignorant and stupid than is the wont of 
Scotland ; they would match the Surrey chopsticks or Es- 
sex calves of England- 

I walked over from Kelso on the Sunday morning to 


Ed nam. The people were collected about the church 
door* waiting for the time of service. I thought it a good 
opportunity to hear something of the traditions of the coun- 
try about Thomson, Nobody could tell me any thing. So 
little idea had they of a poet, that they informed me that 
another poet had been born there besides Thomson. I 
asked whom that might be. They said, "One White, a 
decrepit old man who used to write under the trees of the 
church-yard f 9 and this they thought having another poet I 
Such — as we are often obliged to exclaim — is fame! 

An old woman, into whose cottage I stepped, on re turn- 
ing, to avoid a shower, was more intelligent. She told me 
that her mother had lived at the old manse, and frequently 
beard what had been told to inquirers. The manse in 
which Thomson was born, she said, was of mud; and he 
was born in the parlor, which had a bod in a recess con- 
cealed by a curtain. 

The present minister is the son of a saddler at Hawick, 
I stayed the service, or at least nearly three hours of it. It 
is the odd custom of many country places in Scotland, 
where the people have too far to come to be able to do it 
twice in the day t to actually have two services performed 
all at one sitting. With that attention to mere rigid for- 
mality which this Calvinism has introduced, that task -work 
holiness which teaches that God's wrath will be aroused if 
tbey do not go through a certain number of prayers, ser- 
mons, and ceremonies in the day, they have the morning 
and afternoon services all at once* There were, therefore, 
tuw enormously long sermons, three prayers, three sing- 
ings, and, to make worse of it, the sermons consisted of 
such a mass of doctrinal stubble as filled me with astonish- 
ment that such actual rubbish, and worse than rubbish, 
could at the present day be inflicted on any patient and un- 
offending people. What a gross perversion and miscon- 
ception of Christianity is this ! How my heart bled at the 
very idea that the State paid and upheld this system, by 

T Jl O M e o 


which the people were not blessed with the pure, simple, 
and benign knowledge of that simplest, most beautiful, and 
love -inspiring of all systems, Christianity, but were actual- 
ly cursed with the drawing of the horrid furze-bushes of 
school divinity and Calvinistic damnation across their naked 

Imagine a company of hard-working and care-worn 
peasants, coming for Ave or ten miles on a Sunday to listen 
to such chopped-straw preaching as this. The sermons 
were to prove that the temptation of Christ in the wilder- 
ness was a bond jide and actual history* And first, the 
preacher told them what profound subtlety the temptations 
of Satan showed, such as advising Christ after forty days 1 
fast to cause the stones to be made bread; as if Christ 
could not have done that if he needed, without the devil's 
suggestion. And then he told them that Christ was God 
himself, so that the devil knowing that, instead of showing 
such profound subtlety, must have been a very daft devil 
indeed to try to tempt him at all. Poor people 1 of all the 
beautiful sayings and doings in the life of our Savior ; of 
all the divine precepts which he peculiarly brought down 
from heaven for the especial consolation and invigoration 
of the poor ; of all the deeds and the expressions of an in- 
finite love \ of all those teachings that " the Sabbath is 
made for man, and not man for the Sabbath;** of all the 
gracious declarations that it was not by doctrine and cun- 
ningly-devised fables, but by the great spirit of love — love 
to God and to one another, and by keeping his command- 
ments, that we are to be saved, was there nothing that 
could be dealt out to you 1 Could your dry and thirsting 
spirits receive nothing hut this dry and musty fodder of 
sectarian disquisition ? Oh ! how much better were one 
simple word of genuine feeling from the most unlettered 
preacher on a bare hill- side i 

My only wonder was to find any body in the church at 
ail, for I thought I must have met the whole village going 

T U O If 8 O *• 241 

to Kelso, where they have eight different sects, the most 
zealous of all being the Free Church. It is only by a pass- 
age through Scotland that you get a living idea of what a 
movement the movement of this Free Church has been. 
In every town, from the extremest south to the extremest 
north, you see free churches rising or arisen. Even m lit- 
tle Melrose there is a large one ; and I observed that they 
built them as near, on all occasions, as possible to the es- 
tablished one, and, if compassable, exactly opposite. In- 
deed, I have been told that land has, in many instances, 
been offered gratuitously to build a free church upon, and 
has been refused because it was not opposite to the establish- 
ed one. Such is the fruit of ap Establishment in Scotland, 
and such were the evidences of its teachings in Ednam. 
How different to the fine, genial, and genuine faith of 
James Thomson ! 

On a hill on the right hand of the road, proceeding from 
Kelso to Ednam, and about a quarter of a mile from that 
village, a plain obelisk has been erected to the memory of 
the poet, bearing this inscription : " Erected in memory 
of James Thomson, Author of the Seasons. Born at Ed- 
Dam, 11th of September, AD. 1700." 

The Earl of Buchan, who erected a temple of the Muses 
at Dryburgh, in the center of which he placed Thomson, 
and who placed the brass tablet to his memory in the 
church at Richmond, also instituted an annual commemo- 
ration of his fame at Ednam, which has long fallen into 
desuetude. For the first meeting of this kind, Burns wrote 
bis Address to the Shade of Thomson in crowning his bust 
at Ednam. 

Of Thomson's sojourn at Southdean, nearly all that is 
now known is comprehended in the following passage in 
Mr. Robert Chambers's " Picture of Scotland :" " The 
father of James Thomson was removed from Ednam to 
this parish while the poet was a child ; and here, accord- 
ingly, the author of the Seasons spent the days of his boy- 

Vql. I.— K 

242 THOMiojr. 

hood. In the churchyard may still be seen the humble 
monument of the father of the poet, though the inscription 
is nearly obliterated. The manse in which that individual 
reared his large family, of whom one was destined to be- 
come so illustrious, was what would now be described as a 
small thatched cottage. It is traditionally recollected that 
the poet was sent to the University of Edinburgh, seated 
behind his father's man on horseback, but was so reluctant 
to quit the country for a town life, that he had returned on 
foot before his conductor, declaring that he could study as 
well on the braes of Sou'den — so Southdean is generally 
pronounced — as in Edinburgh." 

Here Thomson undoubtedly acquired that deep love for 
nature, and that intimate acquaintance with it, which ena- 
bled him to produce the poem of the Seasons, which, with 
considerable faults of style, is one of the richest composi- 
tions in the language, in the legitimate subject matter, in 
the grandeur of its scenery, drawn from all regions of the 
earth, and in the broad and beautiful spirit of its religious 
philosophy. It has stood the test of more than a century, 
during which time great changes have taken place in the 
theory of versification and in public taste. Compositions 
of great variety, and of the most splendid character, have 
since rendered fastidious the public judgment, yet the 
Seasons are and will continue to be read with pleasure. 

Though the old man-servant who had jogged along to 
Edinburgh with little Jemmy Thomson behind him was 
astonished, on his return, to find him at home again, yet 
another attempt must have been more successful, for at the 
University of Edinburgh he finished his education. The 
poetic nature, however, convinced him by that time that it 
was not his vocation to preach the and notions of Knox, 
and palm them off as the grand, heart-opening truths of 
Christianity. His father had died two years after his com- 
ing to Edinburgh, leaving his mother with a considerable 
family, who raised upon her little estate, by mortgage, what 


■be could, and came to reside in Edinburgh. James re- 
solved not to weigh upon her resources 'longer than need- 
ful, but set out for London with his poem of Winter in 
bis pocket He had introductions to several influential 
persons, and one of them to Mr. Mallet, then tutor to the 
sons of the Duke of Montrose. His great want, Dr. John- 
son says, on reaching London, was a pair of shoes. To 
make bis calls, these were necessary, and his Winter was 
bis sole resource. It was a wintery one, for he could find 
ID purchaser for it for a long time, and when purchased, it 
&A not for a good while sell. At length it fell under the 
•ye of a Mr. Whatley, who instantly perceived its merit, 
and zealously spread the information. Thomson was 
quickly a popular author, and from this time resided chiefly 
in the neighborhood of London. He made one tour on the 
Continent as companion to Mr. Talbot, the eldest son of the 
chancellor. The despotism which he saw abroad induced 
him to write his poem of Liberty, one of his very worst 
productions, and which lost him much government prefer- 
ment; and when the public complained of this, a ministe- 
rial writer 'remarked that M Thomson had taken a Liberty 
which was not agreeable to Britannia in any Season." 

Government preferment, however, he did receive. The 
chancellor conferred on him die place of Secretary of the 
Briefs, which made him independent. On the death of the 
Chancellor Talbot he lost this post, through being too indo- 
lent to make application to Lord Hard wick e for it, though 
Hardwicke kept it open for some time that he might. 
For a time he was again reduced by this circumstance to 
poverty and difficulty. Out of this he was, after a while, 
permanently raised through the influence of Lord Lyttle- 
ton, a pension of a hundred a year being conferred on him. 
This removed the pressure of utter necessity, but com- 
pelled him to work, without which compulsion, perhaps, 
no man would have worked less. About three years be- 
fore his death, Lord Lyttleton, being then in pow«r, made 


him Surveyor-general of the Leeward Islands. Those isl- 
ands he surveyed from his elevation on Richmond Hill, 
and very general his survey of course must have been. 
The particular and actual survey was left to his deputy in 
the islands themselves, and Thomson netted a yearly bal- 
ance, the deputy being paid, of three hundred a year, 
which, with his pension, left him most comfortably at ease 
in the castle of indolence. Besides his two principal po- 
ems, he wrote several tragedies, as Sophonisba, in which 
the unfortunate line, 

" O Sophonisba, Sophonisba, O !" 
was parodied by a wag with 

" O Jemmy Thomson, Jemmy Thomson, O !" 

and was echoed through the town every where and for a 
long time. Agamemnon was anothef, Edward and Eleo- 
nora a third, and Tancred and Sigismunda his last and 
best, except a posthumous one— Coriolanus. 

Among the haunts of Thomson were the country houses 
of many of the more literary or more tasteful noblemen of 
the time, as Hagley, the seat of Lord Lyttleton ; Bub 
Doddington's seat in Dorsetshire ; Stowe, then the seat of 
Lord Cobb am ; the seat of the Countess of Hertford, dec. 
The last place, however, it seems, only received Thomson 
once. It was the practice, says Johnson, of the Countess 
of Hertford, to whom Thomson dedicated his poem of 
Spring, to invite some poet every summer into the country 
to hear her verses and assist her studies. This honor was 
once conferred on Thomson, who took more delight in ca- 
rousing with Lord Hertford and his friends than assisting 
her ladyship's poetical operations, and never, therefore, re- 
ceived another summons. 

Thomson was, in fact, the last person to hope for much 
literary and understrapper service from, though in the 
shape of a countess, where, on the one hand, bad verses 
had to be inflicted on him, and, on the other, there was a 
good table and good talk. Indolence and self-indulgence 


were bis besetting sins Every one has beard of tbe lady 
wbo said she had discovered three things concerning the 
author in reading the Seasons : that he was a great lover, 
a great swimmer, and rigidly abstinent ; at all which, Sav- 
age, who lived much with him, laughed heartily, saying 
that he believed Thomson was never in cold water in his 
life, and that the other particulars were just as true. The 
anecdote of Quin, regarding Thomson's splendid descrip- 
tion of sunrise, has been equally diffused. He, like Sav- 
age, asserted that he believed Thomson never saw the sun 
rise in bis life, and related that, going one day to see him 
at Richmond, he found him in bed at noon, and asking him 
why he did not get up earlier, he replied, listlessly, that 
" he had nae motive." 

That no man ever lived more completely in a castle of 
indolence there can be little question, and perhaps as little 
that it cut his life short. He died at forty-eight, of cold 
taken on the Thames between Kew and Richmond. He 
used, it seems, to be in the habit of walking from town to 
his house at Richmond, and crossed at a boat-house some- 
where here about, which being also a public house, he 
there took a rest and refreshment. The place is still 
shown. Here, it would seem, he came warm from his 
walk, and, crossing in a damp wind,- took cold ; but this 
susceptibility to cold was the direct result of his indolent, 
self-indulgent, and effeminate habits. Had he followed 
those practices of healthy activity so finely described in his 
poem, how much longer and more useful might his life have 
been ! Yet it must be a fact unquestionable, that Thomson, 
as a boy, rose early, saw both sunrises and all the glories 
of nature, plunged into the summer floojl, and braved the 
severity of winter. No man could so vividly or so accu- 
rately describe what he had not experienced, and they 
who know best the country know how exact is his knowl- 
edge of it. Every one can feel how masterly are his de- 
scriptions of tbe grandest phenomena of nature in every 


region of the world, when such descriptions are declarable 
from books. In those, however, which came under his 
own eye, there is a life, and there are beauties that attest 
that personal knowledge. The faults of his Seasons are 
those of style. His blank verse is peculiar; you can nev- 
er mistake it for that of any other poet; but it has not the 
charm of that of Milton, of Wordsworth, or of various oth- 
er poets. It is often turgid, and still more often prosaic. 
There are strange inversions used ; and with his adverbs 
and adjectives he plays the most terrible havoc Fre- 
quently the adjective is tossed behind the. substantive, just 
for the sake of the meter, and regardless of all other effect, as, 

" Driving sleets 
Deform the day delightleas," 

instead of the delightless day. His adverbs are continual- 
ly lopped of their last syllable, and stand like wretched 
adjectives out of place ; as, the sower " liberal throws the 
grain," instead of liberally : * clouds, " cheerless, drown the 
crude, unripened year," instead of cheerlessly : the herb 
dies, though with vital power : " it is copious blest," in- 
stead of copiously. These barbarisms, which greatly de- 
face this poem, abound; but especially in the Spring, which 
was not published first in its native position, but third, the 
routine of appearance being Winter, Summer, Spring, and 

But, above its faults, how far ascend the beauties and 
excellences of this poem, the finest of which spring out of 
that firm, glowing, and noble spirit of patriotism and relig- 
ion which animated James Thomson. His patriotism 
bursts forth on all occasions, but more especially in that 
elaborate description of England, her deeds and worthies, 
in the Summer, commencing, 

" Heavens ! what a goodly prospect spreads around, 
Of hills and dales, of woods and lawns, and spires 
And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till all 
The stretching landscape into smoke decays. 
Happy Britannia!" dec. 


His piety, the piety of love and wonder, of that profound 
. admiration which the contemplation of the works of the 
Divine Creator had inspired him with, and of that grateful 
love and trust which the manifestations of parental good- 
ness every where had impressed upon his heart, these are, 
as it were, the living soul of the poem, and the principles of 
imperishable vitality. These sentiments, diffused through- 
out the poem itself, concentrate themselves at its conclu- 
sion as predominant over all others, and burst forth in that 
magnificent hymn, which has no rival in the language ex- 
cept the glorious one of Milton, the morning hymn of our 
first parents, beginning, 

" Theie are thy glorious works, Parent of good, 
Almighty ! Thine this universal frame, 
This wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then," &c. 

The religion, too, of Thomson was the religion not of 
creeds and crabbed doctrines of humanity. He had stud- 
ied nature in the spirit of its Maker, and the fruit of that 
study was an enlarged and tender sympathy for his fellow- 
men. This sentiment is every where conspicuous as his 
piety ; and in the passage following the fine account of the 
man perishing in the snow, rises to the power and descrip- 
tive eloquence of Shakspeare. 

" Ah ! little think the gay, licentious proud, 
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround; 
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, 
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste ; 
Ah ! little think they, while they dance along, 
How many feel, this very, moment, death, 
And all the sad variety of pain ; 
How many sink in the devouring flood, 
Or more devouring flame ; how many bleed, 
By shameful variance betwixt man and man ; 
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms; 
Shut from the common air, and common use 
Of their own limbs; how many drink the cup 
Of baneful grief, or eat the bitter bread 
Of misery ; sore pierced by wintry winds, 


How many shrink into the sordid hat 
Of cheerless poverty! How many shake 
With all the fiercer torture* of the mind, 
. Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ; 
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life. 
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse. 
Even in the vale where Wisdom lores to dwell, 
With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation joined, - 
How many, racked with honest passions, droop 
In deep retired distress. How many stand 
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends, 
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man 
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, 
That one incessant struggle render life, 
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, 
Vice in his high career would stand appalled, 
And heedless, rambling Impulse learn to think ; 
The conscious heart of Charity would warm, 
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate ; 
The social tear would rise, the social sigh ; 
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss, 
Refining still, the social passions work." — Winter, p. 147. 

Yes, if the great sentiment of this passage were but 
firmly imprinted on the hearts of all men and all women, 
but especially the rich and powerful, how soon would the 
face of this earth be changed, and the vale of tears be con- 
verted into a lesser heaven ! It is the grand defect or* our 
systems of education, for rich and for poor, but pre-emi- 
nently for the former, that it is not taught that no man can 
live innocently who lives only for his own enjoyment ; that 
to live merely to enjoy ourselves is the highest treason 
against God and man ; that God does not live merely for 
himself, his eternal existence is one constant work of benefi- 
cence ; and that it is the social duty of every rational being 
to live like God, his Creator, for the good of others. Were 
this law of duty taught faithfully in all our shools, with all 
its responsibilities, the penalties of its neglect, the ineffable 
delight of its due discharge, there would be no longer seen 
that moral monster, the man or woman who lives alone for 


the mere purpose of selfish enjoyment. That host of gay 
and idle creatures, who pass through life only to glitter in 
the circles of fashion ; to seek admiration for personal at- 
tractions and accomplishments — for dressing, playing, 
dancing, or riding — whose life is but the life of a butterfly 
when it should be the life of a man, would speedily dis- 
perse, and be no more seen. That life would be shrunk 
from as a thing odious and criminal, because useless; 
when faculties, wealth, and fame are put into their hands, 
and a world is laid before them in which men are to be 
saved and exalted; misery, crime, shame, despair, and 
death prevented ; and all the hopes and capacities for good 
in the human soul are to be made easy to the multitude. 
To live for these objects is to be a hero or a heroine, and 
any man or woman may be that ; to live through this world 
of opportunities given but once, and to neglect them, is the 
most fearful fate that can befall a creature of eternal re- 
sponsibilities. But poets and preachers have proclaimed 
this great truth for ages ; the charge now lies at the door 
of the educators, and they alone can impress effectually on 
the world its highest and most inalienable duty, that of liv- 
ing for the good of others. 

Among those who have used the voice of poetry given 
them of God to rouse their fellow-men to a life of benefi- 
cence, none have done it more zealously or more eloquently 
than Thomson. For this we pass over here the mere 
charms of his poetic achievements ; over those great pic- 
tures which he has painted of the world, and its elements 
of forests, tempests, plagues, earthquakes ; of the views of 
active life at home and abroad ; the hunter's perils and the 
hunter's carouse 

" In ghostly hall* of gray renown ;" 

of man roaming the forests of the tropics, or climbing the 
cliffs of the lonely Hebrides ; to notice in this brief article 
those bursts of eloquent fire, in which he calls to godlike 
deeds — those of mercy and of goodness. In this respect, 



as well as in that of mere poetical beauty, bis poem of the 
Castle of Indolence is prercminent. Thomson suffered from 
the seductions of the Tile wizard of Indolence, and in his 
first canto he paints most effectively the horrors of that 
vice ; in the second canto he shows that, though he had 
fallen into the net of sloth, it had not entirely conquered, 
and it could not corrupt him. He calls with the energy of 
a martyr on his fellow-men to assume the privileges and 
glories of men. The Castle of Indolence is as felicitous in 
its versification as in its sentiments ; it is full of harmony, 
and the spirit of picturesque beauty pervades every line ; 
there is a manliness of sentiment about it that is worthy of 
true genius. Such a stanza as this is the seed of inde- 
pendence to the minds of thousands : 
" I care not, Fortune ! what you me deny : 

You can not rob me of free Nature's grace ; 

You can not shut the windows of the sky, 

Through which Aurora shows her bright'ning nice ; 

You can not bar my constant feet to trace 

The woods and lawns, by living streams, at eve ; 

Let health my nerves and finer fibers brace, 

And I their toys to the great children leave : 
Of fancy, reason, virtue, naught can me bereave." 

The address of the bard of active virtue is worthy of be- 
ing listened to in every age : 

" Ye hapless race ! 
Dire laboring here to smother Season's ray, 
That lights our Maker's image in our face, 
And gives us wide o'er earth unquestioned sway : 
What is the adored Supreme Perfection, say 7 
What but eternal, never-resting soul, 
Almighty power, and all-directing day ; 
By whom each atom stirs, the planets roll : 
Who fills, surrounds, informs, and agitates the whole. 
" Come, to the beaming God your hearts unfold ! 
Draw from its fountain life ! Tia thence alone 
We can excel. Up from unfeeling mold 
To seraphs burning round the Almighty's throne, 
Life rising still on life, in brighter tone, 


Perfection forma, and with perfection bliss. 
In universal nature this clear shown 
Not needeth proof; to prove it were, I wis, 
To prove the beauteous world excels the brute abyss. 

" It was not by rile loitering in ease 
That Greece obtained the brighter palm of art; 
That soft) yet ardent Athens learned to please, 
To keen the wit, and to sublime the heart, 
In all supreme, complete in every part ! 
It was not thence majestic Rome arose, 
And o'er the nations shook her conquering dart: 
For sluggard's brow the laurel never grows : 
Renown is not the child of indolent repose. 

" Had unambitious mortals minded naught 
But in loose joy their time to wear away ; 
Had they alone the lap of dalliance sought, 
Pleased on her pillow their dull heads to lay ; 
Rude Nature's state had been our state to-day ; 
No cities here their towery fronts had raised, 
No arts had made us opulent and gay ; 
With brother brutes the human race had grazed ; 
None e'er had soared to fame, none honored been, none p ra ised. 

" Great Homer's song had never fired the breast 
To thirst of glory and heroic deeds; 
Sweet Maro's Muse, sunk in inglorious rest, 
Had silent slept amid the Mincian reeds; 
The wits of modern times had told their beads, 
And monkish legends been their only strains ; 
Our Milton's Eden had lain wrapped in weeds; 
Oar Shakspeare strolled and laughed with Warwick swains ; 
Me had my master, Spenser, charmed his Mulla's plains. 

" Dumb, too, had been the sage historic Muse, 
And perished all the sons of ancient feme ; 
Those starry lights of virtue that diffuse 
Through the dark depths of time their vivid flame, 
Had all been lost with such as have no name. 
Who then had scorned his care for others' good? 
Who then had toiled rapacious men to tame f 
Who in the public breach devoted stood, 
And for his country's cause been prodigal of blood T 


•' Heavens ! can yon then thus waste in shameful wise 
Your few important days of trial hare T 
Heirs of eternity! yborn to rise 
Through endless states of being, still more near 
To bliss approaching and perfection dear ; 
Can you renounce a fortune so sublime-* 
Such glorious hopes, your backward stops to steer, 
And roll with vilest brutes through mud and slime T 
No ! no ! your heaven-touohecLhearts disdain the sordid crimef 

It is a pleasure to find that the spot where these noble 
sentiments were penned is still preserved sacred to the 
memory of the poet of truth and virtue. As far as the rest- 
less' and rapid change of property would permit so near 
London, the residence of Thomson has been kept from de- 
struction : changed it is, it is true, but that change has been 
made with a veneration for the Muse in the heart of the 
new inhabitant. The house of Thomson, in what is called 
Kew-foot Lane, at Richmond, as shown in the wood-cut at 
the head of this article, was a simple cottage ; behind this 
lay his garden, and in front he looked down to the Thames, 
and on the fine landscape beyond. The cottage now ap- 
pears to be gone, and in the place stands the goodly villa 
of the Earl of Shaftesbury ; the cottage, however, is not 
really gone : it is only swallowed up in the larger house of 
the present time. After Thomson's death, his cottage was 
purchased by George Ross, Esq., who, out of veneration 
for his memory, forbore to pull it down, but enlarged and 
improved it at the expense of <£9000. The walls of the 
cottage were left, though its roof was taken off, and the 
walls continued upward to their present height. Thus, 
what was Thomson's cottage forms now the entrance hall 
to Lord Shaftesbury's house. The part of the hall on the 
left hand was the room where Thomson used to sit, and 
here is preserved a plain mahogany Pembroke table of his, 
with a scroll of white wood let into its surface, on which 
are inlaid, in black letters, this piece of information : 


"On this table James Thomson constantly wrote. It was 
therefore purchased of his servant, who also gave these brass 
hooks, on which his hat and cane were hung in this his sitting 
room. F. B." 

These initials, F. B., are those of the Hon. Frances Bos- 
cawen, the widow of Admiral Boscawen, who came into 
possession of the property after the death of Mr. Ross, 
whose name, however, still attaches to it, being called 
Rosadale, or, more commonly, Rosedale House. Mrs. Bos- 
cawen it was who repaired the poet's favorite seat in the 
garden, and placed in it the table on which he wrote his 
poems there; she it was, too,/ no doubt, who hung the in- 
scriptions there, her initials being again found appended to 
one of them. Her son, Lord Falmouth, sold the place. 
No brass hooks are now to be seen, that I could discover 
or learn any thing of. 

The garden of Thompson, which lay behind the house, 
has been preserved in the same manner and to the same 
extent as his house ; the garden and its trees remain,* but 
these now form only part of the present grounds, as the 
cottage forms only part of the present house. Mr. Ross, 
when he purchased the cottage and some adjoining grounds, 
and came to live here after Thomson, not only enlarged 
the house, but threw down the partition fence, and en- 
larged the grounds to their present extent. A pleasanter 
lawn and shrubberies are rarely to be seen ; the turf, old and 
mossy, speaks of long duration and great care ; the trees, 
dispersed beautifully upon it, are of the finest growth and 
of the greatest beauty. In no part of England are there so 
many foreign trees as in the grounds of gentlemen's villas 
near London ; in many of them the cedars of Lebanon are 
of a growth and majesty which probably Lebanon itself 
can not now show. In these grounds there are some fine 
ones, but there is one of especial and surpassing loveliness : 
it is the pinus picea, or silver cedar. The growth is broad, 
like that of the cedar of Lebanon ; but its boughs do not 


throw themselves out in that exact horizontal direction that 
those of the cedar of Lebanon do ; they sweep do wn to the 
ground in a style of exquisite grace. Heavy, full of life, 
rich in hue as masses of chased silver, their effect, with 
their young cones sitting birdlike on them, is like that of 
some tree of heaven* or of some garden of poetic romance. 
Besides this superb tree, standing on its ample portion of 
lawn, there are here the evergreen ilex, hickory, white sas- 
safras* scarlet and Ragland oaks, the tnhp*tree/the catalpa, 
the tupelo, the black American ash, k. The effect of 
their fine growth, their varied hues and foliage, their fine, 
sweeping- branches, over the soft velvet tux£ is charming, 
for trees display the effects of breeding and culture quite 
as much as horses, dogs, or men. 

A large elm, not far from the house, is pointed out as the 
one under which Thomson's alcove stood ; this alcove has, 
however, been removed to the extremity of the grounds, 
and stands now under a large Spanish chestnut-tree in the 
shrubbery. It is a simple wooden construction, with a 
plain back, and two outward, sloping sides, a bench running 
round it within, a roof and boarded floor, so as to be read- 
ily removable altogether. It is kept well painted of a dark 
green, and in it stands an old, small walnut table with a 
drawer, which belonged to Thomson. On the front of the 
alcove overhead is painted, on a white oval tablet, 

Thomson fang 
The Seasons 
and their change." 

Within the alcove hang three loose boards, on which an 
painted the following inscriptions : 

' Hail, Nature's Poet, wham she taught alone ' 
To ting her works in numbers like her own. 
Sweet as the thrush that warbles in the dale, 
And soft as Philomela's tender tale ; 


81m lent her pencil, too, of wondrous power, 
To catch the rainbow, and to form the flower 
Of many mingling hoes; and, tmilihg, said — 
Bat first with laurels crowned her favorite's head — 
These beauteous children, though so fair they shine, 
Fade in my Seasons, let them live in Thine. 
And live they shall ; the charm of every eye, 
Till Nature sickens, and the Seasons die." 

F. B. 
« Within mis pleasing retirement, 
Allured by the mnsic of the nightingale, 
Which warbled in soft unison to the melody of his soul, 
In unaffected cheerfulness, 
And general though simple elegance, 
James Thomson. 
8ensitively alive to the beauties of Nature, 
He painted their images as they rose in review, 
And poured the whole profusion of them 

Into his inimitable Seasons. 
Warmed with intense devotion 
To the Sovereign of the Universe, 
Iti flame glowed through all his compositions. 
Animated with unbounded benevolence, 
With the tenderest social sensibility, 
He never gave one moment's pain 
To any of his fellow-creatures, 
Save only by his death, which happened 
At this place on the 27th day of August, 

" Here Thomson dwelt. 
He, curious bard, examined every drop 
That glistens on the thorn ; each leaf surveyed 
That Autumn from the rustling forest shakes, 
And marked its shape ; and traced in the rude wind 
Its eddying motion. Nature in his hand 
A pencil, dipped in her own colors, placed, 
With which he ever faithful copies drew, 
Each feature in proportion just." 

256 thomioi. 

. On a brass tabjettn the top of the table in the alcove is 
inscribed, " TUs ^da was the property of James Thom- 
son, and always OThdin ttus seat." 

. 3uch is the state of the fonner residence of James Thom- 
son at Richmond. Here, no doubt* he was visited by many 
of his literary cotemporaries, though it does hot ap p e ar that 
he ever was by Pope, who was so near a neighbor. Old 
poets grow exclusive. As Wordsworth nowadays says 
he reads no new poets— he leaves them to their eotempora- 
ries— it is enough for him to stick to his old loves ; so, in 
die correspondence of Pope, you find no further mention 
of Thomson than that "Thomson and some other young 
men have published lately some creditable dungs;"' and 
Gray, writing to one of his friends, says, " Thomson bis 
just published a poem called ' The Castle of Indolence, 9 
which contains some good stanzas." 

The view down to die Thames, and over the country be- 
yond, which he enjoyed, is now obstructed by the walls, 
including part of the royal pr o per ty , on which the queen 
has erected her laundry, sending, it seems, all the royal 
linen from Windsor, the Isle of Wight, and elsewhere, to 
be washed and got up here, sufficiently, as one would think, 
near enough to the smoke of London. The vicinity of the 
royal wash-house certainly does not improve Lord Shaftes- 
bury's residence here, especially as a tall, square, and most 
unsightly tower, most probably intended to carry the soot 
from the drying fires pretty high, overlooks his grounds. 
But it will not disturb the remains of the poet ; and let us 
hope that the queen's linen will enjoy the benefit of all the 
Seasons from this close neighborhood. 

Thomson is buried in Richmond Church, at the west end 
of the north aisle. There is a square brass tablet, well se- 
cured into the wall with ten large screws, bearing this in- 
scription : 



" In the earth below tHs Tablet 
Are the remain* of 
Jamis Thoksos, 
Author of the beautiful Poems entitled The Seasons, Castle of Indo- 
lence, eYc, cYc., who died at Richmond on the 27th day of August, 
and was buried here on the 29th, old style, 1748. The $ari 
of Bucben, unwilling that so good a man and sweet a poet 
should be without a memorial, has denoted the place 
of has interment for the satisfaction of his admir- 
ers, in the year of our Lord, 1792." 

" Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme ! 
O teach me what is good ; teach me myself!, 
Sere me from folly, vanity, and vice, 
from every low pursuit! and feed my soul 
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure, 
8acred, substantial, never-fading bliss •"— Winter, p. 144. 


No poet ofthe same pretensions has been so much known 
through hia residence as Shenstone. Without the Leas* 
owes he would have been nothing. His elegies and pas- 
torals would have lain on the dustiest of book-shelves, and 
his School mi stress , by far the best of his productions, would 
hardly have retained vitality enough to make herself notice- 
able in the crowd of poetical characters. The Leas owes 
was the chief work of Sfoenstone's life, and it is the chief 
means of that portion of immortality which he possesses* 
Into every quarter of the kingdom the fame of this little do- 
main has penetrated. Nature there formed the grand sub- 
stratum of his art, and nature is always beautiful. But 1 
do confess, that in the Leasowes I have always found so 
much ado about nothing ; such a parade of miniature cas- 
cades, lakes, streams conveyed hither and thither; surprises 
in the disposition of woods and the turn of walks, with s 
seat placed here, and another there ; with inscriptions, Lat- 
in and English; and piping Fauns Jauning upon you in 


half a dozen places, thai I have heartily wished myself out 
upon a good rough heath, with the winds blowing away the 
cobwebs of so many conceits from my brain. ' 

In the days of Shenstone there prevailed the falsest no- 
tions of life and poetry. If poetry be indeed " the elo- 
quence of truth," as Campbell beautifully pronounced it — 
if great passions, great sentiments, great wrestlings with 
our destinies, and conflicts for the good of others— if these 
c onsti t ute the sublimity of duty, and give occasion for the 
sublimity of poetry, how poor a delusion was that which 
led 000 to dream and drone in some fantastic retirement ; 
to whimper over petty troubles, and waste the intellect on 
petty themes; exalting mole-hills into mountains, and the 
stings of a morbid selfishness into picturesque sorrows, 
when they should have been up and doing, dragging out to 
the light of day, like Crabbe, all the wretchedness and the 
wrong of social life, or breathing into the trumpet of a gen- 
erous indignation the notes that rouse the world to a high- 
er tone and task. 

The remarks of Dr. Johnson appear to me, in the case 
of Shenstone, who was amiable but trifling, as very just : 
" Now was excited his delight in rural pleasures and his 
ambition of rural elegance. He began, from the time of 
occupying his own estate, to point his prospects, to diver- 
sify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his wa- 
ters, which he did with such judgment and such fancy as 
made his little domain the envy of the great and the ad- 
miration of the skillful ; a place to be visited by travelers, 
and copied by designers. Whether to plant a walk in un- 
dulating curves, and to place a bench at every turn where 
there is an object to catch the view; to make water run 
where it will be heard, and to stagnate where it will be 
seen ; to leave intervals where the eye will be pleased, and 
to thicken the plantation where there is something to be 
hidden, demand any great powers of mind, I will not in- 
quire ; perhaps a sullen and surly spectator may think such 

260 8HEHST0HE. 

performances rather the sport than the business of human 
reason. But it must be at least confessed that to embellish 
the form of nature is an innocent amusement, and some 
praise must be allowed by the most supercilious observer 
to him who does best what such multitudes are contending 
to do well." 

This seems to me the precise merit of Shenstone. He 
introduced a better taste in landscape gardening, though kii 
taste was often questionable, and may be ranked with 
Browne and Kent. He war a man of taste rather than of 
genius, and may claim a full alliance with the lovers of na- 
ture, but is as far from the association with great poets— 
with such men as Milton or Shakspeare, Burns or Elliott, 
as the glow-worm is with the comet. Poetry is not only 
the highest art, but, next to religion itself, the most divine 
principle on earth. It is a religion itself, or, rather, forms 
part and parcel of that of Christ ; for its object is to stimu- 
late virtue, abash vice, raise the humble, abase the proud, 
call forth the most splendid qualities of the soul, and pour 
love like a river over the earth till it fills every house, and 
leaves behind it a fertility like that which follows the inun- 
dations of the Nile. We do injustice to Shenstone when 
we place him beside the giants, and thus provokingly dis- 
play his true proportions. 

" The pleasure of Shenstone," continues Johnson, " was 
all in his eye ; he valued what he valued merely for its 
looks ; nothing raised his indignation more than to ask if 
there were any fishes in his water. 

" His house was mean, and he did not improve it ; his care 
was of his grounds. When he came home from his walks, 
he might find his floors flooded by a shower through the 
broken roof, but could spare no money for its reparation. 
In time, his expenses brought clamors about him that over- 
powered the lamb's bleat and the linnet's song, and his 
groves were haunted by beings very d liferent to fauns and 
fairies. He spent his estate in adorning it, and his death 


was probably hastened by big anxieties. He was a lamp 
that spent its oil in blazing. • • • He died at the Leasowes, 
of a putrid fever, in 1763, and was buried by the side of 
his brother in Halesowen churchyard. 

" He was never married, though he might have obtained 
the lady, whoever she was, to whom his Pastoral Ballad 
was ad dr ess e d. He is represented by his friend Dodsley 
as a man of great tenderness and generosity, kind to all 
that were within his influence, but if once offended, not 
easily appeased ; inattentive to economy, and careless of his 
expenses. In his person he was larger than the middle 
size, with something clumsy in his form ; very negligent of 
his clothes, and remarkable for wearing his gray hair in a 
particular manner ; for he held that the fashion was no rule 
of dress, and that every man was to suit his appearance to 
his natural form. His mind was not very comprehensive, 
nor his curiosity active ; he had no value for those parts of 
knowledge which he had not himself cultivated." 

Gray visited the Leasowes, and his opinion of Shenstone 
was very similar to that of Johnson. " I have read, too, an 
octavo volume of Shenstone's letters. Poor man ! he was 
always wishing for money, for fame, and other distinctions; 
and his whole philosophy consisted in living against his 
will in retirement, and in a place which his 'taste had adorn- 
ed, bat which he only enjoyed when people of note came to 
see and commend it. His correspondence is about nothing 
else bnt this place and his own writings, with two or three 
neighboring clergymen, who wrote verses too." 

I have ascertained the present condition of the Leas- 
owes through an intelligent friend who visited it the other 
day at my request The Leasowes is about six or seven 
miles distant from Birmingham, on the road to Kiddermin- 
ster, and about four miles from Hagley, in the parish of 
Halesowen. Arriving at Halesowen, you have to descend 
a long and steep hill, from the top of which you have a 
view of the Bromsgrove,Clent v and Dudley hills, which are 

262 BHEN8 TO If £. 

in the immediate neighborhood — Hagley Park being situ- 
ated on one of the Clent hills — and of the Clee hills in the 
distance ; these form a boundary between the counties of 
Hereford and Salop. About half way down this descent, 
which is a mile long, you turn to the left down a shady 
lane ; this leads to the Leasowes, and in some degree par- 
takes of the character of the place ; winding continually, 
yet still presenting a beautiful archway of trees, of nearly 
all descriptions. From this lane you enter the Leasowes, 
and, crossing a bridge, pass on to the lawn. On your left 
lies a beautiful piece of still water, overshadowed with ev- 
ergreens, and conveying the idea of infinite depth. This 
is nearly the lowest part of the grounds, which here begin 
to ascend toward the house, commanding, not an extensive, 
but a beautifully condensed prospect. Going round the 
house to the right, and still ascending, you gain another 
prospect equally beautiful, yet different, and in both cases 
must be surprised by the skill which presents to the eye 
the artificial depth of forest which there strikes it A ca- 
nal which has been cut through the valley, between the boose 
and Halesowen, so far from injuring the prospect, as many 
of these things are apt to do, rather improves it tnan other- 
wise, giving a rest to the eye, and shutting out, by its em- 
bankment, sundry forges which would otherwise be visible. 
In order to discover, however, the true spirit of the place, 
you must cross the lawn at the back of the house, where 
you are reminded of passages in Shen stone's pastorals. 

Let us now suppose the grounds lying in the shape of a 
Y ; the house not standing at the top, but near the center 
of the fork, and tho lowest part of the scene, the stem. 
The lines forming the fork of the Y are beautifully wood- 
ed ravines or dells, down which flow small streamlets, 
meeting at the bottom of the hill, and in their progress 
forming numerous small pools, which may well represent 
" the fountains all bordered with moss.'' The walks along 
the sides of these streams are now neglected, but they still 

8UEN8TONE. 263 

conduct you to the natural beauties of the scene. There 
is one spot which commands the view of the whole grounds, 
and all the poetry of them. Following the course of one 
of the streams, you arrive at that part of the scene which 
was Shenstone's favorite spot, still marked by the rem- 
nants of several fallen statues. Still advancing along the 
brook side, you come to a pool. This may be called the 
tail or stem of the Y ; and at dusk, on a November day, it 
gives you no bad idea of the Lake of the Dismal Swamp 
in miniature. Indeed, the feeling on quitting the place is, 
that you have been well deceived as to the extent of it, so 
small a space really containing so much variety of scenery. 
The Leasowes now belongs to the Attwood family, and 
a Miss Attwood resides there occasionally ; but the whole 
place bears the impress of desertion and neglect. The 
house has a dull look ; the same heavy spirit broods over 
the lawns and glades ; and it is only when you survey it 
from a distance, as when approaching Halesowen from 
Hagley, that the whole presents an aspect of unusual beau- 
ty. It is said to be a favorite resort of the members of the 
Society of Friends, as, halting for tea at Halesowen, on 
their return from their meetings at Stourbridge to Bir- 
mingham, they are fond of a stroll in the Leasowes, no 
doubt the quiet character of the poetry of Shenstone ac- 
cording well with their own habits. 


" In Severn** vale, a won and moonstruck boy 
Sought by the daisy's) side a pensive joy \ 
Held wuverw with the sea-birds- at they passed. 
And strange and dire communion with the blast; 
And rend in sunbeams , and the starry sky, 
The golden language of eternity. 

Age aaw him, and looked sad ; the young men smiled; 
And wondering maidens shunned his aspect wild. 
But He- — the ever kind, the ever wise. 
Who sees through fate, with omnipresent eye*. 
Hid from the mother, white she blessed her son, 
The woes of genius and of ChatterUm,"— Ebemczer Ellu>tt, 

The Church of Sl Mary RedclifFe, Bristol, is a beautiful 
church ; some of the biographers of Chatterton have de- 
clared that it is the finest parish church in England. Mr. 
Britton has been almost as enamored of it as was Chat- 
terton himself. Ho has written a complete history of it, 
and has for years zealously exerted himself to rouse the in* 
habitants of Bristol to have this ornament of their city put-; 



in th 


into thorough repair by subscription, an object in wbich I 
am glad to find that he baa finally succeeded, and that the 
perfect restoration , especially of the time-worn exterior, is 
already commenced under the superintendence of himself 
ad Mr* Brayley. 

44 Beautiful exceedingly" is St. Mary of Redcliffe j and 
it is the triumph of this beauty that it baa awoke the poet 
in the soul of one of its lovers, and a poet so extraordinary 
in the circumstances of his life, in the mere boyhood ofhia 

b, in the tragic nature of his death, and, above all, in the 

and splendor of his genius; that his passion for this love- 
ly structure, and the facts which have sprung out of it, have 
flung round St. Mary an everlasting interest, and made it 
one of the most brilliant monuments of national glory which 
stand on the bosom of our mother-land. 

If it had turned out that the Kowley Poems produced 
to the public by Chatterton had been genuine* and that the 
fame of so great a poet as Thomas Rowley the priest had 
been buried for near four hundred years in the iron cheat 
of William Canynge, it would have been a most extraor- 
dinary circumstance that it should have been a boy of 
fourteen who had discovered them ; who bad had the taste 
and discernment to pick them out from amid the ordinary 
documents of such a chest, of little interest except to pa- 
rishioners ; to transcribe tbem> to press them up*n the at- 
tention of his townsmen ant) the literary public, and to 
hare suffered insult, obloquy, and persecution on their ac- 
count. Had he only raised that great public astonishment, 
inquiry, quarrel, and controversy among the learned and 

E Aquarian of his time, and had been satisfactorily proved 
e only the discoverer, introducer, and champion of the 
it of these productions, it would have been one of the 
t remarkable occurrences in the whole history of liter- 
ature, and the boy Chatterton would have still merited the 
happy epithet of u the marvelous boy/* Had he been al- 
lowed, on justly admitted grounds, to have taken only that 
Vol I.— M 

200 C H A T T EI TON. 

position which he claimed, that of the discoverer of the 
Rowley MSS., and the writer of his own acknowledged po- 
ems, the occurrence would have stood alone in the annals 
of letters, and Chatterton must have still remained one of 
the most extraordinary of precocious geniuses. The wit 
which sparkles through the whole series of his verses, from 
Sly Dick to his Journal and his Will ; the bold satire, the 
daring independence of his thoughts, setting defiance to 
public opinion, even on the most solemn of all subjects- 
religion ; the indomitable pride, and bold adventure of the 
lad ; these are facts, in connection with his great " discov- 
ery," supposing it to have been a real discovery, which 
must have raised the wonder of every one, and have given 
him a distinguished niche in the Walhalla of his country. 
The boy of sixteen, who could pen such a description as 
that of Whitfield in his Journal, beginning, 

" In his wooden palace jumping, 
Tearing, sweating, bawling, thumping, 
Repent, repent, repent, 
The mighty Whitfield cries, 
Oblique lightning in his eyes" — 

the daring description of religion in his Defense ; or who 
could make such a will as that which he drew up, when 
he for the first time proposed to himself suicide, must be 
pronounced a startling but most uncommon lad. The 
youth who, without friends or patrons in the great metrop- 
olis, could set out with a small fund borrowed at the rate 
of a guinea apiece from his acquaintances, to make his 
fortune and fame ; and there, in the midst of the utter 
wreck of all his august visions and soaring hopes ; in the 
depth of neglect, contempt, and the most grinding indi- 
gence, could issue satire after satire, and launch Junius- 
like letters from the newspapers at the highest personages 
of the land, not sparing even the crowned head, can, how- 
ever we might estimate such productions in an experienced 
adult, only be regarded with the most profound and un- 


mixed wonder. We may lament over the waywardness 
of his genius, but we must admit its unequivocal reality ; 
and when its career is closed by self-violence, after appeal- 
ing to Heaven from the abyss of its agony in stanzas such 
as the following, we know not whether most to marvel at 
the greatness of the phenomenon, or the dense stolidity of 
the age which did not perceive it, but suffered it to expire 
in horror, to the eternal disgrace of human nature and our 


O God, whose thunder shakes the sky, 

Whose eye this atom globe surveys, 
To thee, my only rock, I fly ; 

Thy mercy in thy justice praise. 

The mystic mixes of thy will, 

The shadow* of celestial light, 
Are past the power of human skill; 

But what th' Eternal acts is right. 

O teach me in the trying hour, 
When anguish swells the dewy tear, 

To still my sorrows, own thy power, 
Thy goodness lore, thy justice fear. 

If m this bosom aught but Thee 
Encroaching sought a boundless sway, 

Omniscience could the danger see, 
And Mercy look the cause away. 

Then why, my soul, dost thou complain f 
Why, drooping, seek the dark recess f 

8hake off the melancholy chain, 
For God created all to bless. 

Bat ah ! my breast is human still ; 

The rising sigh, the falling tear, 
My languid vitals' feeble rill, 

The sickness of my soul declare. 

But yet, with fortitude resigned, 

I thank the infKctor of the blow; 
Forbid the sigh, compose my mind, 

Nor let the giish of misery flow. 


The gloomy mantle of die night, 

Which on my linking spirit steals, 
Will vanish at the morning light 

Which God, my East, my Sun, reveals." 

But pride and despair triumphed oyer this deep feeling 
of trust in Divine goodness. These words were the rend- 
ing cry of the dying giant ; they were the mighty poetry 
of fbflornest misery ; and, independently of the poems oi 
Thomas Rowley, stamped beyond dispute the high poetical 
renown of Thomas Chatterton. They showed that, not- 
withstanding the unworthy subjects on which necessity had 
forced him to attempt the waste of his sublime endowments, 
and had forced him in vain, for the soul of poesy within 
him had refused to come forth at the call of booksellers and 
political squabblers, there lay still in his bosom the great 
heart and the great mind of the first-rate poet 

But what were all these flashes and indications of the 
mens divinior to the broad and dazzling display of it in the 
Rowley poems themselves ; those poems which would have 
crowned any grown man a king in the realms of intellec- 
tual reputation, which yet the towering pride of the boy — 
" that damned, native, unconquerable pride" which he said 
" plunged him into distraction," that " nineteen twentieths 
of his composition," as he himself asserted it to be — flung 
determinedly from him 1 These poems, now admitted on 
all hands to be his own boyish compositions, and which, in- 
deed, were thrust upon him as crimes by those of his co- 
temporaries who ought to have seen in them the proofs of a 
genius which should have been carefully and kindly cher- 
ished for the good of humanity and the honor of England — 
these are, indeed, more stately and beautiful than the fair 
pile of St. Mary, which had first awoke in his spirit the 
deathless love of poetry and antique romance. Ah ! what 
a sad, beautiful, but heart- wringing romance is itself the 
story of Chatterton ! His real history is this. 

There was a little boy in Bristol, whose fathers, for many 


generations, had been the sextons of St. Mary Redcliffe. 
The veneration for this beautiful fabric, from the habit of 
ages, might be said to be woven into the frames and infused 
into the blood of this family. The office was gone out of 
the family; the boy's father had become a schoolmaster, 
and died three weeks previous to the child's, birth. His 
uncle had been the last to fill this post, but he, too, was de- 
ceased. The boy's mother, however, lived in a small house, 
in a back court, nearly opposite to this church ; and the lad, 
very likely led by what he heard her say of the former long 
connection of their family with it, was in the habit of going 
into it when open, and wandering about it for hours. At 
that time, nearly a century ago, neither churches nor 
church-yards were so rigidly locked up as at present, and 
ample and often was the time when a little boy on the 
watch might enter, and while marriage or burial ceremony 
went on, while the cleaners and sweepers were at work, or 
while the evening and the morning bell was rung, might 
stroll to and fro, and gaze and wonder to his heart's con- 
tent That this was his dearest occupation was soon well 
known to his family. " His mother's house," says one of 
his biographers, "was close to the fine structure of St. 
Mary Redcliffe, and they well knew that the boy's favorite 
haunts were the aisles and towers of that noble pile. And 
there they would find the truant, seated generally by the 
tomb of Canynge, or lodged in one of the towers, reading." 
And what effect this church-haunting had upon him was 
very early visible. At five years of age he went to the day- 
school in Pyle-street, which had formerly been taught by 
his father, but here he was dull and stupid ; and, till he was 
six and a half years old, his master could trace no sign of 
intellectual progress in him, and his poor mother began to 
think him an absolute fool. But the objects of the silent 
church had not fallen in vain on his infant fancy. Those 
quaint and gorgeous paintings, and those antique letters 
engraven on floor crosses, had acquired a strong hold upon 



him, and , without doubt, led him la seize, as be did, with 
an avidity new to him, on the old musical manuscript in 
French, adorned with illuminated capitals, which he found 
at home* "He fell in love with it," said his mother; and 
the shrewd woman, catching at this discovered charm, 
brought him an ancient black-letteT Bible, which she pos- 
sessed, to read, and the boy's inner nature came to light s 
11 be was no longer a dunce/' Ai eight he was a voracious 
devourer of books. He read morning, noon, and night, 
from the hour that he awoke to that in which be went to 
bed. But another cause now contributed to strengthen the 
impression of antiquity which he had received in St, Mary's 
Church, He was become an inmate of the Blue- coat 
School of Bristol, on St. Augustine's Back, founded by Col- 
ston, a merchant, in 1703. Here, in an institution which, 
though not of ancient date, was yet conducted in the an- 
cient fashion, he was arrayed in long blue coat and belt, 
and scarlet stockings, and tonsure cap. Here, say some of 
his schoolfellows, he took no part in the poetical and liter- 
ary emulations which arose. An usher wrote poetry, and 
his example stimulated others to a like ambition ; but Chat- 
terton "possessed apparently neither the inclination nor 
ability for literary pursuits ;'* he contented himself with the 
ordinary sports and pastimes of his age. But, m truth, he 
was secretly gleaning up knowledge wherever he could lay 
bands on it. Long before, he had begged of a painter to 
paint him an angel, with wings and a trumpet, to trumpet his 
name vver the world /*' This spirit once awoke, was not 
likely to die again, even in the bosom of a child. He had 
continually in his heart that cry which haunted Cowley ; 

" What shall I do to be forever known !" 

From the time he had begun to read, a great change had 
passed over him. "He grew thoughtful and reserved. He 
was silent and gloomy for long intervals together, speaking 
to no one, and appearing angry when noticed or disturb- 

ad. He would break out into sudden fits of weeping, for 
wbicb no reason could be assigned ; would shut himself in 
some chamber, snd suffer no one to approach him, nor al- 
low himself to be enticed from his seclusion. Often he 
would go to the length of absenting himself from home al- 
together, for the space, sometimes, of many hours ; and his 
sister remembered him being most severely chastised for a 
long absence, at which, however, he did not shed one tear, 
but merely said, ' It was hard, indeed, to be whipped for 
reading/ This was before his entering Colston's school, 
but there he kept up the zealous reading. He is reported 
to have stood aloof from the society of his schoolmates, to 
have made few acquaintances, and only among those whose 
disposition inclined them to reflection. His money, all that 
he could procure, went to get the perusal of books j and on 
Sundays, and holidays, and half holidays, he was either 
wandering solitarily in the fields, sitting beside the tomb 
of Canynge in the church, or was shut up in a little room 
at his mother's, attending to no meal -times, and only issuing 
nut, when he did appear, begrimed with ocher, charcoal, 
and black-lead. 

■■ From twelve to seven, each Saturday, he was always at 
home ; returning punctually a few minutes after the clock 
had struck, to get to his little room, and to shut himself up. 
In this room he always had by him a great piece of ocher in 
a brown pan ; pounce-bags full of charcoal dust, which he 
had from a Miss Sanger, a neighbor ; also a bottle of black- 
lend powder, which they once took to clean the stove with 
and made him very angry. Every holiday, almost, he pass- 
ed at home, and often, having been denied the key when he 
wanted it, because they thought he hurt his health, and 
made himself dirty, he would come to Mrs* Edkins, and kiss 
her cheek, and coax her to get it for him, using the most 
persuasive expressions to effect his end ; so that this eager- 
ness of bis to be in this room so much alone, the apparatus, 
the parchments (for he was not then indentured to Mr. 


Lambert), both plain as well as written on, and the begrim- 
ed figure he always presented when he came down at tea- 
time, his face exhibiting many stains of black and yellow — 
all these circumstances began to alarm them ; and when 
she could get into his room, she would be very inquisitive, 
and peep about at every thing. Once he put his foot on a 
parchment on the floor, to prevent her from taking it up, 
saying, 'You are too curious and clear-sighted; I wish you 
would bide out of die room ; it is my room.' To this she 
answered by telling him that it was only a general lum- 
ber-room, and that she wanted some parchment to make 
thread-papers of; but he was offended, and would not per- 
mit her to touch any of them, not even those that were not 
written on ; but with a voice of entreaty, said, ' Pray don't 
touch any thing here,' and seemed very anxious to get her 
away ; and this increased her fears, lest he should be doing 
something improper, knowing his want of money, and his 
ambition to appear like others.* At last they got a strange 
idea that these colors were to color himself with, and that, 
perhaps, he would join some gipsies one day or other, as 
he seemed so discontented with his station in life, and un- 

But the true secret was one far beyond the conception 
of his simple relatives. Coining and forging, indeed, he 
was bent upon, and meant to join himself some day or 
other, to a company which, in their eyes, would have ap- 
peared stranger than a troop of gipsies. He was already, 
child as he was, forging the name and deeds of Thomas 
Rowley, and fathering upon him the glorious coinage of his 
own brain. A great and immortal guest was theirs, and 
they did not know it. One of themselves was marked by 
the passing angel of destiny as the one of all his generation 

* Of a scene supposed to occur in this lumber-room, a beautiful 1 
ttrtint engraving has been just published by Mr. Mitchell, of Bristol, 
from a painting by Mr. Lewis, of that city. 

t G. Cumberland, Esq., in Dix's Life. 

0HATTI1T0N. $78 

doomed to die fearful sacrifice of a sad but eternal fame. 
The spirit which had stolen upon him and taken possession 
of him as he had roamed the dim aisles of the old church, 
and gazed on the great sacred scene of the Ascension of 
Christy and on the light avenues of lofty columns, and sat 
by the tomb of Master Canynge, was now busy with him. 
It was this which had made him gloomy and retiring, which 
had caused him to burst into passions of tears, for which no 
reason could be assigned. A new world had dawned be- 
fore his inner vision ; the sensibilities of the poet were now 
quivering in every nerve ; mysteridus shapes moved around 
him, which one day he must report of to the world — shapes, 
the offspring of that old church, and its tombs and monu- 
ments, and traceries and emblazonments, mingled with the 
spirit of his solitary readings in history, divinity, and anti- 
quities ; and that melancholy foreboding, that Ahnung of 
the future, as the Germans term it, which, like a present 
angel of prophecy, unseen, but felt, hangs on the heart of 
youthful genius with an overpowering sadness, was spread 
over him like a heavenly cloud, which made the physical 
face of life dreary and insipid to him. 

This was the boy, of eleven or twelve years old, who had 
already commenced satirist, and lanched his arrows of sar- 
casm at offenders in Felix Farley's Bristol Journal, where 
M Sly Dick" and " Apostate Will" were pilloried before 
the whole city by so young a hand. This was the boy, of 
perhaps fourteen, who astonished the worthy pewterer, Bur- 
gum, by bringing to him an historic account of bis pedigree, 
with- coats of arms all elaborately painted on parchment, 
tracing his descent, with minute detail of personages, from 
no less a distance than the Saxon period, and from no less 
a person than the great Waltheof, earl of Northumberland, 
Northampton, and Huntingdon ! Great has been the laugh- 
ter at poor Burgum for swallowing the pleasant deceit ; but 
let any one imagine to himself a charity schoolboy, in old- 
fashioned costume, and his innocent boy's nice, appearing 



before him, and presenting to him so matter-of-fact a docu- 
ment, as found in a chest. in the muniment room of Sl 
Mary's Church, in which this boy was known to pore and 
hunt about Could any suspicion of such a boy's forgery 
of the document at first be entertained 1 Would any feel- 
ings but those of wonder and curiosity be excited 1 Bur- 
gum was completely taken in ; and a thousand others who 
have since laughed at him would have been taken in too. 
And now began to be sounded about that famous story of 
the iron-bound chest of Master Canyuge, in the- muniment 
room over the north porch of St. Mary Redcliffe Church, 
from which Chatterton's father had been allowed to carry 
home whole heaps of parchments, and from which heaps 
Chatterton professed to have drawn this pedigree of the De 
Bergham family. This was a most prolific source of 
strange documents, which from time to time came issuing 
forth in the shape of transcripts by the boy Chatterton. 
His fifteenth year, however, saw him, in one day, meta- 
morphosed from a Colston's charity boy into a lawyer's ap- 
prentice. He was bound to one Lambert, a man of little 
practice, and who, besides, is termed " a vulgar, insolent, 
imperious man ; who, because the boy wrote poetry, was 
of a melancholy and contemplative disposition, and disposed 
to study and reading, thought him a fit object of insult and 
contemptuous rage." Need we ask why his mother bound 
him to such a man 1 To whom can the poor bind their 
children ? Had Lambert been a pleasant fellow, and in 
great practice, he would have had rich men's sons offered, 
and would have demanded a fee that would effectually ex- 
clude the poor. Here his life was the life of insult and 
degradation, which might pretty safely be calculated upon 
with such a man and such a practice. Twelve hours he 
was chained to the office, t. e., from eight in the morning 
till eight at night, dinner hour only excepted ; and in the 
house he was confined to the kitchen, slept with the foot- 
boy, and was subjected to indignities of a like nature, at 


which his pride rebelled, and by which his temper was ira- 
hittered. Yet here it was, during this life of base humilia- 
tion, that Thomas Chatterton worked out the splendid 
creations of his imagination. In less than three years of the 
life of a poor attorney's apprentice, fed in the kitchen, and 
lodged with the footboy, did he here achieve an immortality 
such as the whole life of not one in ten millions is sufficient 
to create. 

In the long, solitary hours of this empty office — for, not 
having any business, even the master was very often ab- 
sent — he had ample leisure and secure opportunity to give 
scope to the feelings and fancies which had sprung up in 
the aisles of St. Mary's, but which had since grown with the 
aliment of historic and poetic knowledge gathered from 
Fuller, Camden, Chaucer, and the old chroniclers. From 
time to time, as I have said, came flying forth some precious 
old piece of local history, which astonished the good people 
of Bristol, and were always traced to this same wonderful 
lad, and his inexhaustible parchments from the old chest. 
A new bridge is built, and in Felix parley's Journal ap- 
pears an' account of the opening of the old bridge ages be- 
fore, with all the ceremonies and processions of civil offi- 
cers, priests, friars, and minstrels, with all their banners 
and clarions. Then Mr. Barrett, a surgeon, is writing bis 
history of the place, and lacks information respecting the 
ancient churches ; and, lo ! the prolific MSS. of Maister 
Canynge supply not only histories of all churches, but of 
castles and palaces, with the directions of the ancient streets, 
and all the particulars of the city walls, and * ?I their gates* 
Never was an historian so readilv »** d &° affluently sup- 
plied ! Whoever now sees A« ponderous quarto of Bar- 
rett's History of Bristol, with all the wonders palmed upon 
the author by Chatterton, must be equally amazed at the 
daring of the lad and the credulity of the man. He re- 
stored in a fine drawing the ancient castle, in a style of 
architecture such as surely never was seen in any castle ben 



fore. There were towers of a moat lofty tad unique descrip- 
tion, yet extremely beautiful; there were battlements at 
unique as if the ancient knights who defended them had 
left their shields lying upon them; there were tiers of 
arches, circles, and stars, one shore another, in fronts of the 
most fanciful kind; there were other parts where pilasters 
ran from ground to battlement, ornamented with alternating 
cross keys, human figures, lozenges, ovals, zigzag lues, and 
other ornaments, such as never could have originated but in 
a poetical and daring brain; yet was the whole worthy of 
the residence of some knight or king of old romance. It 
was beautiful, and might suggest to architects in mess 
threadbare days ideas of a style piquantly original and re- 
freshing. This was the view of Bristol Castle in 1136, 
Rowlie Canonicus, deleniator, 1440, to be seen in Barrett's 
History. But deeper and deeper does this fortunate youth 
dive into the treasures of the chest, and more and mom 
amazing are the wonders that he brings up. Never wai 
so rich a chest stowed away in cloisters of the rich old mid- 
dle a^es. Nliw ctuno up poeta, paitiEers, carvers, herald^ 


intellect was Thomas Rowley, the friend of Canynge, and 
priest of St. John, in Bristol ; and, truly, if the poems which 
he pat forth in Rowley's name had been Rowley's, Row- 
ley would have been a famous poet indeed — to say nothing 
of his sermons, histories, and other writings. 

Spite of the wretchedness of his domestic position in 
Lambert's house, this must have been the happiest portion 
of Chatterton's life. His bringing out these treasures to 
the day had given him great consideration, among not only 
some of the most leading men, but among the youth of 
Bristol. With his excitable temperament, his spirits rose 
occasionally into great gayety and confidence. He began 
to entertain dreams of a lofty ambition. He had created a 
new world for himself, in which he lived. He had made 
Rowley its great heroic bard. He had raised Maister Ca- 
nynge again from his marble rest in the south transept of 
St. Mary's, and placed him in his ancient glory in Bristol. 
Beneath his hands St. Mary's rose like a fairy fabric out 
of the earth, and was consecrated amid the most glorious 
hymns, and with the most gorgeous processions of priests 
and minstrels. Great and magnificent was Canynge in his 
wealth and his goodness once more in his native city ; and 
in the brave lays of Rowley the valiant Ella fought, and 
the fierce Harold and William the Norman made the Hill 
of Battell the eternal monument of the loss and gain of En- 

" He was always," says Mr. Smyth, one of his intimate 
companions, " extremely fond of walking in the fields, par- 
ticularly in RedclhTe Meadows, and of talking about these 
manuscripts, and sometimes reading them there. ' Come, 9 
he would say, ' you and I will take a walk in the meadow. 
I have got the cleverest thing for you imaginable ; it is 
worth half a crown merely to have a sight of it, and to 
hear me read it to you.' When we arrived at the place 
proposed! he would produce his parchment, show it me, 
•lid read it to me. There was one spot in particular, full 


in view of the church, in which he would take a particular 
delight He would frequently lay himself down, fix his 
eyes upon the church, and seem as if he were in a kind of 
trance. Then, on a sudden, abruptly he would tell me, 
' That steeple was burned down by lightning ; that was the 
place where they formerly acted plays.* 

" His Sundays were commonly spent in walking alone 
into the country about Bristol, as far as the duration of 
daylight would allow ; and from those excursions he nev- 
er failed to bring home with him drawings of churches, or 
some other objects which had impressed his romantic im- 
agination." v 

This was one of those brief seasons in the poet's life 
when the heaven of his spirit has cast its glory on the neth- 
er world. When the light and splendor of his own beauti- 
ful creations invest the common earth, and he walks in the 
summer of his heart's joy. Every imagination seems to 
have become a reality ; every hope to expand before him 
into fame and felicity ; and the flowers beneath his tread, 
the sky above him, the air that breathes upon his cheek — 
all nature, in short, is full of the intoxication of poetic tri- 
umph. Bristol was become quite too narrow for him and 
Rowley ; he shifted the field of his ambition to London, 
and the whole enchanted realm of his anticipations passed 
like a Fata Morgana, and was gone! There came in- 
stead, cruel contempt, soul-withering neglect, hunger, de- 
spair, and suicide ! 

Such was the history of the life of one of England's 
greatest poets, who perished by his own hand, stung to the 
soul by the utter neglect of his country, and too proud to 
receive that bread from compassion which the reading pub- 
lic of Great Britain refused to his poetic labors. Of this, 
of Walpole, and Gray, and Sam Johnson, and the like, we 
will speak more anon. Here let us pause, and select a 
few specimens of that poetry which the people of England, 
at the latter end of the eighteenth century, would fain have 


suffered to perish with its author. That they may be bet- 
ter understood, we will modernize them. 

The chief of his Rowley Poems are, Ella, a tragical In- 
terlude, or discoursing Tragedy; Godwin, the fragment 
of another Tragedy ; the Battle of Hastings, the fragment 
of an Epic ; and the Parliament of Sprytes, a most merry 
Interlude ; with smaller ones. 


"O! sing onto my roundelay, 

O! drop the briny tear with me; 
Dance no more at holiday ; 
Like a running river be. 
My love is dead, 
Gone to his death-bed, 
All under the willow-tree. 
M Black his hair as the winter night, 

White his neck as the summer snow, 
Bed his free as the morning light; 
Cold he lies in the grave below. 
My love is dead, &c. 
" Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note, 
Quick in dance as thought can be, 
Daft his tabor, cudgel stout ; 
O ! he Hes by the willow-tree. 
My love is dead, dec. 
" Hark! the raven flaps his wing 
In the briered dell below ; 
Hark ! the death-owl loud doth sing 
To the nightmares, as they go. 
My love is dead, &c. 
M See ! the white moon shines on high- 
Whiter is my true love's shroud; 
Whiter than the morning sky, 
Whiter than the evening cloud. 
My love is dead, &c. 
41 Here, upon my true love's grave, 
Shall the barren flowers be laid; 
Not one holy saint to save 
All the coldness of a maid. 
v My love is dead, Ac. 


'VWhh my hands HI bend the brien 
Bound his holy cone to gre:* 
Elfin fairies, light your fires; 
Here my body still shall be. 
My love is de*4, 
Gone to his death-bed, 
All under the willow-tree. 

'* Come with acorn-cup and thorn, 
Drain my heart's blood all away ; 
- Life and all its good I scorn, 

Dance by night, or least by day.. 
My lore is dead, eto. 

" Water-witches, crowned with veytes,t 
Bear me to your lethaTtide. _ 
I die ! I come ! my true lore waits : 
Thus the damsel spoke, and died." 

This roundelay has always, and most justly, been great- 
ly admired for its true pathos, and that fine harmony which 
charms us so much in the fragments of similar songs pre- 
served by Shakspeare. Not less beautiful is the chorus in 
Godwin. There is something singularly great and majes- 
tic in its imagery. 


" When Freedom, dressed in blood-stained rest, 
To every knight her war-song song, 
Upon her head wild weeds were spread ; 
A gory anlace by her hung : 

She danced upon the heath; 
She heard the -voice of death; 
Pale-eyed Affright, his heart of silver hoe, 

In vain assailed her bosom to acaletf 
She heard unmoved the shrieking voice of woe, 
And Sadness in the owlet shake the dale. 
She shook the pointed spear, 

On high she reared her shield; 
Her foemen all appear, 
And fly along the field. 

# Grow. f Watsrfags. * Frees*. 


Power, with his head aloft onto the skies, 

His spear a sunbeam, and his shield a star, 
Like two fierce flaming meteors rolled his eyes. 
Chafes with hk iron feet and sound* to war. 
8he sits upon a rock, 

She bends before his spear, 
She rises with the shock, 
Wielding her own in air. 
Hard as the thunder doth she drive it on; 

Wit, closely mantled, guides it to his crown, 

His long, sharp spear, his spreading shield is gone : 

He Mis, and Ailing, rolleth thousands down. 

War, gore-faced War, by Envy armed, arist,* 

His fiery helmet nodding to the air. 

Ten bloody arrows in his straining fiat." 

• • • • • 

Next let us take a poem whose truest criticism is con- 
tained in its own title : 


" From Virgo did the sun diffuse his sheen, 
And hot upon the meads did cast his ray ; 
Bed grew the apple from its paly green, 
And the soft pear did bend the leafy spray ; 
The pied goldfinch sung the livelong day : 
Twas now the pride, the manhood of the year, 
And eke the ground was dight in its most deft anmere.t 

' " The son was gleaming in the midst of day, 
Dead still the air, and eke the welkin blue, 
When from the sea arose m drear array 
A heap of clouds of sable, sullen hue ; 
The which mil fast unto the woodlands drew, 
Hiding at once the sun's rejoicing face, 
And the black tempest swelled and gathered up apace. 

" Beneath an holm fast by a pathway side, 
Which did unto St. Godwin's convent lead, 
A hapless pilgrim moaning did abide ; 
In aspect poor, and wretched in his weed. 
Long fillecl with the miseries of need, 
Where from the hailstone could the aimer? fly? 
He had no house at hand, nor any convent nigh. 

'.Arose. t Robe. t 


" Look in Jus gloomed free, Us smile ten eoen; 
How woe-begone, how wittered, dry, and dead! 
Haste to thy chuTCh-glebe-bouee,* unhappy mm! 
Haste to thy coffin, thy aola sleeping bad. 
Cold a» the day which will B© on thy head 
It charity and love among Ugh elves; 
Now knighta and barons life for pluaiuio and themselves. 

41 The gathered storm k rife; the big drops fell; 

The sun-burned meadowscmoke and drink me rain; 
The ooming gfcMtWttt doth the cattle 'pall. 
And the rail flocks are driving o'er the plain. 
Dashed from the clouds, the waters try again; 
The welkin opes; me yellow levin flies, 
And the hot, fiery stream in the wide (lathing dies. 

" List t now the thunder's rattling, dinning sound 
Moves slowly on, and then augmented clangs. 
Shakes the high spire, and lost, dispended, drowned, 
Still on the startled ear of terror hangs. 
The winds are np; the lofty elm-tree swings! 
Again the levin, and the thunder poors, 
And the full clouds at once are burst in stony showers. 

" Spurring his palfrey o'er the watery plain, 
The Abbot of St. Godwin's convent came ; 
His chapournettei was drenched* with the rain. 
Hit painted girdle met with mickle shame; 
He backward told his bead-roll at the same ; 
The storm grew stronger, and he drew aside 
With the poor almt-craver near to the holm to bide. 

41 His cloak was all of Lincoln cloth so fine, 
A golden button fattened near his chin; 
His a*irtm€te$ wat edged with golden twine, 
And hit peaked shoes a noble's might have bean; 
Full well it showed that he thought cost no em ; 
The trammels of the palfrey pleated hit tight, 
For the horse-milliner his head with roses dight| 

* Grave. t Ghasmness. 

X A small round hat, not unlike the chapournette of heraldry, fores 
ly worn by ecclesiastics and lawyers.— Chattertov. f C- 

|| The sign of a horse-milliner wat till lately, if not soil to be ami 
in Bristol 


" * An alms, Sir Priest !' the dropping pilgrim nid ; 
1 ! let me wait within your convent door, 
Till the ran shineth high above oar head, 
And the load tempest of the air is o'er ; 
Helpless and old am I, alas ! and poor; 
No house, nor friend, nor money in my poach; 
AH that I call my own is this my silver crouched 

" ' Varlet !' replied the abbot, < cease your din ; 
This is no season alms and prayers to give ; 
My porter never lets a stroller in ; 
None touch my ring who not in honor live.* 
And now the son with the black clouds did strive, 
And shedding on the ground his glaring ray, 
The abbot spurred his steed, and eftsoons rode away. 

" Again the sky was black, the thunder rolled ; 

Fast hieing o'er the plain a priest was seen ; 

Not dight full proud, nor buttoned up in gold; 

His cloak and cape were gray, and eke were clean; 
A limitor he was of order seen ;t 
And from the pathway side then turned he, 
Where the poor aimer lay beneath .the holmen tree. 

u ' An alms, Sir Priest, 1 the dropping pilgrim said, 
' For sweet St. Mary and your order's sake.' 
The limitor then loosed his pouch's thread, 
And did thereout a groat of silver take ; 
The wretched pilgrim did for gladness shake. 
* Here, take this silver, it may ease thy care ; 
We are God's stewards all ; naught of our own we bear.* 

" ' But oh ! unhappy pilgrim, learn of me, 
Scarce any give a rent-roll to their Lord . 
Here, take my semi-cape,! thou'rt bare, I see ; 
'Tis thine; the saints will give me my reward.' 
He left the pilgrim, and away he strode. 
Virgin and holy saints, who sit in gloure,$ 
Or give the mighty will, or give the good man power!" 

be following presents a very living picture of the cer- 
**y of church consecration formerly : 

Crucifix, t Bagging friar. t Short under cloak. 



"8oonas bright urn akng to iti* fa»d lent hk raddy Kght, 
And fairies hid in oxrip cops till wished approach of night; 
The matin bell with shrilly sound r e ec h oed through the nr; 
▲ troop of holy friers did for Jesus' man prepare. 
Around the high unseated eharek with holy refiee went, 
And ©Tory doer end poet ebon* with godly dangs httpsat. 
Then Carpenter,* in ecarlet dressed, and mitered botfly, 
From Matter Canynge, hie gnat bouse, with roeary did hie. 
Before him went a throng of friars, who did die maw song as*; 
Behind him Master Canynge came, tricked like a barbed king. 
And then a row of holy friars who did die ana song sound ; 
The procurators and church reeves next pressed the holy groasi 
And when onto the chnrch may came, a holy roses may tsng, 
80 loudly that their pleasant wjjoe unto the' he a ve ns rang. 
Then Carpenter did purify the oharch to God far aye, 
With holy masses sad good psslms whsoh he therein did sty. 
Then wet a sermon preached Soon by. OiponUa nobly; 
And after that another one ypreaohed was by ma. 
Then all did go to Canynge*s house an faterlnda to pky, 
And drink his wines and ale as good, sad rsv/fobimfer syo." 

We will select just one short lyric mora, because its ftu>0 

CfllTTIITOK. 38i 

Then he poached 4 night and day, 

r the right way. 
This good ataff great wonders wrought, 
More than guested by mortal thought, 
Or than mortal tongue can tell. 

"Then die folks a bridge did make 
Over the stream unto the heck, 
All of wood eke long and wide, 
Pride and glory of the tide, 

Which in time did fall away. 
Then Earl Leof he betped 
This great rirer from its bed, 
sound his castle for to ran; 
Twns in truth an ancient one; 

But war and time will all decay. 

" Now again with mighty force, 
8crera in his- ancient course, 
Bolls his rapid stream along, 
With a sand both swift and strong, 

Whelming many an oaken wood. 
We, the men of Bristol town, 
Have rebuilt this bridge of stone, 
Wishing each that it may last 
Tin the date of days be past,' 

Standing where the other stood." 

Now, would it ever have been believed, had not the thing 
*^ally taken place in its unmitigated strangeness, that such 
Pxyetrj as this — poetry, indeed, of which these are but mere 
**agments, which, while they display the power, poetic 
*Veedom, and intellectual riches of the writer, do not show 
^tie breadth and grandeur of his plans, to be seen only hi 
*ke works themselves— that they could have been present- 
ed to the public, and passed over with contempt, not a cen- 
tury ago 1 Would it have been credited, that the leading 
Xnen of the literary world at that time, instead of flinging 
\>ack such poems at the boy who presented them as a dis- 
covered antiquity, were not struck with the amazing fact, 
that if the boy were an impostor, as they avowed — if he, in- 
deed, had written them himself, that he must be a glorious 


* f Tec Horace Walpolc, Gray, Miaon t Sam John* 
the whole British throng of literati, were guilty 

in which Chatterton bad the mis- 
Spite of the mighty intellect*, the wit 
of snch nea as Johnson, Gray, Goldsmith r 
and Joseph Wartoe, Burke, and Walpole, poetry, 
e spark of poetry, were, as a general fact, at a low 
It was the — fr*™gh* succeeding the long declining 
day of the i s n s rifnn of Pope, The great crowd of versifi- 
ed had wilt i H J a way from V aiure and her eternal fount* 
am of isapiniiisi. and the long array of Sprats, Black- 
Til I is I. Garths* and the like, had wearied the ear 

polished commonplaces. 
the only genuine 
tight, hafeg« the great dawn of a more glo- 
to break ; and Goldsmith him- 
but just appear- 
aant part of his Minstrel the rery year 
by has own hand. The great not* 
d Scene, had disappeared 
hag cotemporary, Smollett, was 
he died the year alter Chatter- 
"s aanxsnm. Akesjsmde died the saaae year; Falconer 
at sen the year beam; Sheridan's literary 
only abore the horizon ire years later, with 
of hsj Rtvaav Who, then, were in the 
arbiters of public 
who swart pat forth the saving hand; if ever 
gwe the cheering ** all hail," if it were giv* 
Tawy ware Gray, who, however, hnnself died the fol- 
astroag, Anstey, of the Bath Guide, Ha- 
aa.GAhnm.lhe Scotch historians and phi- 
Smith, and the like, 
i Foote, Mack- 
and there were the lady 


, or patrons of literature, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Macau- 
ley, Mn. Montagu. Macpherson was smarting under the 
flagellations received on account of his Ossian, and that was 
about all. Spite of great names, is that a literary tribunal 
from which much good was to be hoped ? No, we repeat 
it, it was, so far as poetry, genuine poetry, was concerned, 
a dark and wintery time. The Wartons were of a more 
hopeful character, and Mrs. Montagu, the founder of the 
Blue-Stocking Club, had then recently published her Es- 
say on the Genius and Writingsof Shakspeare. She, a pa- 
tron and an advocate of Shakspeare, might, one would have 
thought, have started from the herd, and done herself im- 
mortal honor by asserting the true rank of the new genius, 
and saving him from a fearful death. But it is one thing 
to assert the fame of a Shakspeare, established on the throne 
of the world's homage, and another to discover, much more 
to hymn the advent of a new genius. The literary world, 
warned by the scarifying castigation which Macpherson 
had undergone for introducing Ossian, as if, instead of giv- 
ing the world a fresh poet, he had robbed it of one, shrunk 
back from the touch of a second grand impostor — another 
knave come to forge for the public another great poet ! It 
was a new kind of crime, this endowment of the republic 
of literature with enormous accessions of wealth ; and, what 
was more extraordinary, the endowers were not only de- 
nounced as thieves, but as thieves from themselves ! Mac- 
pherson and Chatterton did not assert that they had written 
new and great poems, which the acute critics proved to be 
stolen from the ancients, Ossian and Rowley ; that and their 
virtuous indignation we might have comprehended ; but, on 
the contrary, while the critics protested that Chatterton 
and Macpherson themselves were the actual poets, and had 
only put on the masks of ancients, they treated them, not as 
clever maskers, joining in the witty conceit, and laughing 
over it in good-natured triumph, but they denounced them 
fa savage terms, as base thieves, false coiners, damnable 

impostors! Oh gtorioos thieves! glorious coiner*! 
ruble impostors ! would to Odd tint a thousand odier such 
would appear, again and again appear, to fill die hemf- 
sphere of England with fresh stars of romrift I And of 
what were they impostor* 1 Were not Irlfooeiiisrwrf? 
Were they not gennine, and rf die true Ifeanie sfampf 
Of what were they thieves f were not the txeasjores which 
they came dragging into the Ufeerary 1 bank of England gen- 
uine treasures I and ifthey were found not to hare, indeed, 
dng them out of the rubbishy* the mined temple of sB- 
tiqnity, were they not tkcwl&T Did die critics not pro- 
test that they were their onm t What, then, was their 
strange crime 1 That they would rob themselves of their 
own intellectual riches, and deposit them on the altar of 
their Country's glory. Wondrous crime ! Wondrous age I 
Let us rejoice that a better time has armed; Not thus was 
execrated and chased out of the regions of popularity, and' 
even into a self-dug grave, M The Great Unknown," *TIjs 
Author of Waverley." He wore his mask in all peace and 
honor for thirteen years, and not a soul dr e am e d of de- 
nouncing Sir Walter Scott, when he was compelled to own 
himself as the real author, because he had endeavored .to 
palm off his productions as those* of Peter Patdson or Jode- 
diah Cleishbotham. 

The world has grown wiser, and that through a new and 
more generous, because a more gifted, generation which 
has arisen. The age which was in its wane when Chatter- 
ton appeared upon the stage, was lying beneath the incu- 
bus of scholastic formality. Dr. Johnson' ruled it as a 
growling, dictator, and the mediocre herd of copyists shrunk 
equally from the heavy blow of his critical cudgel and the 
sharp puncture of Horace Walpole's wit. But the dawn 
was at hand. Bishop Percy had already, in 1765, pub- 
lished his Reliques, and they were beginning to operate. 
Men read them, went back again at once to nature, and, at 
her inspiration, up sprung the noble throng of poets, histo- 


nans, essayists, and romance writers, which have clothed 
the nineteenth century with one wide splendor of the glory 
of genius. 

The real crime, however, which Chatterton committed, 
was, not that he had attempted to palm off upon the world 
his own productions as Rowley's, but that he had succeed- 
ed in taking the knowing ones in. He had caught in his 
trap those to whom it was poison and death not to appear 
more sagacious than all the world beside. He had showed 
op the infallibility of the critics — an unpardonable crime ! 
These tricks of mere boys, by which the craft, and the owl- 
gravity of the graybeards of literary dictation, might any 
day be so lamentably disconcerted, and exposed to vulgar 
ridicule, was a dangerous practice, and therefore it was to 
be put down with a genuine Mohawk onslaught. Wal- 
pole, who had been bitten by Macpherson, and was writh- 
ing under the exposure so agonizing to hif aristocratic 
pride, was most completely entrapped again by Chatterton. 
Spite of his cool denial of this, any one has only to read his 
letter to Chatterton, dispatched instantly on the receipt of 
Chatterton's first packet, to be quite satisfied on this point. 
He " thinks himself singularly obliged," he " gives him a 
thousand thanks for his very curious and kind letter.' 9 
11 What you have sent," he declares, " is valuable and full 
of information ; but instead of correcting you, sir, you are 
far more able to correct me." Think of the cruel chagrin 
of the proud dilettante, Walpolc, when he discovered that 
be had been making this confession to a boy of sixteen ! 
What was worse, he had offered, in this letter of March 
28, 1769, to print the poems of Rowley, if they had never 
been printed ! and added, " The Abbot John's verses which 
you have given me are wonderful for their harmony and 
spirit !" 

Never was a sly old fox so perfectly entrapped by a 
mere lad. But hear with what excess of politeness he 
concludes : 

Vol. I.— N 


u I will not trouble you with more questions now, sir; but 
flatter myself, from the urbanity and politeness you have 
already shown me, that you will give roe leave to consult 
you, I hope, too, you will forgive the simplicity of my di- 
rection, as you have favored me with no other* 

44 1 am, sir, your much obliged and obedient servant, 

This was before Gray and Mason, who bad seen the 
MS. sent, had declared it to be a forgery ; and before poor 
Horace had discovered that he had been thus compliment- 
ing a poor lawyer's clerk, and his own poems ! The Enaa 
thought that he was addressing some gentleman of fortune, 
pursuing antiquarian lore in his own noble libra 
doubt ; but he was stung by two serpents at once — tiw 
writer was a poor lad, and the verses were his own ! 

There hasrbeen a great war of words regarding t. » 
duct of Walpole to Chatterton. Almost every writer of the 
end of die last century, aud the beginning of this, bus writ* 
ten more or less respecting Chatterton and the 1 
poems ," and all have gone largely ioto tbe merits or do* 
merits ot^ Walpole in the case. Some have declared him 
guilty of the fate of the poor youth; others have gone as 
far the other way, and exempted him from all blame* 
my opinion, nothing can ever excuse the conduct of Wil 
pole. If not to prevent the fate of Chatterton was, in hid 
case, to accelerate it, then indeed Walpole must be pro- 
nounced guilty of the catastrophe which ensued ; and w hat 
greatly aggravates the offense is, that he made that a crime 
in Chatterton of which he himself set the example* Chat- 
terton gave out that his poems were written by Rowley, and 
Walpole had given out that his Castle of Oiranto was the 
work uf an old Italian, and that it had been found, not iu 
Canyuge's chest, but "in the library of an ancient Catholic 
family in the north of England/ 1 Nothing is more certain, 
then, that, brought into close communication with this ex- 

L u A r T E ft T O N. 


traurdiuary youth and his brilliant productions, he eithci 
did not or would not see, that if Rowley was nobody, Chat* 
tattoo was a great poet, and as a boy, and a poor boy, was 
an extraordinary phenomenon; and that both patriotism 
and humanity demanded that he should bo at once brought 
under the notice of the good and wise, and every thing 
possible done to develop his tare powers, and secure them 
to his country, AValpole coolly advised him to stick to his 
and walked off"! Sir Walter Scott has said that Wal- 
pole is not alone to blame j die whole country partakes the 
censure with him ; and that he gave the boy good advice. 
This is not quite true, The whole country did not know 
'naltertuu, of his wonderful talents, aud his peculiar 
situation ; but all these were thrust upon the attention of 
Walpole, and he gave him advice. True, the advice in 
itself was good, but, unluckily, it was given when Walpole, 
by his conduct, had destroyed all its value with Chatterton; 
en the proud boy, on seeing the contemptible way in 
hich the selfish aristocrat, wounded in his vanity, had 
turned round upon him. had torn his letters to atoms, and 
|*ed them under bis feet. 
Had Walpole, when he discovered the real situation and 
enius of Chatterton, kindly taken him by the hand ; had 
be, instead of deserting him on account of his poverty, and 
his having put on him the pardonable trick of represent- 
g his own splendid productions as those of a nonentity, 
nomas Rowley, then and there advised him to adhere to 
his profession as a certain source of fortune, and to culti- 
vate his poetic powers in his leisure moments, promising to 
secure for him, as he so easily could, a full acknowledgment 
of his talents from the public, it is certain that he might 
bave made of Chatterton, who was full of affection, what he 
would. He might have represented to him what a fair 
and legitimate field of poetry be had chosen, thus celebrat- 
ing the historic glory of his nation, and what an injustice he 
was doing to himself by giving the fame of his own genius 



to Rowley. Had he done this, be would have assuredly 
saved a great mind to his country, and would have de- 
served of it all honor and gratitude. But to have expected 
this from Walpole was to expect warmth from an icicle. 

Spite, therefore, of the advice of Walpole, " given with as 
much kindness and tenderness as if he had been his guard- 
ian," no argument or eloquence will ever be able to shield 
him from the utter contempt of posterity. There stands the 
fact — that he turned his back on a great poet when he stood 
before him blazing like a star of the first magnitude, and 
suffered him to perish. He did more. When that poet 
had perished, and the great soul of his country had awoke 
to its error and its loss, and acknowledged that " a prince 
had fallen in Israel," then, on the publication of Chatter- 
ton's letters to him in 1786, did this mean-souled man, in a 
canting letter to Hannah More, absolutely deny that he had 
ever received these letters ! " letters pretended to have been 
sent to me, and which never were sent"* 

After this, let those defend Walpole who like; would 
that we could clear that rough, dogmatic, but noble fellow, 
Samuel Johnson, from a criminal indifference to the claims 
and fate of Chatterton ; but with that unreflecting arbitrari- 
ness of will, which often led him into error, we learn from 
Bos well, who often urged him to read the poems of Row- 
ley, that ho long refused, saying, •• Pho, child! don't talk 
to mc of the powers of a vulgar, uneducated stripling! No 
man can coin guineas but in proportion as he has gold." 
When at length he was induced to read them, he confessed, 
" This is the most extraordinary young man that has en- 
countered my knowledge. It is wonderful how the whelp 
has written such things." It had then been long too late 
to begin to admire ; and the giant prejudices of Johnson 
had driven poor Chatterton as completely from him as the 
petit-maitre vanity of Walpole repulsed him in that quarter. 

Miss Seward, a woman who, with all her faults as a 
* Horace Walpole's Letters, vol. ii. f 1840. 

C H A T T E R T O \. 298 

writer, had always the tact to discern true geuius, and was 
one of the first to recognize that of Scott and Southey, 
would have dared to acknowledge the vast powers of Chat- 
terton, had it been in her own day of popularity ; but at 
the death of Chatterton she was a country girl of twenty* 
three. What she says of Johnson's conduct is very just: 
" Though Chatterton had long been dead when Johnson be- 
gan his Lives of the Poets ; though Chatterton's poems had 
long been before the world ; though their contents had en- 
gaged the literati of the nation in controversy, yet would 
not Johnson allow Chatterton a place in those volumes into 
which Pomfret and Yalden were admitted. So invincible 
were his grudging and surly prejudices, enduring long- 
deceased genius but ill, and cotemporary genius not at all." 
Thus we have traced the course of Thomas Chatterton 
to that eventful crisis of his fate, when he found himself re- 
jected, as it were, by the literary senate of his nation, and 
thrust down the few steps of the temple of fame which he 
bad dared to ascend, as a forger and impostor. He was 
thrust away, in a manner, from the heart, and, what was 
more, from the intellect of his country ; yet his proud spirit 
spurned the ignominious treatment, and he dared to make 
one grand effort, one great and final appeal against the fiat, 
in the nice of the whole world, and in the heart of the 
British metropolis. Alas ! it was a desperate enterprise, 
and our hearts bleed as we follow him in his course. 
There is nothing, in my opinion, so utterly melancholy in 
ill the history of the calamities of authors as the four fatal 
months of Chatterton's sojourn in London. It was his great 
misfortune, from the hour of his birth till that moment, that 
he never had one suitable friend ; one wise, generous, and 
sympathizing friend, who saw at once his splendid endow- 
ments and the faults of his character, and who could thus 
acquire a sound, and, at the same time, an inspiring influence 
ovarium. Born of poor people, who, however they might 
love him, did not and could not comprehend him ; living in 


a town devoted to trade, and nailed to the desk of a petti- 
fogging attorney, he went on his way alone, conscious of his 
own powers, and of the inferiority of those around him, till 
his pride and his passions kept pace with his genius, and he 
would have been a miracle had he not had great and many 
faults. If we, therefore, sigh over his religious skepticism, 
and regret the occasional symptoms of a sufficient want of 
truth and high principle in his literary hoaxes, especially in 
foisting fictitious matter into grave history, we are again 
compelled to acknowledge that it was because he had no 
adequate friend and counselor. He was like a young giant 
wandering solitarily over a wilderness without guide or 
guide-post ; and if he did not go wrong in proportion to his 
unusual ardor, strength, and speed, it were a wonder. Bat 
from the moment that lie sets foot in London, what is there 
in all biography so heart-breaking to contemplate t With 
a few borrowed guineas he sets out. Arrived in this great 
ocean of human life, where one living wave rushes past 
another as unrecognizant as the waves of the ordinary set, 
his heart overflowing with domestic affections, he expends 
the few borrowed guineas in presents to his mother and 
sister, and sends them with flaming accounts of his prospect 
of honors for himself, and of wealth for them. If any one 
would make himself acquainted with the true pathetic, let 
him only read the few letters written home by Chatterton 
from Shored itch and Hoi born. He was to get four guineas 
a month by one magazine ; was to write a history of En* 
gland, and occasional essays for the daily papers. " What a 
glorious prospect!" He was acquainted with all the 
geniuses at the Chapter Coffee- house. " No author can 
be poor who understands the arts of booksellers; this 
knowledge I have pretty well dipped into !" Ah ! poor 
Chatterton, one frog more gone to put himself under the 
protection of King Stork ! Mr. Wilkes knew him by his 
writings ; and he was going to visit him, and use his inter- 
est to secure the Trinity House for a Mrs. Ballanre. He 


wrote to all hit young men acquaintances. They were to 
■end him up compositions, and he would have them in* 
sorted in all sorts of periodicals. Songs he was to write 
for a doctor in music ; and such was the good fortune pour- 
ing in, that he could not help exclaiming, " Bravo, my boys ! 
up we go /" One person would give him a recommenda- 
tion aa traveling companion to the young Duke of Northum- 
berland, only he spoke nothing hut English ; another to Sir 
George Colebrook, an East India director, for a place of 
no despicable description, only he would not go to sea. He 
was about to wait on the Duke of Bedford, and had had a 
moat polite interview with Beckford, the lord-mayor. In 
short, all, according to his poetic fancy, was going on most 
mount hi gly. " If," wrote he to his sister, " money flowed 
as fast upon me as honors, I would give you a portion of 

But what was the stern reality 1 Amid all the flush of 
imaginary honors and success, or what he would have his 
family to think such, to tranquilize their minds, he was, in 
truth, almost from the first, in a state of starvation. His 
journey, and the presents so generously but so injudicious- 
ly purchased for his mother and sister — the little fund of 
borrowed guineas was gone. Of friends he does not ap- 
pear to have had one in this huge human wilderness. Be- 
sides the booksellers for whom be did slave-work, not a 
single influential mortal seems to have put out a single fin- 
ger of fellowship toward him. So far as the men of liter- 
ary fame were concerned, it was one wide, dead, and des- 
ert silence. From the wretched region of Shoreditch, he 
flitted to the good-natured dress- maker's of Brook-street, 
Holborn. But starvation pursued him, and stared him ev- 
ery day more fearfully in the face. He was, with all his 
glorious talents and his indomitable pride, utterly alone in 
the world. Walpole, who had given him advice " as kiud- 
ly as if he had been his guardian," was in great bodily 
comfort, penning smart letters, and compiling a " Catalogue 


of Royal and Noble Authors 9 * at Strawberry HiD, wink 
the noblest genius living was stalking on sternly through 
the streets of pitiless London to famine and despair. Sam 
Johnson, all his struggles now over, and at the annual 
price of £300 become, according to his own definition of 
Pensioner in his Dictionary, " A slave of state, hired by a 
stipend to obey his master," was comfortably lolling on the 
soft sofas of Mrs. Thrale, or acting the lion in the Literary 
Club, or in the saloon of some wealthy noble. Goldsmith 
was hastening to his end at fifty-three, and Chatterton to 
his at seventeen ! 

Of all the fine flourishes about the booksellers, whose 
arts he flattered himself that he understood, the following 
extract from his pocket-book, found after his death, will 
show the wretched result : 


to May 

23. for Middlesex 

£1 11 





1 2 




of Fell, for the Consnliad 





of Mr. Hamilton, for Candidal 

and Foreign Journal . 




of Mr. Fell . 





of Middlesex Journal 



• ( 


of Mr. Hamilton, for 16 songs 



£4 15 9 

" In another part of this little book," says his biogra- 
pher, "shortly before his death he had inserted a memo- 
randum, intimating that the sum of eleven pounds was due 
to him from the London publishers. It was a cruel fate to 
be compelled to turn literary drudge, with four-and-twen- 
ty shillings a month for wages, and more cruel still to be 
doomed to suffer all the pains of hunger because those wa- 
ges were not paid !" 

Such was the life of Chatterton. His fate is too well 
known; and so little sensation did the awful death of this 
" Marvelous boy, who perished in his pride," 

occasion, that it was long before his friends heard any 

C II A T T E R T O N, 

thing of him. He was buried without ceremony, among 
pauper* in Shoe Lane ; his identity could with difficulty bo 
established when the fact was known. 

Iu all the annals of literature there is nothing resembling 
the history of this boy -poet ; be stands alone. Never did 
any other youth of the same years, even under the most 
favorable circumstances, produce works of the same high 
order ; and never was child of genius treated by his coun- 
try with such unfeeling contempt, with such an iron and 
unrelenting harshness of neglect. The fate of Francis 
Hilary Gilbert, a French writer, has been compared to that 
of Chatterton ; but, besides that Gilbert was a man of for- 
ty-three, and had no claims to the genius of Chatterton, be* 
ing a writer on veterinary medicine and rural economy, he 
destroyed himself because the government, which had sent 
him to Spain, neglected to send him his remittances, not 
from neglect of a whole nation. Except in the mere facts 
of destitution and suicide, there is little resemblance in the 
characters, claims, or fates of the two men. Chatterton's 
death has furnished a tragedy to the French stage from the 
pen of Alfred de Vigny, 

The haunts of Chatterton lie within a narrow space. 
He was not one of those whom fate or fortune allows to 
traverse many lands ; Bristol and London were his only 
places of residence. In London! little can now be known 
of his haunts : that he frequented Vauxhall and Matyle- 
Gardens; resorted to the Chapter Coffee-house j that 
he lived nine weeks at Mr, Walmsley'e, a plasterer, in 
Shored itch ; and then removed to Mrs. Angel's, dress-mak- 
er. No, 4 Brook-street, Hoi born, comprises nearly the to- 
tality of his homes and haunts in London. Where Mr. 
Walmsley's house was can not now be ascertained ; the 
Chapter Coffee-house still retains its old situation, but has 
bog ceased to be the resort " of all the literary characters'* 
of London ; Vauxhall is in its deserted old age, and Mary- 

of hi 
he li 

lebone Gardens are, like many other gardens of Chattev* 
ton's time, now overrun, not with weeds, bat bouses,, No, 
4 Brook-street, Holborn, would be an interesting number 
if it remained ; but, as if every thing connected with die 
history of this ill-fated youth, except his fame, should be 
condemned to the most singular fatality, there is no No. 4 ; 
it is swallowed up by an enormous furniture warehouse, 
Steffenoni's, fronting into Holborn, and occupying what 
used to be numbers one, two, three, and four of Brook- 
street. Thus the whole of the interior of these houses 
has been cleared away, and they have been converted into 
one long show-shop below^ and as long manufacturing 
shops above. In this form they have been for die last 
eighteen years ; and previous to that time, 1 am told, were 
occupied by an equally extensive ironmongery concern. 
Thus all -memory of the particular spot which was the 
room of Cbatteiton, and where he committed the suicide, 
is rooted out. What is still more strange, the very same 
fate, has attended his place of sepulture. He was buried 
among the paupers. in Shoe Lane; so little was known or 
cared about him and his fate, that it was some time, as stat- 
ed, before his friends learned the sad story ; in the mean 
time, the exact site of his grave was wellnigh become un- 
known. It appears, however, from inquiries which I have 
made, that the spot was recognized ; and when the public 
became at length aware of the genius that had been suf- 
fered to perish in despair, a headstone was erected by sub* 
scription among some admirers of his productions. With 
the rapid revolutions of property which now take place, 
especially in the metropolis and other large cities ; with 
new plans and improvements, which in their progress seem 
to spare nothing of the past, however sacred, we have al- 
ready seen, in the course of these volumes, how many 
traces of the resorts and dwellings of our poets have van* 
ished from among us. The very resting-place of Chatter- 
ton could not escape the ungenial character of his fate. 


London, which seemed to refuse to know him when alive, 
refused a quiet repose to his ashes. To lie among the 
paupers of Shoe Lane was, one would have thought, a suf- 
ficiently abject lot for so proud and soaring a nature ; but 
fortune had still another spite in reserve for his remains 1 
The burial-ground in Shoe Lane, one of those incloeures of 
the dead which a dignitary of the Church has asserted to 
be guarded and guarantied against all violence and change 
by the ceremony of consecration, was sold to form Farring- 
don market; and tombs and memorials of the deceased 
disappeared to make way for the shambles and cabbage 
stalls of the living. Was there no lover of literature, no 
venerator of genius to take the alarm ; to step in and see 
that the bones and the headstone of Chatterton were re- 
moved to the grave-yard which still is attached to St. An- 
drew's Church ? It appears not. Neglected in death as in 
life, the headstone was pulled up, the bones of the poet 
were left to share the fate of those of his pauper comrades, 
and it is now mest probable that they are scattered — Heav- 
en knows where ! for I am assured, on good authority, that 
houses are now built on the spot where this unfortunate 
youth lay. If houses are built, most likely cellars were 
dug to those houses ; and then the bones of Chatterton— 
where are they 1 Echo may answer — where 1 

Let us now quit the desecrated scene of the poet's inter- 
ment, and, returning to Bristol, seek that of his birth : we 
shall seek it equally in vain ! The house of his birth, and 
the last narrow house of his remains, are alike swept away 
from the earth ! Chatterton was born on Redcliflfe Hill, in 
a back court behind the row of houses facing the north- 
west side of St. Mary's churchyard ; the row of houses and 
its back courts have all been pulled down and rebuilt. 
The house in which Chatterton was born was behind a 
shop nearly opposite the northwest corner of the church; 
and the monument to the young poet, lately erected by sub- 
scriptioi), has been very appropriately placed in a line be* 

800 C H A T T E 1 T O N. 

tween this house and the north porch of the church in 
which he professed to have found the Rowley MSS. This 
monument is a Gothic erection, much resembling an ancient 
cross, and On the top stands Chatterton* in the dress of Col- 
ston's school, and with an unfolded roll of parchment in his 
hand. This monument was erected under the care and 
from the design of John Britton, the antiquary, who, so 
much to his honor, long zealously exerted himself to rescue 
Chatterton's memory from apparent neglect in his native 
city. The man who can gaze on this monument ; can con- 
template the boyish figure and face of the juvenile poet; 
can glance from this quarter, where he was born in pover- 
ty, $0 that old porch, where he planned thejscheme of his 
fame ; and can call to mind what he was and /what he did 
without the profoundest sensations of wonder and regret, 
may safely pass through life without fear, of an astonish- 
ment. It is, in my opinion, one of the most affecting ob- 
jects in Great Britain. . How much, then, is that feeling 
of sympathy and regret augmented when you approach, 
and, upon the monument, read the very words written by 
the inspired boy himself for his supposed monument, and 
inserted in his " will." 


" Reader, judge not : if thou art a Christian— believe that 
he shall be judged by a Superior Power ; to that Power alone 
ia he now answerable." 

One of the spots in Bristol which we should visit with 
the intensest interest connected with the history of Chatter- 
ton, would be the office of Lambert the attorney, where he 
wrote the finest of his poems attributed to Rowley. . The 
first office of this person was on St. John's Steps, but he 
left this during Chatterton's abode with him; and, ceasing 
to be an office, it does not now seem to be exactly known 
in which house it was. From this place he removed to the 


house now occupied by Mr. Short, silversmith, in CornhiH, 
opposite to the Exchange; and here Chatterton probably 
wrote the greater portion of Rowley's poems. Another 
favorite haunt of Chatterton's, Redcliffe Meadow, is now 
no longer a meadow, but is built all over ; so rapidly has 
about seventy years eradicated the footsteps of the poet in 
his native place. There are two objects, however, which, 
from their public character, remain, and are likely to re- 
main, unchanged, and around which the recollections of 
Chatterton and his singular history will forever vividly 
cling: these are, Colston's School, and the Church of St 

The school in Pyle-street, where he was sent at five 
years of age, and which his father had taught, I believe no 
longer exists. The school on St. Augustine's Back exists, 
and is likely to exist. It is one of those endowments found- 
ed by the great merchants of England, which, if they had 
been preserved from the harpy and perverting fingers of 
trustees, would now suffice to educate the whole nation. 
This school, founded at a comparatively recent date, and 
in the midst of an active city like Bristol, seems to be well 
administered. There you find an ample school-room, din- 
irig-hall, chapel, and spacious bed-rooms, all kept in most 
clean and healthy order; a hundred boys, in their long, 
' blue, full-skirted coats and scarlet stockings, exactly as they 
Mwre in the days of Chatterton. You may look on them, 
^nd realize to yourself precisely how Chatterton and his 
fechool-fellows looked when he was busy there devouring 
l^ooks of history, poetry, and antiquities, and planning the 
£.urgum pedigree, and the like. Take any fair boy of a 
similar age ; let him be one of the oldest and most attract- 
ive — for, says his biographer, " there was a stateliness and 
^ manly bearing in Chatterton beyond what might have 
\>een expected from his years." " He had a proud air/' 
* says Mrs. Edkins, and, according to the general evidence, 
~ lie was as remarkable for the prematurity of his person as 


. ja: sac at his intellect and imagination. His mien 
bmc wwre exceedingly prepossessing; his eyes were 
» : n a t c m gly brilliant ; and when he was animated 
d 9 or excited by any passing event, the fire 
[ roiled in the lower part of the orbs in a won- 
«»A almost fearful way. Mr. Calcott characterized 
i"s eye M as a kind of hawk's eye, and thought we 
■ his soul through it" As with Byron, " one eye 
i remarkable than the other ; and its lightning-like 
had something about them supernaturally grand." 
3Vfa* some fine, clever-looking lad, then, from the crowd, 
*W you will find such, and you will feel the strangest as- 
jMKoment in imagining such a boy appearing before the 
Drive citizen Burgum with his pedigree, and within a few 
^nwrs afterward acting so daring and yet so glorious a part 
>efbre the whole world. 

To the admirers of genius, and the sympathizers with 
the strange fate of Chatterton, a visit to this school must al- 
ways be a peculiar gratification ; and under the improved 
management of improved times, and that of a zealous com- 
mittee, and so excellent a master as the present one, Mr. 
Wilson, that gratification will be perfect. All is so airy, 
fresh, and cheerful; there is such a spirit of order evinced 
oven in the careful rolling up of their Sunday suits, with 
their broad, silver-plated belt clasps, each arranged in its 
proper place, on shelves in the clothes-room, under every 
boy's own number ; and yet without that order degenera- 
ting into severity, but the contrary, that you can not help 
feeling the grand beneficence of those wealthy merchants 
who, like Edward Colston, make their riches do their gen- 
erous will forever ; who become thereby tho actual fathers 
of their native cities to all generations ; who roll in every 
year of the world's progress some huge stone of anxiety 
from the hearts of poor widows ; who clear tho way before 
the unfriended, but active and worthy lad ; who put forth 
lbeir invisible hands from the heaven of their rest, and be- 


O II A T T E R T O N. 

come the genuine guardian angels x?f the orphan race for- 
ever and ever; raising from those who would otherwise 
have been outcasts and ignorant laborers, aspiring and use* 
ful men, tradesmen of substance, merchants the true en- 
richer* of their country, and fathers of happy families, 
How glorious is such a lot 1 how noble is such an appro- 
priation of wealth ! how enviable is such a fame ! And 
among such men there were few more truly admirable than 
Edward Colston. He was worthy to have been lifted by 
Chatter! on to the side of the magnificent Canynge, and one 
can not help wondering that he says so little about this 
great benefactor of his city* 

Edward Colston was not merely the founder of this 
school for the clothing, maintaining, and apprenticing of one 
hundred boys, at a charge of about ^£4 0,000, but he also 
founded another school in Temple-street, to clothe and 
maintain forty boys, at a cost of *£3000 ; and lie left d£8500 
for an alms-house for twelve men and twelve women, with 
ft*, per week to the chief brother, and 3*. per week to the 
refit, with coals, &c. ; ,£600 for the maintaining of six sail- 
ors in the Merchants' Alms-house; c£1500 to clothe, main- 
tain, instruct, and apprentice six boys; <£200 to the Mint 
Work-house ; ,£500 to rebuild the Boys* Hospital ; ,£200 
to pat out poor children; jE12O0 to be given, in ,£100 a 
year, for twelve years, to apprentice the boys with, =£10 
each for his school; <£1230 to beautify different churches 
in the city; <£2500 to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in Lon- 
don ; and ,£2000 to Christ Church School in London ; <£500 
to St. Thomas's Hospital; c£o00 to Bethlehem Hospital ; 
■£200 to New Work-house in Bishopsgate Without ; ,£300 
to the Society for Propagating the Gospel ; *£900 for ed- 
ucating and clothing twelve poor boys and twelve girls, al 
dC4o yearly, at Mortlake in Surrey ; to build and endow an 
alms-house at Sheen in Surrey, sum not stated ; c £6000 to 
augment poor livings ; besides various other sums for char- 
itable purposes, All this property did this noble man thus 


804 CM ATTBBT4*. 

■■*.' , - ■ 

bestow on the meeds of his poorer brethren, without for- 
getting, as 18 Often dft0 case on great occasions, those of his 
own blood relatives, to whom he bequeathed the princely 
sain of .£100,000. But, like an able and wise merchant, 
he did not merely bequeath these munificent funds, but 
"he performed all these charitable works in his lifetime; 
invested revenues for their support in trustees 9 hands ; lived 
to see the trusts justly executed, as they are at this day; 
and saw with his own'eyes the good effects of all his estab- 
lishments." - Great, too, as were these bequests, they were 
not the result of hoarding during a long, penurious life, as 
is often the case, to leave a boastful name at his death ; his 
whole life was like the latter end of it. True, be did not 
marry, and when urged to it, used to reply,~with a sort of 
pleasantness, " Every helpless widow is my wife, and her 
distressed orphans my children." " He was a most suc- 
cessful merchant," says .Barrett, in his History of Bristol, 
" and never insured a ship, and never lost one. 9 ' He lived 
first in Small-street, Bristol, but having so much busineai 
in London, and being chosen to represent the city, he re- 
moved thither, and afterward lived, as he advanced in years, 
a very retired life, at Mortlake, in Surrey. His daily ex- 
istence was one of the noblest acts of Christian benevo- 
lence; and his private donations were noteless than his 
public. He sent at one time <£3000 to relieve and free 
debtors in Ludgate, by a private hand ; freed yearly those 
confined for small debts in Whitechapel Prison and the 
Marshalsea ; sent <£1000 to relieve distress in Whitechapel; 
twice a week distributed beef and broth to all the poor 
around him ; and were any sailor suffering or cast away 
in bis employ, his family afterward found a sure asylum in 
him." " 

Why did not Chatterton, who, by the splendid provision 
of this man, received his education and advance into life, re- 
sound the praises of Edward Colston as loudly as he did 
those of William Canynge % There is no doubt that it was 
because time had not sufficiently clothed with its poetic 


hoes the latter merchant as it had the former. Canynge, 
too, as the builder of Redcliffe Church, was to him an ob- 
ject of profound admiration. This church is the most live- 
ly monument of the memory of Chatterton. His mother is 
said to have lived on Redcliffe Hill, nearly opposite to the 
upper gate of this church, at the corner of Colston's pa- 
rade ; this must have been when he was apprentice at 
Lambert's, and also probably before, while he was at Col- 
ston's school. The houses standing there now, however, 
are too large and good for a woman in her circumstances 
to have occupied; and it is therefore probable that this 
abode of his, too, must have been pulled down. We turn, 
then, to the church itBelf, as the sole building of his resort, 
next to Colston's school, which remains as he used to see 
it A noble and spacious church it is, as we have stated, 
of the lightest and most beautiful architecture. The grace- 
ful, lofty columns and pointed arches of its aisles; the 
richly-groined roof; and the fine extent of the view from 
east to west, being no less than 197 feet, and the height of 
the middle cross aisle, 54 feet, with a proportionate breadth 
from north to south, fills you, on entering, with a feeling of 
the highest admiration and pleasure. What does not a 
little surprise you is to find in the church, where the great 
painted altar-piece used to hang, now as large a painting 
of the Ascension, with two side pieces, one representing 
the stone being roiled away from the sepulcher of our Sav- 
ior, and 'the other the three Maries come to visit the empty 
tomb ; and those by no other artist than — Hogarth ! The 
curiosity of such a fact makes these paintings a matter of 
intense interest ; and if we can not place them on a par 
with such things from the hands of the old masters, we 
must allow that they are full of talent, and wonderful for 
a man whose ordinary walk was extremely different. 

Another object of interest is the tomb of Admiral Penn, 
the father of die founder of Pennsylvania, which is in the 
pavement of the south aisle, with this inscription : " Here 
Beth the body of Sir William Penn, who departed this life 



the 16th of September, 1674. Dum clavum tenean." On 
a pillar Dear hang two or three decayed banners, & black 
cuirass and helmet, gantlets and swords, with his escutch- 
eon and motto. Not being aware that Admiral Peon lay 
buried here, I can not describe the singular. feeling which 
the sight of these remnants of aristocratic pageantry, im- 
pended above the tomb of the father of the great Quaker of 
Pennsylvania, gave me ; suspended, too, in one of the prood- 
est temples of that proud national church, the downfall of 
which this very man predicted on his death-bed : ** Sea 
William, if you and your friends continue faithful to that 
which has been made known to yon, you will make an 
end of priests and priestcraft to the end of the world*" 

Jn the south transept stand conspicuously the tomb tad 
effigies of William Ganygne. These are striking objecti 
in connection with the history of Chatterton. Here yc« 
behold the very forms which, from the early dawn of fas 
life, filled the mind of -the poet-chiU with the deepest sen* 
of admiration. It was here, before thes e recumbent fig- 

C H A T T E K T Q H . 


monuments of the same person side by side, and that in 
two different characters, yet all 11 little would these have 
attracted notice over a thousand other goodly tombs in our 
churches, bad they not chanced to attract the attention of 
this little charity -hoy, the descendant of the sextons of the 

Last, but far moat striking of all the haunts of Chatter* 
ton, ia that muniment room over the north porch. When 
you ascend the dark and winding stair, and enter this dim 
and stony hexagon apartment, and see still standing on its 
floor the seven very chests of the Rowley story, old ami 
moldering, their lids — some of them circular, aa if hewn ont 
of sol id trees — broken ofT, and all dirty and worm-eaten, the 
reality of the strange facts connected with them comes 
thrilling ly upon yuu* You seem then and there only first 
and fully to feel how actual and how sad is the story of 
Thomas Chatter! on * that here, indeed, began his won* 
drous scheme of fame ; hence it spread and stood forth as a 
brilliant mystery for a moment ; hence the proud boy glo- 
ried in its sudden blaze as in that of a recognizing glory 
from heaven ; and then how 

*■ Blvk de*jwur\ 
The thadow of a itarlcM night, ww thrown 
Over the earth, in which he moved «lt/ne. rt — Shrilly* 


Tm life of Thomas Gray, the author of the Elegy in t 
Country Chiirchyard, was passed in London, in Cambridge, 
and at Stoke-Pogia, in Backinghamshire, except what he 
spent in traveling, which was considerable. Gray waf 
bora in Cornhili, November 26, 1716. His parents were 
repoftable citizens of London ; his grandfather was a consid- 
erable merchant, but his father, Mr. PhiKp Gray, Mallet 
says, though he also followed business, was of an indolent 
and reserved temper, and therefore rather diminished than 
increased his paternal fortune. He had many children, of 
whom Thomas was the fifth ; all except him died in their 
infancy. The business of Gray's father was, like that of 
Milton's, a money-scrivener. But, unlike Milton's father, 
Philip Gray was, according to Mallet, not only reserved 
and indolent, but of a morose, unsocial, and obstinate tem- 
per. His indolence led him to neglect the business of hb 
profession ; his obstinacy, to build a country house at Wan- 
stead, without acquainting his wife or son of the design, to 
which he knew they would be very averse, till it was exe- 
cuted. This turned out a loss of two thousand pounds to 
the family ; and the character of the father, which is sup- 
posed to have been stamped by bodily ailments, was the oc- 
casion of Gray, though an only child, being left with a very 
narrow patrimony. His mother, to provide for her family* 
entered into business, independent of her husband, with 
her sister, Miss Antrobus. The two ladies kept a kind of 
India warehouse in Cornhili. As clever ladies in bosiness 
generally do, they succeeded so well, that, on Mr. Gray's 
death, which happened about the time of the young poet's 
return from his first trip to the Continent, they retired, and 

G & A Y. 309 

went to join housekeeping with their third sister, Mrs. 
Rogers, the widow of a gentleman of that name, who had 
formerly been in the law, and had retired to Burnham, in 
Buckinghamshire, where we find Gray, on one occasion, de- 
scribing, in a letter to Walpole, the uncle and the place 
thus : " The description of a road that your coach- wheels 
have so often honored, it is needless to give to you ; suffice 
it that I arrived safe at my uncle's, who is a great hunter 
in imagination. His dogs take up every chair in the house, so 
I am forced to stand up at this present writing ; and though 
the gout forbids his galloping after them in the field, yet he 
continues still to regale his ears and nose with their com- 
fortable noise and stink. He holds me mighty cheap, I 
perceive, for walking when I should ride, and reading when 
I should hunt. My comfort amid all this is, that I have, at 
the distance of half a mile, through a green lane, a forest — 
the vulgar call it a common — all my own, at least as good 
as so, for I spy no human thing in it but myself. It is a 
little chaos of mountains and precipices ; mountains, it is 
true, that do not ascend much above the clouds, nor are the 
declivities quite so amazing as Dover Cliff; but just such 
hills as people who love their necks as well as I do may 
venture to climb, and crags that give the eye as much 
pleasure as if they were more dangerous. Both vale and 
hill are covered with most venerable beeches, and other 
very reverend vegetables, that, like most other ancient peo- 
ple, are always dreaming out their- old stories to the winds: 

* And as they bow, their hoary tops relate, 
In murmuring sounds, the dark decrees of Fate ; 
While visions, as poetic eyes avow, 
Cling to each leaf and swarm on every bough. ' 

At the foot of one of these squats me I, il penteroso, and 
there grow to the trunk for a whole morning. The timor- 
ous hare and sportive squirrel gambol around me like Adam 
in Paradise, before he had Eve ; but I think he did not use 
to read Virgil, as I commonly do there. In this situation 

•10 am at. 

I often convene with my Ho ra ce al o u d, tooj the* is, talk 
to you ; but I do not remember that I ever heard yon as> 
■war me. I beg pardon for- taking all the conversation to 
myself, but it is entirely your own mult. We hata old Mr. 
Southern at a gentleman's house a little way off; who often 
comes to see us. He is now seventy-seven years old; and 
has almost wholly lost his memory, but is as a g reeable as 
an old man can be — at least I persuade myself so when! 
look at him, and think of Isabella and Qronoko."* 

-By this agreeable extract, however, we have outstepped 
the progress of Gray's life. He was educated at Eton, un- 
der the care of Mr. Antrobus, Us mother's brother, then 
assistant to Dr. George, and, when he left school in 1734, 
entered a pensioner at Peterhouse, in Cambridge. It was 
intended that he should follow the profession of the law, for 
which his uncle's practice and connections seemed to open 
a brillitmt way. He therefore' lived on at college so long 
as his attendance on the lectures was required, but took no 
degree. His uncle's death put an end to his prospects of 
that kind, and he abandoned the idea of the* legal profes- 
sion. When he had been at Gambridge about five yean, 
he agreed to make a tour on the Continent with Horace 
Walpole, and they proceeded together through France to 
Italy, where they quarreled and parted, taking different 
ways. On his return he again went to Cambridge, took 
the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law, and continued there, 
without liking the place or its inhabitants, as we are in* 
formed by both Johnson and Mallet, or professing to like 
them. His pleasure lay in wading through huge libraries, 
out of which, on a vast number of subjects, he extracted a 
vast amount of information. Such were Gray's assiduous 
study and research, that the following character of him by 
a cotemporary, the Rev. Mr. Temple, rector of St. Gluvias, 
in Cornwall, written a few months after his death, can 
scarcely be termed overdrawn, . " Perhaps he was the most 
learned man in Europe.- He was equally acquainted with 


GRAY. 311 

the elegant and profound parts of science, and that not su- 
perficially, but thoroughly. He knew every branch of his- 
tory, both natural and civil ; had read all the original his- 
tories of England, France, and Italy ; and was a great an- 
tiquarian. Criticism, metaphysics, morals, politics, made 
a principal part of his plan of study. Voyages and travels 
of*aH sorts were his favorite amusement ; and he had a fine 
taste in painting, prints, architecture, and gardening." 

He was, in fact, one of the first to open up the Northern 
antiquities and legendary literature, and most probably was 
the cause of Mallet turning to this subject ; be was also one 
of the very first^'if not the very first person, who began to 
trace out and distinguish the different orders of Anglo- 
Gothic architecture, by attention to the date of its- creation. 
These were the studies, enough to occupy a life, which 
kept him close at Cambridge in his room for years, and 
once induced him to take lodgings, for about three years, 
near the British Museum, where he diligently copied from 
the Harleiari and other manuscripts. The death of his 
most intimate friend, Mr. West, the son of the Chancellor 
of Ireland, soon after his return from the Continent, tended 
only the more to fix this habit of retirement and study. He 
lived on at Peterhouse till 1756, when a curious incident 
drove him forth. Two or three young men of fortune, who 
lived in the same staircase, had for some time intentionally 
disturbed him with their riots, and carried their ill behavior 
so far as frequently to awaken him at midnight. After 
having borne their insults longer than might reasonably 
have been expected, even from a man of less warmth of tem- 
per, Mr. Gray complained to the governing part of the so- 
ciety, and not thinking his remonstrance sufficiently attend- 
ed to, quitted the college. He took up his residence at 
Pembroke Hall, where he continued to reside till the day 
of his death, which occurred here in the fifty-fifth year of 
his age, July 30, 1771, being seized with gout in the stom- 
ach while at dinner in the college hall. 

He had for the last three years been appointed Profes- 
sor of History in this college, but such was his indolence, 
fastidiousness, or aversion to so public a duty, thai, to use 
the words of Johnson, " he was always designing lectures, 
but never reading them ; uneasy at his neglect of duty, and 
appeasing his uneasiness with designs of reformation, and 
with a resolution which he believed himself to have made, 
of resigning the office if he found himself unable to dis- 
charge it," He continued thus to vacillate, and held on 
till his death. A circumstance which attached him more 
to Pembroke College was, that Mason was elected a fel- 
low of it in 1747 ; they grew warm friends, and Mason af- 
terward became his biographer. 

Such was the general outline of Gray's life. In reading 
it, we find the most interesting features those which he de- 
scribes so well in his letters, his travels, and his occasional 
retreats at Stoke-Pogis, He made a tour into the north of 
England, to the lakes, and into Scotland ; at another time 
through Worcester, Hereford, Monmouth, and parts of the 
neighboring counties ; and all his details of such rambles, 
as they are given with an evident zest, are full of life and 
interest In his prose, Gray gets out of the stiff and stilted 
formality of much of his poetry* He forgets his learning 
and his classical notions, and is at once easy, amiable, wit- 
ty, and jocose, There was a degree of effeminacy about 
him, which you see in the portraits of him, which you do 
not the less detect in his poetry ; but his prose gives you a 
far more attractive idea of him, as he must be in the familiar 
circle of his friends. On turning to Gray's account of those 
places which I have visited in various parts of the king- 
dom, I have always found him seizing on their real features, 
and impressed with their true spirit. Of this genuine feel- 
ing of nature, his account of his visit to the Grande Char* 
rreuse may bo taken as a sufficient specimen : 

** We took the longest road, which lies through Savoy, 
on purpose to see a famous monastery called the Grande 

GRAY. 313 

Chartreuse, and had no reason to think our time lost* At 
ter traveling seven days, very slow — for we did not change 
horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go fast in these 
ruads — we arrived at a little village among the mountains 
of Savoy, called Echelles, from whence 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 wind* 
lag up it, commonly not six feet broad ; on the one hand in 
the rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging over head ; on 
the other a monstrous precipice, aim- >si 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 made still 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 sum mil 
down into the vale and the river below, and many other 
places impossible to describe — you will conclude we had 
no occasion to repent of our pains* This place St, Bruno 
chose to retire to, and upon its very top founded the afore- 
said convent, which is the superior of the whole order* 
When we came there, the two fathers who are commission* 
ed to entertain strangers — for the rest must neither speak 
to one another nor to any one else — received us very kind- 
ly, and set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and 
fruits, all excellent of their kind, and extremely neat They 
pressed us to spend the night there, and to stay some days 
with them, but thia we could not do ; so they led us about 
their bouse, 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 every thing among themselves* The whole is quite 
orderly and simple : nothing of finery \ but the wonderful 
Vol. 1. 

814 O E A Y. 

decency, and the strange situation, more than supply (be 
place of it. In the evening we descended fay die same 
way, passing through many clouds that wen then forming 
themselves on the mountain's side, and pursued our jour- 
ney toward Chamberry. ,f 

It is, however, at Stoke-Pogis that we seek the most at- 
tractive vestiges of Gray. Here he used to speod his vaca- 
tions, not only when a youth at Eton, -but during the whole 
of his future life, while his mother and his aunts lived. 
Here it was that his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton 
College, his celebrated Elegy written in a Country Church- 
yard, and his Long Story, Were not only written, but wen 
mingled with the circumstances, 'and all the tenderest feel- 
ings of his own life. 

His mother and aunts lived at an old-fashioned house in 
a very retired spot at Stoke, called West End. This house 
stood in a hollow, much screened by trees. A small stream 
ran through the garden, and it is said that Grey used to em- 
ploy himself when here much in this garden, and that many 
of the trees still remaining an of his planting. On one 
side of the house extended an upland field, which was 
planted round so as to give a charming, retired walk ; and 
at the summit of the field was raised *Ju artificial mound, 
and upon it was built a sort of arcade or summef -house, 
which gave full prospect of Windsor and Eton. Here 
Gray used to delight to sit; here he was accustomed to 
read and write much ; and it is just the place to inspirje the 
Ode on Eton College, which lay in the midst of its fine land- 
scape, beautifully in view. The old house inhabited by 
Gray and his mother has just been pulled down, and re- 
placed by an Elizabethan mansion by the present proprie- 
tor, Mr. Penn, of Stoke Park, just by. The garden, of 
course, has shared in the change, and now stands gay with 
its fountain and its modern green-house, and, excepting for 
some fine trees, no longer reminds you of Gray. The 
woodland walk still remains round the adjoining field, and 

G E A V. 815 

the summer-house on its summit, though now much cracked 
by time, and only held together by iron cramps. The tree* 
are now so lofty that they completely obstruct the view, and 
shut out both Eton and Windsor. 

It was at this house, now destroyed, that the two ladies 
from the Park made their memorable visit, which grave occa- 
sion to the Long Story. The facts were these : Gray had 
finished his Elegy, and had sent it in manuscript to Horace 
Walpole, by whom it was shown about with great applause. 
Among the rest of the fashionable world to whom it was 
thus communicated, Lady Cobham, who now lived at the 
mansion-house at Stoke-Pogis, had read and admired it. 
Wishing to make the acquaintance of the author, and hear- 
ing that he was so near her, her relatives, Miss Speed and 
Lady Schaub, then at her house, undertook to bring this 
about by making him the first visit He happened to be 
from home when the ladies arrived at his aunt's solitary 
mansion; and when he returned, was surprised to find, 
written on one of his papers in the parlor where he usually 
read y the following note : " Lady Scbaub's compliments to 
Mr. Gray. She is sorry not to have found him at home, to 
tell him that Lady Brown is very welL" This necessarily 
obliged him to return the visit, and soon after induced him 
to compose a ludicrous account of this little adventure for 
the amusement of the ladies in question. This was a mere 
jeu d? esprit, and, extravagant as some parts of it are, is cer- 
tainly very clever ; Gray regarded it but as a thing for the 
occasion, and never included it in his published poems. 
But Mallet tells us that when it appeared, though only in 
manuscript, it was handed about, and the most various 
opinions pronounced on it By some it was thought a 
master-piece of original humor ; by others, a wild and fan- 
tastic farrago. It, in truth, much more resembles his prose, 
and proves that, if he had not always had the fear of the 
critics before his eyes, he would have written with far more 
freedom and life than he often did. We may take a few 
Jtanzas, as connected with our further subject : 

316 GRAY. 

" In Britain's isle, no matter where, 

An ancient pile of building standi: 
The Huntingdons and Hattons there 

Employed the power of fairy hands 
To raise the ceiling's fretted height. 

Each panel in achievements clothing, 
Rich windows that exclude the light, 

And passages that lead to nothing. 
Full oft within the spacious walls; 

When he had fifty winters o'er him, 
My grave lord-keeper led 4he brawls ; 

The seal and maces danced before him. 
His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green, 

His high-crowned hat, and satin doublet, 
Moved the stout heart of England's queen, 

Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it 
• • • 

A house there is, and that's enough, 

From whence one fetal morning issues 
A brace of warriors, not in buff, 

But rustling in their silks and tissues. 
The first came cap-a-pie from France, 

Her conquering destiny fulfilling. 
Whom meaner beauties eye askance, 

And vainly ape her art of killing. 
The other Amazon kind Heaven 

Had armed with spirit, wit, and satire ; 
But Cobhara had the polish given, 

And tipped her arrows with good-nature. 
To celebrate her eyes, her air — 

Coarse panegyrics would but tease her; 
Melissa is her nom de guerre ; 

Alas ! who would not wish to please her ! 
With bonnet blue, nnd capuchine, 

And aprons long, they hid their armor, 
And veiled their weapons, bright and keen, 

In pity to the country farmer. * 

Fame, in the shape of Mr. P — t — 

By this time all the parish kuew it — 
Had told that thereabouts there lurked 

A wicked imp they call a poet ; 
Who prowled the country far and near, 

Bewitched the children of the peasants, 

61AY. 817 

Dried up the cows, and lamed the deer, 

And racked the eggs, and killed the pheasants. 
My lady heard their joint petition, 

Swore by her coronet and ermine, 
Bhe'd issue out her high commission, 

To rid the manor of such vermine. 
The heroines Undertook the task, 

Through lanes unknown, o'er stiles they ventured, 
Rapped at the door, nor stayed to ask, 

Bat bounce into the parlor entered. 
The trembling family they daunt, 

They flirt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle, 
Rummage his mother, pinch his aunt, 

And up stairs in a whirlwind rattle," &c. 

be ancient pile here mentioned was the Manor-house, 
e Park, which was then in the possession of Viscount- 
!obham. This place and the manor had been in some 
irkable hands. The manor was so called from the 
tea, the ancient lords of that name. The heiress of 
family, in the reign of Edward the Third, married 
I Molines, who shortly afterward procured a license 
the king to convert the manor-house into a castle. 
n him it descended to the Lords Hungerford, and from 
i to the Hastings, earls of Huntingdon, and was after- 
t the residence of Lord-chancellor Hatton. Sir Chris- 
er Hatton had won his promotion with Queen Eliza- 
through his graceful person and fine dancing, and is 
picturesquely described by Gray, with "his shoe- 
gs green, high-crowned hat, and satin doublet/ 9 lead- 
jff'the brawls, a sort of figure-dance then in vogue, be- 
the queen. Sir Edward Coke, having married an 
»s of the Huntingdon family, became the next possess- 
and here, in the year 1601, he was honored with a 
from Elizabeth, whom he entertained in a very sump- 
s style. After the death of the Viscountess Cobham, 
Mtate was purchased by Mr. William Penn, chief pro- 
tor of Pennsylvania, a descendant of the celebrated 
liam Pens, the founder of that state. 

318 G E A Y. 

This old manor-house has. since been iwept away, as 
Gray's residence is also, and a large modern mansion now 
occupies its place. This was built from a design by Wy- 
att, in 1789, and has since been altered and enlarged. It 
is built chiefly of brick, and covered with stucco, and con- 
sists of a large square center, with two wings. The north, 
or entrance front, is ornamented with a colonnade, consist- 
ing of ten Doric colums, and approached by a flight of steps 
leading to the Marble Hall. The south front, 196 feet 
long, is also adorned with a colonnade, consisting of twelve 
fluted columns of the old Doric order. This is surrounded 
by a projecting portico of four Ionic columns, sustaining an 
ornamental pediment ; and again, on the top of the house, 
by a dome. t 

Stoke Park, thus interesting both on account of these 
older associations, and of Penn and Gray,. is about a couple 
of miles from Slough. The country is flat, but ite monot- 
ony is broken up by the noble character and disposition of 
its woods. Near the house is a fine expanse of water, 
across which the eye falls on fine views, particularly to the 
south, of Windsor Castle, Cooper's Hill, and the Forest 
Woods. About three hundred yards from the north front 
of the house stands a column, sixty-eight feet high, bearing 
on the top a colossal statue of Sir Edward Cake, by Rosa. 
The woods of the park shut out the view of West End 
House, Gray's occasional residence, but the space is open 
from the mansion across the park, so as to take in the view 
both of the church and of a monument erected by the late 
Mr. Penn to Gray. Alighting from the carriage at a lodge, 
I entered the park just at the monument. This is com- 
posed of fine freestone, and consists of a large sarcophagus, 
supported on a square pedestal, with inscriptions on each 
side. Three of them are selected from the Ode to Eton 
College and the Elegy. They are : 

" Hard by yon wood, now uniting as in scorn, 
Muttering hi* wayward Jancies he would rove ; 

GUY. 3li> 

Now drooping, woeful, wan, like one forlorn, 
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. 

" One morn I missnd him on the accustomed hill. 
Along the heath, and near his favorite tree ; 
Another came ; nor jet beside the rill, 
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood wai be/* 

The second is from the Ode : 

M Ye distant spires ! je antique towers ! 

That crown the watery glade, 
Where grateful science still adores 

Her Henry's holy shade; 
And ye, that from the stately brow 
Of Windsor's heights the expanse below 

Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey, 
Whose tur£ whose shade, whose flowers among 
- Wanders the hoary Thames along 

His silver winding way. 

44 Ah, happy hills ! ah, pleasing shade ! 

Ah, fields beloved in vain ! 
Where once my careless childhood strayed," 

A stranger yet to pain ! 
I feel the gales that from ye blow, 
A momentary bliss bestow." 

The third is again from the Elegy : 

" Beneath those rugged elms, that yew tree's shade, 
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, 
Each in his narrow cell forever 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 thorn from their lowly bed." 

The fourth bears this inscription : 

* This Monument, in honor of 

Thomas Gray, 

Was erected A.D. 1799, 

Among the scenery 

Celebrated by that great Lyric and Elegiac Poet. 

He died in 1771, 


And lies unnoted in the enjoining Church-yard, 

Under the Tomb-atone on which he piously 

And pathetically recorded the interment 

Of his Aunt and lamented Mother." 

This monument is inclosed in a neatly-kept garden-like 
inclosure, with a winding walk approaching from the shade 
of the neighboring trees. To the right, across the park, at 
some little distance, backed by fine trees, stands' the rural 
little church and churchyard where Gray wrote his Elegy, 
and where he lies. As you walk on to this, the mansion 
closes the distant view between the woods with fine effect. 
The church has often been engraved, and is therefore tol- 
erably familiar to the general reader. It consists of two 
barn-like structures, with tall roofs, set side by side, and 
the tower and finely-tapered spire rising above them at the 
northwest corner. The church is thickly hung with ivy, 

" The moping owl may to the moon complain 
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, 
Molest her ancient, solitary reign." 

The structure is as simple and old-fashioned, both with- 
out and within, as any village church can well be. No vil- 
lage, however, is to be seen. Stoke consists chiefly of scat- 
tered houses, and this is now in the midst of the park. In 
the churchyard, 

" Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, 
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, 
Each in his narrow cell forever laid, 
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

All this is quite literal ; and the tomb of the poet him- 
self, near the southeast window, completes the impression 
of the scene. It is a plain brick altar tomb, covered with 
a blue slate slab, and, besides his own ashes, contains 
those of his mother and aunt. On the slab are inscribed 
the following lines by Gray himself: " In the vault beneath 
are deposited, in hope of a joyful resurrection, the remains 

GRAY. 321 

of Mary Antrobu*. She died unmarried, Nov. 5, 1749, 
aged sixty-six. In the same pious confidence, beside her 
friend and sister, here sleep the remains of Dorothy Gray, 
widow ; the tender, careful mother of many children, one 
of whom alone had the misfortune tor survive her. She 
died, March 11, 1753, aged sixty-seven." 

No testimony of the interment of Gray in the same tomb 
was inscribed any where till Mr. Penn, in 1799, -erected 
the monument already mentioned, and placed a small slab 
in the wall, under the window, opposite to the tomb itself, 
recording the fact of Gray's burial there. The whole scene 
is well worthy of a summer day's stroll, especially for such 
as, pent in the metropolis, know how to enjoy the quiet 
freshness of the country, and the associations of poetry and 
the past. The Great Western Railway now will set such 
down in about one hour at Slough, a pleasant walk from 

The late Mr. Penn, a gentleman of refined taste, and a 
great reverencer of the memory of Gray, possessed his au- 
tographs, which have been sold at great prices. It is to 
be regretted that his house, too, is now gone, but the church 
and the tomb will remain to future ages. 


.*% ». %»« *vv%x* j»o»e :* none who more completely ver- 
ks. ik ■•*»..> .-% v/*Hoi»e ;han Oliver Goldsmith: 
i*.. «. » * « mnmi '.ert thu wurU of fin 
>»i .«. .».*. ik- itautt that he enteral in." 

Li ■» .«* » ^Mti.iio *•. *8miirMiK jl\ heart and impulse. In- 
x*k%. . t K^i, ;i iiuivxl, .'dcii rttiide the butt of witling*, and 
v...,'x.Uv. o u»k»* liiJ s*v on with that cancer of the 
u«.fci 'imu>u hivnj »» -.Hveure the ordinary means of 
. \.n»i..v%- ,K>iK- >%. 'K«o ^m»t»s cou!d convert the milk of 

i ^.« v :.v.14vjo **it>.ini liiu '.mo <all» could teach him one 

j..i»m ■• Ma*! ti*»i a iKc ( 01 Jim :He godlike sense of truth 
...J i^.iiu.i.;^ u u» M>ui. r*iti.Hti**i a ?«*u^ experience of 
i.x «. t.tvi iiiii^ss "l^iii^ ">* >iurts% ind writiav; &r mere bread, 
u ^i;i ciiui.iicu iio otitic >iuii»ic, warm- hearted, generous, 
i..s. ,.4^'^»K>vKiiuvi ji^-acuv :iiiic he w-js it the beginning. 
I'ujUt'v.^ta; *»o vvriA, >ut of :ho overflowing go*. nines* of 
i.» -uuiue -euJ\, u \iw it< orv of distress* Co give away 
iuu wi)*c!i to hid bittvi'V "oiled *wi\ and which had been 
kli'tJ^uigiv iiaul . ; >nt he *iever -ii.toe others the victims "f 

nis improvidence. He remained Mngie. and made ail that 
were in suffering his family, and helped them even when 
he needed help himsel£ I know not whether more to ad- 
mire the exquisite beauty of his poetry, the life and vir- 
tue* of the Vicar of Wakefield, or the gloriously unworld- 
ly texture of bis heart. Thousands of brilliant spirits have 
risen, glittered, and died in the field of our literature, bar- 
ing astonished and wounded their neighbors, as they have 
gone along in their pride, dreaming of an everlasting rep- 
utation, who are now justly forgotten, or are remembered 
without respect or emotion. They had intellect unallied 
to heart, and the cold meteor dazzled in its descent to earth, 
snd left no blessing behind it. But the genial spirit of Gold- 
smith, all love and pity in itself, is, and will be forever, re- 
membered with love and reverence — the last the very qual- 
ity that he received least of in his lifetime. One of the 
most amiable and attractive points of view in which wo 
contemplate Dr. Johnson, is that of his attachment to Gold- 
smith, and of his acknowledgment of his genius. 

The life of Oliver Goldsmith has been well written by 
Mr. Prior. It is almost the only one that I have found, 
during the researches necessary for this work, which might 
have rendered unnecessary a visit to the actual " homes 
and haunts" of the poet under notice. It is a most rare 
circumstance that a biographer possesses the faculty of 
landscape-painting, and, besides detailing the facts of a per- 
son's life, can make you see the places where that life was 
passed. Mr. Prior possesses this faculty in a high degree. 
He was at the pains to visit Ireland, and see, with his own 
eyes, the scenes where Goldsmith was born, and where he 
lived ; and the different sojourns of Goldsmith in that coun- 
try are so accurately sketched, that they might have been 
oansferred literally to these pages with advantage, had 
fcot 1 myself also gone over the same ground. 

Goldsmith was of a very respectable family in Ireland, 
many of whom had been clergymen, residing principally 


in the counties of Roscommon, Westmeath, and Longford. 
Two of them were deans of Elphin, another dean of Cloyne. 
Goldsmith used to boast that, by the female side, he was 
remotely descended from Oliver Cromwell, from whom his 
Christian name was derived. It seems, however, more like- 
ly, that he owed his name to his mother's father, the Rev. 
Oliver Jones, master of the diocesan school at Elphin. 
The poet's own father, Charles Goldsmith, was a poor cu- 
rate at the time of the poet's birth. He had married Ann 
Jones at a time when he was without occupation, and 
therefore to the great dissatisfaction of her friends. Mrs. 
Goldsmith's uncle, however, was rector of Kilkenny West, 
near Lissoy, afterward to become the residence of Gold- 
smith himself, and to receive from him the immortal name 
and celebrity of Auburn. This uncle provided the young 
couple with a house, about six miles from Kilkenny West, 
at a small hamlet called Pallasmore, and with a salary for 
officiating at the church of the parish in which Pallas or 
Pallasmore was situated, and also in that of his own, Kil- 
kenny West. It seems Goldsmith's parents continued to 
reside twelve years at Pallas, and here the poet was born, 
on the 10th of November, 1728. He was one of eight 
children, five boys and three girls. He was the second 
son, his elder brother being Henry, who afterward became 
curate of Kilkenny West, and lived at Lissoy, where Oli- 
ver addressed to him his poem, " The Traveler." That 
Goldsmith was come of a good stock, we may infer by the 
character of simple piety which both his poetry and local 
tradition give to his father, the good parish priest — n pass- 
ing rich, with forty pounds a year" — and not the less from 
the spirit and decision which his grandmother, Mrs. Jones, 
displayed in order to improve the scanty income of Oliver's 
parents. The husband of this lady, the Rev. Oliver Jones, 
was now dead ; she was a widow; her daughter and son-in- 
law were living at Pallas, on the poor stipend derived from 
his curacy. Her husband had rented a considerable tract 


of land on very advantageous terms, which now fell out of 
lease. She determined, if possible, to secure this for her 
son-in-law and daughter. She was refused; but, nothing 
daunted, she mounted behind her own son on a pillion, 
and set out on the long and arduous journey to Dublin, to 
try her personal influence with the landlord. Here the 
same refusal met her; but, as a last argument, she took 
out a hundred guineas, which she had provided herself 
with, and held them open in her hand while she pleaded. 
This had the effect that she procured half the land on the 
same easy terms as before, and she used jocularly to re- 
gret that she had not taken two hundred guineas, and thus 
got the whole. This noble act of maternal heroism is the 
more to be admired, as it cost her the life of her son, who 
received an injury of some kind on the journey. 

Pallasmore, then, where Oliver Goldsmith was born, is 
a mere cluster of two or three cottages, called in Ireland 
farm-houses, but which, to an English eye, would present 
only the appearance of huts. The place lies quite out of 
the track of high-roads, about a mile and a half from Bal- 
rymahon in a direct line, but perhaps three, taking in all 
the windings of the ways to it. It is now the property of 
the Edgeworths. There is nothing remarkable in the as- 
pect of the country. It is rather flat, naked of trees, and 
cultured by small tenants. It was with some difficulty 
that I got at it. My car-driver from Edgeworthstown 
knew nothing more of it than its name, and we had pro- 
ceeded somewhat beyond the proper turning, as it lay 
quite off the highway, and were obliged to obtain permis- 
sion to pass through the park of Newcastle, in order to 
reach it without making a great circuit. Having ap- 
proached to within half a mile of it, a peasant pointed it 
out, as a group of white cottages standing in a clump of 
trees. The lanes were now become so narrow and stony 
that I was obliged to quit my car, as Mr. Prior describes 
himself to have done, and proceed across the fields on foot 


I passed along the deep, stony, and narrow lanes, here and 
there a regular Irish cabin sticking in the bank, the smoke 
coming out of the door, or issuing from the thatched roof 
about on a level with the fields above. ~ A boy who was 
teaching school in one of these came out with his book in 
his hand, and directed me into a footpath across the fields. 
Here I advanced through the standing corn, and at length 
reached this out-of-the-world spot, dignified with the 
sounding title of Pallasmore. Here about three white- 
washed cottages, of a superior description to the cabins I 
had passed in the narrow lanes, • stood amid' a number of 
ash-trees, looking out over an ordinary sort of country. A 
man, the inhabitant of one of them, advanced to show me 
the spot where the poet was born. He plunged into a po- 
tato-field, and at a few hundred yards from the cottages, 
in the bank of the next field, showed me a few stones, like 
the foundation of a wall, which have the reputation of be- 
ing the sole remains of the house where the poet was born 
Poets are, certainly, often born in odd places, but it cer 
tainly did strike me strangely, th'at the man who was des- 
tined to spend the greater portion of his life in the dense 
crowd of London, should have sprung out of this obscure 
and almost inaccessible location. There is nothing in the 
view around to suggest to the mind any the most faint 
dream of poetry. Oliver Goldsmith, however, was a mere 
infant when first removed from this place. His father, two 
years after his birth, succeeded, on the death of his wife's 
uncle, to the rectory of Kilkenny West, and removed to 
Lissoy ; but Oliver was accustomed to come thither, and 
made considerable sojourns with bis brother Henry, who 
lived here when Oliver was grown up. The house is said 
to have been a good country house, looking toward For- 
ney Church, at which Oliver's father and brother used to 
preach, and which still rises to view between it and some 
distant woods, one of the most pleasing objects of the 


Popular tradition ascribes tbe utter destruction of the 
bouse to the fairies, who, on its becoming untenanted, used 
to take up their quarters there, and pursue their nocturnal 
sports in great content But a tenant being found, and re- 
pairs of the house being commenced, a huge man in huge 
jack-boots used to come every night, and making a horse 
of it by bestriding the roof, would push his legs through the 
tiles, and, imitating galloping, shake the roof to pieces. It 
was therefore obliged to remain empty, till, falling into 
ruin, it was at length cleared clean away, with the excep- 
tion of these few stones. 

The Tery ordinary character of this scene, and of the 
country round, almost extinguished my desire for proceed- 
ing onward. five miles further to Lissoy, the reputed Au- 
burn, especially as the Edgeworths had told me it was not 
worth my while. I inquired, however, of a farmer that 1 
met on my return to the car that waited for me on the 
road, what sort of a place Lissoy was. " Ob, a very beau 
tiful place !" said he, " a very beautiful place ! You must 
see it : that was where Oliver Goldsmith lived and died." 
" Lived, but not died," I replied : " he died in London " 
" Oh no ! your honor," replied the man, " I assure you he 
died there, and lies buried at Kilkenny West." 

The accuracy of the man's account was about equal in 
all its parts. Lissoy was just as truly beautiful as Gold 
smith was buried there. But this is always the way with 
the Irish peasantry. Unlike the Scotch, whose local 
knowledge is generally very correct, they seem to look 
upon all remarkable men as they do on their saints, and in- 
sist on their remains being preserved among them. At 
Kilcolman Castle I was assured with equal positiveness that 
Spenser was buried just below the castle, and the spot 
pointed out to me. There was, however, sufficient charm 
in the farmer's' assurance that Lissoy was a very beautiful 
place, to turn the scale for going on. In such cases one is 
willing to be deceived, and follow the slightest word, though 


with an inward consciousness that we shall not find what 
we are promised. We drove on, therefore, six or seven 
miles further, over a Very monotonous, naked country, only 
marked by a few banks for fences, and-a few little smoky 
cabins with a poor population. It is a country that to 
Goldsmith's boyish fancy might be charming, but is cer- 
tainly to an English eye by no means romantic A part 
of au old round tower, however, stands near Auburn. 
There are the ruins of an old castle not far oi£ and old 
parks that art charming. One I passed, old, gray, craggy, 
and full of fern, but having not a single tree in it except 
old thorn-trees, large and of venerable age. There was a 
desolate antiquity about it that was attractive to the imagi- 
nation. From the higher part of the road, too, approaching 
Lissoy, you see the Shannon hastening on toward the 
west. Presently, at a turn of the road, we passed the pub- 
lic house said to be that alluded to in The Deserted Vil- 
lage, and were in that "very beautiful place," Lissoy. It 
consists, in fact, of a few common cottages by the road 
side, on a flat, and by no means particularly interesting 
scene. A few hundred yards beyond these cottages stand, 
at some distance from the road, the ruins of the house 
where Goldsmith's father lived, and which continued in the 
family till 1802, when it was sold by Henry, the son of 
Henry, Oliver Goldsmith's brother, the nephew of the poet 
who had gone to America. This house was described in 
1790 by the Rev. Mr. Hancock, of Athlone, who was inti- 
mately acquainted with the Goldsmith family, and, indeed, 
managed their property for them, as "a snug farm-house, 
in view of the high road, to which a straight avenue leads, 
with double rows of ash-trees, six miles northeast of this 
town — Athlone. The farm is still held under the Naper 
family, by a nephew of Goldsmith at present in America. 
In the front view of the house is the ' decent church* of 
Kilkenny West, that literally « tops the neighboring hill ;' 
and in a circuit of not more than half a mile diameter 


around the bouse, are ' the never-failing brook, 9 ' the busy 
mill/ ' the hawthorn bush with seats beneath the shade/ 
' the brook with mantling cresses spread/ * the straggling 
fence that skirts the way, with blossomed furze unprofita- 
bly gay/ ' the thorn that lifts its head on high, where once 
the sign-post caught the passing eye/ ' the house where 
nut-brown draughts inspired ;' in short, every striking ob- 
ject of the picture. There are, besides, many ruined 
houses in the neighborhood, bespeaking a better state of 
population than at present." 

Such it was. Prior's description of it at his visit a few 
years ago would very nearly do for it now. " The house 
once occupied by the rector of Kilkenny West, pleasantly 
situated and of good dimensions, is now a ruin, verifying 
the truth of the pathetic lines of his son — 

' Vain, transitory splendors ! Could not all 
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall !' 

The front, including a wing, extends, as nearly as could be 
judged by passing it, sixty-eight feet by a depth of twenty- 
four ; it consisted of two stories, with five windows in each. 
The roof has been off for a period of twenty years : the 
gable-ends remain, but the front and back walls of the up- 
per story have crumbled away, and if the hand of the de- 
stroyer be not stayed, will soon wholly disappear. Two 01 
three wretched cottages for laborers, surrounded by mud, 
adjoin it on the left. Behind the house is an orchard of 
some extent, and the remains of a garden, both utterly 
neglected; In fact, a pretty avenue of double rows of ash- 
trees, which formed the approach from the high road, about 
sixty yards distant, and at one time presented an object of 
interest to travelers, has, like every other trace of care or 
superintendence, disappeared — cut down by the ruthless 
hand of some destroyer. No picture of desolation can be 
more complete. As if an image of the impending ruin had 
been present, the poet has painted with fearful accuracy 
what his father's house was to be : 


* Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled, 
And still where many a garden flower grows wild ; 
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, 
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.' " 

Little can be added to that account. There still stands 
the long, white rain of the house which sheltered Gold- 
smith as a boy, at the right-hand end one tall gable and 
chimney remaining aloft, the other having, since Mr. Prior's 
visit, fallen in. At the left hand, near the house, still re- 
mains one of the wretched cottages he mentions. I went 
into it. The floor of mud was worn into hollows, in which 
geese were sitting in little pools. There was a dresser on 
one side, with a few plates laid on it ; a few chairs of a 
rudeness of construction such as no Englishman who has not 
visited an Irish cabin has any conception of; and the in- 
terior of the roof, for ceiling it had none, was varnished into 
a jetty brilliancy with the smoke. 

Behind the ruins of the house there are still the orchard 
and wild remains of a garden, inclosed with a high, old 
stone wall One could imagine this retreat a play-place for 
the embryo poet, whose charm would long linger in his 
memory ; and, in truth, when the house was complete, with 
its avenue of ashes, along which you looked to the high- 
way, and thence across a valley to the church of Kilkenny 
West, on a hill about a mile distant, the abode of Gold- 
smith's boyhood must have been a very pleasant one. It 
is now seen as stripped of all its former attractions, its life, 
its completeness as a house, its trees ; and stands a white, 
bare, and solitary ruin. 

Many people think, that as Goldsmith's father was the 
clergyman, this was the parsonage. It was not so. The 
parsonage was at Kilkenny West, where the present rector 
resides. This house was attached to the farm which the 
pastor had here, and was probably a much better and more 
Mimmodious dwelling than the parsonage. 

Returning to the village*— if three or four poor cottages 


by the roadside can deserve that Dame — the public house 
is the object which attracts your attention. This is said to 
be the very house of which Goldsmith speaks in The De- 
serted Village. Goldsmith, however, tells you himself, in 
The Deserted Tillage, that the public house, among others, 
was destroyed : 

" Low Lies that hnu«! where nut-brown draught* inspired. 
Where gray beard mirth and atuiUug toil retired/ 1 &c. 

In feet, it was rebuilt by Mr, Hogan, a gentleman living 
near, who, being an ardent admirer of Goldsmith's poetry, 
did all that he could to restore to Lissoy the characteristics 
of Auburn. He rebuilt the public house on the spot where 
tradition placed the old one t with the traditionary thorn in 
front. He gave it the sign of *' The Jolly Pigeons/* he 
supplied it with new copies of M The Twelve Good Rules,* 1 
and "The Royal Game of Goose j" he went even to the 
length of the ludicrous in his zeal for an accurate facsimile 
of the genuine house, and 

" Broken tea-tups, wisely kept far show, 
Banged o'er the chimney, glistened m a n*w." 

These, to perpetuate them, were fast imbedded in the mor- 
tar — hut in vain ; relic-hunters knocked them out, fictitious 
as they were, and carried them off as genuine* The very 
sign did not escape this relic mania — it is no longer to bo 
seen ; nor, I suppose, were a new one to ho set up f would 
it long remain. The new *' Twelve Good Rules," and new 
m Royal Game of Goose," have gone the same way ; and 
there is no question that a brave trade in such things might 
be carried on with what Goldsmith calls tt the large family 
of fools/ 1 if a supply were kept here* The very thorn be- 
fore the door has been cut down piecemeal, and carried 
off to all quarters of the world- In 1830, Mr. Prior, when 
visiting the place, making inquiries for Goldsmith's biog- 
raphy, observed that "a tender shoot had again forced its 
way to the surface, which he, in emulation of so many other 
inconsiderate idlers, felt disposed to seize upon as a me- 


morial of his visit; bat which, if permitted to remain, 
though this is unlikely, may renew the honors of its prede- 
cessor." Vain hope ! there is not an atom of it left ! He 
himself tells us, that " every traveler thither for forty years 
had carried away a portion of' the tree, as a relic either 
of the poem or of his pilgrimage ; when the branches had 
been destroyed, the trunk was attacked ; and when this dis- 
appeared, even die roots were dug up, so that, in 1820, 
scarcely a vestige remained, either above or below ground, 
notwithstanding a resident gentleman had built a wall round 
it, to endeavor to prevent its extermination." There is now 
neither vestige of tree, root, nor wall. I suppose the rage 
of relicism has carried off the very stones that had stood on 
so hallowed a spot. There is still a slight mound left, or 
rather made, to mark the spot where the thorn stood. 

The public house presents not a resemblance to Gold- 
smith's picture in his poem. The road from Ballymahon 
runs right toward this house. On arriving at it, the house 
stands on the further side of the road, facing you and the 
Ballymahon highway. Another road runs at right angles, 
that is, parallel with the house, so that it stands at what is 
usually called "where three roads meet." The road on 
your right hand runs down to the village ; and some space 
is left in front of the house, the stone wall on your right, 
which fences in the field, being carried in a circular sweep- 
ing, instead of coming up to an abrupt corner. On the 
space left by this arrangement, on the side of the road, and 
directly opposite to the house, stood the tree. But how dif- 
ferent is the house itself to that whose delightful picture 
your imagination has carried away from the page of the 

" Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, 
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, 
Low lies that house where nut-brown druughts inspired, 
Where graybeartl mirth and smiling toil retired. 
Where village statesmen talked with looks profound, 
And news much older than their ale went round. 


Imagination (badly stoops to trace 
The parlor splendors of that festive place ; 
The whitewashed wall, the nicely sanded floor, 
The Tarnished clock that clicked behind the door; 
The chest contrived a double debt to pay, 
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day. 
The pictures, placed for ornament and use, 
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose. 
The hearth, except when winter chilled the day, 
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay, 
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, 
Banged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row* 

Vain, transitory splendor ! could not all 
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall! 
Obscure it sinks, nor shall H more impart 
An hour's importance to the poor "man's heart ; 
Thither no more the pennant shall repair 
To sweet oblivion of his dairy care ; 
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, 
. No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; . 
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, 
Belaz his ponderous strength, and lean to hear; 
The host himself, no longer to be found, 
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round ; 
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed, 
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest." 

These are all the attractive characteristics of a nice old vil- 
lage public house in England. Clean, quiet, sweet, and 
breathing of the olden time. Tbey are characteristics pro- 
fessedly gathered by the poet in his rural rambles in En- 
gland, where he had lived at least twenty years when he 
wrote the poem. In his preface he talks of these " country 
excursions for four or five years past," in which he had 
"taken all possible pains" to be correct in his details. 
Where, indeed, did any one see in an Irish country ale- 
house " the parlor splendors of a festive place ;" " the white- 
washed wall, the nicely sanded floor;'' " the varnished clock 
chat clicked behind the door ;" " the hearth, except when 
winter chilled the day, with aspen boughs, and flowers, 
and fennel gay V Where does he find the nut-brown ale 1 

Taey iil leiiinar 21 lie aendriry. wfimis ikmi , weH-to-do tH- 
~bcts lie-annae it rxrai. nut jnmytxvma England. An Irish 
Trilaip* i!iMi:n*» Wat in 5t ? A poor and filthy cabin ; 
die wZa :t muck. Anns*, dae nmf oaten with nothing be- 
zwhsl x nut die jwjc TTk £mr! aaoehr sanded I — a bed 
of anui. 5lI :t aoussv ax jp^lui^l iicjc, and docks, and pigs* 
are •iabbtxan; and wiUqwihc? If floored at all, pared with 
pebbiea. wtucxl jtaxui up in heaps by pieces* and by placet 
are zone, la&nnz she lijuuaVl dack-poofe and pig-troughs. 
A parrel ot razeed people sprawfing on die hearth around 
the peat fire, the coy maid, a bare-leered, shock-headed 
body, bard at work in tending die potato kettle, or con- 
tending with the aot, the cow, die pigs, that make part of 
the family. The parlor splendors ! Half the boose separ- 
ated by a counter, behind which the landlord stands, amid 
a stock of candles and bread for sale, and dealing out, not 
the zenerous nut-brown ale, but the deadly liquid fire called 
whisky. Such are the almost universal attributes of a village 
ale-house m Ireland. Goldsmith knew better than to draw 
on his memory for them ; he turned to the more poetical 
scene of the English village ale-house, which, clean as hands 
could make it, sweet, and all that he describes, had charm- 
ed him in his numerous rural excursions in this country. 

The Three Jolly Pigeons is just a regular Irish ale-house, 
or, rather, whisky-shop. On going in, you look in vain for the 
picture Goldsmith has so beautifully drawn. The varnish- 
ed clock clicking behind the door, the pictures placed for 
ornament and use, the twelve good rules, the royal game 
of goose, where are they 1 Not there ; but in many an old- 
fashioned hamlet of England. The mud floor, the dirty 
walls, the smell of whisky, these are what meet you. You 
look for " the parlor splendors," and on your left hand there 
is, for a wonder, a separate room, but it is, as usual, filled 
with the candles, the herrings, the bread, of the Irish ale- 
house, and the whisky is doled out over the suspicious coun- 
ter, instead of the nut-brown ale being brought in the 


generous foaming cup, to the bright, clean fireside, by the 
neat and blooming maid. 

In all Goldsmith's description of his Auburn, he has clear- 
ly blended the Doric charm of the English village and En- 
glish scenery with the fond boyish memories of his actual 
native place. He has evidently intended to represent the 
scene as in England, or, at all events, to make his poem of 
general application, though he has drawn on his memory 
for features connected with his native place, and imparted 
soul and sentiment to it by indulging the feelings of old, af- 
fectionate regret. Thus tho ale-house, the parsonage, the 
mill, the brook, the village green, the schoolmaster, the 
pious clergyman, were all portions of his native place, and 
actual inhabitants of it, yet mixed with touches from the 
later observations of his English life. The very circum- 
stance of depopulation, which no doubt, had occurred at 
Lissoy, and had sunk deep into his indignant heart, he tells 
us, in his dedication to Sir Joshua Reynolds, was going 
on in England, and that his description meant to apply to 
England. " But I know you will object — and, indeed, sev- 
eral of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion — 
that the depopulation it deplores is nowhere to be seen, and 
the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's 
own imagination. To this I can scarcely make any other 
answer, than mat I sincerely believe what I have written ; 
that I have taken all possible pains in my country excursions, 
for. these four or five years past, to be certain of what I al- 
lege, and that all my views and inquiries have'led me to be- 
lieve those miseries real which I here attempt to display." 

The fact is only too much a fact. From Goldsmith's 
time to our own, the process of rural depopulation has been 
going on, by the absorption of smaller properties into lar- 
ger ones. The rapid growth of capital in England has cre- 
ated a demand for landed investments, which has tempted 
the small proprietors to sell the old cottages and crofts. 
Whole hamlets have disappeared one after another, and 

-u a M I T U. 


- -• oast them forth, going on to- 

an asylum beyond the ocean, 

It has been reacted again and 

.:d from that hour to this ; and 

y day sees sad thousands bidding 

ind crowding on board the ships 

: hospitable country : 

Si*, as pondering here I stand, 
uies leave the land, 
i anchoring vessel spreads the sail, 
iug, flaps with every gale, 
•y move, a melancholy band, 
tfhore, and darken all the strand. 
1. and hospitable care, 
mutual tenderness are there ; 
lb wishes placed above, 
ivalty, and faithful love." 

■' «hown by official documents, that 72,000 
• thus cast out of their homes and expa- 
ie process of this exterminating system 
years, made outcasts of no less than two 
i of peasantry ! 

-lusale depopulation, which has not merely 

, but is going on at this hour, in the face 

i and humane England, it is quite too late 

a the truth of the poet's descriptions. We 

:r that, in opposition to popular opinion, he 

ard, at die moment that he issued his poem 

assertion of the truth of his descriptions, 

the fact that his noble sentiments have not 

national and availing. 

se circumstances, Auburn or Lissoy, which 

always be visited with enthusiasm by the 

of purest poetry and of kindly humanity. 

not find all there that he naturally looks for. 

I the country very beautiful, or the mill, the 

•■ rural and picturesque as he could 


doubting the story 1 His own belief, that " the wanton de- 
struction of a thriving and pretty village, in a country where 
such are carefully encouraged by all proprietors of lands, 
is wholly improbable." He farther fancies that Gold- 
smith's morbid imagination "had converted a few mud 
cabins into a beautiful village, and, perhaps, their turbulent 
and vindictive occupants into injured, and innocent, and ex* 
patriated peasants. Lastly, and most unfortunately of all, 
he adds, " Proprietary rights can not always be exercised 
by landlords in Ireland, even in a reasonable manner, with- 
out extreme jealousy on the part of the people. Circum- 
stances, therefore, which daily occur in England, and pro- 
duce neither concern nor notice, excite in the former loud 
complaint, if not open hostility. Any thing resembling se- 
verity becomes speedily known and loudly censured ; and 
such impressions, however untrue, taken up and acted upon 
by the imagination and eloquence of a poet, are dangerous 
assailants of reputation." 

The revolting case of the expulsion of the tenants from 
the estate of the Gerrards, at Ballinasloe, in Ireland, occur- 
ring at the moment at which I write this, in which 270 
poor people are turned out to the elements, their houses 
pulled to the ground, themselves chased from the road- 
side ditches, where they had sought a night's shelter from 
the piercing wind, and the fires which they had made to 
warm themselves extinguished — all this is a fearful answer 
to such writings, and too awful proof of the correctness of 
the poet's statements. So far from Irish landlords not de- 
stroying villages, so far from " any thing like severity" be- 
ing speedily known and resisted, the inquiries caused by 
this one flagrant case have shown to the horrified public, 
that in no country in the world are the rights of the peas- 
antry so totally disregarded ; in no country has the outrage 
of The Deserted Village been so often enacted. The 
scene which Goldsmith so pathetically describes, of the 
poor villagers whose homes had been destroyed, whose na- 


tire haunts had been made to cast them forth, going on to- 
ward die shore seeking for an asylum beyond the ocean, 
was not a solitary scene. It has been reacted again and 
again. It has been repeated from that hoar to this* ; and 
every year and almost every day sees sad thousands bidding 
adieu to their birth-places* and crowding on board the ships 
that carry diem to a more hospitable country : 

" Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand, 
I see the rural virtues leave the land. 
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail, 
That, idly waiting, flaps with every gale, 
Downward they move, a melancholy band, 
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand. 
Contented toil, and hospitable care, 
And kind, connubial tenderness are there ; 
And piety, with wishes placed above, 
And steady loyalty, and faithful love." 

In five years, it is shown by official documents, that 72,000 
persona have been thus cast out of their homes and expa- 
triated, and that the process of this exterminating system 
has, within twenty years, made outcasts of no less than two 
millions and a half of peasantry ! 

Seeing this wholesale depopulation, which has not merely 
gone on formerly, but is going on at this hour, in the face 
of all enlightened and humane England, it is quite too late 
to call in question the truth of the poet's descriptions. We 
no longer wonder that, in opposition to popular opinion, he 
stood boldly forward, at the moment that he issued his poem 
to the world, in assertion of the truth of his descriptions, 
and we deplore the fact that his noble sentiments have not 
sooner become national and availing. 

Under all these circumstances, Auburn or Lissoy, which 
you will, will always be visited with enthusiasm by the 
genuine lovers of purest poetry and of kindly humanity. 
The visitor' will not find all there that he naturally looks for. 
He will not find the country very beautiful, or the mill, the 
brook, the ale-house as rural and picturesque as he could 

MO goldsmith; 

wish; but he will find the very ground on which Oliver 
Goldsmith ran in the happy days of his boyhood ; die ruins 
of the house in which that model of a Tillage preacher — 
simple, pious, and warm-hearted, justly, indeed, dear to all 
the country — lived, the father of the poet; the ruins of the 
house in which the poet himself spent a happy childhood, 
cherishing under such a parent one of the noblest spirits 
which ever glowed for truth and humanity ; fearing no ridi- 
cule, contracting no worldliness, never abating, spite of 
harsh experience and repeated imposition, one throb of 
pity or of generous sympathy for the wretched. The 
ground where such a man was reared is indeed holy. 
Goldsmith himself, not less than his father and brother, was 
one of the most genuine Christian preachers that ever 
lived. The sermons of the father and the brother perished 
with their hearers, but those of the poet live forever in his 
writings. And how many of the personal characteristics 
of " the village preacher," which in his father he celebrates, 
lived in himself! 

" Unpracticed he to fawn or aeek for power, 
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hoar; 
For other aims his heart had learned to prize, 
More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise." 

How often did he present this trait m his own life ! How 
zealous he was to help any one that he could ; how careless 
to help himself! Thus, when requested by the minister to 
say if he could be of any service to him, he said, " Yes, he 
had a brother, a worthy clergyman, whom he would gladly 
see promoted." At this time he was in great distress him- 
self. At another time, Lord North sent to him a Dr. Scott, 
with a carte blanche, to induce him to write for the ministry; 
but Goldsmith was not to be bought. " I found him," said 
the doctor, " in a miserable set of chambers in the Temple ; 
I told him ray authority ; I told hira that I was empowered 
to pay most liberally for his exertions, and, would you be- 
lieve it ! he was so absurd as to say, ' lean earn at muck 


as will **ppty my toants without writing/or any party; the 
assistance, therefore, you offer is unnecessary to me;* and so I 
left him," added Dr. Scott, " in his garret." 

How completely was this Dr. Primrose ! How thor- 
oughly was he the same man in every thing. When his 
aid was needed by his fellow-man, 

" Careless their merits or their faults to scan, 
His pity gave ere charity began." 

It is because he embodied himself in all he wrote that his 
writings command such undecaying interest; for in im- 
pressing his own heart on his page, he impressed there 
nature itself in hs most unselfish and generous character. 
Every circumstance, therefore, connected with " The De- 
serted Village" of such a man will always be deeply inter- 
esting to the visitor of the spot, and we must for that rea- 
son notice One or two facts of the kind before quitting Lis- 
soy. Mr. Best, an Irish clergyman, met by Mr. Davis in 
his travels in the United States, said, " The name of the 
schoolmaster was Paddy Burns. I remember him well. 
He was, indeed, a man severe to view. A woman, called 
Walsey Cruse, kept the ale-house. I have often been in 
the house. The hawthorn bush was remarkably large, and 
stood opposite the house. I was once riding with Brady, 
titular Bishop of Ardagh, when he observed to me, ' Ma 
fin, Best, this huge, overgrown bush is mightily in the way; 
I will order it to be cut down 1' * What, sir/ said I, ' cut 
down Goldsmith's hawthorn bush, that supplies so beautiful 
an image in The Deserted Village !' ' Ma foi !' exclaimed 
the bishop, ' is that the hawthorn bush 1 Then ever let it 
be sacred from the edge of the ax, and evil to him that 
would cut from it a branch 1' " 

In other places the schoolmaster is called, not Paddy 
Burns, but Thomas Byrne, evidently the same person. 
He had been educated for school-teaching, but had gone 
into the army, and, serving in Spain during the reign of 
Qneen Anne, became quarter-master of the regiment. On 


die return of peace he took up his original calling. He is 
represented to be well qualified to teach ; little more than 
writing, reading, and arithmetic were wanted, bat he could 
translate extemporaneously Virgil's Eclogues into Irish 
verse, in considerable elegance. But his grand accomplish- 
ment was the narration of his adventures, which was com- 
monly exercised in the ale-house ; at the same time that, 
when not in a particular humor for teaching, he would edify 
his boys in the school with one of his stories. Among his 
most eager listeners was Oliver, who was so much excited 
by what he heard, that his friends used to ascribe his own 
love of rambling to this cause. The schoolmaster was, in 
fact, the very man to raise the imagination in the young 
poet He was eccentric in his habits, of a romantic turn, 
wrote poetry, was well versed in the fairy superstitions of 
the country, and, what is not less common in Ireland, be- 
lieved implicitly in their truth. 

A poor woman, named Catharine Geraghty, was sup- 
posed to be 

" Yon widowed, solitary thing, 
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring: 
She, wretched matron, pressed in age for bread, 
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread." 

The brook and ditches near where her cabin stood still 
furnish cresses, and several of her descendants reside in 
the neighborhood. The school-house is still pointed out, 
but it is unfortunate for its identity that no school-house 
was built then, school being taught in the master's cottage. 
There is more evidence in nature of the poet's recalling 
the place of his boyhood as he wrote his poem. The wa- 
ters and marshy lands, in more than one direction, gave 
him acquaintance with the singular bird which he has in- 
troduced with such effect as an image of desolation. 
" Along thy glades, a solitary guest, 
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest." 
Little charm as Lissoy has at the present moment inde- 


pendent of association with Oliver' Goldsmith, with him 
and genius it possesses one that grows upon you the more 
you trace the scenes made prominent in his poem, and we 
leave it with regret. 

There are various other places in the same part of Ire- 
land Which are connected with the early history of Gold- 
smith. At the school of Paddy Byrne he made little prog- 
ress, as was to be expected, except in a growing attach- 
ment to the marvelous. He devoured not only the roman- 
tic stories of the schoolmaster, but of the peasantry. He 
listened enthusiastically to their ballads, their fairy tales 
and superstitions, of which they have in Ireland a plentiful 
stock. He got hold of, and read with equal avidity, what 
have been called the cottage classics of Ireland— those 
books which may be found in their cabins every where— 
History of Witches and Ghosts ; the Devil and Dr. Faus- 
tus ; Parismus and Parismenus ; Montelea, knight of the 
Oracle; Seven Champions of Christendom; Mendoza's 
Art of Boxing ; Ovid's Art of Love ; Lives of celebrated 
Pirates ; History of the Irish Rogues and Rapparees ; of 
Moll Flanders; of Jack the Bachelor, a notorious smuggler; 
of Fair Rosamond and Jane Shore ; of Donna Rosena ; 
the Life and Adventures of James Freny, a famous Irish 
Robber, &c. A precious literature for a lad, it must be 
confessed. Luckily, if it excited his imagination, it failed 
in corrupting his heart ; and, thanks to the spread of knowl- 
edge, a better class of books has now found its way even 
into Irish cabins, among which not the least general are 
Chambers's Journal and Tracts. To put Oliver under 
more suitable tuition, he was sent to the Rev. Mr. Griffin, 
of Elphin, master of the school once taught by his grandfa- 
ther. Here he became an inmate of his uncle's house, Mr. 
John Goldsmith, of Ballyoughter, in the vicinity. Display- 
ing now much talent, which was at once seen and cordially 
acknowledged by his uncle, he was destined for the Uni- 
versity, and preparatory to that he was sent to a school of 


repute at Athlone. At this school he continued two yean, 
when he was removed to Edgeworthstowu, under the care 
of the Rev. Patrick Hughes, where he continued till he 
went to the University. 

That we may take a connected view of his homes and 
haunts in this part of the country, we must include at once 
his life hereabout before he went to the University, and his 
visits hither during an interval of two years, between his 
quitting the University and his quitting Ireland, to study 
physic in Edinburgh, and, in fact, never again to return to 

There are several facts connected with his school days 
at Edgeworthstown that are very interesting. He is said 
to have become acquainted, either here or at Bally oughter,' 
with Turlogh O'Carolan, the last of the ancient Irish bards. 
This popular musician and poet, whose songs have been 
translated into English, and published, maintained the style 
and life of the minstrel. He disdained to play for money, 
but went as an admired and honored guest from house to 
house among the most ancient and opulent families of Con- 
naught. To complete his character as a harper, he was 
blind, and had been so from the age of eighteen. His 
songs, which are sung by the peasantry with enthusiasm, 
are numerous, and celebrate the persons and families of his 
patrons. If they do not, in the mind of an Englishman, ap- 
pear to possess an originality equal to their fame in Ire- 
land, it is to be remembered that they have there all the 
charm of association, their very titles being the names of 
lords and ladies of old families : O'Connor Faby ; Dennis 
O'Connor; Planxty Stafford ; Nelly Plunkett; Mrs. French; 
Anna M'Dermot Roe &c. 

The influence which the other local poet, Laurence 
Whyte, had on the mind and genius of Goldsmith, is very 
striking. Whyte wrote, as part of a larger poem, The 
Parting Cup, or the Humors of Deoch an Doruis, in four 
cantos. It is a lively picture of a Westmeath farmer's life, 


about the year 1710, and shows not only how its themes 
had sunk into the mind of Goldsmith as a boy when they 
reappeared in The Deserted Village, but also how old and 
how fixed a portion of Irish history are those miseries and 
outrages on the people which are at this hour the topic of 
public wonder in 'England. The exactions of the land- 
lords ; the casting forth from house and home the wretched 
tenantry ; the stream of consequent emigration ; and the 
curse of absenteeism. Whyte's poem is very clever, and 
deserves to be better known. Speaking of the better condi- 
tion of the farmers in the seventeenth century, he proceeds: 

« Thus farmers lived like gentlemen, 
Ere lands were raised from five to ten; 
Again from ten to three times five, 
Then very few conld hope to thrive ; 
But tagged against the rapid stream,. 
Which drove them back from whence they came : 
At length 'twas canted to a pound, 
What tenant then conld keep his ground T 
Not knowing which, to stand or fly, 
When rent-rolls mounted zenith high, 
They had their choice to run away, 
Or labor for a groat a day. 
Now beggared and of all bereft, 
Are doomed to starve or live by theft. 

Take to the mountain or the made, 

When banished from their old abodes. 

Their native soil were forced to quit, 
80 Irish landlords thought it ft; 

Who without ceremony or rout, 

For their improvements turned them out. 

How many villages they razed, 
How many parishes laid waste, 
To fatten bullocks, sheep, and cows, 
When scarce one parish has two plows. 
Their flocks do range on every plain, 
That once produced all kinds of grain. 
Depopulating every village, 
When we had husbandry and tillage ; 


Fat bacon, poultry, and good broad, 

By which the poor were daily fed. 

• *•••'• 

Instead of tiring well and thriving, 
There's nothing now but leading— driving ; 
The lands are all monopolized,. 
The tenants racked and sacrificed; 
Whole colonies, to shwn the fats 
Of being oppressed at tuck a rate, 
By tyrants who still raise their rent, 
Sail to the lfesiem Continent. 
Rather than live at home like slaves, 
They trust themselves so winds and waves.* 1 

If a poet at the present hour were describing the acts and 
deeds of the Gerrards, the Waterfords, and like extermina- 
tors, could he have done it more literally f Thus, inde- 
pendent of the other miseries andwrongs of Ireland, this 
system of turning out human creatures to make way for 
bullocks has been going on exactly for a hundred years; 
and the Irish aristocracy, having made themselves the scan- 
dal of the whole civilized world, still sleep in warm beds 
and dream that they are Christians ! and England, the most 
powerful and humane nation on the earth, has overlooked 
the dreadful scene, having her eyes fixed, full of tears, on 
the far-off negro, the Esquimaux, and the South Sea Isl- 
ander. Till this crying iniquity and disgrace be removed 
out of our borders, every Bible Society, and Missionary 
Society, and Society for Humanity to Animals, should stop 
its ordinary operations, and combine each and all into a 
great and omnipotent association to convert the Irish aris- 
tocracy to Christianity, and to teach to the oppressed and 
trodden-on people that there is really such a thing as " lov- 
ing our neighbors as ourselves." 

How unvarying are the features of the Irish gentry: 

" Our squires of late through Europe roam ; 
Are too well bred to live at home : 
Are not content with Dublin College, 
But range abroad for greater knowledge ; 

OOLJ)8MlTH. 847 

To itnit in velvets and brocades 

At balls, and plays, and masquerades. 

To have their rent their chiefest can is, 

In bills to London and to Paris. 

Their education is so nice, 

They know jaR chances on the dice ; 

• • • • 

Those absentees we here describe 

Are chiefly of our Irish tribe, 

Who live in luxury and pleasure, 

And throw away their time and treasure ; 

Cause poverty and devastation, 

And sink the eredit of the nation," 

Who has not seen their deserted homes, so picturesquely 
sketched here 1 

" Their mansions molder quite away, 
And run to ruin and decay ; 
Left like a desert wild and waste, 
Without the track of man or beast ; 
Where wild fowl may with safety rest, 
At every gate may build a nest: 
Where grass or weeds on pavements grow, 
And every year is fit to mow. 
No smoke from chimneys does ascend, 
Nor entertainment for a friend ; 
Nor sign of drink, or smell of meat, 
Far human creatures there to eat." 

To turn to a more agreeable circumstance. The chief 
incident in " She Stoops to Conquer" is said to have orig- 
inated in an amusing adventure of Goldsmith's, on his last 
going from home to the school at Edgeworthstown, and is 
thus related by Prior : " Having set off on horseback, there 
being then, and indeed now, no regular wheeled convey- 
ance from Bally mat] on, he loitered on the road, amusing 
himself by viewing the neighboring gentlemen's seats. A 
friend had presented him with a guinea; and the desire, 
perhaps, of spending it — to a schoolboy — in a most inde- 
pendent manner at an inn, tended to slacken his diligence 
on the road. Night overtook him in the small town of 


Ardagh, about half way on his journey. Inquiring for the 
best house in the pfafee, meaning the best inn, he chaaegi 
to address, as is said, a person named Cornelius Kefly* i/m§ 
boasted of having taught fencing to the Marquis of Granby, 
and was then domesticated in the house of Mr. Feather- 
stone, a gentleman of fortune in the town ; he was known 
as a notorious wag, and, willing to play off a trick upon 
one whom he had no doubt discovered to be a swaggering 
schoolboy, directed him to the house of his patron. 

" Suspecting no deception, Oliver proceeded as directed; 
gave authoritative orders about the care of his horse, and, 
being thence conceived by the servants to be an expected 
guest, was ushered into the presence of their master, who 
immediately discovered the mistake. Being, however, a 
man of humor, and willing to enjoy an evening's amuse- 
ment with a boy under the influence of so unusual a blun- 
der, he encouraged it, particularly when, by the communi- 
cative disposition of the guest, it was found he was the son 
of an old acquaintance on his way to school. Nothing oc- 
curred to undeceive the self-importance of the youth, forti- 
fied by the possession of a sum he did not often possess; 
wine was therefore ordered, in addition to a good supper, 
and the supposed landlord, his wife, and daughters, were 
invited to partake of it. On retiring for the night, a hot 
cake was ordered for breakfast the following morning ; nor 
was it until preparing to quit the house next day that he 
discovered he had been entertained in a private family." 

Ballymahon, the little foreign-looking town near his na- 
tive place, figures conspicuously in Goldsmith's early life. 
After his father's death, which took place while he was at 
college, his mother removed thither, and thither during va- 
cations Oliver betook himself. Again, when he quitted 
college, he spent two years among his relations, with no 
fixed aim ; sometimes he was with his uncle Contarine in 
Roscommon ; sometimes at Lissoy, where now his brother- 
in-law, Mr. Hodson, lived in the old house ; at other times 


he was with his brother Henry, who, officiating as curate, 
lived at Pallasmore in the house where Oliver was born, 
fad, to eke out his small salary, kept a school, in which 
(Hirer ■stilted him. No place was so dear to him, how- 
ever, as Lissoy, where he entered into all the rural sports 
and occupations of his brother-in-law with fullest enjoy* 
ment, There is no doubt that, had he had sufficient means, 
he would have continued to live here a country life, and the 
world would most probably have lost a poet. As it is, he 
has made the life and characters of Lissoy familiar to all 
the world, in both The Deserted Village and The Vicar of 
Wakefield. No man drew more from real, and especially 
from his own past life, than Goldsmith. The last years he 
spent in the country he was a tutor in the family of a coun- 
try gentleman in the county of Roscommon, of the name of 
Flinn ; and the nature of his impressions regarding such a 
situation he is supposed to have recorded in the history of 
The Man in Black. 

His mother's house at Ballymahon, where she lived as a 
widow about twenty years, is still pointed out to the cu- 
rious ; it forms one corner of the road to Edgeworthstown. 
Some shop accounts have been preserved, in which Oliver, 
under the familiar title of Master Noll, is found figuring as 
his mother's messenger for tea and sugar ; it was only to 
the next door. Opposite to his mother's house stood George 
Conway's inn, where he used to spend many a gay and jo- 
vial evening, in the company of those who resorted thither, 
and often amused them with a story or a song. Here he 
was naturally a great authority in matters of learning. From 
scenes and characters occurring here, it is believed he 
drew the first idea of Tony Lumpkin ; at all events, in such 
a circle he saw traits of human life and action that would 
be found as old gold at the necessary time. At Ballymul- 
vey House, in the neighborhood, he spent many happy 
hours with his friend, and quondam college and school com- 
panion, Mr* Robert Bryanton, and also with him made ex- 

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t morning, cany up the dishes from the kitchen to the 
■' table* and wait in the hall tiO they had dined. No 
vender that a mind like that of Goldsmith's writhed under 
the degradation I He has recorded his own feelings and 
opinions on this custom : " Sure pride itself has dictated to 
the fellows of our colleges the absurd fashion of being at- 
tended at- meals, and on other public occasions, by those 
poor men who, willing to be scholars, come in upon some 
charitable foundation. It implies a contradiction for men 
to be at once learning the liberal arts, and, at the same 
time, treated as slaves; at once studying freedom and 
practicing servitude." A spirited fellow at length caused 
the abolition of the practice of the sixers acting as waiters, 
and mat, too, on grand occasions before the public, by 
flinging the dish he was carrying on Trinity Sunday at the 
head of a citizen in the crowd, assembled to witness the 
scene, who made some jeering remarks on the office he had 
to perform. 

His tutor, a great brute — let his name be known : it was 
Wilder— proceeded sometimes to actual corporeal castiga- 
tion ; and, with Oliver's natural tendency to poetry rather 
than to dry classical and mathematical studies, like many 
ether poets, including Scott and Byron, he cut no great figure 
at college; and, like the latter, detested it Among his 
cotemporaries at the college was Edmund Burke, but they 
appear to have known little of each other. To add to 
Goldsmith's uncomfortable position, there occurred a riot 
of the students, who, hearing that one of their body had 
been arrested in Fleet-street, rushed to the rescue, seized 
the bailiffs, dragged them to the college, and pumped them 
soundly in tho old cistern. They next attempted to break 
open Newgate, and make a general jail delivery, but failed 
for want of cannon. In the subsequent inquiry Goldsmith 
came in, not for any severe punishment, but for a college 
censure. Feeling his self-respect deeply wounded by his 
brutal tutor entering his chambers on one occasion when 


he had a party of merry comrades there, and in their pret- 
ence inflicting personal chastisement upon him, he quitted 
college, selling his books, and set' off to Cork to embark for 
some foreign country ; but his money failed ; he was com- 
pelled to sell his clothes from his back, and, brought to the 
utmost condition of misery and starvation, he thus reached 
his brother's house, who again clothed him, and brought 
him back to college, endeavoring to propitiate the brutal 
tutor. His father dying, he was reduced to the deepest 
distress. His generous uncle Contarine helped him all he 
could, but, with Oliver's careless habits, he was still often 
reduced to the utmost straits. He was sometimes compell- 
ed to pawn his books, and borrow others to study from. 
His condition became that of squalid poverty, and at length 
he was driven to the extremity of writing street-ballads, 
which he found a ready sale for, at five shillings a copy, at 
a shop known as the sign of the Reindeer, in Mountrath- 
street. Eventually obtaining the degree of B.A., he quit- 
ted the University, and, as we have seen, retreated to his 
own native neighborhood and friends. 

All chance of succeeding as a clergyman, to which office 
he, moreover, had an aversion, appearing out of the ques- 
tion, and having either no inclination, or not sufficient spirit 
of plodding for the pursuit of law, which had been recom- 
mended to him, by assistance of his friends he crossed over 
to Edinburgh, and commenced in that University the study 
of physic. We have no clew to the exact lodgings of Gold- 
smith during tiis stay iu Edinburgh, which was two winters. 
Men in the poverty of Goldsmith, as a student, seldom re- 
cord very traceably their whereabouts. The tradition is, 
however, that the lodgings he chiefly occupied were in the 
College Wynd ; and this is very likely, both because the 
situation is very convenient for the college, and because 
the character of the place agrees pretty much with the sort 
of entertainment he describes himself to have found in them. 
The College Wynd is a narrow alley of wretched houses, 


dow inhabited only by the lowest grade of population. It 
a probable, however, that in it was the better class of 
lodgings which Goldsmith occupied in this city. The house 
in which he located himself at first was also a boarding- 
house, but of such a description that he used, in after days, 
to amuse his friends in London with an account of the 
economy of the table. A leg of mutton, as he told the 
story, dished up in various ways by the ingenuity of his 
hostess, served for the better part of dinner during a week ; 
a dish of broth being made on the seventh day from the 
bone. He soon fled from this luxurious abode, and joined 
several other students, his friends and countrymen, who 
were better accommodated, most likely in this College 
Wynd. He had the advantage of studying under the elder 
Monro ; he became a member of the Medical Society ; but 
was soon more noted for his convivial talents and habits 
than for his industrious study. He made a trip into the 
Highlands on a pony, he says, of the size of a ram, and 
wrote a humorous account of Scotland and the people to 
his friend, Robert Bryan ton, of Ballymahon. Through 
some Irish connection he was invited to the Duke of Ham- 
ilton's, whose duchess at that . time was one of the cele- 
brated Gunnings ; but he said he soon found himself liked 
rather as abetter than as a companion, and he at once dis- 
dained the company of dukes on any such terms. Among 
his college friends was that Lauchlan Macleane, whom Sir 
David Brewster has of late again been endeavoring to 
prove to be the real Junius, though his claims were long 
ago sifted, and rejected by public opinion.; particularly 
from the cogent facts that Macleane was the private secre- 
tary of Lord Sbelburne at the very time that his lordship 
was violently attacked by Junius, under another signature, 
in 1767, according to WoodfalPs evidence, which would 
convert Macleane into Junius at the cost of all character ; 
and, secondly, because Macleane was himself ridiculed by 
Junius, under the signature of Vindex, in 1771. 


Having, with his usual incaution in such matters, become 
security for a fellow-student, he would not have been able 
to quit Edinburgh had it not been for Macleane and Dr. 
Joseph Fenn Sleigh, a Quaker, and afterward a popular 
physician at Cork. Saved from arrest by their kindness, 
he embarked for Bordeaux, but was driven into New- 
castle-on-Tyne, where, the ship proving to be engaged in 
enlisting soldiers for the French army, he was seized and 
cast into prison for a fortnight before he could prove his 
innocence. In the mean time the ship had escaped out of 
the harbor. He had lost his passage, and his passage- 
money and luggage, but saved his life, for the ship was 
wrecked, and every soul perished. He then went over to 
Rotterdam, studied at Ley den for a year, but, as fax as ap- 
pears, took no degree ; and thence set off, on foot, on that 
tour of which so much has always been said in connection 
with his name. With his usual good-natured thoughtless- 
ness, when about to set forward from Leyden, provided 
with a small fund by his uncle Contarine, being struck, in 
the garden of a florist, with some beautiful bulbous flowers, 
and recollecting in his gratitude his uncle Contarine's ad- 
miration of those flowers, he spent most of the money in 
purchasing a quantity of them to ship to Ireland for him, 
as the most welcome present he could think of, and then set 
out, almost penniless, on his journey. His tour extended 
through Flanders; and France, at Paris attending the 
chemical lectures of Rouelle, and being introduced to Vol- 
taire ; a small portion of Germany ; thence through Switz- 
erland, visiting some of its most celebrated scenes, and 
climbing some of its highest mountains, as the Jura, into 
Italy, where he extended his journey to most of the north- 
ern cities, Mantua, Milan, Padua, Florence, Verona, Venice, 
and the wilds of Carinthia, but never reached Rome or 
Naples. His necessities became too great to permit him 
to go farther. In France his flute was, among the peas- 
antry, as represented in his Traveler, a never-failing re- 


source ; not so in Italy. There the higher taste for music 
made his rude skill useless ; but he found many of his coun- 
trymen residents in the monasteries, and these were always 
ready to relieve his wants. He found also another resource, 
which he relates in his Philosophic Vagabond : " My skill 
in music could avail me nothing in Italy, where every peas- 
ant was a better musician than I ; but by this time I had 
acquired another talent, which answered my purpose as 
well, and this was a skill in disputation. In all the foreign 
universities and convents, there are, upon certain days, 
philosophical theses maintained against every adventitious 
disputant ; for which, if the champion opposes with any 
dexterity, he can claim a gratuity in money, a dinner, and 
a bed for one night. In this manner, then, I fought my 
way toward England ; walked along from city to city, ex- 
amined mankind more closely, and, if I may so express it, 
saw both sides of the picture." 

There is no question that this hardy enterprise of mak- 
ing the tour of Europe on foot, and pushing his way as he 
could, by his powers of argument or his flute, though, as 
he observed, it made him a debtor in almost every king- 
dom in Europe, yet immensely extended his knowledge of 
human nature. He was the first man, through his close 
observation of the French people, to predict their breaking 
up the despotism of the old monarchy. " As the Swedes 
are making concealed approaches to despotism, the French, 
on the other hand, are imperceptibly vindicating themselves 
into freedom. When I consider that these Parliaments, 
the members of which are all created by the court ; the 
presidents of which can only act by immediate direction ; 
presume even to mention privileges and freedom, who, till 
of late, received directions from the throne with implicit 
humility ;. when this is considered, I can not help fancying 
that the genius of freedom has entered that kingdom in 
disguise. If they have but three weak monarchs success- 
ively on the throne, the mask will be laid aside, and the 



country will certainly one© more be free.*' This was a re- 
markable prophecy ; the sagacity of Gold smith penetrated 
the eventful future twelve years before the mind of Burke, 
by treading the same ground, arrived at the same con- 

In 1756 Oliver Goldsmith reached England, destined 
now to the end of his life to become the scene of big varied 
struggles, his poverty, and bis fame. It were a long story 
to follow him minutely through all his numerous pursuits 
of an existence, his various changes of residence for a long 
time, without much advance toward profit or reputation. 
The early part of his career is lost in obscurity and con* 
jecture. He stepped upon the shore of England a name- 
less adventurer, destitute of cash, and uncertain as to what 
means of livelihood he should embrace* The struggle 
which now and for some time went on was for life itself 
He was reduced to the most desperate circumstances* He 
applied for assistance to his relations in Ireland* but wheth- 
er they could no longer help him, or whether they now re- 
garded bis continual wanderings, and continual drain upon 
them, as the confirmed signs of a thriftless vagabond, none 
came- It is said that in this situation he tried the stage in 
a country town, and his intimate acquaintanceship with the 
interior of the wretched country play-house, as displayed 
in The Adventures of a Strolling Player, and the conclu- 
sion of the story of George Primrose* renders it very prob- 
able. He was driven by utter need, according to the by- 
word of the Irishman, to be almost " any body*s customer/' 
The next resource was, trusting to his scholastic acquire- 
ments to procure an engagement as an usher in a country 
school But bis appearance must have been against him ; 
reference he had none in this country to give, and though 
he applied to bis old kind tutor in Dublin , Dr. Radcliffie, 
not the brute Wilder, he requested his recommendation to 
be given to him under a feigned name, being ashamed of 
hereafter having his present condition associated with his 


own. Dr. Radclifie was obliged to be silent. Goldsmith 
held this situation, it may be supposed, under these circum- 
stances for no long period ; but the very location of the 
school is unknown ; it has been said to be in Yorkshire, 
and also in Kent, near Ashford or Tenterden. What sort 
of a life he had of it in this "Do-the-boys Hall, 9 ' wherever 
it was, we may learn from the curious catechism he puts 
into the mouth of the cousin of one of his heroes. " Ay, 
this is indeed a very pretty career that has been chalked 
out for you. I have been an usher at a boarding-school 
myself; and may I die by an anodyne necklace, but I had 
rather be under-turnkey in Newgate. I was up early and 
late. I was browbeat by the master ; hated for my ugly 
face by the mistress ; worried by the boys within, and nev- 
er permitted to stir out to receive civility abroad. But are 
you sure you are fit for a school ? Let me examine you a 
little. Have you been bred apprentice to the business?" 
" No." " Then you won't do for a school. Have you had 
the small-pox ?" "No." "Then you won't do for a school. 
Can you lie three in a bed V 9 " No." " Then you won't 
do for a schooL Have you got a good stomach V " Yes." 
M Then you will by no means do for a school !" 

Driven from such a purgatory even for want of a char- 
acter, Goldsmith, with The Deserted Village and The Vic- 
ar of Wakefield in his hand, was once more wandering 
the streets of London amid a thousand other equally des- 
titute wretches. He applied to apothecary after apotheca- 
ry, trusting to his medical education, for employment with 
them ; but, with all the traces of vagabond indigence upon 
him, and without any recommendation to show, his repuls- 
es were certain. A chemist of the name of Jacob, resid- 
ing at the corner of Monument or Bell Yard, on Fish Hill, 
liking compassion on his destitute condition, at length gave 
him employment. It may be supposed to be about this 
time that his lodgings were of that magnificent description 
with which he once in after life startled a circle of good 

company, breaking out suddenly in some fit of forgetful en- 
thusiasm with, " When I lived among tbe beggars in Ait 
Lane." His fii*t gleam of belter fortune was finding his 
old Edinburgh college friend, Dr< Sleigh, in London, who 
received him in all his squalor with the warmth of true 
friendship, and enabled him to commence as physician in 
Bankside, Southward II did not answer, and the next 
glimpse of him is acting as a corrector of the press in the 
printing-office of Richardson the novelist The next for* 
tun ate circumstance was meeting with Mr. Milner, one of 
his old Edinburgh fellow -students, whose father, Dn Mil- 
ner, a Dissenting minister, kept a classical school at Peek- 
ham, in Surrey. By him he was recommended to his fa* 
ther, to assist him in his school duties. Dr. Milner was 
suffering under severe illness, and Gold smith *s services 
were accepted. Here he continued for some time, it has 
been said by part of the family, three years ; and this con- 
nection led to the one which brought him into the direct 
field of authorship, Mr., afterward Dr, Griffiths, a 
ler of Paternoster Row, had sLEirted the Monthly Review, 
and was beating up for contributors. Goldsmith, whom 1 
had become acquainted with at Dn Milner's, was one invito 
ed. The engagement is calculated to make both, proprietors 
and authors of the present day smile. Goldsmith was reg- 
ularly boarded and lodged in the bibliopole's hou 
hired servant of literature* How satisfactory this odd 
rangement of keeping a tame author turned out, may 
guessed by the fact that the engagement for a year ended 
in five mouths. The great fact at which Goldsmith kicked 
was, that not only G riffiths^ but kit teife f was in the regular 
habit of acting as the censor, and altering the articles writ- 
ten for the Review- 

From this time to the day of his death Goldsmith 
regularly lanched into the drudgery of literature ; die mo 
wearing, feverish, uncertain, and worst remunerating life 
under the sun. To live in one long anxiety, and to die 

i. u L l> 4 31 1 T IJ. 

poor, was his lot, as it has been that of thousands of others. 
There are innocent minds, who are filled with gladness at 
the sight of a goodly library ; who feast on a well-hound 
row of books, as the lover of nature does on a poetical 
landscape or on a bank of violets. For my part, I never 
see such a collection of books without an inward pang. 
They remind me of a catacomb ; every volume is in my 
eyes but a bone in the great gathering of the remains of 
literary martyrs. When I call to mind the pleasure with 
which many of these books were written, followed by the 
agonies of disappointment they brought ; the repulses and 
contempt of booksellers, to whom the authors had carried 
them io all the flush of their inexperience and of high hope; 
the cruel malice of the critics which assailed them, 

" Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of Rime ; 
Bloody dissectors, worse th an ten Monro* : 
He hack* to teach, they mangle to expose ;"— Burnt* 

when 1 think of the glorious hopes which accompanied 
their composition, and the terrible undeceiving which at* 
tended their publication ; when I reflect how many of these 
fair tomes were written in bitterest poverty, with the most 
aching hearts, in the roost cheerless homes, and how many 
others ruined the writers who were tolerably well off before 
they put pen to paper ; when I remember, on passing my 
eye along them, how many of them never were raised to 
their present rank and occupation till the unhappy authors 
were beyond the knowledge of it ; when I see others which 
had their fame during the author's life-time, but enriched 
only the lucky bibliopole, and left the conscious producer 
of wealth only doubly poor by seeing it in the enjoyment 
of another; when I sec those works wfiich, while the au- 
thor lived, were assailed as blasphemous and devilish, and 
are now the text-books of liberty and progress ; and when 
I call to mind all the tears which have bedewed them, the 
sadness of soul, often leading to suicide, which has weigh- 
ed down the immortal spirits which created them, I own 


that there is to me no such melancholy spectacle as a fine 
collection of books. 

Goldsmith had his full share of this baptism of literary 
wretchedness. I can not follow him minutely through the 
years of book-drudgery and all its attendant adventures. 
Suffice it that he wrote an immense mass oTarticles for the 
periodicals ; hosts of histories; plays, tales, essays, and the 
like, anonymously; and which, therefore, brought him pre- 
carious bread, but little fame. He commenced writing in 
the Monthly Review in 1757, and it was not till 1764 that 
his name was first affixed to his first poem, The Traveler. 
Thus he served a seven years' apprenticeship to anonymous 
authorship before he began to take that rank in English 
literature which was his destined portion ; exactly in ten 
years more he was in his grave, having, in the mean time, 
given to posterity his exquisite Deserted Village; his in- 
imitable Vicar of Wakefield ; his Good-natured Man, and 
She Stoops to Conquer; besides hosts of histories, written 
to make the pot boil. Histories of Animated Nature ; of 
England, Greece, Rome, and what not During the whole 
of his career, the pecuniary condition of Goldsmith was one 
of uneasiness. It is true that his generous, improvident 
disposition might have left the result the same had he won 
ten times the sum he did ; but one can not help regarding 
the sums received by him for his writings as something 
most humiliating, when their real value to the booksellers 
of all ages is considered. We find his life abounding with 
his borrowing two and three guineas of his bookseller, and 
receiving such sums for articles. . The Traveler brought 
him twenty guineas I The Vicar of Wakefield, sixty / and 
for the Deserted Village, one hundred ; not two hundred 
pounds altogether, for three of the most popular works in 
any language. It would be a curious fact to ascertain, 
were it possible, what these three works alone have made 
for the booksellers. 

But if Goldsmith was not well remunerated for the works 

• OLDbiilTU. 301 

with whicb be enriched the English language, he was rich 
in friends. Johnson, Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, all the 
great men of the age, were his intimate associates, and knew 
how to value both his genius and his unselfish nature. The 
friendship of Johnson for him was beautiful. All the world 
knows the story of Johnson selling " the manuscript of the 
Vicar of Wakefield" to save the author from an arrest of 
bis landlady for arrears of rent. It has been made the 
subject of more than one excellent painting ; but it is not 
so generally known, that so uncertain were both Johnson 
and the publisher of its merits, that it remained nearly two 
years in the publisher's desk before he ventured to publish 
it. It was the fame of The Traveler which emboldened 
the bibliopole to bring it out, and the public at once received 
it with one instant and general cheer. 

We must now confine ourselves to a brief indication of 
the successive residences and haunts of Goldsmith during 
his literary life in London, first observing only, that so un- 
promising for a long time was the field of authorship, that 
he sought several times to quit it, In 1758, he procured 
the post of physician and surgeon to one of the factories on 
the coast of Coromandel, but was refused his certificate at 
Surgeon's Hall as not duly qualified. He tried, in 1760, 
to procure the situation of secretary to the Society of Arts, 
as a means of permanent support ; and failing, he recurred 
to a wild project, which he had entertained years before, 
of going out to the East to decipher the inscriptions on 
the Written Mountains, though he was totally ignorant of 
Arabic, or the language in which the inscriptions might be 
supposed to be written. His inducement was the salary 
of JC300 a year, which had been left for that purpose. He 
proposed, in this expedition, also, to acquire a knowledge 
of the arts peculiar to the East, and introduce them into 
Britain. When Johnson heard of this, he said, " Why, sir, 
he would bring home a grinding-barrow, which you see in 
every street of London, and think he had furnished a won- 

Vol. I.— Q 

6 o L D U M I T 

en-it mwrwemeiiL" The scheme appeared as Tkwnsry 
I-, sc*rr rtUKrtoTH. ana to fell through. These Yariow pins, 
^rmvmr^i ol «hrf what a thorny path was that of autoc- 
*n.- t» aim 

V' > ntu. ^rfiiMBith first residing, after he had qmaa 
iVrdsitx* «. rn/c. about 1757, in the ricinity of Seusoar 
>»^i FtntMceet ; where exactly, is sot known. A: at 
r=» iw rjf tn the habit of frequenting the Temp* i? 
Turner *Tv.i&e-house v near Temple Bar, where he ha. a 
s-tur^ stressed, and where he even »w, iircordin? i : v 
tKtiim k die times, his patients, when he :mu. any. Tse? 
*■>•> iuc ssoear to be any such codBee-houao aow. tase^ between the Old Bailey anil what was snr 
\tzsuc vis his next abode, where he located m~ 
it** t&t mii'sf 1758. M Here/* says his biagTsasc 
* wel auwa to his literary brethren, wfc* 
jaigia ig s well r e membered. T* 
the abode, as it aun s au r 


tKia^v ; *«r 


nam rs as? owt una. of 



thor of the Hermit of Warkworth, one of his earliest liter- 
ary friends. "The doctor," observed the prelate, "was 
employed in writing his Inquiry into Polite Learning, in a 
wretchedly dirty room, in which there was but one chair; 
and when, from civility, this was offered to bis visitant, he 
himself was obliged to sit in the window. While they 
were conversing, some one gently rapped at the door, and 
on being desired to come in, a poor, ragged little girl of 
very decent behavior entered, who, dropping a courtesy, 
said, ' My mamma sends her compliments, and begs the 
favor of your lending, her a potful of coals.' " 

Mr. Prior, in 1820, going into a small shop in the Clap- 
ham Road to purchase the first edition of Goldsmith's Es- 
says, lying in the window, found the woman in the shop an 
old neighbor of the poet's. She said she was a near rela- 
tive of the woman who kept the house in Green-arbor 
Court, and, at the age of seven or eight, went frequently 
thither; one of the inducements to which- was the cakes 
and sweetmeats given to her and other children of the fam- 
ily by the gentleman who lodged there. These they duly 
valued at the moment, but when afterward considered as 
the gift of One so eminent, the recollection became the 
source of pride and boast. Another of his amusements con- 
sisted in assembling these children in his room, and in- 
ducing them to dance to the music of his flute. Of this in- 
strument, as a relaxation from study, he was fond. He 
was usually shut up in the room during the day, went out 
in the evenings, and preserved regular hours. His habits 
otherwise were sociable, and he had several visitors. One 
of the companions whose society gave him particular pleas- 
ure was a respectable watchmaker, residing in the same 
court, celebrated for the possession of much wit and hu- 
mor ; qualities which, as they distinguish his own writings, 
lie professes to have sought and cultivated wherever they 
were to be found. 

Here the woman related that Goldsmith's landlord bar- 


ing fallen into difficulties, was at length arrested ; and Gold- 
smith, who owed a small sum of money for rent, being ap- 
plied to by his wife to assist in the release of her husband, 
found that, although without money, he did not want re- 
sources. A new suit of clothes was. consigned to the pawn- 
broker, and the amount raised, proving much more man 
sufficient to discharge his own debt, was handed over for 
the release of the prisoner. What is most singular is, that 
this effort of active benevolence tjo rescue a debtor from 
jail, gave, in all probability, rise to a charge against him 
of dishonesty. As we have said, Goldsmith, proposing to 
go out to India, took his examination at Surgeon's HalL 
To make a creditable appearance there, he had borrowed 
money of Griffiths, the bookseller, for a new suit of clothes. 
These clothes Griffiths soon afterward discovered hanging 
at a pawnbroker's door. As Goldsmith had lost the situa- 
tion he had boasted of when he borrowed this money, and 
kept his own not very flattering secret of the cause of the 
loss — his rejection at Surgeon's Hall — Griffiths, a man of 
coarse mind, at once jumped to the conclusion that it was 
all a piece of trickery. He demanded an explanation of 
Goldsmith ; Goldsmith refused to give it. He demanded 
the return of his money ; Goldsmith, of course, had it not 
They came to a fierce and violent, and, as it proved, irrec- 
oncilable quarrel, and Goldsmith disdaining to explain the 
real circumstances, long bore the disgrace of duplicity as 
the result of his generous act. 

There is one more anecdote connected with his residence 
here, and it is characteristic. A gentleman, inquiring wheth- 
er he was within, was shown up to his room without further 
ceremony, when, Boon after having entered it, a noise of 
voices, as if in altercation, was heard by the people below, 
the key of the door at the same moment being turned with- 
in the room. Doubtful of the nature of the interview, the 
attention of the landlady was excited, but both voices being 
distinguished at intervals, her suspicions of personal vio- 


lence were lulled, and no further notice taken. Late i 
the evening the door was unlocked, a good supper ordered 
by the visitor from the neighboring tavern, and the gentle- 
men, who met so ungraciously at first, spent the remainder 
of the evening in great good humor. The explanation giv- 
en of this scene was, that the poet being behind-hand with 
certain writings for the press, and the stated period of pub- 
lication arrived, the intruder, who was a printer or publish- 
er, probably Hamilton or Wilkie, for both of whom he 
wrote at that time, would not quit the room till they were 
finished ; and for this species of durance inflicted on the 
author, the supper formed the apology. 

In those apartments, little indebted as we may believe 
to the labors of the housemaid, he is said to have observed 
the predatory habits of the spider, and drawn up that pa- 
per on the subject which appeared in the fourth number of 
the Bee, reprinted in the Essays, and given in substance in 
the History of Animated Nature. In these lodgings he 
wrote a Memoir of the Life of Voltaire, and a Translation 
of The Henriade; an Inquiry into the State of Polite 
Learning in Europe ; besides a multitude of Reviews and 
other articles in the Bee, the Busybody, and other maga- 
zines of the day. He wrote also his Chinese Letters, and 
newspaper articles at least two a week, at the rate of a 
guinea per article. In 1760 he quitted Green-arbor Court, 
and took respectable lodgings in Wine-office Court, Fleet- 
street, where he continued about two years in the house of 
an acquaintance, a relative of the friendly bookseller, New- 
bery, predecessor of Hunter, corner of St. Paul's church- 
yard, and since of Harris. Here he had a large literary 
acquaintance among men of all grades of reputation and 
talent. Among them Dr. Percy was a frequent visitor, and 
here it was that Dr. Johnson was introduced to him by 
Dr. Percy, at a large party which Goldsmith gave to per- 
sons chiefly literary. Johnson went dressed in his highest 
style, and on Percy's remarking it as they went along, 

866 OOLDflMITH. 

•'Why, sir/' said Johnson, "I hear that Goldsmith, who 
is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness 
and decency by quoting my practice, and I am desirous this 
night to show him a better example." From the first mo- 
ment of meeting, these two great men took vastly to each 
other, and continued firm friends till Goldsmith's death. 

During Goldsmith's residence in Wine-office Court, he 
was busily employed on a pamphlet on the Cock-lane 
Ghost ; a History of Mecklenburg ; The Art of Poetry on a 
New Plan ; An Abridgment of Plutarch ; Additions to En- 
glish History ; a Life of Beau Nash ; and contributions to 
the Christian Magazine : most of these being written for 
Newbery. To relieve the tedium of his drudgery, he was 
in the habit of frequenting the Monday evening meetings 
of the Robin Hood Debating Society, held at a house of 
that name in Butcher Row, whither it had been removed 
from the Essex Head, in Essex-street, in the Strand. The 
payment of sixpence formed the only requisite for admis- 
sion, three halfpence of which were said to be put by for 
the purposes of charity. The annual number of visitors av 
eraged about 5000. A gilt chair indicated the presiding 
authority, and all questions, not excepting religion and pol- 
itics, were open to discussion. In these discussions Gold- 
smith used even to take part, but his great delight was to 
listen to the harangues of an eloquent baker, at the con- 
clusion of one of which Goldsmith exclaimed to his com- 
panion Derrick, " That man was meant by nature for a 
lord-chancellor;" to which Derrick replied, " No, no, not 
so high; he was only intended for master of the rolb." The 
man actually became a magistrate in Middlesex* and, as 
was said, a first-rate one. 

Iu 1762 Goldsmith quitted Wine-office Court, and took 
lodgings in the house of a Mrs. Elizabeth Fleming, in Is- 
lington. This was to be near his friend and publisher, Mr. 
Newbery, who resided at Canonbury House, near to Mr* 
Fleming's. Here he continued till 1764, chiefly employed 


upon job-work for hia friend Newbery; among the moat 
important, the Letters of a Nobleman to his Son, and the 
History of England. He used to relieve the monotony of 
his life by weekly visits to the Literary Club, of which 
Johnson, Burke, and Sir Joshua Reynolds were principal 
members, and which was held at the Turk's Head, Ger- 
rard-street, Soho. 

Here, there is every reason to believe, occurred the 
event already alluded to, the threat of his arrest, and the 
sale of the manuscript of the Vicar of Wakefield, by John- 
son, to liberate him. Of this story there have been various 
versions ; Mrs. Piozzi, Sir John Hawkins, Cumberland, 
and Boswell, all relate it, all profess to have heard it from 
Johnson, and yet each tells it very differently. In all these 
stories, however, there is a landlady demanding arrears of 
rent, and bailiffs waiting to arrest if the money were not 
forthcoming. All agree that Goldsmith was drinking, most 
of them say Madeira, to drown his vexation ; and Cumber- 
land adds, that the landlady proposed the alternative of 
payment or marriage. Whether the latter point were really 
included in the demand, is not likely ever to be known ; 
but that Mrs. Fleming, who went by the name of Goldsmith's 
hostess, and is thus painted by Hogarth, was the woman in 
question, I think there can be little doubt, though Prior, 
the biographer, would fain exempt her from the charge, 
and suppose the scene to occur in some temporary lodging. 
There does not appear^ the smallest ground for such a sup- 
position. _ All facts point to this place and person. Gold- 
smith had been here for at least a year and a half, for Pri- 
or himself gives the particulars of this landlady's bill reach- 
ing to June 22d. As it occurred in this year, and about 
this time — for it is expressly stated that the Vicar of Wake- 
field was kept about two years by the bookseller unpublish- 
ed, and it was not published till the end of March, 1766— 
it could not possibly happen any where else. He could not 
have left Mrs. Fleming, or if he had, he could not have been 


away long enough to accumulate any alarming score. Here, 
on the contrary, every thing indicates that he was in debt 
aad difficulty. He had been at least a year and a half here, 
and might, and probably had, run a good way into his land- 
lady's books. The biographer states expressly that Gold- 
smith wa* in great difficulties, and for some months was in- 
visible—said to have made a trip into Yorkshire. The bi- 
ographer also shows that Newbery, the bookseller, gener- 
ally paid the landlady for Goldsmith ; but it comes out that 
Goldsmith was now got also very far behind with New- 
bery, owing him no less than •£111; and next comes an 
obvious dislocation with Newbery himself. It is a fact 
which does not seem to have struck the biographer, that 
when Johnson sold the manuscript of the Vicar of Wake- 
field, he did not sell it to Newbery, though Newbery was 
not only Goldsmith's publisher, but his own. He went and 
sold it to a nephew of Newbery's, Mr. Francis Newbery, 
of Paternoster Row. Now there must have been a reason 
for this, and what so likely as that Goldsmith having run 
too deep into debt, had alarmed Newbery — publishers are 
careful men — that he had not only refused to advance more, 
but had withdrawn his guarantee td the landlady. This 
beings the case, Goldsmith would be at his wit's end. With 
long arrears of rent and board, for Mrs. Fleming found that 
too, the security withdrawn by Newbery, she would be 
alarmed, and insist on Goldsmith's paying. To Newbery 
he could not fly, and, in his despair, he sent for Johnson. 
Johnson sold the novel, but not to John Newbery. With 
him it would only have gone to reduce the standing claim, 
with another it could bring what was wanted, instant cash. 
What confirms this view of the case is, moreover, the fact 
that immediately after this Goldsmith did quit his old land- 
lady, and returned to London. 

Canonbury Tower, or Canonbury House, as it is indiffer- 
ently called, is often said to have been a residence of Gold- 
smith, and the room is shown which he used to occupy, and 


where it is said he wrote The Deserted Village. The 
reason given for Goldsmith's going to live at Islington is, 
that it was a pleasant, rural situation, and that there h0 
would be near Newbery,. his publisher, who engaged with 
Goldsmith's landlady to pay the rent. Newbery had apart- 
ments in Canonbury House, and here Goldsmith visited 
him. Anon, as his difficulties increased, he used to hide 
from his creditors in the tower, where he lay concealed for 
days and weeks. Very probably he was there all the time 
he was said to be gone into Yorkshire. 

As to his having written The Deserted Village there, 
that is quite likely. It is equally probable that he might 
write there The Traveler, which was published at the end 
of the very year he left Islington. The Deserted Village 
was not published. for five years afterward, or in 1769 ; and 
was, if written at Canonbury, the fruit of a subsequent res- 
idence there in 1767. His fixed abode was then in the 
Temple, out he had apartments for part of the summer in 
Canonbury House, and was visited there by most of his lit- 
erary friends. On many of these occasions they adjourned 
to a social dinner at the Crown Tavern in the Lower Road, 
where tradition states them to have been very jovial; It is 
not improbable that he wrote part of The Vicar of Wake- 
keld at Islington too, having, as we see, completed it at the 
time of his threatened arrest, that is, at the close of his 
residence at Islington. 

Canonbury Tower, at the time Goldsmith used to fre- 
quent it, was a fine, airy place, in a sweet, rural neighbor- 
hood. Geoffrey Crayon says: "It is an ancient brick 
tower, hard by • merry Islington,' the remains of a hunting 
seat of Queen Elizabeth, where she took the pleasure of 
the country when the neighborhood was all woodland. 
What gave it particular interest in my eyes was the cir- 
cumstance that it had been the residence of a poet. It was 
here Goldsmith resided when he wrote his Deserted Vil- 
lage. I was «hown the very apartment. It was a relic of 


the original style of the castle, with paneled wainscot and 
Gothic windows. I was pleased with its air of antiquity, 
and its having been the residence of poor Goldy." Irving 
located bis " Poor Devil Author" in this room of Gold- 
smith's, hut represents him as soon driven away by the 
troops of Londoners. " Sunday came, and with it the whole 
city world, swarming about Canonbury Castle, I could 
not open my window but I was stunned with shouts and 
noises from the cricket -ground ; the late quiet road beneath 
my windows was alive with the tread of feet and the clack 
of tongues ; and to complete my misery, I found that my 
quiet retreat was absolutely a 'show-house/ being shown to 
strangers at sixpence a bead. There was a perpetual 
tramping up stairs of citizens and their families, to look 
about the country from the top of the tower, and to take a 
peep at the city through the telescope, to try if they could 
discern their own chimneys," 

The reason why Irving located bis '* Poor Devil Author" 
in Canonbury Tower, no doubt, was because it had been 
the resort of several such, as well as of men of greater 
note: Smart; Chambers, author of the Cyclopedia ; Hum* 
phries, author of Canons, a poem, Ulysses, an opera, &c 

** Here Humphries breathed hii last, the Miuen' friend, 
And Chambers found hU mighty labors end/' 

"See on the distant slope, majestic shows 
Old C: mon bin y's lower, an ancient pile 
To various fates assigned ; and where, by turns. 
Meanness and grandeur have alternate reigned* 
Thither* in latter days, hath genius fled 
From yonder city to repine and die* 
There the sweet Bard of Auburn sat, and tuned 
The plaintive moanitigs of his village dirge. 
Th./e learned Chambers treasured lore for man. 
And Newbery there his A B C lor bttbrt*'* 

One of these citizens, who look a particular pleas**. v *n 
a visit to Canonbury Tower, was William Hone. The view 
of the tower in his Every Day Book in very correct, e* 

«J O J. H ft M I T H* 371 

cept that there is now an iron balustrade round the top, for 
greater security of those who ascend it for the prospect 
Kb account of it is ft* follows : 

" Canon bury Tower is sixty feet bight and seventy feet 
square. It is part of an old mansion, which appears to have 
been erected, or, if erected before, much altered about the 
reign of Elizabeth, The more ancient edifice was erected 
by the priors of the Canons of St* Bartholomew, Smithfield, 
and hence was called Canonbury, to whom it appertained 
until it was surrendered with the priory to Henry VIIL; 
and when the religious houses were dissolved, Henry gave 
the mansion to Thomas, lord Cromwell* It afterward 
passed through other bands, till it was possessed by Sir John 
Spencer, an alderman and lord -mayor of London, Known 
by the name of * rich Spencer/ While he resided at Ca- 
nonbury, a Dunkirk pirate came over in a shallop to Bark' 
ing Creek, and hid himself with some armed men in Isling- 
ton Fielda, near the path Sir John usually took from his 
bouse in Crosby Place to this mansion, with the hope of 
making him prisoner; but as be remained in town that 
night, they were glad to make off for fear of detection, and 
returned to France disappointed of their prey, and of the 
large ransom they calculated on for the release of his per- 
son. His sole daughter and heiress, Elizabeth,* was car- 
ried off in a baker's basket from Canonbury House by 
William, the second Lord Compton, lord -president of 
Wales* He inherited Canonbury, with the rest of Sir 
John Spencer's wealth, at his death, and was afterward 
created Earl of Northampton ; in this family the manor 
still remains*" 

In Hone's time, a Mr. Symes, the bailiff of the manor un- 
der Lord Northampton, was residing in the tower. He 
had lived there for thirty-nine years. Hie mother- in-law, 
Mrs. Evans, wife to the former bailiff, told Mr, Symes that 

" For an account of this extraordinary woman, iee "The VUiti to 
Remarkable Place*," vol. L, p. 318, 

372 O O L ift M IT H. 

her aunt, Mrq. Tapps, a seventy-year inhabitant of the tow- 
er, was accustomed to talk much about Goldsmith and his 
ifartment. It was an old oak room on the first floor. Mrs. 
Tapps affirmed that he there wrote his Deserted Village, 
and slept in a large press bedstead placed in the eastern 
corner. Since Goldsmith's time, the room has been much 
altered and subdivided. The house is still the residence 
of the bailiff of the manor, - 

Poor Hone lamented sorely over the changes going on in 
this once sweet neighborhood. " I ranged the old rooms, 
and took, perhaps, a last look from the roof The eye 
shrunk from the wide havoc below. Where new buildings 
had not covered the sward, it was embowelling for bricks, 
and kilns emitted flickering fire and sulphurous -stench. 
Surely the dominion of the brick-and-mortar king will have 
no end, and cages for commercial spirits will be there in- 
stead of every green thing/' 

" So, Canonbury, thou dost stand a while ; 
Tet fall at last thou must ; for thy rich warden 
Is fast ' improving ;' all thy pleasant fields 
Have fled, and brick-kilns, bricks, and houses rise 
At his command : the air no longer yields 
A fragrance—scarcely health ; the very skies 
Grow dim and town-like ; a cold, creeping gloom 
Steals into thee, and saddens every room; 
And so realities come unto me, 
Clouding the chambers of my mind, and m^ing me — like thee. 9 

One-and-twenty years have passed since Hone took this 
melancholy view of the changes going on round Canon- 
bury Tower. There has been no pause in the process of 
housification since then. The whole neighborhood is feat 
ingulfing in one overflowing London. What a change 
since Queen Elizabeth used to come to this solitary tower, 
to hunt in the far-spreading woodlands around ; or to take 
a view from its summit of her distant capital, and of the 
far-off winding Thames ! What a change even since Gold- 
smith paced this old tower, and looked over green fields, 


and thick woods, and over the whole airy scene, full of soli- 
tude and beauty ! - There are still old gardens with their 
stately cedars, and lanes that show that they were once ia 
a rural district, and that Canonbury was a right pleasant 
place. But the goodly house of Sir Walter Raleigh, who 
grew enamored of the spot from attending his royal mis 
trees thither, is degraded to the Pied Bull, and long ter 
races of new houses extinguish one green field rapidly 
after another. Every thing seems in a state of spreading 
and active advance, except the great tavern near the tower, 
whose cricketers and revelers used to din Washington Irving 
so' much, and that now stands empty and ruinous ; the very 
Sunday roisterers from the city have sought some more 
greenly suburban resort. 

The last residences of Goldsmith in London were within 
the precincts of the Temple ; but here he made two re- 
moves. He first took apartments on the library stair- 
case, No. 2 Garden Court This is now pulled down, 
and, I suppose, on the site stands the new library ; for, on 
going into the court; you now find no No. 2, but only Nos. 
3 and 4, looking odd and puzzling enough to the inquirer. 
Hence he removed to the King*s-bench Walk, but the 
particular house does not appear to be known. Lastly, he 
removed to No. 2 Brick Court. His lodgings were on the 
second floor, on the right hand ascending the staircase, 
and are said to consist of three rooms, sufficiently airy and 
pleasant. With an imprudence which brought upon him 
deep anxiety, and probably hastened his end, he borrowed 
of the booksellers, and of the occupier of the opposite 
rooms, Mr. Edmund Bott, a literary barrister, who was 
much esteemed by him, and became his principal creditot 
at his death, and the possessor of his papers, four hundred 
pounds, with which he furnished these apartments in an ex 
pensive manner. Below Goldsmith, on the first floor, lived 
Sir William Blackstone, who is said there to have writteo 
his Commentaries. There were other barristers, especially 


a Mr. William Cooke, author of a work on Dramatic Ge- 
nius, and called Conversation Cooke, living in the Temple, 
with whom Goldsmith was on terms of intimacy ; and here 
he occasionally gave very expensive suppers to his literary 
friends. Here he was visited by almost every man of note 
of the time : Johnson with his Boswell f Burke, Reynolds, 
Garrick, Percy, Sir Philip Francis, etc Almost twenty 
years after his death these rooms became the scene of a 
tragical adventure, by a Miss Broderick shooting in them a 
Mr. Eddington, with whom she had formerly lived, and who 
took this desperate means of punishing his desertion. 

These rooms are at the lower end of Brick Court, at the 
corner of the range of buildings on your right hand as you 
descend the court from Fleet-street. There seems to be a 
considerable mistake in Prior's account of them. Nearly 
all that he says appears to apply much more naturally to his 
rooms in Garden than in Brick Court. In Garden Court 
they most likely would be airy and pleasant. There, too, 
the anecdote of his watching the rooks might take place ; 
it could not in Brick Court. It is thus given : " The view 
toward the gardens supplied him with an observation given . 
in Animated Nature, respecting the natural history of the 
rooks. I have often amused myself with observing their 
plan of policy from my window in the Temple, that looks 
upon a grove where they have made a colony in the midst 
of the city," &c. 

Now there is no view toward the garden. The court is 
built all round with buildings as old as Goldsmith's time, 
and older. In his rooms in Garden Court he could have 
full view of the elms in the garden, the probable scene of 
the rookery in question. 

During Goldsmith's life here, he was in the habit of 
meeting his literary friends often in the evening at the 
Miter Tavern, Fleet-street; at a card club at the Devil 
Tavern, near Temple Bar, not now existing ; at the Globe 
Tavern, also near there, now gone too ; and at Jack's Cof- 


fee-house, now Walker's Hotel, Dean-street, corner of 
Queen-street, Soho. It was here that Goldsmith confound- 
ed the gravity of Johnson with one of his off-hand and sim- 
ple jokes. They were supping tete-a-tete on rumps and 
kidneys. Johnson observed, " Sir, these rumps are pretty 
little things, but they require a good many to satisfy a man." 
"Ay! but," said Goldsmith, "how many of these would 
reach to the moon 1" " To the moon ! ay, sir, I fear that 
exceeds your calculation." *' Not at all, sir," said Gold- 
smith ; " I think I could tell." " Pray, then, let us hear." 
H Why, one, if k were long enough." Johnson growled 
at this reply for some time, but at last recollecting himself, 
M Well, sir, I have deserved it-; I should not have provoked 
so foolish an answer by so foolish a question." 

This house, in 1770, was the oldest tavern in London but 
three, and is now probably the oldest. Mr. Walker, the 
present landlord of this hotel, who has lived in it fifty years, 
and has now reached the venerable age of ninety, is proud 
of the ancient honors of the house.. On his card he duly 
informs his friends that it was here that " Johnson, Garrick, 
Goldsmith, and other literary characters of eminence" used 
to resort. The house is old, spacious, and quiet, and well 
adapted for the sojourn of families from the country, who 
are glad to escape the noise of more frequented parts of 
the city. By permission of Mr. Walker, I present at the 
head of this article a view of the room once honored by 
Johnson, and Goldsmith. 

It is pleasant to find the author of The Traveler and De- 
serted Village, amid all bis labors, ever and anon escaping 
to the country, which no man more profoundly enjoyed. 
It is delightful to imagine with- what intense pleasure he 
must have traversed the groves of Ham, and the lovely 
scenes of Dove Dale. He made similar rambles into 
Hampshire, Sussex, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and 
Lincolnshire. When he wanted at once to enjoy country 
retirement and hard work, he would " abscond" from his 


town associates without a word, dive into some queer, ob- 
scure retreat, often on the Harrow or Edgeware Roads, 
and not be visible for two or three months together. One 
of these retreats is said to be a small wooden cottage on the 
north side of the Edgeware Roach, about a mile from Pad- 
dington, near what is called Kilburn Priory. At such 
places it was his great luxury, when tired of writing, to 
stroll along the shady hedge sides, seating himself in the 
most agreeable spots, and occasionally setting down thoughts 
which arose for future use. When he was in a more 
sociable mood, he got up parties for excursions into the 
neighborhood of London, in which he and his companions 
had a good long ramble among the villages, dined at the 
village inn, and so home again in the evening. These he 
called " tradesmen's holidays," and thus were Blaokheath, 
Wandsworth, Fulham, Chelsea, Hampstead, Highgate, 
Highbury, &c., explored and enjoyed. On those occasions 
Goldsmith gave himself up to all his love of good fellow- 
ship, and of generously seeing others happy. He made it 
a rule that the party should meet and take a splendid 
breakfast at his rooms. The party generally consisted of 
four or five persons ; and was almost sure to include some 
humble person, to whom such a treat would never come 
from any other quarter. One of the most constant of these 
was bis poor amanuensis, Peter Barlow. Peter had his 
oddities, but with them a spirit of high independence. 
He always wore the same dress, and never would pay more 
than a certain sum, and that a trifle, for his dinner ; but 
that he would insist on paying. The dinner always cost- 
ing a great deal more, Goldsmith paid the difference, and 
considered himself well reimbursed by the fund of amuse- 
ment Peter furnished to the party. One of their frequent 
retreats was the well-known Chelsea Bun-house. Another 
of these companions was a Dr. Glover, a medical man and 
author of no great note, who once took Goldsmith into a 
cottage in one of their rambles at West End, Hampstead, 


and took tea with the family as an old acquaintance* trhen 
he actually knew no more of the people than Goldsmith 
did, to his vast chagrin on discovering the fact. 

A temporary retreat of Goldsmith's was a cottage near 
Edgeware, in the vicinity of Canons. There he lived, in 
conjunction with his friend Bott, and here he worked hard 
at his Roman History. , It had been the retreat of a weal- 
thy shoemaker of Piccadilly, and having a pleasant gar- 
den, they christened the place " The Shoemaker's Para- 
dise." The last country lodging which he had was at 
Hyde, on the Edgeware Road. It is described by Prior 
as " of the superior order of farm-houses, and stands upon 
a gentle eminence in what is called Hyde Lane, leading to 
Kenton, about three hundred yards from the village of 
Hyde, on the Edgeware Road, and commands a view of 
an undulating country directly opposite, diversified with 
wood, in the direction of Hendon. From Mr. Selby, the 
occupier of the property, Mr. Prior obtained this informa- 
tion. He was himself a lad of sixteen at the time Gold- 
smith lodged there, and remembered him perfectly. He 
had only one room there, up one flight of stairs, to the right 
of the landing. There he wrote She Stoops to Conquer. 
He boarded with the family, but commonly had his meals 
sent up to his own apartment. When he had visitors to 
tea — for his friends used to come out from London, take 
tea, and then drive home— he had the use of the parlor im- 
mediately under his own room. Occasionally he would 
wander into the kitchen, and stand with his back toward 
the fire, apparently absorbed in thought. Sometimes he 
strolled about the fields, or was seen loitering and musing 
under the hedges, or perusing a book. In the house he 
usually wore his shirt-collar open, in the manner repre- 
sented in the portrait by Sir Joshua. Occasionally he read 
much in bed; and his mode of extinguishing his candle when 
out of immediate reach was to fling his slipper at it, which 
in the morning was found near the overturned candlestick 
bedaubed with grease. 


There, then, Goldsmith spent the last days of his life, 
except what he spent on hie sick-bed, in the foil enjoyment 
of those two great charms of his existence, nature and 
books. Occasionally he would indulge in a jovial pause 
have a dance got up among his visitorsrand on one occa- 
sion took the young people of the house in a earriaga to 
Windsor, to see a company of strolling players, and i 
himself and hip juvenile party very merry by t his : 
on the performance. From these quiet enjoyments and 
field musings, death called him away. He returned to 
town, and died in his lodgings in the Temple. He was 
privately interred in the Temple bnrym g-g ionnd, and a 
tabular monument to his honor placed on the walls of 
Westminster Abbey. That great and noble building doss 
not hold the remains of a nobler or better heart. Ohver 
Goldsmith was a true Irishman, generous, impulsive, and 
improvident ; but he was more, he was a true man and 
true poet. Whether we laugh with him or weep with him, 
we are still better for it. 


We come now to the man wbo is the great representa- 
tive of a class which is ihe peculiar glory of Great Britain ; 
that is, to Robert Burn a. It id a brilliant feature of English 
literature, that the people, the mass, the multitude, call them 
what you will, have contributed to it their share, and that 
share a glorious one. We may look in vain into the liter- 
ature of every other nation for the like fact. It is true that 
there may be found in all countries men who, born in the 
lowest walks of life, orphans, outcasts, slaves even, men la- 
boring under not only all the weight of social prejudices, 
bat under the curse of personal deformity, have, through 
some one fortunate circumstance, generally the favor of 
tome one generous and superior person, risen out of their 
original position, and through the advantages of academic* 
al or artistic education, have taken their place among the 
learned and illustrious of their race. We need not turn 
hack to the Eaops and Terences of antiquity for such char- 

880 BURNg. 

actero; they are easy to select from the annals of middle 
age, and modern art and learning; but there is a daw, and 
this class is found in Great Britain alone, which, belonging 
to the body of the people, has caught, as it were passingly, 
just the quantum of education which had come within the 
people's reach, and who, on this slender pardcipatipn of the 
general intellectual property, have raised for themselves a 
renown, great, glorious, and enduring as that of the most 
learned or most socially exalted of mankind** Those ex- 
traordinary individuals to whom I have alluded as to be 
found in the literature of all civilimed nations these men, 
who, admitted from the ranks of the people to the college 
or the studio, have distinguished themselves in almost every 
walk of science or letters— these have vindicated the gen- 
eral intellect of the human race from every possible charge 
of inequality in its endowments. They have shown tri- 
umphantly that " God is no respecter of persons." . They 
have thus vindicated not only man?s universal capacity for 
greatness, but the Creator's justice. They have demon- 
strated that " God has made of one blood all the nations of 
the earth," and still more, that he has endowed them all 
with one intellect. Over the whole bosom of the globe its 
divine Architect has spread fertility ; he has diffused beauty 
adapted to the diversity of climes, and made that beauty 
present itself in such a variety of forms, that the freshness 
of its first perception is kept alive by ever-occurring novel- 
ties of construction, hue, or odor. It is the same in the in- 
tellectual as in the physical world. In the universal spirit 
of man he has implanted the universal gifts of his divine 
goodness. Genius, sentiment, feeling, the vast capacity of 
knowledge and of creative art, are made the common heri- 
tage of mankind. But climate and circumstance assert a 
great and equal influence on the outer and the inner life of 
the earth. Some nations, under the influences of certain 
causes, have advanced beyond others; some individuals, 
under the like causes, have advanced beyond the generality 

BURNS. 381 

of their cotemporaries. But these facts have not proved 
that those nations, or those individuals, were more highly 
endowed than the rest; they have rather proved that the 
soil of human nature ia rich beyond all conception ; the 
extent of that wealth, however, becoming only palpable 
through the operation of peculiar agencies. The causes 
which developed in Greece, in Rome, in India, in Egypt, 
such manifestations of grace, spirit, and power at certain 
periods, as never were developed even there at any other 
periods, before or since, present a subject of curious in- 
quiry, but they leave the grand fact the same, and this fact 
is, that the soul of universal man is endowed with every 
gift and faculty which any possible circumstances can call 
upon him to exert for his benefit, and the adornment of his 
life. He. is furnished for every good word and work. He 
is a divine creature, that, when challenged, can prove am- 
ply his divinityj though under ordinary circumstances he 
may be content to walk through this existence in an or- 
dinary guise. Every great social revolution, every great 
popular excitement of every age, has amply demonstra- 
ted this. There never was a national demand for intel- 
lect and energy, from the emancipation of the Israelites 
from the Egyptian yoke, or the destruction of the Thirty 
Tyrants, of Athens, down to the English or the French Rev- 
olution, which was not met, to the astonishment of the 
whole world, with such a supply of orators, poets, warriors, 
and statesmen, speakers and actors, inventors and con- 
structors, in every shape of art, wisdom, and ability, as 
most completely to certify that the powers which slumber 
in the human bosom are far beyond those which are ever 
called into activity. The fertility of the soil of the earth 
is there in winter, but it lies unnoticed. The sun breaks 
out, and, like a giant alarmist thundering at the doors of 
the world, he awakens a thousand hidden powers. Life, 
universal as the earth itself, starts forth in its thousand 
shapes, and all is movement, beauty, sweetness, hurrying 
on through a charmed being into an exuberant fruit. 

882 Bums. 

Those men, then, who have risen through the medium 
of a finished education to literary, artistic, or scientific em- 
inence, have, I repeat, vindicated the universality of intel- 
lectual endowment ; hut there is still another class, and 
that, as I have said, peculiar to these islands, who have 
shown that a finished or academical education even is not 
absolutely necessary to the display of the highest order of 
genius. Circumstances again have been at work hers. 
The circumstances of this country are different to those of 
any other. We have preserved our liberties more entire. 
The British people have disdained from age to age to suf- 
fer the curb and the bit that have been put upon the neck, 
and into the mouth, of the more pliant nations of the Con- 
tinent. Whether these circumstances are to be looked for 
in the peculiar mixture of races, or in this particular mix- 
ture coexisting with peculiarities of climate and insular po- 
sition, might afford scope to much argument ; enough, theie 
circumstances have existed, and their results do exist in a 
race, proud, active, free, and indomitable. 

" Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, 

I see the lords of human kind pass by ; 

Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, 

By forms unfashioned, fresh from nature's hand, 

Fierce in their native hardiness of soul ; 

True to imagined right, above control ; 

While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, 

And learns to venerate himself as roan." 

Goldsmith, The Traveler. 
Thus it is that this free constitution of the British Em- 
pire; this spirit of general independence; this habit of the 
peasant and the artisan of venerating themselves as men, 
has led to a universal awakening of mind in the people. 
In other countries few think ; it is a few who are regularly 
educated, and arrogate the right to think, and write, and 
govern. If the poor man become an acknowledged genius, 
it is only through the passage of the high school. The 
mass is an inert mass ; it is a laboring, or, at best, a singing 

BURNS. 888 

and dancing multitude. But in Great Britain there is not 
a man who does not feel that he is a member of the great 
thinking, acting, and governing whole. Without books 
often he has caught the spark of inspiration from his neigh- 
bor. In the field, the work-shop, the ale-house, the Char- 
tist gathering, he has come to the discussion of his rights, 
and in that discussion all the powers of his spirit have felt 
the rousing influence of the sea of mind' around, that has 
boiled and heaved from its lowest depths in billows of fire. 
Under the operation of this oral, and, as it were, forensic 
education, which has been going on for generations in the 
British Empire, the whole man, with all his powers, has be- 
come wide'awake ; and it required only the simple powers 
of writing and reading to enable the peasant or artisan to 
gather all the knowledge that he needed, and to stand forth 
a poet, an orator, a scientific inventor, a teacher himself of 
the nation. 

To these circumstances we owe our Burnses, Hoggs, 
Bloomfields, Clares, Elliotts, Allan Cunninghams, Bam- 
fbrds, Nicolls ; Thorns ; our Thomas Millers and Thomas 
Coopers. To these circumstances we owe, however, not 
merely poets, but philosophers, artists, and men of practi- 
cal science. Such were Drew, Opie, Smeaton, Brindley, 
Arkwright, Strutt, Crompton, Watt ; such men are Joseph 
Barker, the great religious reformer of the people, and 
Carlton, the vigorous delineator of Irish actual life. For 
such men we look in vain abroad ; and at home they consti- 
tute themselves a constellation of genius, such as more than 
one country of Continental Europe can not muster from all 
the gathered lights of all its ages. 

It is with pride, and more than pride, that I call the at- 
tention of my countrymen to this great and unique section 
of their country's glorious literature. I look to the future, 
and see in these men but the forerunners of a numerous 
race springing from the same soil They are evidences of 
the awakened mind of the common people of England. 

884 BURNS. 

They are pledges that out of that awakened mind there 
will, as general education advances, spring whole hosts of 
writers, thinkers, and actors, who shall not so merely rep- 
resent the working classes of our society, but shall point 
out the people as the grand future source of the enrich- 
ment of our literature. They are luminous proofs, and the 
forerunners of multitudinous proofs of the same kind, that 
genius is not entirely dependent upon ait ; but can, having 
once the simple machinery of reading and writing, seize on 
sufficient art to enable it to exhibit all the nobler forms of 
intellectual life, and to speak from heart to heart the living 
language of those passions and emotions, which are the el- 
ements of all human exertion after the good and the great, 
which console in distress, harden to necessary endurance, 
or fire to the generous rage of conquest over difficulties, 
and over the enemies of their just rights. These men are 
the starry lights that glitter on the verge of that dawn in 
which mankind shall emerge to its true position ; the many 
being the enlightened spirits, and the few the weak ex- 
ceptions, shrinking like shadows from the noon-day of hu- 
man progress. 

At the head of this great class stands, first in stature as 
in era, Robert Bums. True, before him there had been a 
Stephen Duck and a Robert Dodsley— glow-worms pre- 
ceding the morning star ; wonders, because the day of gen- 
uine minds had not yet come ; respectable men, but not 
geniuses of that Titanic stamp which, by its very appear- 
ance, puts an end to every question as to its rank or nature 
in the utter astonishment at its gigantic presence. There 
have been many small geniuses paraded before the public 
as curiosities, because they were uneducated ; but when 
Burns came forth from the crowd of his fellow-men, it was 
as the poet of the people ; issuing like Moses from the 
clpud of God's presence, with a face so radiant with divine 
light, that the greatest prophets of the schools were dazzled 
at the apparition. He needed no apologies of want of 

BURNS. 885 

academic discipline; he was a man with all the gifts and 
powers of a man, fresh and instinctive in their strength as 
if direct from the Creator's hand* Burns was the repre- 
sentative of the common man in representative perfection. 
He was a combination of all the powers and the failings, 
the strength and the weakness of human nature. He had 
the great intellect of such a specimen man, awakened to its 
full consciousness, but not polished to the loss of any of its 
prominences. He was manly, blunt, daring, independent ; 
full of passion and the thirst of pleasure ; yet still, tender 
as a woman, sensitive as a child, and capable of sinking to. 
the humblest penitent at the suggestions of his conscience, 
or rising to the dignity of a prophet or the sanctity of an 
apostle, as the oppressions of man or the sublimity of God 
aroused or exalted his spirit. He had the thrilling nerves 
and the changing moods of the poet ; quick, versatile, mel- 
ancholy, or humorous, he reflected all the changes of the 
social sky. His sensations were too acute to obey the sole 
dictates of mere reason — they carried him to every ex- 
treme. He was now bursting with merriment in the midst 
of his convivial comrades, singing like the lark or the night- 
ingale in the joy of his heart ; now thundering against the 
outrages of the strong and arbitrary, or weeping in convul- 
sive grief over his follies or his wounded affections. But 
if his sensations were too acute to obey reason at all times, 
his moral nature was too noble not to obey the clear voice 
of a conscience, which he often outraged, but never strove 
systematically to destroy. There have not wanted num- 
bers who have wondered that David should be called " a 
man after God's own heart" But to me there is nothing 
wonderful in such an appellation. God knows that we are 
weak and imperfect, that in proportion to the strength of 
our passions are we liable to go wrong, and he does not 
expect miracles from us. What he expects is^ that errors 
committed in the hurricane of passion shall be abhorred 
and repented of, as soon as they are fully displayed to oar 
Vol. I.-R 

886 BUEMB. 

consciences. To endeavor to do right, yet, if overtaken 
with error, to abhor our crime, and to repent in the dost 
and ashes of prostrate remorse, marks .a heart frail, yet no- 
ble ; and such is human nature at best The evidence of 
a corrupt spirit, of a truly criminal nature, is that leaven of 
malignity, which goes doggedly wrong, substituting the 
base purposes of its selfishness for the broad commands of 
God, and finding a satanic pleasure in working evil against 
its fellow-men. Such was not Robert Burns. He was no 
faultless monster, nor yet a monster with all his faults. His 
vivid sensibilities — those sensibilities which gave him the 
capacity of poetry, those qualities which were the necessa- 
ry requisites for his vocation—often led him astray, often 
stained the purity of his mind ; but they never succeeded 
in debasing his moral nature. That was too generous, too 
noble, too true to the godlike gift of a great human heart, 
which was to feel for all mankind, and to become the in- 
spirer of the general mass with truer and higher ideas of 
themselves, and of their rank in creation. Woefully fell 
David of old — the poet taken from the aheepfold and the 
solitude of the wilderness to sit on the throne of a great 
people — and bitterly in the sight of that people did he lie 
hi the dust and deplore his errors. Awfully went Robert 
Burns astray — the poet taken from the plow to sit on the 
throne of the realm of poetry — and bitterly did he, too, 
bow down and weep in the ashes of repentance. God 
gave, in both instances, impressive proofs to the world, 
that glorious talents given to men leave them but men still ; 
and that they who envy the gift should not forget that they 
too would be exposed to the imminent danger of the fall. 
There is a comfort and a warning, there is a great moral 
lesson for mankind in the lives of such men ; there is a 
great lesson of humility and charity. Who shall say that 
with a nature equally igneous and combustible, his delin- 
quencies would not be far greater? Where is the man in 
ten millions that, with such errors on one side of the ac- 

■ urns. 887 

count, can place the same talents and virtues on the ether? 
In die Words of Burns himself, 

"Who mad© the heart, 'tis He alone 
Decidedly can try us ; 
He knows each chord— its various tone, 

Each spring — its various bias; - 
Then at the balance let's be mute, 

We never can adjust it; 
What's done we partly may compute, 
Bat know not what's retuiedS' 

The errors of Burns were visited upon him severely in his 
day ; they stand recorded against him ; no man can plead 
his example, for he condemned himself, and the conse- 
quences of his aberrations stand warningly side by side 
with the deeds themselves ; but who is he that, with all 
the perfections of a monotonous propriety, shall confer the 
same benefits on his country and on his fellow-men f 
There was in the nature of Burns a manliness, a contempt 
of every thing selfish and mean, a contempt of all distinc- 
tions not based on nature, a hatred of tyranny, a withering 
scorn of hypocrisy, which, had he not possessed the brill- 
iant genius that he did, would, among his cotemporaries, 
have diffused that tone, of honest uprightness and justness 
of thinking which are the truest safeguards of a country's 
liberties and honor, and would have stamped bim as a re- 
markable man. But all these qualities were but the ac- 
companiments of a genius the most brilliant, the wonders 
and delights of which stand written, as it were, in lightning 
forever. Besides the irresistible contagion of his merri- 
ment, the flashes of wit, the tenderness of his sentiment, 
the wild laughter of his satiric scorn of cant, and priestcraft, 
and self-righteousness, the ardor of his patriotism, the gay- 
ety of his social songs, there is a tone in his graver writing 
which breathes over the hearts of his countrymen, and of 
all the world, the highest and most dignifying feeling that 
ever hallowed the heart of man. 

With Burns, to be a man is the grand distinction. All 

888 BURNS. 

other distinctions are but the clothes which wrap the figure 
— the figure itself is the real thing. To be a man; in his 
eye, was to be the most glorious thing that we have any 
conception of on this side* of heaven ; to be an honest man 
was to be " the noblest work of God !" That' was the great 
sentiment which animated him, and made him come forth 
from between the stilts of his plow, from his barn or his 
byre, into the presence of wealth and title, with a calm 
dignity and a proud bearing which astonished the artificial 
creatures of society. Titles, carriages, gay garments, great 
houses, what are they but the things which the man had 
gathered about him for his pride or his comfort t It was 
for the man that they were created and gathered together. 
Without the man they were nothing, had no value, could 
have no existence. Without that solid, and central, and 
sentient monarch, titles are but air, gay clothes but the fur- 
niture of a Jew's shop, great houses but empty, useless 
shells, carriages no better than wheel-barrows. From the 
man they derived all they were or counted for ; and Burns 
felt that he and his poorest brother of the spade, and poor- 
est sister of the spindle, were as entirely and essentially 
that as the king upon his throne. The king upon his 
throne ! He was set there and arrayed in all his pageant- 
ry, and armed with all his power, solely for the man and by 
the man. In the man and his inner life, the heart, the soul, 
and the sentiment-*— that wondrous mystery which, prisoned 
in flesh and chained by matter to one corner of the limit- 
less universe, yet is endowed with power to range through 
eternity — to plunge down amid innumerable worlds and 
their swarming life— to soar up and worship at the foot- 
stool of the Frame r and Upholder of suns and systems, the 
Father of all being— in him the poet recognized the only 
monarch of this nether world. For him , not for lords, or mill- 
ionnaires, or mitered priests, but for him was this august 
world created. For him were its lands and waters spread 
abroad ; for him the seasons set forward in tho harmony 

BURNS. 889 

of their progress ; for him were, empires and cities framed, 
and all the comforts of life, and the precious flowers of 
love and intellect breathed into the common air, and shed 
into the common heart. That was the feeling of Robert 
Burns, which made him tread down all other distinctions 
as he did the thistles of his own fields. That was the doc- 
trine which he was as surely created and sent forth to 
preach, as Jesus Christ was to promulgate, that glorious 
Gospel whose especial mission he declared was to the poor. 
Robert Burns was the apostle of the dignity of man — man, 
in his own proper nature, standing calmly and invincibly 
above every artful distinction which sought to thrust him 
from his place in God's heritage, and set over him the self- 
ish and die base. When contemplating such delusive dis- 
tinctions, the winged words, 

14 A man's a man for a* that!" 
burst like a.lightning flash from the poet's bosom, and be- 
came the eternal watchword of self-respecting humanity. 

" The king can make a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, and a* that ; 
The rank is but the guinea stamp, 
A man's a man for a* that !" 

Brave words! glorious truth! The soul of poetry and the 
whole science of social philosophy compressed into a single 
stanza, to serve as the stay and comfort of millions of hearts 
in every moment when most needed. 

The pre-eminent merit of Burns, independent of his 
beauties as a fine poet, is the vigorous inculcation of these 
sentiments of a just self-estimation into the people. To 
teach them to regard themselves as objects of worth from 
their own human nature and destiny, irrespective of the 
mere mode by which they live, is to confer on the million 
the noblest benefaction. It is to give them at once a shield 
against " the proud man's contumely" and the degradations 
of vice. It is to set their feet on the firm rock of an eter- 
nal truth, and to render them alike invulnerable to envy 

890 i u i n i. 

and despair. The man wbo breathes the soul of a rational 
dignity into the multitude is the greatest of possible patri- 
ots. He who respects virtue and purity in himself will re- 
spect those qualities in others; and a nation permeated 
with the philosophy of Burns would be the noblest nation 
that the sun ever yet shoneiipon. 

But it is not merely that Robert Burns teaches his fel- 
low-peasants and citizens to fling out of their bosoms the 
fiends of envy and self-depreciation ; taught by those .errors 
for which he has been so severely blamed, he has become, 
without question, the most efficient, wise; and tender coun- 
selor that they ever had. He knows all their troubles and 
temptations, fot he has experienced them ; and he gives 
them the soundest advice under all circumstances. He 
weeps with them, he rejoices with them, he worships with 
them, in such a brotherly, and occasionally such a fatherly 
sympathy, that his poems have become to the poor of Scot- 
land, as they have told me, a sort of second Bible. How 
beautifully are blended in these stanzas the indignant sense 
of those oppressions which never crushed more directly the 
laboring poor than they do at this day in wealthy England, 
and the consoling truth of a divine retribution : 

" Many and sharp the numerous ills 

Inwoven with our frame: 
More pointed still we make ourselves 

Regret, remorse, and shame ! 
And man, whose heaven-erected face 

The smiles of love adorn, 
Man's inhumanity to man 

Makes countless thousands mourn. 
" See yonder poor o'erlabored wight, 

80 abject, mean, add vile, 
Who begs a brother of the earth 

To give him leave to toil ; 
And see his lordly fellow worm 

The poor petition spurn, 
Unmindful, though a weeping wife 

And helpless offspring mourn. 

3 U R N a, $91 

" If I'm designed yon fondling's ilvre, 
By nature's law designed, 
Why was an independent wish 
E'er planted in my mind f 
"If not, why am I subject to 
His cruelty and scorn T 
Or why has man the will and power 
1*0 make his fellow mourn f 

" Yet let not this too much, my son. 

Disturb thy youthful breast; 
This partial view of human kind 

Is surely not the last ! 
The poor, oppressed, honest man, 

Had never, sure, been born, 
Had there not been some recompense 

To comfort those that mourn !" 

Robert Burns ran off the rail-road line of morality ; but 
listen to tbe advice, warned by his own folly, which he 
gives to a Young Friend. 

11 The sacred lowe o' weel-placed love, 

Luxuriantly indulge it, 
But never tempt the illicit rove, 

Tho' naething should divulge it, 
I waive the quantum o' the sin, 

The hazard of concealing; 
But, och ! -it hardens a' within, 

And petrifies the feeling ! 

" To catch Dame Fortune's golden smile, 

Assiduous wait upon her; - 
And gather gear by every wile 

That's justified by honor : 
Not for to hide it in a hedge, 

Nor for a train attendant, 
But for the glorious privilege 

Of being independent. 

" The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip 
To haud the wretch in order, 
But where ye feel your honor grip, 
Let that aye be your border: 

B UK IT ft 

Ifeefightest touches instant j 

Debar a' ode pretenses, 
And resolutely keep ita laws, 

Uncaring consequences, 

" The great Creator to revere 

Most sore become the c re a t or *, 
Bat still the preaching cant forbear, 

And e'en the rigid feature; 
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range, 

Be complaisance extended ; 
An Atheist's laugh's a poor exchange 

For Deity offended! 

" When ranting round in pleasure's ring, 
Religion may be blinded, 
Or if she gie a random sting, 

It may be little minded ; 
But when on life we're tempest driven, 

.A conscience but a canker — 
A correspondence fixed wi' Heaven 
. Is sure a noble anchor f" 

These are golden words, worthy to be committed to mem- 
ory by every young person ; they are full of the deepest 
wisdom. But such wisdom, such golden lines, we might 
quote from almost every page of Burns. In his Epistle 
to Davie, how cordially does he enter into all the miseries 
of the poor, yet how eloquently does he also dwell on those 
blessings which God has given to all, and which no cir- 
cumstances can take away ! 

" To lie in kilns and barns at e'en, 
When banes are crazed and bluid is thin. 
Is doubtless great distress !" 

Yet there are other seasons when Nature, even to the most 
abject tramp, pours out royal pleasures. 

" What though, like commoners of air, 
We wander out we know not where, 

But either house or hall f 
Yet Nature's charms, the hills and woods, 
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods, 
Are free alike to all. 

15 r R \ H. 303 

In days when dairies deck the ground, 

And blackbirds whistle clear, 
With honest joy our hearts will bound 
To we the coming year. 
On braes when, we please, then, 

Wellsit and sowth atune; 
Syne rhyme tfll't, well time tfllt. 
And sing't when we hae done." 
" It's no in titles nor in rank ; 
It's no in wealth like Lon'on bank, 

To purchase peace and rest : 
It's no in makin muckle mair ; 
It's no in books ; its no in lear ; 

To make as truly blest ; 
If happiness hae not her seat 

.And center in the breast, 
We may be wise, or rich, or great. 
But never can be blest. 

Nae treasures, nor pleasures, 

Oould make us happy lang; 
The heart ay's the part ay, 
That makes us right or wrang." 

So speaks the humble plowman of Ayrshire, the still 
humbler exciseman of Dumfries, but the greatest poet of 
his country, and one of the noblest and wisest men of any 
c oun try or age, spite of all his practical errors. We must 
now make our pilgrimage to the spots* which were his 
homes on earth. 

The old town of Ayr, so intimately connected with the 
memory of Burns, by his birth near it, by his poem of the 
Twa Brigs, by the scene of Tarn O'Shanter, by the place 
of his monument and the festival in his honor, and by 
other particulars, is a quiet and pleasant old town of some 
twenty thousand population. It lies on a level, sandy coast, 
on land which, in fact, appears to have been won from the 
sea. Though lying close on the sea, it has no good harbor, 
and therefore little commerce, and no manufacture of any 
account These circumstances leave much of the town as 
it was in Burns's time, though there are also evidences of 


394 iuini. 

modern extension and im p rov em ent, in new streets and 
public buildings, especially of a county jail lying between 
the town and the shore. The moment you step out of the 
*tation of the Glasgow railway, which terminates here, you 
come upon the mouth of the River Ayr, and behold the Twa 
Brigs. That which was the New Brig in Burns's days, is 
the one oyer which you pass into the town. This bridge, 
whose guardian sprite is made to swagger over the Auld 
Brig, if it has not fulfilled the prophecy of the Auld Brig, 
and been swept away by a flood, has been in danger of de- 
molition, having grown too narrow for the increase of traf- 
fic. It has been saved, however, no doubt by the saving 
power of Burns's poetry, which has made it sacred, and it 
was undergoing the process of widening at the time I was 
there, in July, 1845. The Auld Brig is some hundred 
yards or bo higher up the stream, and seems retained real- 
ly for little more than its antiquity and poetic classicality. 
It is now used only as a footpath, and, not being consider- 
ed safe for carriages, has posts set up at the end to prevent 
every attempt with any carriage to pass it. One is irreiut- 
ibly reminded, on going upon it, of the haughty query of 
the New Brig : . 

" Will your poor narrow footpath of a street, 
Where two wheel-barrows tremble when they meet, 
Your ruined, formleM bulk o* stane an* lime, 
Compare wi' bonnie briga o' modern time T" 

Mr. Chambers says that the Auld Brig is reported to hare 
been built in the reign of Alexander III. by two maiden 
sisters, whose effigies are still shown in a faded condition 
on a stone in the eastern parapet, near the south end of the 
bridge. There certainly is such a stone, and you may rath- 
er fancy than distinctly trace two outlines of heads. The 
whole bridge is, as described by Burns, very old and time- 

" Auld Brig appeared o» ancient Pictiah race, 
The very wrinklea Gothic in his free : 

iuini, 395 

He seemed as he wi' Time had warttled lang, 
Yet, teughly doure, he baide an unco bang." 

There is a peculiar pleasure in standing on this old Brig, 
so exactly has Burns enabled you to place yourself in the 
very scene that he contemplated at the moment of conceiv- 
ing his poem. 

" A simple bard, 
Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward, 
Ae night, within the ancient burgh of Ayr, 
By whim inspired, or haply pressed wi' care, 
. He left his bed, and took his way war d route, 
And down by 8impson's wheeled tfre left about ; 
The drowsy Dungeon clock had numbered two, 
And Wallace Tower had sworn the fact was true ; 
The tide-swollen Firth, wi' sullen sounding roar, 
Through the still night dashed hoarse along the shore*. 
All else was hushed as Nature's closed e'e; 
The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree ; 
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam, 
Crept, gently crusting, o'er the glittering stream." 

From this scene " the drowsy dungeon clock" is removed, 
the old jail having been pulled down; but Simpson's is still 
to be seen, a public house at the end of the bridge on the 
side most distant from the town ; and Wallace Tower, I be- 
neve, however, almost wholly rebuilt since then, and pre- 
senting now a very modernized aspect, rears itself in a dis- 
tant part of the town. Along the river side the " ancient 
burgh of Ayr" presents its antiquated houses, roofs, and 
gables, much as they did to the eye of Burns. 

Ayr, though it stands on a flat, has still great charm of 
location, and this you perceive as you set out to visit the 
birth-place and monument of Burns, which lie about three 
miles south of Ayr. You may, if you please, take the way 
along the shore ; and here you have the sea with its liv- 
ing billows, displaying at a distance opposite the craggy 
mountain heights of Arran, and the Mull of Can tire. North- 
ward, Troon, with its new houses, may be seen standing on 
its naked promontory, and southward, the Tower of Dun* 

306 BURNS. 

bere is a bold but somber object on an elevated knoll on 
the margin of the ocean, and far out southwest, Ailsacraig 
is descried, towering amid the waters. It is a fine and 
animated scene. It was Sunday forenoon as I advanced 
over the very level ground near the shore, toward AUo- 
way. People were walking on the beach enjoying the sun- 
shine, breeze, and glittering world of waters ; lovers were 
seated among the broomy hillocks, children were gathering 
flowers amid the crimson glare of the heather ; all had an 
air of beauty and gladness. To my left lay a richly- wood- 
ed country, and before me, beyond Alloway and the Doon, 
stretched the airy range of the Carrick Hills.- It was the 
direction which I was pursuing that Tarn O'Shanter took 
from the town to Alloway, for the old road ran that way ; 
but there is a new and more direct one now from Ayr, and 
into that, having been shown the cottage where Mrs. Begg, 
Burns's sister, still lives, I struck. This agreeable road I 
soon saw diverge into two, and asked a poor man which of 
the two led to Burns's monument. At the name of Burns, 
the poor man's face kindled with instant animation. "I 
am going part of the way, sir," he said, " and will be proud 
to show it you." I begged him not to put himself at all 
out of his way. " Oh," said he, "lam going to look at my 
potato plot which lies out here." We fell into conversa- 
tion about Burns ; the way again showed a fresh branch, 
which was the way to his potato field ; but the poor fellow 
gave a hesitating look ; he could not find it in his heart to 
give up talking about Burns, and begged that I would do 
him the honor to allow him to walk on with me. "But 
your potatoes, my friend ?" " Oh ! they'll tak no harm, sir. 
The weather's very growing weather; one feels a natural 
curiosity to see how they thrive, but that will do next Sun- 
day, if you would allow me to go on with you V* 

I assured him that nothing would give me greater pleas- 
ure. I only feared that I might keep him out too long, for 
I must see all about Burns's birth-place, Kirk Alloway, the 

BURNS. 897 

Brig of Doon, the monument, and every thing of the kind. 
It was now over noon, and must be his dinner hour. He 
•aid, " No ; he never had dinner on a Sunday ; for years he 
had accustomed himself to only two meals on that day, be- 
cause he earned nothing on it, and had ten children ! But 
he generally took & walk out into the country, and got a 
good mouthful of fresh air, and that did him a deal of good." 

I looked more closely at my new companion. He was 
apparently sixty, and looked like a man accustomed to dine 
on air. He was of a thin and grasshopper build ; his face 
was thin and pale, his hair grizzled ; yet there was un in- 
telligence in his large gray eyes, but it was a sad intelli- 
gence, one which had long kept fellowship with patience 
and suffering. His gray coat, and hat well worn, and his 
clean but coarse shirt- collar, turned down over a narrow 
band of a blue cotton tie neckerchief, with its long ends 
dangling over his ^waistcoat, all denoted a poor, but a care- 
ful and superior man. I can not tell what a feeling of sym- 
pathy came over me ; how my heart warmed toward the 
poor fellow. "We went on ; gay groups of people met us, 
and seemed to cast looks of wonder at the stranger and his 
poor associate ; but I asked myself whether, if we could 
know, as God knows, the hearts and merits of every indi- 
vidual of those well-dressed and laughing walkers, we 
should find among them one so heroic as to renounce his 
Sunday dinner as a perpetual practice, because he " earn- 
ed nothing on that day, and had ten children V Was mere 
a man or a woman among them who, if they knew this he- 
roic man as I now knew him, would not desire to give him, 
for that one day at least, a good dinner, and as much pleas- 
ure as they could 1 

44 My friend," said I, " I fear you have had more than 
your share of hardship in this life ?" 

" Nay," he replied, " he could not say that. He had had 
to work hard, but what poor man had not 1 But he had had 
many comforts j and the greatest comfort in life had been, 

898 ioixi. 

that all his children had taken good ways; if I don't ex* 
cept," and the old man sighed, " one lad, who haa gone for 
a. soldier ; and I think it a little ungrateful that he haa never 
written to us since be went, three years ago. Yet I hear 
that he is alive and well, in Jamaica. I can not but think 
that rather ungrateful," he added ; " bat of a 9 Robin Buna's 
poems, there's none, to my thinking, that cornea up to that 
one — Man was made to Mourn." 

I could not help again glancing at the thin, pale figure, 
which went as softly at my side aa if it were a ghost, and 
could not wonder that Burns was the idol of the poor 
throughout Scotland, and that the Sunday wanderer of his 
native place had clung so fondly to the southern visitor of 
the same sacred spot. 

"Can you explain to me," I asked, "what it is that 
makes Burns such a favorite with you all in Scotland I 
Other poets you have, and great ones ; out of the 
class, too, you had Hogg, but I do not perceive the 
instant flash, as it were, of an electric feeling when any 
name is named but that of Burns." 

" I can tell/' said he, " why it is. It is because he had 
the heart of a man in him. He was all heart and all man; 
and there's nothing, at least in a poor man's experience, 
either bitter or sweet, which can happen to him, but a fine 
of Burns springs into his mouth, and gives him courage 
and comfort if he needs it. It is like a second Bible." 

I was struck with the admirable criticism of the poor ar- 
tisan. What acuteness of genius is like the acuteness of a 
sharp experience, after all ? I found that, had I picked the 
whole county of Ayr, I could not have hit on a man more 
clearly aware of the real genius of Burns, nor a more ex- 
cellent guide to all that related to him hereabouts. He 
now stopped me. We were on the very track of Tarn 

'* Kirk Alluwav was drawing nigh, 
WImto ghtbu and hoolets nightly 

i u i n 0, 899 

By this time he wbi cross the ford, 
Where in the maw the chapman smooredi 
And past the birks and meikle stane 
Where drunken Charley brak 's neck-bane. 
And through the whins, and by the cairn 
Where hunters found the murdered bairn ; 
And near the thorn aboon the well 
Where Mango's mither hanged hersel." 

The whins, the birks were gone : all was now one scene 
of richest cultivation ; but in the midst of a cottager's gar- 
den still projected the "meikle stane" from the ground, in 
a potato bed.. To this, by permission of the cottager, we 
advanced, and from this spot my guide pointed out the tra- 
ditionary course of Tarn on that awful night when 

" Before him Doon pours all his floods ; . 
The doubtin' storm roars through the woods, 
And lightnings flash from pole to pole." 

Some of these scenes lay yet far before us ; as the well 
" Where Mungo's mither hanged hersel,'- 

which is just on the banks of the Doon itself. Anon we 
reached the cottage in which Burns was born. This stands 
" on the right-hand side of the road, about a quarter of a mile 
from Kirk Alloway and the Brig o' Doon. It is a genuine 
Scotch cottager of two rooms on the ground floor, thatched 
and whitewashed. It is now, and has been long, a little 
public house. It stands close up to the road, and over the 
door is a portrait of Burns, an evident copy from the por- 
trait by Nasmyth, and under it, in large and noticeable let- 
ters, M Robert Burns, the Ayrshire Poet, was born un- 
der this roof, the 25th Jan., A.D. 1759. Died A.D. 
1796, aged 37± tears." 

It is well known to most readers that this house was 
built by Burns's father, and that about a week after Robert, 
his first child, was born, the roof fell in during a tempest at 
midnight, and that mother and child had to be carried forth 
in a hurry, through the storm and darkness, to a cottage, 

&> There 

B U 1 N 8, 401 

was that of an ambitious Peter Jones, of Great Bear Lake, 
North America. 

Burns's father, who was, when he lived here, gardener 
to Mr. Ferguson, of Doonholm, waa a man of an excitable 
temperament, but of a most upright disposition ; and his 
mother, like the mothers of most remarkable men, was a 
woman of clear, clever, and superior mind, of a winning 
address, and full of ballads and traditions. From both sides 
the son drew the elements of a poet ; and we can well 
imagine-him sitting by the humble fireside of this cottage, 
and receiving into his childish heart, from the piety of the 
father, and the imaginative tales of the mother, those im- 
ages of genuine Scottish life which poured themselves forth 
as well in Tarn O'Shanter as in the grave and beautiful 
Cotter's Saturday Night 

Having insisted on my worthy guide getting some re- 
freshment, we again sallied forth to make a more thorough 
exploration of the youthful haunts of the poet And 
now, indeed, we were surrounded by mementoes of him 
and of his fame on all hands. The cottage stands on a 
pleasant plain ; and about a quarter of a mile onward you 
see, on the left hand of the road, the monument erected to 
his memory : a dome, surmounted with a lyre and the sig- 
nificant wine-cup, and supported on Corinthian pillars. On 
the opposite, that is, on the right-hand side of the road, is 
the old Kirk of Alio way ; beyond, away to the right, iB 
heard the sea, while the airy range of the Carrick Hills 
stretches across, closing the landscape before you. At 
their feet a mass of trees marks the course of the Doon ; 
hot, before you reach any of these objects, you pass, on 
your left, the large open field in which was held the Burns 
Festival on the 6th of August, 1844, The place where, the 
wall had been broken down to admit the procession was 
plainly discernible by its new mortar; and a fine crop of 
torn was now waving where such thousands had, but a year 
before* met in honor of the immortal exciseman, . 

402 iuihs.. 

Of this festival copious particulars are to be found in all 
the newspapers of the day, but in none so complete and 
accurate aa " The Full Report" published by Mr.AUxwell 
Dick, the worthy publisher of the Ayrshire News Letter at 
Irvine, one of the most enthusiastic admirers of the genius 
of Burns, and of genius in general. By this report it ap- 
pears that the procession, forming on the Low Green of 
Ayr, near the County Buildings, met at ten o'clock in the 
morning, and consisted of the magistrates of the town, pub* 
he bodies, farmers, numerous freemasons' lodges, societies 
of gardeners, archers, and odd follows, King Crispin in his 
most imposing style, with Souter Johnny in character, ac- 
companied by attendants with banners floating, and bands 
playing music of Buros's songs. In this procession were 
seen gentlemen and noblemen, and literary men of the 
highest distinction, from all parts of the empire. It reached 
a mile along the high road, three abreast. The whole num- 
ber of persons present — that is, in the procession and on 
the ground — was calculated at eighty thousand. A splendid 
triumphal arch was erected at the cottage where the poet 
was born, and, as the procession drew near it, the band 
played, " There was a Lad was born in Kyle;" the vast 
multitude uncovered at once, and the flags were lowered as 
they passed the humble but much respected spot Plat- 
forms were erected in various places, so that people could 
get a coup-d'ail of the procession. As it approached Kirk 
Alloway, the old bell, which still occupies the belfry, was 
set a ringing, and continued so while the procession marched 
under the triumphal arch along the new bridge. Deploy- 
ing round toward the old bridge of Doon, the circling line, 
partially obscured by the houses and trees, had a truly pic- 
turesque effect; the waving banners, the music of the 
bands, mellowed and echoed by " the banks and braes o* 
bonnie Doon," were deeply impressive. On reaching the 
Auld Brig, over which was thrown a triumphal arch, the 
band struck up " Welcome, Royal Charlie," while the pro- 

BURNS. 408 

skra, uncovering and lowering their flags, passed over 
in front of the platform, on which stood the three sons 
of Burns, his sister Mrs. Begg, her son, and two daughters. 
The procession occupied at leaBt an hour in coming from 
the new bridge to the field, on entering which the band 
played " Duncan Gray," followed by " The Birks of Aber- 
leldy." A large circle was then formed round the plat- 
form for the musicians in the field ; and the whole com- 
pany, led by professional vocalists, joined in singing " Ye 
Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon," and " Auld Lang Syne." 
The bands were then stationed in various parts of the field: 
the regimental and Glasgow St Andrew's bands in the 
center of the field ; the Kilwinning and Cumnock bands at 
the cottage; and the bagpipers played at a distance from 
the pavilion. There were two inclosures for dancing : one 
near the head of lie field, and the other on the brow over- 
looking the Doon. Immediately after the procession was 
over, the crowd were astonished by the sudden appearance 
of Tarn O'Sbantef , " well mounted on his gray mare Meg," 
and a flight of witches in full pursuit of her, till he reached 
and passed the keystone of the arch of the Auld Brig. At 
two, the Earl of Eglinton took the chair at the banquet m 
the pavilion, with Professor Wilson as croupier. To the 
right of the chairman sat Robert Burns, Esq., the eldest 
son of the poet ; Major Burns, his youngest son ; on the 
left, Colonel Burns, second son of the poet ; Mrs. Begg, 
Burns's sister ; and right and left, other members of the 
family,, amid many noble and distinguished persons: as 
Mrs. Thomson, of Dumfries, the Jessie Lewars of the poet; 
Sir John M'Neill, late plenipotentiary to the court of 
Persia ; the lord-justice-general, the Countess of Eglinton, 
Alison, the historian, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, Robert Cham- 
bers, of Edinburgh, Douglas Jerrold, William Thorn, the 
poet of Inverury, &c, &c. The chairs of the chairman 
and croupier were made of oaken rafters from Kirk Alio- 
way, and many mementoes of the poet decorated the table* 

404 b u a N 8. 

The scene in the pavilion is described as splendid, and like 
one of fairy-land ; and the most enthusiastic speeches were 
made in honor of the poet, especially by the noble chair- 
man and the eloquent John Wilson. 

It will be seen, by those acquainted with the ground, 
that the procession had thus taken a course contrived to in- 
clude every object of interest connected with Burns here. 
It had passed the cottage of his birth ; passed between 
Kirk Alloway and his monument; crossed 'by the new 
bridge over the Doon to the side of the river, and returned 
over the old bridge, so as to see all " the banks and braes o* 
bonnie Doon," and so entered the field of the festival, hav- 
ing entirely encircled the monument There, in full view 
of all these objects, the cottage, the old ruins of the kirk, 
the monument, and the banks of Doon, they celebrated- 
eighty thousand persons — the festival of his honor, amid the 
music of his own enchanting songs, among which were, 
"A Man's a Man for a' That;" "This is na my sin 
House ;" " Green Grow the Rashes, O ;" " My Love she's 
but a Lassie yet ;" " What ye wha's in yon Toun." 

This stirring and tumultuous expression of a nation's 
veneration was gone by; silence had again fallen, as it 
were, with a musing sense of the poet's glory on the scene; 
and with my worthy old guide I went over the same 
ground leisurely, noting all its beauties and characteristics. 
First, we turned into the grave-yard of Kirk Alloway. 
Here stood the roofless old kirk, just such a plain, simple 
ruin as you see in a hundred places in Ireland. One of 
the first objects that arrests your attention is the bell in the 
little belfry, with a rope hanging outside, only sufficiently 
low for the sexton, on any occasion of funeral, to reach it 
with a hooked pole, and thus to prevent any idle person 
ringing it at other times. This bell, when the parishes of 
Alloway and Ayr were joined, was attempted to be carried 
away by the authorities of Ayr, by no means to their 
honor, but the crofters of Alloway manfully rose and re- 

BURNS. 406 

gifted successfully the removal. There are plenty of open 
windows where Tarn Q'Shanter could take a full view of 
the uncanny dancing-party ; and " the winnock bunker in 
the east," a small window, " where sat Auld Nick, in shape 
o' beast," as fiddler, is conspicuous enough. The interior 
of the kirk is divided by a wall. The west-end division is 
the burial-place of the Cath carta, which is kept very neat 
The other end, and where the witch-dance met Tarn's as- 
tonished eyes, is now full of briers and nettles, bearing suf- 
ficient evidence of no recent displays of this kind. The kirk- 
yard is crowded with tombs, and the first memorial of the 
dead which meets your eye is the headstone of the poet's 
father, just before you as you enter by the stile, with this 
inscription : " Sacred to the memory of William Burns, 
farmer in Lochlea, who died Feb., 1784, in the 63d year 
of his age ; and of Agnes Brown, his spouse, who died the 
14th of Jan., 1820, in the 88th year of her age. She was 
interred in Bolton Church-yard, East Lothian. 
" O ye whose cheek the tear of pity stains, 

Draw near with pious reverence, and attend! 
Here lie the loving husband's dear remains,. 

The tender father, and the generous friend. 
The pitying heart that felt for human woe ; 

The dauntless heart that feared no human pride; 
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe ; 

'For e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side. 1 " 

This epitaph was written expressly for this tomb by Burns, 
the last line being quoted from Goldsmith. 

Advancing now to the new bridge, you stand between 
two remarkable monuments of the poet. On your right 
hand, close on the banks of the Doon, and adjoining the 
bridge, stands a handsome villa, in beautiful grounds which 
occupy part of " the banks and braes." This is the house 
of Mr. Auld, the enterprising hair-dresser of Ayr, who was 
the first to recognize the genius of Thorn the sculptor, then 
a poor stone-mason of Ayr. Thorn, seeing a picture of 
Tarn Q'Shanter in Auld's window, requested the loan of it 

406 IDEH& 

fer a few days. Being asked by Auld what he wanted * 
fer, he said he had a notion that he could make a figure 
from it. It was lent, and in a few days he returned with a 
model of Tam in day. Mr. Auld was so struck with the 
genius displayed in it, that he suggested to Thorn to com- 
plete the group by adding Sorter Johnny. That was soon 
done ; and then, by the assistance of Mr. Auld, the weD* 
known group was cut in stone. The enterprising hair- 
dresser now prepared to set out on an expedition of exhi- 
bition of this group, the proceeds of which, I understand, 
were agreed to be equally divided between Auld, Thorn, 
and the committee for a monument to Burns, near his birth- 
place. Such was the success of the scheme, that Thorn, I 
am told, received «£4000 as his share of the proceeds, 
which, however, he soon contrived to lose by taking stone- 
quarries, and entering on building schemes. Having lost 
his money, he retired to America, Auld, more careful, 
quitted the wig-block and lather-brush, and building him- 
self a bouse, sat down as a country gentleman opposite to 
the monument, which seems to be in his keeping. It has 
been said that the monument committee never received 
any thing like a third of the proceeds of the exhibition, or 
the monument might now be opened free of cost to the 
public. That, however, is a point which the committee 
and Mr. Auld must be best informed about. One thing is 
certain, that Mr. Auld's present residence is a grand spec- 
imen of the effect of the united genius of Burns, Thorn, 
and Auld; an exciseman, a stone-mason, and a barber. 
To the left hand of the road, opposite to this monument, 
stands, in a pleasant garden, the other monument of Burns, 
as already described, and which also, it seems, partly owed 
its existence to the same bold enterprise of this barber of 
Ayr, who seems actually to have had the art of " cutting 
blocks with a razor." In this monument is nc statue of 
Burns, but merely a framed copy of that admirable colored 
print of Burns, published by Mr. Maxwell Dick, of Irvine, 

BURNS* 407 

from Nasmyth's picture; and on the table in the center, 
the Bible and Testament given by Burns to his Mary at 
their last parting near Montgomery Castle. These are two 
separate volumes, and are displayed at the beginning of 
each, where Burns has placed a masonic sign, and V 
written his name, now nearly obliterated ; adding XgK 
the two texts, Leviticus, xix., 12 ; Matthew, v., 33 ; which 
are* M Ye shall not swear by my name falsely ; I am the 
Lord ;" and, " Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt 
perform 1 unto the Lord thine oaths." These precious vol- 
umes were known to be in the possession of the sister of 
Burus's " Mary," in America ; and a society of young men, 
ardent admirers of Burns, resolved to regain them, if possi- 
ble, for the public. This, after great trouble and expense, 
they finally effected, and here they are, objects certainly of 
the deepest interest. 

In a separate and small building in the same garden 
stands the celebrated group, by Thorn, of Tarn and Souter 
Johnny. This, however, it being Sunday, was, by an order 
of the authorities of Ayr, not allowed to be seen, though the 
monument was. I asked the youth who showed the moi*- 
ument if he could explain to me why it was a sin to show 
the group, and not a sin to show the monument on a Sun- 
day ; but the lad very properly replied that he did not pre- 
tend to a metaphysical sagacity so profound ; his business 
was to show the monument/ and not to show either the 
group or the reason why ; for that he referred me to the 
superior hair-splitting piety and acumen of the corporate 
authorities of Ayr. 

Quitting this garden, you encounter, at the foot of the 
new bridge, a new inn called Burns's Inn and Hotel, with 
a fine painted sign, with a blackbird singing upon a bough, 
with a crook and a house, and an oak in the center of a 
shield laid on branches of olive and oak ; and over it die 
words, " Better a small bush than nae bield." The auld 
brig is some little distance up the stream, and the view 




406 a u a jc 

fcr a few days. Being as* ~ sufrounded by M *^* 

for, he said he had a nor' , fl ," steep, hung with &\ 

from it. It was lent, an' ^ At some little distaif 

model of Tarn in clay ,*« descry the old mill of 

genius displayed in ' , ' A *ageons trees, and all round rii 
plete the group by /■ ^ the feet of the hills. The brid; 
done ; and then, ' r jk names, and overgrown with mass^ 
known group r /{mo* this remarkable old gray bridge, " 

* v now p ' ^iibtfed a trait of delicate and genuine 

t of thir , J ,- j Ban of the most polished education in 
agrer j, ^jmess could have surpassed Gathering 
and the c / A hc said, presenting it, " May be ye would 
-^-te. /La* to your leddy in England; it's gathered 
tr f T je keystane." ' I accepted it with the liveliest 
* 'gt& it is now carefully preserved where the good 
qnr ^aed it. We now returned to Ayr, talking of 
hi *23 history, his poetry, and his fine qualities all the 
c jad after one of the pleasantest rambles I ever made 

0€ company, I bid my old friend good -by at his door, 
j+* m his hand a trifle to mend his Sunday supper. 
.njL** said he, as I was -going away, " might I request the 
^cr of your name, that I may know who it was that I had 
jr honor of a walk with to Burns's monument, when I am 
poking of it 1" I told him ; his face passed from its usu- 
si paleness to a deep flush ; and he exclaimed, " Eh, sir! I 
ken yer name, and that o' yer leddy too, right weel !" De- 
pend upon it, the recollection of that walk has been as 
pleasant to my old friend as to myself. 

The next day, with a driver well acquainted with the 
country. I issued forth in a gig to visit all the various res- 
idences of Burns, between Ayr and Mauchline. Burns, in 
his lite, seemed like a bird leaving its nest. He took two 
or three short flights till he flew quite away to Dumfries. 
At every move he got further from Ayr. He was like an 
emigrant, still going on and on in one direction, and his 
course was southeast. First he went, that is, with his 

i. i i; .\ -. \n.- 

l Oliphant, a farm about four miles from 
re he lived from his sixth to his twelfth year. 
M nothing particular about it It lies on a bare 
a\\], an ordinary little Scotch farm-steading, with 
A treeless fields. Then he went on to another farm 
^ochlea, still further out on this long, high, and bleak 
A of country, near Tarbolton. This farm ruined his 
her, and there he died. Lochlea is a neat farm-house, 
lying in a hollow more sheltered than Mount Oliphant, but 
still possessing no picturesque features. In fact, the family 
was seeking, not the picturesque, but a livelihood. At 
Lochlea, Burns lived till he was twenty-four, and here he 
attended the masonic lodge at the Cross Keys, at Tarbolton, 
which still remains. There he became acquainted with 
Mr. David Sillar, the schoolmaster of Tarbolton, and ad- 
dressed to him his Epistle to Davie. It was about three 
miles from Tarbolton, but that was nothing to Burns, full 
of life and poetry. The Bachelor's Society that, with Da- 
vid Sillar and other young men, he formed there, had in- 
finite charms for him. Humble were these companions; 
in David Sillar's words, 

" Of birth and blood wo do not boast, 
No gentry does our club afford, 
Bat plowmen and mechanics we 
In nature's simple dress record ;" 

bat they were men after Burns's own heart. He judged 
of men as his father had taught him : 

w My father was a farmer upon the Camek Border, 
And carefully he bred me up in decency and order; 
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne'er a ferthing, 
. For without an honest, manly heart, no man was worth regarding.** 

It was during his abode here that he wrote John Barley- 
earn ; Corn Riggs are Bonnie ; Winter, a Dirge ; the Death 
of Poor Mailie ; Mailie's Elegy ; and Now Whistling 
Winds, &c But the love affairs he was now continually 
; into, and the dissipations that he became acquaint- 
Vol. I.— S 

410 B V R N tf. 

ed with at Kirkoswald and Inane, at which places he i 
some months, rendered his poetical growth far less than it 
otherwise might have been there.- One incident in his Hfe, 
and one of his most beautiful poems consequent on it, how* 
ever, arose out of an attachment, which, though said to be 
formed at Mauchline, was certainly cultivated here. Just 
below Tarbolton lies Montgomerie Castle, beautifully situ* 
ated amid its woods on the banks of the Faile, where ha 
foil in love with Mary Campbell. Here was the house at 
which, according to his own beautiful poem, they used to 
meet, and here it was that he finally took leave of her. She 
was dairy-maid in the house then belonging to Colonel 
Hugh Montgomerie, afterward Earl.of EgHnton, and grand- 
father of the present ear). 

" Ye banks, and braes, and streams around 

The castle of Montgomerie, 
Green be your woods and fair your flowers, 

Your waters never drumlie. 
There summer first unfaulds her robes, 

And there they longest tarry, 
For there I took my last farewell 

Of my sweet Highland Mary." 

There is a story mentioned in the Life of Burns of this 
parting being on the banks of Ayr, and Cromek repeats it, 
adding that " the lovers stood on each side of a small purl- 
ing brook ; they laved their hands in the limpid stream, and, 
holding a Bible between them, pronounced their vows to 
be faithful to each other." 

All this may be true, for they took a day to this final sol- 
itary enjoyment of each other's society in the woods before 
parting. They might wander by the Ayr, and so on up to 
the Faile, and at some small rivulet on the way perform 
this simple and affecting ceremony. Mary was going to 
the Western Highlands to see her friends before she mar- 
ried Robert Burns, but she died on her way back, and they 
never met again. This Bible, as we have seen, has been 
recovered, and is deposited in the monument at Alloway 

B U I N 8. 4H 

Wherever this ceremony, however, took place, the parting 
assuredly totik place here. Burns says, not only that " there 
I took my last farewell," but also 

" How sweetly bloomed the gay green birk, 
How rich the hawthorn's blossom, 
A*, underneath the fragrant shade, 
I clasped her to my bosom." 

There still stands the thorn, called by all the country 
M Highland Mary's Thorn." 

The house and park are sold or leased by the Earl of Eg- 
Hnton to a solicitor in Ayr. My driver appeared afraid of 
going into the park, saying " the writer," that is, the solici- 
tor, was a queer fellow, and would not let any body go to 
the thorn, and certainly a large board at each park gate, 
warning all persons to avoid those hallowed precincts, ap- 
peared to confirm die man's opinion ; but, having come so 
far, I did not mean to pass without a glance at the parting 
scene of Burns and Highland Mary. I bade him drive 
down to the house, where I was speedily assured by the 
servants about that I was quite at liberty to go to the tree. 
M How shall I know it 1" " Oh ! a child may know it : it 
is all hacked, and the twigs broken, by people who carry 
away some of it to keep." By these signs I readily recog- 
nized the tree. It is not far from the house, close to the 
carriage drive, and on the top of the slope that descends to 
die Faile, which murmurs on beneath its sweet woodland 

The last abode of Burns in Ayrshire was at Mossgiel. This 
is some four miles beyond Tarbolton, and close to Mauch- 
Kne, which is merely a large village. Mossgiel farm lies, 

* I am still, however, afraid that it is too true that the cqpntry people 
sre not allowed to visit "Mary's Thorn," though held in such high 
honor by them. Not only the hoards at the park gates, hut other infor- 
■ation, confirmed this (act; and my passing the house to the tree brought 
all die family to the window, servants as well as gentlemen, ladies, and 
children, and no few in number, as if some extraordinary circumstance 
had occurred. 

412 BURNS. 

as it were, at the end of that long, high, barren ridge of 
hills, which extends almost all the way from Ayr thither, 
and on which Burns's father had sought a poor living, and 
found-ruin. It stands near the line of the slope which de- 
scends into Mauchline, and overlooks a large extent of 
bleak and bare country, and distant, bare hills. In the 
vales of the country, however, lie many scenes of great 
beauty and classic fame. Such are the banks of the Ayr, 
which winds on deep between its braes and woods, like the 
Nith, the Doon, and the higher Clyde. Such are Stair, 
Logan, Crukerne, Catrine, Dugald Stewart's place, and 
many others. 

The farm of Mossgiel, which consists of about 118 acres, 
lies, as observed, high, and as Gilbert, the brother of Burns, 
described it, " on a cold, wet bottom." The farms occu- 
pied by the Burns family in this part of the country were 
all of a thankless and ungenial kind ; in fact, they lacked 
the means to command better. The two brothers, Robert 
and Gilbert, had taken this farm some time before their 
father's death, in the hope of assisting the family in that 
poverty which came still after them, spite of the most la- 
borious exertion, like an armed man, and which was weigh- 
ing their father to the grave. At his death they removed 
altogether from Lochlea, and with their mother and sisters 
became here one household. Here Burns made the firm- 
est resolves of steadiness, industry, and thriving; but the 
seasons were against him, and he soon became mixed up 
with all the dissipations of Mauchline, where he establish- 
ed a club after the fashion of that at Tarbolton. Very soon, 
too, he plunged into the midst of Church disputes, in which 
his friend Gavin Hamilton, a lawyer of the place, was per- 
sonally embroiled. Here he wrote The Holy Tuilzie, 
Holy Fair, Holy Willie's Prayer, The Ordination, The 
Kirk's Alarm — those scalping poems, in which he lays bare 
to the skull bone, bigotry, hypocrisy, and all sanctimonious 
bitterness in religion. Here he fell in love with Jean Ar- 

BURNS. 413 

moor, the daughter of a stone-mason of Mauchline, who, af- 
ter many troubles, and much opposition on the part of the 
family, became afterward his wife. Here he wrote the 
greater part of his poems, and his very finest ones, and here 
he broke forth upon the world like a new-risen sun, his 
poems, which were first published at Kilmarnock, attract- 
ing such extraordinary attention, that he was called to Edin- 
burgh, and a new and more complete edition there publish* 
ed, while he himself was introduced as a sort of miracle to 
the highest circles of aristocracy and literature. The four 
years which he lived here, though they were sinking him, 
in a pecuniary point of view, into such a slough of despair 
that he seriously resolved to emigrate to the West Indies, 
and only published his poems to raise the means, were, as 
regarded his fame, glorious and most interesting years. It 
was here that he might be said, more expressly than any 
where else, 

" To walk in glory and in joy, 
Following his plow along the mountain side ;" 

for, spite of the iron destiny which seemed to pursue him, 
and in an ungenial, soil and the most untoward seasons, to 
endeavor to crush hhn with " carking care," he was full of 
life and vigor, and often rose in the entrancement of his 
spirit above all sense of earth and its darkness. By the 
testimony of his cotemporaries, there were few that could 
vie with him in all the operations of the farm. In mowing, 
reaping, binding after the reapers, thrashing, or loading, 
there were few who could compete with him. He stood 
five feet ten in height, and was of singular strength and ac- 
tivity. He prided himself on the straightneas of the furrow 
that he drew, and the skill with which he threw his corn in 
sowing. On one occasion, a man having succeeded in a 
hard strife in setting up as many shocks in a given time, 
said, '• There, I am not far behind this time ;" to which 
Burns replied, " In one thing, John, you are still behind ; I 
made a song while I was stroking." Allan Cunningham 

414 BURNS. jj 

says that his father, who was steward to Miller of Dalswin- 
ton, Burns's landlord, and lived just opposite to him at El- 
lisland, declared that " he had the handsomest cast of the 
hand in sowing corn that he ever saw on a furrowed field/' 
It was here, then, at Mossgiel, that, young, vigorous, and 
full of desire to advance in worldly matters, he worked as* 
siduously with his brother Gilbert in the fields, undivided in 
his attentions by the duties of the Excise. But poetry, spite 
of all resolves to the contrary, came over him like a flood. 
As his hand worked, his heart was full of inspiration, and 
as Gilbert held the plow, Robert would come and walk 
beside him, and repeat what he had just composed ; or as 
they went with the cart to carry out corn or bring home 
coals, he would astonish him with some such display. " The 
verses to the Mouse and the Mountain Daisy," says Gil- 
bert, " were composed on these occasions, and while the 
author was holding the plow. I could point out the spot 
where each was composed. Holding the plow was a fa- 
vorite situation with Robert for poetic composition, and 
some of his best verses were produced while he was at that 
exercise. 11 With what interest, then, do we look over the 
fields at Mossgiel, scarcely an inch of which has not been 
strode over by Burns, while engaged at once in turning up 
the soil, sowing or gathering its crops, and in working out, 
in the depth of his mind, those compositions which were to 
remain for all time the watchwords of liberty and of noble 
thought. Besides the polemic poems already spoken of, 
here he wrote Halloween ; Address to the De'il ; Death and 
Dr. Hornbrook, a satire on the poor schoolmaster and self- 
appointed apothecary, Wilson of Tarbolton, which drove 
him from the place, but only to thrive in Glasgow ; The Jol- 
ly Beggars ; Man was made to Mourn ; The Vision ; The 
Cotter's Saturday Night, which he very appropriately re- 
peated to Gilbert during a Sunday afternoon walk. 

The very interesting scene of the creation of these exqui- 
site poems lies on the left hand of the road proceeding from 

BURNS. 415 

Tarbolton to Mauchline. The house stands at a field's dis- 
tance from the road. It is a thatched house with hut and 
hen, just as it was, and the buildings behind it forming two 
wings, exactly as he Trailt his house at EllislancL To the 
northwest the house is, well sheltered with fine, full-grown 
trees. A handsome young mother, the farmer's wife, wor- 
thy for her comely and intelligent look to have been cele- 
brated by Burns, told me that great numbers of people came 
to see the place, and that it was very much as Burns left it 
There were the barn, the byre, the garden near, in all which 
the poet had labored like any other son of earth for his 
daily bread, and on the yearly allowance— for every one of 
the family had a specific allowance for clothes and pocket- 
money — of seven pounds, which, says his brother, he never 
exceeded! Very extravagant he could not have been. 
You see the ingle where he sat and composed some of his 
most pathetic and most humorous pieces. It is said to be in 
the spence, a better room, which has a boarded floor, and the 
recess beds so common in Scotland, that he chiefly wrote. 
Who can contemplate this humble room, and recall the im- 
age of the young poet, with a heart of melancholy, here in- 
diting, Man was made to Mourn, or his Vision, without the 
liveliest emotion 1 There is no feeling of utter sadness 
more strongly expressed than in the opening of the Vision. 

44 The sun had closed the winter day, 
The curlew quat their roaring play, 
An' hnnger'd mawkin ta'en her way 

To kail-yard green, 
While faithless snaws ilk step betray 

Whare she has been. 

" The threshers weary flinging tree 
The lee-lang day had tired me ; 
And when the day had closed his e'e 

Far i' the west, 
Ben i' the spence, right pensively, 

I gaed to rest 

416 BU1HI. 

* There, lanely, by the ingle cheek, 
I sate and eyed the spewing reek. 
That filled with hoasVpiovoking meek, 

The anld clay biggin; 
And heard the restless rations squeak 

About the riggm. 
11 AD in this mottie, misty clime, 
I backward mused on wasted time, 
How I had spent my youthful prime 

An' done naething 
But strmgin blethers up in rhyme, 

For fools to sing. 

" Had I to gud advice bat harkit, 
I might, by this, hae led a markit, 
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit 

My cash account. 
While here, half mad, half fed, half sarket, 

In a' th' amount." 

Gilbert, it seems, continued on this farm after Robert left 
for Ellisland till 1800 ; and the next tenant had occupied 
it till but a year or two ago, when the present young peo- 
ple came in. 

Mauchline, at the distance of a few minutes, abounds 
with recollections of Burns. There is the inn where Bums 
used to meet his merry club. There is the church-yard 
where the scene of the Holy Fair is laid, though the old 
church which stood in Bums's time has disappeared, and a 
new one taken its place. Opposite to the church-yard gates 
runs the street called " The Cowgate," up which he makes 
Common Sense escape ; just by is the house of" Posie Nan- 
sie," where Burns fell iu with the " Jolly Beggars ;" not 
far off is the public house of John Dow, that Burns and his 
companions frequented at the opening of the Cowgate. Po- 
sie Nansie, or Nance Tinnock's, was the house mentioned 
in the Holy Fair, where the public crowded in during the 
intervals of the service, having a back door most conven- 
ient into the area. 

BURNS. 417 

" Now but an* ben, the change-house fill* 
Wi* yOl-caap commentator! ; 
Here's crying out for bakes and gills, 
An* there the pint stonp clatters. 1 ' 

Every body can tell of the haunts and places of Burns and 
his jolly companions in Mauchline. The women came out 
of their houses as they saw me going* about, and were most 
generously anxious to point out every noted spot. Many 
of the older people remembered him. " A fine, handsome 
young fellow, was he not 1" J asked of an old woman that 
would show me where Jean Armour lived. " Oh ! jus a 
black- avised chiel," said she, hurrying up a narrow street 
parallel to the Cowgate ; " but here lived Jean Armor's fa- 
ther. Come in, come," added she, unceremoniously open- 
ing the door, when an old dame appeared, who occupied 
the house. " I am only going to show the gentleman where 
Robin Burns's Jean lived. Come along, sir, come along/' 
continued she, hastening as unceremoniously up stairs ; " ye 
maun see where* the bairns were born. Ha! ha! ha!" 
" Ha ! ha ! ha !" screamed the old dame of the house, ap- 
parently highly delighted ; " ay, show the gentleman ! show 
him ! he ! he ! he !" So up went my free-making guide, 
up went I, and up came the old lady of the house. " There ! 
there !" exclaimed the first old woman, pointing to a recess 
bed in one of the chambers, " there were three o' Robin 
Burns's bairns born. It's true, sir, as 1 live !" " Ay, gude 
faith is it," re-echoed the old lady of the house, and the 
two gossips again were very merry. " But ye maun see 
where Rob an' Jean were married !" so out of the house 
the lean and nimble woman again hurried, and again, at a 
rapid pace, led me down another narrow street just to the 
back of what they call the castle, Gavin Hamilton's old 
house. It was in Burns's time Gavin Hamilton's office, 
and in that office Burns was married. It is now a public 
• Having taken a survey of all the scenes of Burns's youth- 

ful life here, I proceeded to that house where be was always 
30 welcome a guest — the house of Gavin Hamilton itself. 
Though called the castle, it is, in fact, a mere keep, with an 
ordinary house attached to it in a retired garden. The gar- 
den is surrounded by lofty walls, with a remarkably large 
tree in the center. The house, a mere cottage, is huddled 
down in the far right-hand comer, and opposite to it stands 
the old keep, a conspicuous object as you descend the hill 
into the town, It is maintained in good order, and used as 
a laundry. A bare-legged lassie was spreading out her 
wash on the grass-plot, wbo informed me that not only was 
Gavin Hamilton dead, but bis sod too, and that bis son's 
widow and her children were living there. I was shown 
the room where Bums, one Sunday, on coming in after 
kirk, wrote the satirical poem of the Calf, on the clergy- 
man. An ordinary little parlor. 

In traversing the streets of Mauchline, it was impossible 
to avoid not only recalling all the witty jollity of Bums 
here, but his troubles that well nigh drove him from the 
land. The opposition of Jean Armour's family ; \ha tear- 
ing up of her secret marriage -lines by herself in her despair; 
Burns':* distraction, his poverty, his hidings from the myr- 
midons of the law, and his daily thirteen miles* walk to 
correct tho proofs of hie poems at Kilmarnock, to save 
postage. But now the Muse which bad made him poor 
refused to permit him to quit his native land, Out burst 
the sun of his glory, and our scene changes with this cha 
to Edinburgh.* 

* I roust mention one feet regarding the neighborhood of A71 
aure, Wales not excepted, ww there a country so iafeat.d v. 
bars, la going to Macichline t twelve miles, including a slight d k c igei i cs 
to take a view of Mount Oliphant, and tliua going out of Ayr by oae 
road and coming in by in* other; I paid at nine bars, five of them *a> 
pence each* At do one did they give you a ticket to another New 
bars were* moreover, building! "How did you like the ccttDtrv*'' 
aakod my landlord, on my return* ** Oh f" said I, '• it U ■ roost be* 
us country," « BarWous?" <* Yet ; there is nothing but bart I 

i li n n s. 

4 19 

To describe all the haunts of Burns in Edinburgh were a 
long affair. They were the houses of all the great and gay: 
of the Gordons, the Ha mil tons, the Montgomeries, of the 
learned, and the beautiful. The celebrated Duchess of 
Gordon, at that time at the zenith of beauty and fashion, 
was one of his warmest admirers, and had him to her largest 
parties. The young plowman of Ayrshire sat hob-nobbing 
in the temples of splendor and luxury with the most dis- 
tinguished in every walk of life* Yet his haunts also lay 
equally among the humble and the undistinguished. Burns 
was irue to his own maxim, "a man's a man for a* that;" 
and where there were native sense, wit, and good-humor, 
there he was to be found, were it even in a cellar with 
only a wooden stool to sit on. At his first arrival in Edin- 
burgh he took up his quarters with a young Ayrshire ac- 
quaintance, Richmond, a writer's apprentice, in the house 
of a Mrs, Carfrae, Baxter's Close, Lawn Market, whore he 
had a share of the youth's room and bed. From the most 
splendid entertainments of the aristocracy he described 
himself as groping his way at night through the dingy 
alleys of the " gude town to his obscure lodgings, with his 
share of a deal table, a sanded floor, and a chaff bed, at 
eighteen pence a week," This was during the winter and 
spring of 17S6-7, on his first visit to Edinburgh, where he 
became the great fashionable lion, and while his new edi- 
tion by Creech was getting out. In the spring, finding his 
popularity had brought him so much under the public eye 
that his obscure lodgings in the Lawn Market were not 
quite befitting him, ho went and lodged with his new ac- 
quaintance, William Nicol, one of the masters of the High 
School, who lived in the Buccleugh Road. In the winter 
Of 17S7, on his second visit to Edinburgh, he had lodgings 
in a house at the entrance of James's Square, on the left 
hand. As you go up East Register-street, at the end of the 

mu4t send Eebecca to you." '* True/' «ud he, " Rebecca never found 
any thing more abominable/ 1 



Register House, you sea the end of a house at the left-hand 
side of the top of the street, There is a perpendicular row 
of four windows : the top window belongs to the room 
Burns occupied* Here it was that be was visited by the 
lady with whom at this time he corresponded under the 
name of Sylvander, and she witb him as Clarinda, His leg 
had been hurt by an overturn of a carriage by a drunk an 
coachman, and he was laid up some time, and compelled to 
use crutches. Allan Cunningham tells us that this lady 
4 * now and then visited the crippled bard, and diverted him 
by her wit, and soothed him by her presence. " She was 
the Mrs. Mac of his toasts. A blithe, handsome, and witty 
widow, a great passion or Bi nation grew up between 
Hums and her. In one of bis letters to bis friend, Richard 
Brown, December 30 # 1787, he says, " Almighty love still 
reigns and revels in my bosom, and 1 am at this moment 
ready to hang myself for a youn^Edtnburgh widow." In 
a letter of their correspondence which has recently been 
published, he bids Clarinda look up at his window as she 
occasionally goes past, and in another com plains that 
does not look high enough for a bard's lodgings, and so 
perceives her only gazing at one of the lower windows. If 
we are to believe the stanza of hers quoted by Bums, we 
must suppose Clarinda to have been unhappily married: 

" Talk not of love— it gives mc p*in^ 
Fur love has been my foe; 
He bound me with an iron chain, 
And plunged me deep in woe/' 

If if be true, as Allan Cunningham surmises, thai those in- 
imitable verses in the song of '* Ae fond kiss, and then w* 
bever," which expresses the pain of a final parting k 
than any other words ever did, have reference to Clarinda, 
then Burns must have been passionately attached to her 
indeed : 

" Who ahull »y that Fortune grieve* kirn, 
While the tUr of hope the leave* himl 




Me, nae cheorfu T twinkle light* me; 

Dark despair around benight* me. 

Had we never loved tie kindly, 

Had we never loved tun- Mindly, 

Never met, or never parted, 

We had ne*er been broken-hearted.** 
Of the generous and true-hearted disposition of Clarinda, 
we shall possess a juster idea when we reflect that Burns 
was not at this time any longer the lion of the day. The 
first warm flush of aristocratic flattery was oven The souls 
of the great and fashionable had subsided into their native 
icy contempt of peasant merit. " What he had seen and 

I endured in Edinburgh/' says honest Allan Cunningham, 
" during his second visit, admonished him regarding the 
reed on which be leaned, when he hoped for a place of 
profit and honor from the aristocracy on account of his ge- 
nius. On his first appearance the doors of the nobility 
opened spontaneously, *on golden hinges turning,' and he 
ate spiced meats, and drank rare wines, interchanging nods 
and smiles ' with high dukes and mighty earls/ A colder 
reception awaited bis second coming t the doors of lords 

»and ladies opened with a tardy courtesy; he was received 
with % cold and measured stateliness, was seldom requested 
to stop, seldom to repeat his visit; and one of his com- 
panions used to relate with what indignant feelings the 
poet recounted his fruitless calls and his uncord ml recep- 
tions in the good town of Edinburgh/ 1 

It is related, that on one occasion being invited to dino 
at a nobleman's, be went, and, to his astonishment, found 
that he was not to dine with the guests, but with the buthsr ! 
After dinner bo was sent for into the dining-room ; and a 

» chair being set for him near the bottom of the table, be 
was desired to sing a song. Restraining his indignation 
within the bounds of outward appearance, Bums complied, 
and he sung, 

** la there, for honest poverty, 

WLia bangs hia head and n' that f 



422 BURNS. 

The coward slave, we past him by, 
And due be poor for a* that. 
For a* that, and a* that, 
▲ man's a man for a' that! 

"You see yonmrkia, ca'd a lord, 

(Pointing to tie nobleman at ike head of the tahle) 
Who strut!, and stares, and a' that, 
Though hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a coof for a* that. 
For a* that, and a' that, 
A man's a man for a' that." 

As the last word of these stanzas issued from bis hps, he 
rose, and not deigning the company a syllable of adieu, 
marched out of the room and the bouse. 

Burns himself expressed in some lines to Clarinda all 
this at this very moment : 

" In vain would Prudence, with her decent sneer, 
Point to the censuring world and bid me fear: 
Above that world on wings of love I rise, 
I know its worst, and can that worst despise. 
Wronged, slandered, shunned, unpitied, unredressed, 
The mocked quotation of the scorners' jest, 
Let Prudence direst bodements on me fall — 
Clarinda, rich reward ! o'erpays them all." 

But Clarinda could never be Burns's. To say the least of 
it, his attachment to her was one of the least defensible 
things of his life. Jean Armour had now the most invio- 
lable claims upon him, and, in fact, as soon as his leg was 
well enough, he tore himself from the fascinations of Cla- 
rinda's society, went to Mauchline, and married Jean. 

But we must not allow ourselves to follow him till we 
have taken a peep at the house of Clarinda at this time, 
where Burns used to visit her, and where, no doubt, he 
took his melancholy farewell. This house is in Potter's 
Row ; now old and dingy-looking, but evidently having 
been at one time a superior residence. It is a house mem- 
orable on more accounts than one, having been occupied 
by General Monk while his army lay in Edinburgh, and 

buini, 423 

the passage which goes under it to an interior court is still 
called the General's Entrance. To the street the* house 
presents four gabled windows in the upper story , on the 
tops of which stand a rose, thistle, fleur-de-lis, with a sec* 
ond rose or thistle to make out the four. The place is now 
inhabited by the poorest people ■ and on a little shop win- 
dow in front is written up, *' Rags and Metals bought !" 
The fiat which was occupied by Clarinda is now divided 
into two very poor tenements* In the room which used to 
be Clarinda s sitting* room, a poor woman was at once busy 
with her work and two or three very little children. My 
companion told her that her house had been once frequent- 
ed by a great roan ; she said, *' Oh yes, General Monk." 
When ho, however, added that he was then thinking of 
Robert Burns, this was news to her, and seemed to give to 
the wretched abode quite a charm in her eyes. 

Clarinda lived to a great age, as a Mrs. Mad chose, and 
only died a few years ago. Mra. Howitt and myself were 
once introduced to her by our kind friend, Mr. Robert 
Chambers, at her house near the Calton Hill ; and a very 
characteristic scene took place. The old lady, evidently 
charmed with our admiration of Burns, and warmed up by 
talking of past days, declared that we should drink out of 
the pair of glasses which Burns had presented to her in the 
days of their acquaintance. She brought these sacred rel- 
ics out of the cupboard, and rang for the servant to bring 
in wine. An aged woman appeared, who, on hearing that 
we were to drink out of Burns's glasses, which stood ready 
on the table! gave a look as if sacrilege were going to be 
committed, took up the glasses without a word, replaced 
them in the cupboard, locking them up, and brought us 
three ordinary wine-glasses to take our wine out of. It was 
in vain for Mrs. Maclehose to remonstrate ; the old and 
self-willed servant went away without deigning a reply, 
with the key in her pocket. 

Disheartened and chagrined, treated with the utmost 

424 BCtNi. 

contempt by those who once flattered and lionized him be- 
yond bounds, Barns now turned his back on Edinburgh, 
and went to seek that obscure country life which he saw 
well enough was his destiny. The man to whom that very 
city was to raise a splendid monument on the Calton Hill ; 
the man who was to have monuments raised to his honor in 
various spots of his native land; the man to whose immor- 
tal memory jubilees were to be held, to which people of 
all ranks were to flock by eighty thousands at a time ; the 
man who was to take the highest rank of all the poets of 

" Whose lines are mottoes of the heart, 
Whose truths electrify the sage," 

in the eloquent words of Campbell, and whose genius was 
to be the dearest memory of his countrymen in regions of 
the earth whither their adventurous spirit leads them, now, 
with a sad and wounded heart, pursued his way homeward 
with an exciseman's appointment in his pocket, the highest 
and only gift of his country. Burns knew and felt that his 
genius had a just claim to a good and honorable post in his 
native land, and his remaining letters sufficiently testify 
that from this hour the arrow of blighted ambition rankled 
in his heart, which never ceased its irritation till it had 
pulled down his gallant strength, and sent him to an early 
grave. He married his Jean, and chose his farm on the 
banks of the Nith, as Allan Cunningham's father remarked 
to him at the time, not with a farmer's, but a poet's choice. 
But here, half farmer, half exciseman, poverty came rap- 
idly upon him once more ; in three years' time only he 
quitted it, a man ruined in substance and constitution, and 
went to depend on his excise salary of <£70 a year in the 
town of Dumfries. 

I visited this farm in August, 1845. The coach from 
Dumfries to Glasgow set me down at Ellisland, lying about 
seven miles from Dumfries. Here I found a road running 
at right angles from the highway at a field's distance, and 

BURNS. 425 

saw the gray roof of the farm homestead and its white 
chimneys- peeping over the surrounding trees. The road, 
without gate or fence, leads you across a piece of watery 
ground, one of those hollows left un drained for the growth 
of what they call bog-hay, that is, rushes and coarse grass, 
which they give to the cows in winter. This was quite 
gay with cotton-rush, bog-beans, orchises, and other bog 
flowers, and with its fragrant marginal fringe of meadow 
sweet. After about a hundred yards, the road becomes a 
lane, inclosed on one side by a rough stone wall, and on 
the other by a tall hedge, with a row of flourishing ashes, 
each fence standing on a bold bank well hung with broom. 
The barley stood green on the one hand, and the hay in 
cock in the field on the other, and all had a pleasant sum- 
mer air and feeling about it. 

Advancing up this lane, I soon stood on the ascent, and 
saw the farm-house shining out white from among its trees, 
and half a dozen young men and women busily hoeing tur- 
nips in the adjoining fields. The farm, in fact, is a very 
pleasant farm. It lies somewhat high, and its fields swell 
and fell in a very agreeable manner, though it is still low 
compared to the hills that rise around it at a distance, green 
and cultivated, but bare. It is distinguished from all the 
farms round it by being 30 completely planted with hedge- 
row trees, particularly ashes and larches. The land is 
light, yet tolerably fertile — is dry and healthy. Close below 
the house sweeps along that fine vale of the Nith, with all 
itSviich meadows and woods, its stately old houses, and its 
river dark and swift, overhung with noble and verdurous 
trees. This seems the place where Burns might have been 
happy, had happiness and prosperity been easily secured 
by a temperament and circumstances such as his. He had 
a home fit for a poet, though humble. It was a home amid 
the goodliness and the godliness of nature. It was the 
home of a brave, a free, and an honest man—- of a great 
man and great poet, whose name and fame were allowed 

420 BURNS. 

and honored by the sound hearts and sound minds, if not 
by the baser and vainer ones of his country. Here he was 
a man and a farmer ; and both man and farmer are gentle* 
men, if they choose to be so. He had no need to doff his 
bonnet, or to pull it in shame over his brow before any 
man, so that he cultivated his acres and the glorious soil of 
his intellect with the heart and hand of an enthusiast in hit 
labor. He had built his own bower in the spot chosen by 
himself, m a spot beautiful and pure, and calm as a poet 
could desire ; and had brought to it the woman of his love, 
and his children were springing up around him, making 
the green and woodland banks of the Nith ring with the 
Tapture of their young sports. He had a stalwart frame, 
and a giant intellect, and a heart true in its feelings to the 
divinity of human nature, to the divinity within him, to the 
divinity of those aims, and objects, and truths for which 
man exists, and for whose advance and illustration the 
poet is, beyond all men, born and endowed. Ah ! if be 
could but have guided with a safe hand those passions 
which are given to feed and kindle the glorious impulses 
of the glorious nature of the poet, the friend, and prophet, 
and counselor of mankind, what a great and what a happy 
man might he have lived and died here. If he had really 

" Followed his plow along the mountain side/' 
instead of the exciseman's horse over the hills and through 
the hamlets of the country round, to what a venerable age 
might he have lived among his children and his admiring 
countrymen. But the tact for business and the turn for 
prudence, how rarely can they exist with the fervid tem- 
perament which has to evolve the living meteors of poetry. 
The volcano will have its crater and its desolations, and not 
green and peaceful ridges of peace ; particularly in this 
case, where the poet had been called out of the ranks of the 
poor, and had had at once to contend against the flatteries 
of exaltation unprepared by the discipline of education. 
Burns and Hogg may therefore be excused, where Byron 

BURNS. 427 

could not stand ; Ebenezer Elliott is almost the only in- 
stance of contrary success. 

- One can not, however, see this Arcadian scene, this sort 
of Sabine farm, so well calculated for the " otium cum dig- 
miate" of the poet, without feeling one's heart wrung at the 
idea that it was a vain gift — a haven of peace only offered 
to a struggling and doomed swimmer ; and that the foul 
exciseman craft, and the degrading dipstick, and the whisky- 
firkin were in the rear. The very next neighbors of Burns 
were Mr. Miller, of Dalswinton, and Mr. Riddell, of Friars' 
Carse. There he went to meet, and dine, and revel with 
distinguished guests. Heavens! why should he not have 
been able to go there as the honest British farmer, and not 
as the exciseman 1 Could he feel that he was a poet, and 
fit society for the wealthy, the refined, and the learned, and 
that he was not degraded ? He was glorious — and an ex- 
ciseman. Here he wrote Mary in Heaven, and mounted 
his jaded steed and trotted off to the hell of whisky distill- 
eries and whisky dram-shops. He wrote here, in one day, 
Tain O'Shanter, in a fever of laughter and excitement, 
and perhaps the next day would repeat the lines to the rude 
and fuddled rabble of a " public," where he was in the way 
of his business and his ruin. There is something so anoma- 
lous in the genius and the grade, in the magnificent endow- 
ments and the bare necessities of Robert Burns, that one 
can not now conceive how they could have been permitted 
to occur by his fellow-men, or tolerated by himself. To 
think of him here, in his own white farm-house, like a 
dove's nest, amid its green and overshadowing leaves, and 
bung over the pure lapsing waters ; and then of him in that 
little dirty house in Dumfries, in that street of tramps and 
beggars, living degraded, despised, and persecuted, and 
dying the poorest exciseman and greatest poet of his coun- 
try I In the hour of his death the soul of his country awoke 
with one great throb to the consciousness of who and what 
he was ; what a pity that the revelation did not come a 

428 BURNS. 

little sooner 1 And this I say not to taunt his country with 
it. The sense of the national treatment of Robert Barns 
has been expressed with such manly eloquence by his 
countrymen, L ockhart, Wilson, and Allan Cunningham, that 
it needs not us English to cast a single stone, who have the 
memory of Chatterton among us. All great nations hare 
similar sins to answer for. Scotland does not stand alone; 
but there is something so peculiarly strange in the fate of 
Burns, and that comes over one as we tread the ground 
that he had chosen for his home, and the floor of the house 
that he built, that it has forced me involuntarily to follow my 
own feelings instead of my descriptions. 

The farm, as I have said, is a very pleasant one. Burns 
is supposed to have chosen the particular situation of his 
house not only for its fine situation on the banks of the 
river, and overlooking the vale and country round, but on 
account of a beautiful spring which gushes from the slope 
just below the house. The ground-plan of his house is 
very much like that of most Scotch farms. The buildings 
form three sides of a quadrangle. The house and buildings 
are only one story high, white, and altogether a genuine 
Scotch steading. The house is on the lower side, next to 
the river. Burns's bed-room has yet two beds in it, of that 
sort of cupboard fashion, with check curtains, which are so 
often seen in Scotch farm-houses. The humble rooms are 
much as they were in his time. Near the house, and run- 
ning parallel with the river, is a good large garden which 
he planted. The side of the farm-yard opposite to the 
house is pleasantly planted off with trees. The farm is just 
as it was, about one hundred acres. By places it exhibits 
that stony soil which made Burns call it " the ridd lings of 
creation," and say that when a plowed field was rolled it 
looked like a paved street ; but still it carries good crops. 
Bums had it for <£50 a year, or ten shillings an acre. I 
suppose the present tenant pays three times the sum, and is 
proud of his bargain. He observed it was an ill wind that 

B U R N d, 429 

blew nobody any profit. " Mr. Burns," said be, " had the 
farm on lease for ninety years, and had he not thrown it 
up, I should not have been here now." The farmer seemed 
a very sensible man, and though he was just mounting his 
gig to go on business to Dumfries, he stopped, and would 
go over the farm and house, and point out every thing to 
me. He said what Lockhart and Cunningham say, that 
Burns had so many servants that they ate and drank all that 
came off the farm. " The maids baked new bread, and the 
men ate it hot with ale." But it is said, too, on the spot, 
that most of these servants were relatives, and that presents 
of whisky and other good things were sent from far and 
near to Burns, and that, while he was absent on his excise 
rounds, they sat in the house and drank, and ate to it, in- 
stead of being" at work. Burns once observed to his neigh- 
bor, the next farmer, that he wondered how it was that the 
farm left no surplus for rent ; and the farmer said, " Why, 
Mr. Burns, it would be a wonder if it did, for your servants 
can not eat it and leave it for rent too." It is said, also, that 
being once. invited to dinner at Dalswinton House, and not 
coming, the guests asked how he was., getting on. Mr. 
Miller said he hoped very well, " for," added he, " I think 
I have set him up." This being repeated to Burns, is said 
to have hurt his proud feelings extremely, and to have 
induced him to remark that he did not like to live on the 
estate of a man who thought he had set him up. Long he 
did not live there— more's the pity. The good-will of his 
haughty landlord had gone before. 

It was here, too, that the story is told of his being found 
by two Englishmen fishing in the Nith. " On a rock that 
projected into the stream, they saw a man angling. He 
had a cap of foxskin on his head, a loose great-coat jixed 
round him by a belt, from which hung an enormous High- 
land broadsword : it was Burns." The story is likely 
enough. The banks of the Nith here are steep, and full 
of wUd thickets ; and one may very well imagine Burns 

490 B l R X I. 

not being over particular in his toilet while pursuing Hi 
amusement in this solitude. 

It was one of his delights to range along these sleep 
river banks ; and it was along them, between the house and 
the fence at the bottom of the field, down the river, that ha 
paced to and fro as he composed Tarn O'Shanter. Mm. 
Burns relates, " that observing Robert walking with long, 
swinging strides, and apparently muttering as he went, the 
let him alone for some time. At length she took the chil- 
dren with her, and went forth to meet him. He seemed 
not to observe her, but continued his walk. On this," said 
she, •• I stepped aside with the bairns among the broom, 
and past us he came, his brow flushed, and his eyes shin- 
ing ; he was reciting these lines : 

* Now Tun. O Tarn ! had thae been queans 
A" plump an' ftrappinc. f their teens ; 
Their aark*. ixutead o* creeahie flannen, 
Been maw-white seventeen honder linnen ! 
Thir breokf o* mine, my only pair, 
That ance were plu*h. o' rude blue haxc 
I wad hae gi'en them affmy hardies. 
For ae Mink o* the bonnie bardie*.' 

I wi<h ye had but seen him ! He was in such ecstasy that 
the tears were happing down his cheeks." He had taken 
writing materials with him, and, leaning on a turf fence 
which commanded a view down the river, he committed the 
poem to paper, walked home, and read it in great triumph 
at the fireside. The remains of this turf fence may be seen 
to this day in the shape of a green bank, close above the 
river, under the shade of a narrow plantation of larches 
which bounds the field. The farmer said that Professor 
Wilson, when he visited the spot, rolled himself on the 
bank, savin 5 it was worth while trying to catch any re- 
mains of genius and humor that Burns might have left 

The farmer said — what, indeed, Allan Cunningham 
str.tes — that when Burns came the farm was all open ; " there 

to U K N 9. 481 

> no dikes," walk, or fences. That he introduced the first 
dairy of Ayrshire cows, all splendid cattle, some of them 
. being presents from such friends as the Dunlops, &c. Pres- 
. ents or no presents, poor Burns laid out on the farm, in his 
first year, all the proceeds of his Edinburgh edition of his 
poems, and never saw them again. 

The view from the house is very charming. The river 
runs dear and fleet below, broad as the Thames at Hamp- 
ton Court, or the Trent at Nottingham, and its dark trees 
hang far along it over its waters. Beyond the stream lie 
the broad, rich meadows and house of Dalswinton, a hand- 
some mansion of red freestone aloft amid its woods, and 
still beyond and higher up the river rise still bolder hills. 
The very next residence upward on the same side of the 
river is Friar's Carse, the seat of Burns's friend, Mr. Rid- 
dell, into whose grounds he had a private key, so that he 
could enjoy all the beauty and solitude of his woods at 
pleasure, or take the nearest cut to the house. Up the val- 
ley, about two miles or so, is the farm-house belonging to 
his friend Nicol, of the High School, where 
•« Willie brewed a peck o* malt, 
And Bob and Allan cam to lee." 

Friar's Carse deserves a few more words before we shift 
to the last sad scene, Dumfries. It is a beautiful estate, 
which you enter from the Glasgow road by a neat lodge, 
and advance a quarter of a mile, perhaps, along a carriage 
drive, one side of which is planted with shrubs and flowers, 
and the other consists of the steep, wild bank of a fine wood. 
The way winds on, and here and there you have an old 
stone gray cross, or old picturesque saint, or such thing, 
which has a good effect. At last you emerge in an open 
meadow, surrounded by fine hills and woods, and at the 
head of which, on a green and graceful esplanade, stands 
a good, though not very large house. In the meadows, 
which are of great extent, roves a numerous herd of as 
fine cattle as ever roamed the meads of Asphodel, and much 

432 BURNS. 

finer, I suspect, for they are Ayrshire cows of the mo* 
splendid description ; and some very fine trees rear their 
heads to beautify the ground. As you approach the house, 
it is along the foot of a beautiful slope enriched by noble 
old trees. Behind the house there is a green and airy sort 
of table-land, on which flower-stands of rustic work, filled 
with roses and geraniums, stand, and down which money- 
wort, with all its golden blossoms, streams, and then the 
ground sinks rapidly into a deep dell full of tall trees, and 
containing a garden of the old pleached walk kind, and 
which, through the latticed gate, gives you such a peep at its 
beauties as enchants you. 

In this house used to live Mr. RiddelL Here the Whis- 
tle was caroused for, and here the original copy of Burns's 
poem on the subject is kept still. Pity it was that the lady 
of the house, a young widow, Mrs. C rich ton, was just bowl- 
ing out at her lodge gates as I walked in, or I would have 
made bold to call and request the favor of a sight of this 
pTaper. But the butler assured me that there it was ; aod 
in the pine wood, on the side by which you enter, are the re- 
mains of the hermitage where Burns wrote the well-known 
lines on the window. The pine wood has grown ; there 
are silver firs that need not shame to claim kindred with 
those of the Black Forest ; but the hermitage is gone down. 
A single gable, a few scattered stones, and a mass of laurels 
that have grown high and hidden it, are all that remain of 
the hermitage, which I only found by dint of long travers- 
ing the dusky wood. 

But Burns is gone ; Miller of Dalswinton is gone ; Rid- 
del] of Friar's Carse is gone ; their estates are in other fam- 
ilies ; and it is to be hoped that the exciseman's gauging- 
stick is gone too. I do not see it hung aloft in any hall. I 
dare say the sons of Burns have not preserved it, as the 
walking-stick of Sir Walter Scott now hangs aloft in the 
study at Abbotsford. But the memory of the poet and his 
friends lives all over these walks, and meadows, and woods, 

B U K N ri. 488 

more livingly than ever. It is the quick spirit of the place. 
Poetry is not dead here. It is the soul and haunting 
shadow of these fair and solemn scenes, and a thousand 
years hence will startle young and heating hearts as the 
wood-pigeon dashes out through the magic hush of the for- 
est, and the streamlet leaps down the mossy stone, and 
laughs and glitters in the joyous glance of the sun. The 
exciseman's stick is turned into the magic wand of nature, 
and there will he hitter satire, and deep melancholy, and 
wonder and love, as it waves a thousand times self-multi- 
plied in the hough of the pine-tree, and the hent of the grass, 
while the heart of man can suffer or enjoy. You see that 
already in every thing. Burns no longer walks on one side 
of the market-place of Dumfries, solitary and despise:!, 
while the great and gay crowd and flutter on the other; 
but as the daily coach rolls on its way, the coachman, point- 
ing with his whip, says softly, " That is the Farm of Ellis- 
land !" And every man and woman, every trade-traveler 
and servant-maid says, " Where 1" All rise up and look, 
and there u a deep rilence. 

For that silence, and the thoughts that live in it, who 
would not have lived, and suffered, and been despised 1 It 
is the triumph of genius and the soul of greatness over the 
freaks of fortune, and even over its own sins and failings. 
It is something to have walked over the farm of Ellisland ; 
it is still more to have stood on the spot in his farm-yard 
where the heart of Bums rose up in a flame of hallowed 
affection to Mary in Heaven — a more glorious shrine than 
the mausoleum of Dumfries. 

The neighborhood of Dumfries, to which the Jast scene 
of our subject leads us, is very charming. The town is just 
a quiet country town, but the Nith is a fine river, and runs 
through it, and makes both town and country very agree- 
able. The scenery is not wild and rocky, but the vale of 
the Nith is rich, and beautiful in its richness. The river 
rune in the finest sweeps imaginable ; it seems to disdain to 
Vol. I.— T 

484 BURNS. 

go straight, but makes a circle for a mile, perhaps, at a 
time, as clean and perfect. as if struck with compasses, and 
then away in another direction; while on its lofty banks 
alders and oaks hang richly over the water, and fine herds 
of cattle are grouped in those deep meadows, and salmon- 
fishers spread their nets and are busy mending them on the 
broad expanse of gravel that covers here and there the 
bends of the river; while high above the lapsing waters, 
your eye wanders over a broad extent of fresh, rich meadow 
country, with scattered masses of trees, and goodly farms, 
and far around are high and airy hills cultivated to the top. 
A more lovely pastoral country, more retired and poetical, 
you can not well find. This is the scenery to which Burns, 
during his abode in Dumfries, loved to resort. " When he 
lived in Dumfries," says Allan Cunningham, " he had three 
favorite walks : on the dock-green by the river side, among 
the ruins of Lincluden College, and toward the Martingam 
Ford, on the north side of the river. The latter place was 
secluded, commanded a view of the distant hills and the 
romantic towers of Lincluden, and afforded soft greensward 
banks to rest upon, and the sight and sound of the stream. 
As soon as he was heard to hum to himself, his wife saw 
that he had something in his mind, and was quite prepared 
to see him snatch up his hat and set off silently for his mu- 
sing ground." 

About three miles up the river we came upon the beau- 
tiful ruins of the abbey of Lincluden, standing on an ele- 
vated mound overlooking the junction of the Cluden and 
the Nith, and overlooked by a sort of large tumulus cover- 
ed with larches, where the monks are said to have sat to 
contemplate the country, and where the country people 
still resort to loiter or read on Sundays. A profound tran- 
quillity reigns over all the scene — a charm indescribable, 
which Burns, of all men, must have felt. For myself, I 
knew not where to stop. I advanced up the left bank of 
the river, opposite to the ruins, now treading the soft turf 

B U K N fc. 

of the Nuh's margin, now pant in a narrow track close on 
the brink of the stream among the alders, now emerging 
into a lofty fir clump, and now into a solemn grove of beech 
overhanging the stream. Further on lay the broad old 
meadows again, the fisher watching in his wooden hut the 
ascent of the salmon, the little herd boy tending his black 
cattle in the solitary field, old woods casting a deep gloom 
on the hurrying water, gray old halls standing on fin© 
slopes above the Nith, amid trees of magnificent size and 
altitude. The mood of mind which comes over you here 
is that of unwritten poetry. 

When one thinks of Burns wandering amid this conge- 
nial nature, where the young now wander and sing his 
songs, one is apt to forget that he bore with him a sad heart 
and a sinking frame. When we see his house in Dum- 
fries, we are reminded pretty forcibly of these things. We 
have to dive at once into a back street in the lower part of 
the town, and turn and wind from one such hidden and 
poor street to another, till, having passed through a suffi- 
cient stench of tan-yards, which seem to abound in that 
neighborhood, you come to a little street with all the char- 
acter of the abode of the poor, which is honored with the 
name of Burns-street. The house is the first you come 
to on the left hand. There is the thatched one on the op- 
posite side, and I set it down at once to be the poet's ; but 
no; at a regularly formal poor man's house, of a dingy 
white- wash, with its stone door and window frames painted 
of a dingy blue, a bare-legged girl, very dirty, was washing 
the floors, and went from the bucket and showed me the 
house. On the right hand of the door was the kitchen, in 
which the girl informed me that there was nothing left be- 
longing to the Bu ruses except two bells, which she pointed 
oat, and a gas- pipe which Mr. Burns had put in. On the 
left hand was the sitting-room, furnished very well for a 
poor man, with a carpet on the floor. The girl said her 
father was an undertaker, but when I asked where was his 

4M iuivi. 

shop, she said he wis an undertaker of jobs on railroads 
and embankments. Up stairs there was a good, large 
chamber unfurnished, which she said was die one occupied 
bj Mr. and Mrs. Burns, and where both of them died* Out 
of the other chamber a little closet was taken, including 
one front window, and here, she said, Burns wrote, or it 
was always said so. There were two garrets ; and that 
was the poet's, or, rather, the exciseman's house. It was 
just about suited to the income of an ordinary exciseman, 
and had no attribute of the pod? 9 home about it. Mr. Rob- 
ert Chambers, in his Picture of Scotland, calls it a neat lit- 
tle house. Unfortunately, at my visit it was any thing bat 
neat or clean, and its situation in this miserable quarter, 
and amid the odor of tan-yards, must give to any foreigner 
who risks it an odd idea of the abodes of British poets. I 
wonder that in some improvement the Dumfriesians don't 
contrive to pull it down. 

From this abode of the living poet I adjourned to that 
of the dead one. This is situated in St. Michael's church- 
yard, not far from the house, but on an eminence, and on 
the outside of the town. The lane in which the house is, is 
just one of the worst. It looks as though it were only in- 
habited by keepers of lodging-houses for tramps, and, I be- 
lieve, mainly is so. It is a sort of Tinker's Lane. The 
church-yard, though not more than two hundred yards oft 
is one of the most respectable, and the poet's house then 
is the very grandest Oue naturally thinks how much eas- 
ier it is to maintain a dead poet than a living one. 

A church-yard in this part of the country has a singular 
aspect to an English eye. As you approach the Scottish 
border you see the headstones getting taller and taller, and 
the altar-tombs more and more massive. At Carlisle, the 
headstones had attained the height of six or seven feet at 
least, and were deeply carved with coats of arms, &c, near 
the top, but here the whole church-yard is a. wilderness of 
huge and ponderous monuments. Pediments and entab- 


lature, Grecian, Gothic, and nondescript ; pillars and obe- 
lisks, some of them at least twenty feet high — I use no ex* 
aggcrration in this account — stand thick and on all sides. 
To our eyes, accustomed to such a different size and charac- 
ter of church-yard tombs, they are perfectly astonishing. I 
imagine there is stone enough in the funeral monuments of 
this church-yard to build a tolerable street of houses. You 
would think that all the giants, and, indeed, all the great 
people of all sorts that Scotland had- ever produced, had 
here chosen their sepulture. Such ambitious and gigantic 
structures of freestone, some red, some white, for dyers, 
iron-mongers, gardeners, slaters, glaziers, and the like, are, 
I imagine, nowhere else to be seen. There are vintners 
who have tombs and obelisks fit for genuine Egyptian 
Pharaohs; and slaters and carpenters, who were accus- 
tomed to climb high when alive, have left monuments sig- 
nificant of their soaring character. These far outvie and 
overlook those of generals, writers to the signet, esquires, 
and bailiffs of the city. 

Your' first view of the church-yard strikes you by the 
strange aspect of these ponderous monuments. A row of 
very ancient ones, in fact, stands on the wall next to the 
street. Two of them most dilapidated, and of deep red 
stone, have a very singular look. They have Latin in- 
scriptions, which are equally dilapidated. Another one to 
Francis Irving fairly exhausts the Latin tongue with his 
host of virtues, and then takes to English thus : 

M King James the First me balive named ;' 
Dumfries oft since me provost claimed ; 
God has for me a crown reserved, 
For king and country have I served." 

Burns's mausoleum occupies as nearly as possible the 
center of the farther end of the church-yard opposite to the 
entrance, and a broad walk leads up to it. It stands, as it 
should do, overlooking the pleasant fields in the outskirts 
of the town, and seems, like the poet himself, to belong 

488 BURNS. 

half to man and half to nature. It is a sort of little temple, 
which at a distance catches the eye as you approach ant 
side of the town, and reminds you of that of Garrick at 
Hampton. It is open on three sides, except for iron gates, 
the upper border of which consists of alternating Scottish 
thistles and spear-heads. A couple of Ionic pillars at each 
corner support a projecting cornice, and above this rises 
an octagon superstructure, with arches, across the bottom 
of which again run thistle-heads, one over each gateway, 
and is surmounted by a dome. The basement of the mau- 
soleum is of granite. The building is inclosed by an iron 
railing, and that little gate in front of the area b left un- 
locked, so that you may approach and view the monument 
through the iron gates.' The area is planted appropriately 
with various kinds of evergreens, and on each side of the 
gate stand conspicuously the Scottish thistle. 

In the center of the mausoleum floor, a large flag, with 
four iron rings in it, marks the entrance to the vault below. 
At the back stands Turnarelli's monument of the poet. It 
consists of a figure of Burns, of the size of life, in white 
marble, at the plow, and Coila, his muse, appearing to him. 
This is a female figure in alto-relievo on the wall, some- 
what above and in front of him. She is in the act of throw- 
ing her mantle, embroidered with Scotch thistles, over him, 
according to his own words : •« The poetic genius of my 
country found me, as the prophetic bard Elijah did Elisha, 
at the plow, and threw her inspiring mantle over me." 
Burns stands with his left hand on one of the plow stilts, 
and with the other holds his bonnet to his breast, while, 
with an air of surprise and devotion, he gazes on the muse 
or genius of his poetry. He appears in a short coat, knee 
breeches, and short gaiters. The execution is so-so. The 
likeness of the poet is by no means conformable to the best 
portraits of him ; and Nature, as if resenting the wretched 
caricature of her favorite son, has already begun to deface 
and corrode it. The left hand on the plow is much do- 

BURNS. 489 

cayed, and the right hand holding the bonnet is somewhat 
so too. At his feet lies what I suppose was the slab of his 
former tomb, with this inscription : " In memory of Robert 
Burns, who died the 21st of July, 1796, in the 37th year 
of his age. And Maxwell Burns, who died the 25th of 
April, 1799, aged $ years and 9 months. Francis Wallace 
Burns, who died the 9th of June, 1808, aged 14 years. 
His sons. The remains of Burns received into the vault 
below, 19th of September, 1815. And his two sons. Also, 
the remains of Jean Armour, relict of the Poet, born Feb., 
1765, died 26th of March, 1834." 

-The long Latin inscription mentioned by his biogra- 
phers, a manifest absurdity on the tomb of a man like Burns, , 
and whose epitaph ought to be intelligible to all his coun- 
trymen, is, I suppose, removed, for I did not observe it, and 
the above English inscription, of the elegance o£ which, 
however, nothing can be said, substituted. 

The gates of the mausoleum itself are kept locked, and 
the monument again inclosed within a plain railing. 

Some countrymen were just standing at the gate, with* 
their plaids on their shoulders, making their observations as • 
I arrived at it. I stood and listened to them. 

1st Man. "Ay, there stands Robin, still holding the 1 
plow, but the worst of it is, he has got no horses to it." 

2d Man. " Ay, that is childish. It is just like a boy on 
a Sunday, who sets himself to the plow, and fancies he is 
plowing when it never moves. It would have been a deal 
better if you could have seen even the horses' tails." 

3d Man. " Ay, or if he had been sitting on his plow, as 
I have seen him sometimes in a picture." 

1st Man. " But Coila is well drawn, is not she 1 That 
arm which she holds up the mantle with is very well exe- 

2d Man. " It's a pity, though, that the sculptor did not 
look at his own coat before he put the only button on that 
is to be seen." 

440 B U R If ft. 

34 Mmm. " Why, where is the button 1" 

2d Mom. " Just under the bonnet ; and it's on the wrong 

1st Mam. " Oh ! it does not signify if it be & double- 
breasted coat ; or perhaps Robin buttoned his coat differ- 
ent to other folks, for he was an unco' chiel." 

2d Mam. " But it's only single-breasted, and it is quite 

The men unbuttoned and then buttoned their coats up 
again to satisfy themselves, and they decided that it was a 
great blunder. 

I thought there was much sound sense in their criticism. 
The allegorical figure of the muse seems too much, and 
the absence of the horses too little. Burns would have 
looked quite as well standing at the plow, and looking up 
inspired by the muse without her being visible. 

The plow rests on a rugged piece of marble, laid on a 
polished basement, in the center of which is inscribed, in 
large letters, 


I had to regret missing at Dumfries the three sons of 
Burns, and the stanch friend of the family, and of the gen- 
ius of the poet, Mr. M'Diarmid. Mr. Robert Burns, the 
poet's eldest son, resides at Dumfries, but was then absent 
at Belfast, in Ireland, where I afterward saw him, and was 
much struck with his intelligence and great information. 
Colonel and Major Burns had just visited Dumfries, but 
were gone into the Highlands with their friend, Mr. M'Diar- 
mid. The feelings with which I quitted Dumfries were 
those which so often weigh upon you in contemplating the 
closing scenes of poets' lives. " The life of the poet at 
Dumfries," says Robert Chambers, " was an unhappy one; 
his situation was degrading, and his income narrow." Re- 
flecting on this as I proceeded by the mail toward Moffat, 
the melancholy lines of Wordsworth recurred to me with 
peculiar effect : 

fl V I N fl. 

4 My former thoaghts returned ; the flsar that kMa 
And hope that ii unwilling in be fed ; 
Cold, pain, and labor, and all fleshly ills; 
And mighty poet* in their misery dead/ 1 

T 2 


There is scarcely any ground in England so well known 
in imagination as the haunts of Cowper at Olney an J Wee- 
ton ; there is little that is so interesting to the lover of in op 
al and religious poetry. There the beautiful but unhappy 
poet seemed to have created a naw world out of unknown 
ground, in which himself and his friends, the Unwins, Lady 
Austen and Lady Hesketh, the Throckraortons, and the 
rest, played a part of the simplest and most natural char- 
acter, and which fascinated the whole public mind. The 
life, the spirit, and the poetry of Cowper present, when 
taken together, a most singular combination. He was timid 
in his habit, yet bold in his writing ; melancholy in the tone 
of his mind, but full of fun and playfulness in his corre- 
spondence; wretched to an extraordinary degree, he vet 
made the whole nation merry with lib John Gilpin aud 
other humorous writings ; despairing even of God's mercy 
and of salvation, bis religious poetry is of the most cheerful 
and even triumphantly glad kind ; 

11 HU soul exult*, hope ani mates hi* lays. 
The ieo&e of mercy kindles into pralie," 

v o w p e r. 443 

Filled with this joyous assurance, wherever he turns his* 
eye on the magnificent spectacle of creation, he finds themes 
of noblest gratulation. He looks into the heavens, and 
exclaims : 

"Tell me, ye shining heat, 

That navigate a tea that knows no storm, 

Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud, 

If from your elevation, whence ye view 

Distinctly scenes invisible to man, 

And systems, of whose birth no tidings yet 

Have reached this nether world, ye spy a race 

Favored at ours, transgressors from the. womb, 

And hastening to a grave, yet doomed to rise, 

And to possess a brighter heaven than yours T 
' As one who, long detained on foreign shores, 
* Pants to return, and when he sees afar 

His country's weather-bleached and battered rocks 

From the green wave emerging, darts an eye 

Radiant with joy toward the happy land ; 

So I with animated hopes behold, 

And many an aching wish, your beamy fires, 

That show like beacons in the blue abyss, 
. Ordained to guide the embodied spirit home 

From toilsome life to never-ending rest. 

Love kindles as I gaze. I feel desires, 

That' give assurance of their own success, - 

And that, infused from heaven, most thither tend. 

The Task, Book v. 

Snch is the buoyant and cordial tone of C owner's poetry ; 
how unlike that iron deadness that dared not and could not 
soften into prayer, which so often and so long oppressed 
him. Nay, it is not for himself that he rejoices only, but 
he feels in his glowing heart the gladness and the coming 
glory of the whole universe. 

" All creatures worship man, and all mankind 

One Lord, one Father. Error hat no place ; 

That creeping pestilence is driven away ; 

The breath of Heaven has chased it In the heart 

No passion touches a discordant string, 

Bat all is harmony and love. Disease , 

444. cuwru. 

Is not, the pnre end i 

Holds in dne coarse, nor man the fan* of agsv 

One song employs all natkanvand all cry, 

'Worthy the LamWfcriiewataUhifcr oaf* 

The dwellers in die vales 1 

Shoot to each other, and 1 

From 4 


Enrol roDa the rapturous 1 

Behold the means* of the j 

See Salem baO^ the labor of n God I 

Bright asa ann the sacred dry ebjneet 

All kingdom*, and all prince* of the earth 

Flock to that Htfit; the glory of all bmd* 

flows into her ; unbounded » her joy t 

And endleae her inoreate. llr/ rams are 

Nebeioth, and the flock* ofKedar there t 

Praise kin all her gate*: upon her walla, 

And in her street*, and in her apacions courts, ^ 

Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there 

Kneels with the native of the mrthest West ; 

And Ethiopia spreads abroad the hand, 

And worship*. Her report has traveled forth 

Into all land*. From every clime they come 

To see thy beauty, and to share thy joy, 

O 8km ! an assembly such as earth 

Saw never, such as Heaven stoops down to see. - 
Thus heavenward all things tend. For all were om 

Perfect, and all must be at length restored. 

80 God ha* greatly purposed."— The Task, Book vi. 
Such was the lofty and all-embracing spirit of that 1 
whom hard dogmatists could yet terrify and chill into ufr 
terest woe. Shrinking from the world, he yet dared to lash 
this world from which he shrunk, with the force of a giant, 
and the justice of more than an Aristides. Of the Church, 
he yet satirized severely its errors, and the follies of its 
ministers; in political opinion he was free and indignant 
against oppression. The negro warmed liis blood into a 
sympathy that produced the most effective strains on hk 
behalf— the worm beneath his feet shared in his tenderness. 
Thus he walked through life, shunning its tumults and its 

oowper. 445 

highways, one of its mightiest laborers. In his poetry there 
was found no fear, no complaining; often thoroughly in- 
sane, nothing can surpass the sound mind of his composi- 
tions ; haunted by delusions even to the attempt at suicide, 
there is no delusion in his page. All there is bright, clear, 
and consistent. Like his Divine Master, he may truly be 
said to hare been bruised for our Bakes. As a man, nerv- 
ous terrors could vanquish him, and unfit him for active 
life ; but as a poet, he rose above all nerves, all terrors, into 
the noblest heroism, and fitted and will continue to fit oth- 
ers for life, so long as just and vigorous thought, the most 
beautiful piety, and the truest human sympathies command 
the homage of mankind. There is no writer who surpass- 
es Cowper as a moral and religious poet. Full of power 
and feeling, he often equals in solemn dignity Milton him- 
self. He is as impressive as Young without his epigram- 
matic smartness ; he is as fervently Christian as Montgom- 
ery, and in intense love of nature there is not one of our 
august band of illustrious writers who surpasses him. He 
shows the secret of his deep and untiring attachment to 
nature in the love of Him who made it. 

" He is the freeman whom the troth makes free, 

And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain 

ThatheHish foes, confederate for his harm, 

Can wind around him, bat he casts it off 

With as much ease as Samson his green withes. 

He looks abroad into the varied field 

Of Nature, and though poor, perhaps, compared 

With those whose mansions glitter in his sight, 

Calls the delightful scenery all his own. 

His are the mountains, and the valleys his, 

And the resplendent rivers. His to enjoy 

With a propriety that none can feel, 

But who with filial confidence inspired 

Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye, 

And smiling say, * My Father made them all !' 

Are they not his by a peculiar right, 

And by an emphasis of interest his, 

Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy, 

446 cowpii 

Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind 
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied lore 
That planned, and built, and still upholds a worM 
Bo clothed with beauty, for rebellious manT 
Yes, ye may fill your garners, ye that reap 
The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good 
In senseless riot; but ye will not find 
In feast, or in the chase, in song or dance, 
A liberty like his, who, unimpeached 
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong, 
Appropriates nature as his Father's work. 
And has a richer use of yours than ye. 
He is indeed a freeman: free by birth 
Of no mean city, planned or ere the mils 
Were built, the fountains opened, or the aea 
With all his roaring multitude of waves." 

The Task, Book ▼. 

The writings of Cowper testify every where to that grand 
sermon which is eternally preached in the open air; to that 
Gospel of the field and the forest, which, like the Gospel 
of Christ, is the voice of that love which overflows the uni- 
verse ; which puts down all sectarian bitterness in him who 
listens to it; which, being perfect, "casts out all fear," 
against which the gloom of bigots and the terrors of fanat- 
ics can not stand. It was this which healed his wounded 
spirit beneath the boughs of Yardley Chase, and came fan- 
ning his temples with a soothing freshness in the dells of 
Weston. When we follow his footsteps there, we some- 
what wonder that scenes so unambitious could so enrapture 
him ; but the glory came from within, and out of the ma- 
terials of an ordinary walk he could raise a brilliant super- 
structure for eternity. 

"William Cowper was born in the parsonage of Great 
Berkhampstead. The Birmingham railway whirls you no* 
past the spot ; or you may, if you please, alight, and survey 
that house, hallowed by the love of a mother such as he hat 
described, and by the record of it in those inimitable veraes 
of the son on receiving her picture. 

cowpei. 447 

" Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, 
Children not thine have trod my nursery floor; 
And where the gardener Robin, day by day, 
Drew me to school along the public way, 
Delighted with my bawble coach, and wrapped 
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capped. 
'Tit now become a history little known, 
That once we called the pastoral house oar own." 

Cowper was at school at Market-street, Hertfordshire, 
then at Westminster ; after which he was articled for three 
years to Mr. Chapman, a solicitor. After quitting Mr. 
Chapman, he entered the Inner Temple as a regular law 
student, where his associates were Thurlow, afterward the 
well-known lord-chancellor, Bonnel Thornton, and Col- 
man. Cowper's family was well connected, both on the 
father's and mother's side, and he had every prospect of 
advancement ; but this the sensitiveness o£ his nature pre- 
vented. Being successively appointed to the offices of 
reading clerk, clerk o£ the private committees in the 
House of Lords, and clerk of the Journals, he was so over- 
whelmed by being unexpectedly called on to discharge his 
duty publicly before the House, that it, unsettled his mind, 
Iris prospects of a wordly nature were forever over, and in 
a state of the most settled melancholy he was committed to 
the care of Dr. Cotton, of St. Alban's. In the summer of 
1765 he quitted St. Alban's, and retired to private lodgings 
in the town of Huntingdon. There he was, as by a direct 
act of Providence, led to the acquaintance of the family of 
the Rev. Mr. Unwin, one of the clergymen of the place. 
Cowper had attended his church, and his interesting ap- 
pearance having attracted the attention of his son William 
Cawthorne Unwin, he followed him in his solitary walk, 
and introduced himself to him. This simple fact decided, 
as by the very finger of Heaven, the whole destiny of the 
poet, and probably secured him as a poet to the world. 
With this family he entered into the most affectionate inti- 
macy. They were people after his own heart, pious, intel- 

Qowru. 449 

the other part in front is an infant school, and the back part 
is a workshop of some k id d. The house is altogether din- 
gy and desolate, and bears no marks of having at any time 
been finished in any superior style- That which was once 
the garden is now divided into a back yard and a small 
garden surrounded by a high stone wall They show an 
apple-tree in it which they say Cowper planted, The oth- 
er and main portion of the garden is cut off by the stone 
wall, and the access to it is from a distant part of the town. 
This garden is now in the possession of Mr. Morris, a mas- 
ter bootmaker, who, with a genuine feeling of respect for 
the poet's memory, not only retains it as much as possible 
in the state in which it was in Cowper's time, but has the 
most good-natured pleasure in allowing strangers to see it. 
The moment I presented myself at his door, he came out, 
anticipating my object, with the key, and proffered his own 
guidance. In the garden, about the center, still stands 
Cowper's summer-house. It is a little square tenement, as 
Cowper describes it himself in one of his letters, not much 
bigger than a sedan chair. It is of timber, framed, and 
plastered, and the roof of old red tiles* It has a wooden 
door on the side next to his own house, and a glass one, 
serving as window, exactly opposite, and looking across 
the next orchard to the parsonage* There is a bench on 
each side, and the ceiling is so low that a man of moder- 
ate stature can not stand upright in it. Except in hot 
weather, it must have been a regular wind-trap. It is all 
over, of course, written with verses, and inscribed with 
names. Around it stand evergreens, and in the garden re- 
main various old fruit-trees, which were there in Cowper's 
time, and some of them, no doubt, planted by him. The 
back of some low cottages, with their windows level with 
the very earth, forms part of the boundary wall, and the 
orchard in front of the summer-house remains as in Cow- 
per's time. It will be recollected that, in order to save 
himself the trouble of going round through the town, Cow- 


C O W P E B, 


per Had a gate put out into this orchard, and another into 
the orchard of the Rectory, in which lived his fri. 
Newton. He paid a pound a year for thus crossing his 
neighbor's orchard, but had, by this means, not only a very 
near cut to the parsonage opened to him, but a whole quiet 
territory of orchards. This still remains, A considerable 
extent of orchards, bounded, for the most part, by the backs 
of the town houses, presents a little quiet region in which 
the poet could ramble and muse at his own pleasure. The 
parsonage, a plain, modern, and not large building, is not 
very distant from the front of the summer-house, and over 
it peeps the church spire. One can not help reflecting how 
often the poet and his friends used to go to and fro there. 
Newton, with his genuine friendship for Cowper, but with 
his severe and predestinarian religion, which to Cowper's 
grieving spirit was terrifying and prostrating ; then, a hap- 
py change, the lively, and affectionate, and witty Lady 
Austen, to whom we owe John Gilpin and the Task. Too 
lively, indeed, was this lady, ch arming as she was, far the 
nerves and the occupations of the poeL She went, and 
then came that delightful and true-sou led cousin, Lady 
Hesketh, a sister, as Mary Unwin was a mother to die 
poet. She had lived much abroad, from the days in which 
Cowper and herself, merry companions, had laughed and 
loved each other dearly as cousins. The fame of bira wkoea 
she had gone away deploring as blighted and lost forever, 
met her on her return to her native land, a widow ; and 
with a heart and a purse equally open, she hastened to re- 
new the intercourse of her youth, and to make the poet's 
life as happy as such he aits only could make him. There 
is nothing more delightful than to see bow the bursting- 
forth fame of Cowper brought around him at once all his 
oldest and best friends — his kith and kin who had deemed 
him a wreck, and found him a gallant bark, sailing on the 
brightest sea of glory to a sacred im mortality. 

Lady Hesketh, active in her kindness as she was bean- 


liful in person and in spirit, a true sisterly soul, lost no time 
in removing Cowper to a more suitable bouse and neigh- 
borhood, Of the house we have spoken* The sit nation 
of Olney is on the flat, near the River Quae, and subject to 
its fogs. The town was dull. It is much now as it was 
then ; one of those places that are the links between towns 
and villages. Its present population is only 2300, In such 
a place, therefore* every man knew all his neighbors* con* 
cerns. It was too exposed a sort of place for a man of 
Cowper "s shy disposition, and yet bad none of that bustle 
which gives a stimulus to get out of it into the country. 
Removing from it to the country was but passing from 
stillness to stillness. The country around Olney, more- 
over, is by no means striking in its features* It is like a 
thousand other parts of England, somewhat fiat, yet some- 
what undulating, and rather naked of trees. Weston, to 
which he now removed, was about a mile westward of Ol- 
ney. It lies on higher ground, overlooking the valley of 
the Ouse. It is a small village, consisting of a few detached 
houses on each side of the road. The hall stood at this 
end, and the neat little church at the other. Trees grew 
along the street, and Cowper pronounced it one of the pret- 
tiest villages of England, Luckily, he bad neither seen all 
the villages of England, nor the finest scenery of this or 
ether countries. To him, therefore, the country was all 
that he imagined of lovely, and all that he desired. It nev- 
er tired, it never lost its hold upon his fancy and his heart. 
41 Scenes must be beautiful, which, dayly viewed, 
Please dayly, and where novelty survives 
Long knowledge, and the scrutiny of years. 
Praise justly due to those that I describe." 

This he said of this scenery around Weston j and in set- 
ting out for that village from Olney, we take the track 
which, even before he went to live there, was his dayly and 
peculiarly favorite walk. Advancing out of Olney -street, 
we are at once on an open ascent on the highway. At a 

408 «***»* 

aria's distance baton us he 

little church tower overlooking the TaBey cfdieOqsjfc B»r 
hind n* lit* Olney, its tall church qpir* xbiag nris^la* 
the sky; aiidckM6b0DeithiC %«q^iBloi 
•weeping round the water-mOla which, fignievi* die ] 
workvand then goes. in sere&. different streams, aslai 
says, lazily, along a fine stretch of gr sea me a dow s , in whisk, 
die scenes of" The Dog and Water-lily," and M The Pop- 
lar Field" occur. On this eminence stood Cowper oftam, 
with Mary Unwin on his arm* and thus he addresses kit} 
as he describes most yiyidly die jriow : 

" And witness, dear co mpai Am-ofrmy walks* 

' Whose an tins twentieth winter 1 peroefoe ' 


Confirmed by long oiporionoo of thy worth 

And well-tried virtues could alone inspire 

Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long. 

Thou knowest my praise of nature moat sincere, 

And that my raptures are not conjured up 

To senre occasions of poetic pomp, 

Bat genuine, and art partner of mem alL 

How oft upon yon eminence our pace 

Has slackened to a pause, and we hare borne 

The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew 

While admiration, feeding at the eye, 

And still unsated dwelt upon the scene. 

Thence with what pleasure we hare just discerned 

The distant plow slow moving, and beside 

His laboring team, that swerved not from the track, 

The sturdy swain diminished to a boy ; 

Here Ouae slow winding through a level plain 

Of spacious mead, with cattle sprinkled o'er, 

Conducts the eye along his sinuous course 

Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank, 

Stand, ne'er overlooked,' our favorite elms, 

That screen the herdsman's solitary hut; 

While far beyond, and overthwart the stream, 

That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale, 

The sloping land recedes into the clouds; 

Displaying on its varied aide the grace 

Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower, 

cawPBE, 45S 

Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful beHs 
Just nndnUtes upon the listening ear, 
Groves, heath*, and smoking villages remote." 

We should not omit to notice that behind us, over Olney, 
•hows itself die church tower and hall of Clifton, the at- 
tempt to walk to which forms the subject of Cowper's very 
humorous poem, The Distressed Travelers. Before us, as 
we advance— the Ouse meadows below on our left, and 
plain, naked farm-lands on our right— the park of Weston 
displays its lawns, and slopes, and fine masses of trees. It 
will be recollected by aH lovers of Cowper that here lived 
Sir John and Lady Throckmorton, Cowper's kind and 
cordial friends, who, even before they knew him, threw 
open their park and all their domains to him ; and who* 
when they did know kirn, did all that generous people of 
wealth and intelligence could do to contribute to his hap- 
piness. The village and estate here wholly belonged to 
them, and the hall was a second home to Cowper, always 
open -to him with a warm welcome, and an easy, unassum- 
ing spirit of genuine friendship, Lady Throckmorton her- 
self voluntarily becoming the transcriber of his Homer 
when his young friend Rose left him. In the whole of 
our literature there is no more beautiful instance of the in- 
tercourse of the literary man and his wealthy neighbors 
than that of Cowper and the Throckmortons. Their re- 
ward was the pleasure they conferred ; and still more, the 
fame they have thus won. 

The Throckmortons having other and extensive estates, 
the successors of Cowper's friends have deserted this. The 
house is pulled down, a wall is built across the bottom of 
the court-yard, which cuts off from view what was the gar- 
den. Grass grows thickly in the court, die entrance to 
which is still marked by the pillars of a gateway bearing 
vases. Across the court are erected a priest's house and 
Catholic chapel — the Throckmortons were and are Cath- 
olic — and beyond these still stand the stables, coach-house, 

454 cowpil 

&&, bearing a clock-tower, and showing that this was once 
a gentleman's residence. -At the end of the old thatched 
out-building you see the word school painted ; it is the vil- 
lage school, Catholic, of course, as are all, or nearly all, the 
inhabitants. A pair of gateway pillars* like those which 
led to the house, mark the entrance to the village a little 
beyond the house. On die opposite side of the road to the 
house is the park, and directly opposite to the house, be- 
ing taken out of the park, is the woodland wilderness in 
which Cowper so much delighted to ramble. 

The village of Weston is a pretty village. The house 
of Cowper, Weston Lodge, stands on the right hand, about 
the center of it, forming a picturesque old orchard. The 
trees, which m his time stood in the street opposite, how- 
ever, have been felled. A few doors on. this side of the 
lodge is a public house, with the Yardley Oak upon its sign, 
and bearing the name of Cowper's Oak. The lodge, now 
inhabited by Mr. Swanwell, the steward, who very courts* 
ously allows the public to see it, is a good and pleasant, 
but not large house. It is well known by engravings. 
The vignette at the head of this article represents the tree 
opposite as still standing, which is not the fact, and the 
house wants shrubbery round it, by which its present as- 
pect is much improved. The room on the right hand was 
Cowper's study. In his bed-room, which is at the back of 
the house overlooking the garden, there still remain two 
lines which he wrote when about to leave Weston for Nor- 
folk, where he died. As his farewell to this place, the 
happiest of his life, when his own health, and that of his 
dear and venerable friend, Mrs. Unwin, were both failing, 
and gloomy feelings haunted him, these lines possess a 
deep interest. They are written on the bevel of a panel 
of one of the window-shutters, near the top right-hand cor- 
ner, and when the shutter has been repainted, this part 
has been carefully excepted. 

cowfii. 455 

" Farewell, dear scenes, forever closed to me ! 
Oh for what sorrow most I now exchange you ? 
July 22. 
— — even here 2d > 1795 
July 22 J 1795." 

The words and dates stand just as here given, and mark 
his recurrence to these lines, and his restless state of mind, 
repeating the date of both month and year. 

From this room Cowper used to have a view of his fa- 
vorite shrubbery, and beyond it, up the hill, pleasant crofts. 
The shrubbery was generally admired, being a delightful 
little labyrinth, composed of flowering shrubs, with gravel 
walks, and seats placed at appropriate distances. He gave 
a humorous account to Hayley of the erection of one of 
these arbors : " I said to Sam, ' Sam, build me a shed in 
the garden with' any thing you can find, and make it rude 
and rough, like one of those at Earth am.' ' Yes, sir,' says 
feam; and straightway laying bis own noddle and the car- 
penter's together, has built me a thing fit for Stowe Gar- 
dens. Is not this vexatious? I threaten to inscribe it thus: 

Beware of building ! I intended 

Bough logs and thatch, and thus it ended." 

All this garden has now been altered. A yard has been 
made behind, with out-buildings, and the garden cut off with 
a brick wall. 

Not far from this house a narrow lane turns up, inclosed 
en one side by the park wall. Through this old stone wall, 
now well crowned with masses of ivy, there used to be a 
door, of which Cowper had a key, which let him at once 
into the wilderness. In this wilderness, which is a wood 
grown full of underwood, through .which walks are cut 
winding in all directions, you come upon what is called the 
Temple. This is an open Gothic- alcove, having in front an 
open space, scattered with some trees, among them a fine 
old acacia, and closed in by the thick wood. Here Cow- 
per used to sit much, delighted with the perfect and deep 

466 cowpir. 

seclusion. The temple is now fast falling to decay. 
Through a short winding walk to the left you come oat to 
the park, which is separated from the wilderness by a sank 
fence. A broad grass walk runs along the head of this 
fosse, between it and the wilderness, and here you find the 
two urns under the trees, which mark the grave of two 
favorite dogs of the Throckmortons', for which Cowper con- 
descended to write epitaphs, which still remain, and may 
be found in his poems. There is also a figure of a lion, 
couchant, on a pedestal, bearing this inscription : " Mortoo 
Leone etiam Lepores insultant, 1815." 

From this point also runs out the fine lime avenue, of at 
least a quarter of a mile long, terminated by the alcofe. 
Every scene, and every spot of ground which presents it- 
self here, is to be found in Cowper's poetry, particularly in 
the first book of his Task — The Sofa. The Sofa was but a 
hook to hang his theme upon ; his real theme is his walk 
all through this park and its neighborhood, particularly this 
fine avenue, closing its boughs above with all the solemn 
and inspiring grace of a Gothic cathedral aisle. To the 
right the park descends in a verdant slope, scattered with 
noble trees. There, in the valley, near the road to Olney, 
is the Spinny, with its rustic moss-house, haunted by Cow- 
per, and where he wrote those verses, full of the deepest, 
saddest melancholy which ever oppressed a guiltless heart, 

" Oh, happy shade*, to me unblest ! 
Friendly to peace, but not to me ! 
How ill the scene that offers rest, 
And heart, that can not rest, agree." 

There, too, in the valley, but where it has freed itself from 
the wood, is the Rustic Bridge, equally celebrated by him ; 
and beyond it, in the fields, the Peasant's Nest, now grown 
from a laborer's cottage, shrouded in trees, to a consider- 
able farm-house, with its ricks and buildings, conspicuous 
on an open eminence. Still beyond are the woods of 

cowpBi, 457 

Yardley Chase, including those of Kilwick and Dinglebury, 
well known to the readers of Cowper ; and this old chase 
stretches away for four or five miles toward Castle Ashby. 
In traversing the park to reach the woods and Yardley 
Oak, we come into a genuinely agricultural region, where 
a sort of peopled solitude is enjoyed. Swelling, rounded 
eminences, with little valleys winding between them ; here 
and there a farm-house of the most rustic description ; the 
plow and its whistling follower turning up the ruddy soil ; 
and the park, displaying from its hills and dells its contrast 
of nobly umbrageous trees, showed where Cowper had 
often delighted himself, and whence he had drawn much 
of his imagery : 

•' Now roves the eye : 
And posted on this speculative height 
Exults in its command. The sheepfold here 
Poors out its fleecy tenants o'er the glebe. 
At first, progressive as a stream, they seek 
The middle field ; bat scattered by degrees, 
Each to his choice, soon whitens all the land. 
There from the sunburn'd hay-field homeward creeps 
The loaded wain ; while, lightened of its charge, 
The wain that meets it passes swiftly by; 
The boorish driver leaning o'er his team, 
- Vociferous, and impatient of delay. 
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene, 
Diversified with trees of every growth, 
Alike, yet various. How the gray, smooth trunks 
Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine " . 
Within the twilight of their distant shades : 
There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood 
Seems sunk, and shortened to its topmost boughs." 

The Task, Book i. 

At this point of view you find the poet's praises of the 
scenery more fully justified than any where else. The 
park here has a solemn, solitary, splendidly wooded air, 
and spreads its green slopes, and gives hints of its secluded 
dells, that are piquant to the imagination. And still the 
walk, of a mile or more, to the ancient chase, is equally im- 

Voi,. I.-U 

458 cowpei. 

pressure. The vast extent of the forest which stretches 
before you gives a deep feeling. of silence and ancient re- 
pose. You descend into a valley, and Kilwick's echoing 
wood spreads itself before you on the upland. You pass 
through it, and come out opposite to a lonely farm-house, 
where, in the opening of the forest, you see the remains of 
very ancient oaks standing here and there. You feel that 
you are on a spot that has maintained its connection with 
the world of a thousand years ago ; and amid these vener- 
able trees, you soon see the one which by its bulk, its hol- 
low trunk, and its lopped and dilapidated crown, needs 
not to be pointed out as the Yardlet Oak. . Here Cowper 
was fond of coming, and sitting within the hollow boll for 
hours; around him stretching the old woods, with their 
solitude and the cries of woodland birds. The fame which 
he has conferred on this tree has nearly proved its destruc- 
tion. Whole arms and great pieces of its trunk have been 
cut away with knife, and ax, and saw, to prepare different 
articles from. The Marquis of Northampton, to whom the 
chase belongs, has bad multitudes of nails driven in to stop 
the progress of this destruction, but finding that not suf- 
ficient, has affixed a board bearing this inscription : " Out 
of respect to the memoryof the poet Cowper, the Marquis 
of Northampton is particularly desirous of preserving this 
oak. Notice is hereby given, that any person defacing, or 
otherwise injuring it, will be prosecuted according to law." 
In stepping round the Yardley Oak, it appeared to me to be, 
at the foot, about thirteen yards in circumference. 

Every step here shows you some picture sketched by 
Cowper : 

" I see a column of slow rising smoke 

O'ertop the lofty wood that skirts the wild. 

A vagabond and useless tribe there eat 

Their miserable meal. A kettle slung 

Between two poles upon a stick transverse, 

Receives the morsel — flesh obscene of dog, 

Or vermin, or at best of cock purloined 

C O W P £ ft. 

From bis accustomed perch, H aid -faring race ! 
They pick their fuel out of every hedge, 
Which kindled with dry leaves jnst eaves mi queue bed 
The spark of life* The sportive wind blows wide 
Their fluttering rags, and shows a tawny skin, 
The vellum of the pedigree they claim*" 

We are now upon 

'* The grassy award, close cropped by nibbling sheep, 
A iid skirled thick with intermix tore firm 
Of thorny boughs/ 1 

The old wild chase opens its glades, discovers its heaths, 
startles us with its abrupt cries of birds, or plunges us into 
the gloom of thick, overshadowing oaks* It is a fit haunt 
of the poet. Such are the haunts of Cowper in this neigh* 
borhood. Amid these he led a secluded, hut an active and 
most important life. How many of those who bustle along 
in the front of public life can boast of a ten -thousandth part 
of the benefit to their fellow- men which was conferred, 
and for ages will be conferred , by the loiterer of these 
woods and fields ? In no man was bis own doctrine ever 
made more manifest, that 

u God gives to every man 
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste, 
That lift* him into life, and lets him fall 
Just in the niche he was ordained to fiU." 

He says of himself, 

14 I was a stricken deer, that left the herd 
Long since. With many an arrow deep infixed 
My panting aide was charged, when I withdrew 
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades. 
There was I joined by one who had himself 
Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore, 
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars. 
With gentle force soliciting the darts, 
He drew them forth, and healed, and bade me live. 
Since then, with few associates, in remote 
And silent woods 1 wander, far from those 
My former partners of the peopled scene, 
With few associates, and not wishing more," 

460 cowpii. 

Tims lis began; oat soothed djAb sweet frmsmsss of ne> 
tare, strengthened bj ber pesos, enfigfataifd to the pkdi of 
true wisdom by her daily convene, spite of all Us grids 
sad mars, be ended by describing mmseMt in oae of me no- 
blest pannage* of modern poetry* as the nappy man. 

» He is the happy *™ whose life e'en now 
Show* aoanewhat of that happier life to com ; 

It plowed with it; and, win he free to choose, 
Would make fab fete fail choice ; w 
Of vntDe, end. whom YBiteo, fires of bmUj, 
Prepare fcr he|iuiaiee; In ■inieh heee ce 

Below the skies, bet baring there bill 
- The world o'erlooks fabm hi her busy i 

Of objects, more fflnstrious in her view; 

And, occupied as earnestly a* the, ' 

Though more sublimely, he o'erlooks the world. 

She acorns his pleasures, for she knows them not; 

He seeks not hers, far he has peered them rain. 

He can not skim the grotmd like smnmer bods 

Panning golden flies; end each he deems 

Her honors, her emoluments, her joys* 

Therefore in contemplation is his bliss, * 

Whose power is such, met whom she Hfts from earth 

She makes nuniliar with e heaven unseen, 

And shows him glories yet to be revealed. 

Not slothful he, though seeming unemployed. 

And censured oft as useless. Silent streams . 

Oft water fairest meadows, and the bird 

That flutters least is longest on the wing." 

The Task, Book vi. 
Quitting these scenes in quest of health, both the poet 
and his dear friend Mary Unwin died at Dereham, in Suf- 
folk, she in 1796, and he in 1800. " They were lorcly in 
their lives, and in death they are not divided." 


Perhaps do writer of merit has been more neglected by 
her own friends than Mrs. Tighe. With every means of 
giving to the public a good memoir of her, I believe no 
such is ia existence ; at all events, I have not been able to 
find one. The following brief particulars have been fur- 
nished by a private hand : " Mrs. Tighe was born in Dub- 
lin in 1774. Her father, the Rev. Wm. Blachford, was 
librarian of Marsh's library, St. Sepulchre, in that city. 
Her mother, Theodosia Tighe, was one of a family whose 
seat has been, and is, Rosanna, county Wicklow. In 1793, 
Miss Blachford, then but nineteen, married her cousin, 
Henry Tighe, of Woodstock, M.P. for Kilkenny in the 
Irish Parliament, and author of a County History of Kil- 
kenny. Consumption was hereditary in Mrs. Tighe's fam- 
ily, and its fatal seeds ripened with her womanhood. She 
was constantly afflicted with its attendants, languor, de- 
pression, and want of appetite. With the profits of Psyche, 
which ran through four editions previous to her death, she 
built an addition to the Orphan Asylum in Wicklow, thence 
called the Psyche Ward. She died on the 24th of March, 
1810, and was buried at Woodstock, in Kilkenny; beneath 
a monument chiseled by Flaxman from the finest marble 
of Italy. Mrs. Hemans, Banim, and Moore have done 
homage to her genius, or lamented over its eclipse. North, 
in the Noctes AmbrosiansB, with the assistance of Mr. Tim- 
othy Tickler, has paid her a very high compliment. But 
her abilities, her beauty, and her virtue have not, as yet, 
been adequately pictured in any biographical notice of her 
that I have seen. The 1813 edition of Psyche contains 
some affecting allusions to her, in the preface written by 
her husband, who soon after followed her to die grave." 

468 Mil. TlOHl 

How little is known of Mrs. Tighe, when so short an to* 
count is the best that a countryman of hers can furnish! 
and even b that there are serious errors. So far from her 
monument being of the finest marble of Italy , it is of a stone 
not finer than Portland stone, if so fine. So far from hat 
husband soon following her to die grave, Mrs. Tighe died 
in 1810, and her husband was living at the time of Mrs 
Hemans's visit to Woodstock in 1831; He must have sur- 
vived "her above twenty years. In Mia Hemans's own ac- 
count of her visit to Woodstock, she speaks of it as~the 
place where " Mrs. Tighe passed the latest years of her 
life, and near where she is buried ;" yet in the 'same vol- 
ume with Psyche (1811. edition, p. 306) there is a " Sonnet, 
written at Woodstock, in the county of Kilkenny, the seat 
of William Tighe, June 30, 1809," i. e., but nine months 
before her death. For myself, I confess myself ignorant 
of the facts which might connect these strangely-clashing 
accounts of a popular poetess, of a wealthy family, and who 
died little more than thirty years ago. I hoped to gain the 
necessary information on the spot, which I made' a long 
journey to visit purposely. Why I did not, remains to telL 

The poem of Psyche was one which charmed me in- 
tensely at an early age. There was a tone of deep and 
tender feeling pervading it, which touched the youthful 
heart, and took possession of every sensibility. There was 
a tone of melancholy music in it, which seemed the regret- 
ful expression of the consciousness of a not far-off death. 
It was now well known that the young and beautiful poet- 
ess was dead. The life which she lived— crowned with 
every good and grace that God confers on the bright ones 
of the earth, on those who are to be living revelations of 
the heaven to which we are called, and to which they are 
hastening, youth, beauty, fortune, all glorified by the ema- 
nations of a transcendent mind, was snatched away, and 
there was a sad fascination thrown over both her fate and 
her work. The delicacy, the pathos, the subdued and pu- 

MBB. TIQUH. 468 

rified, yet intense passion of the poem, were all calculated 
to seize on the kindred spirit of youth, and to make you in 
love with the writer. She came before the imagination in 
the combined witchery of brilliant genius and the pure 
loveliness of a seraph,, which had but touched upon the 
earth on some celestial mission, and was gone forever. 
Her own Psyche, in the depth of her saddest hour, yearn- 
ing for the restoration of the lost heaven and the lost heart, 
was not more tenderly beautiful to the imagination than 

Such was the effect of the Psyche on the glowing, sensi- 
tive, yet immature mind. How much of this effect has, in 
many cases, been the result of the quick feelings and mag- 
nifying fancy of youth itself! We have returned to our 
idol in later years, and found it clay. But this is not the 
case with Psyche. After the lapse of many years, after 
the disenchanting effects of experience, after the enjoyment 
of a vast quantity of new poetry of a splendor and power 
such as no one age of the world ever before witnessed, we 
return to the poem of Mrs. Tighe, and still find it full of 
beauty. There is a graceful fluency of diction, a rich and 
deep harmony, that are the fitting vehicle of a story full of 
interest, and scenery full of enchantment. Spite of the in- 
congruity of ingrafting on a Grecian fable the knight-er- 
rantry of the Middle Ages, and the allegory of still later 
days, we follow the deeply-tried Psyche through all her 
ordeals with unabating zest. The radiant Island of Pleas- 
ure, the more radiant Divinity of Love, the fatal curiosity, 
the weeping and outcast Psyche wandering on through the 
forests and wildernesses of her earthly penance, the mys- 
terious knight, the intrepid squire of the starry brow, are 
all sketched with the genuine pencil of poetry, and we fol- 
low the fortunes of the wanderers with ever-deepening en- 
trancement. None but Spenser himself has excelled Mrs. 
Tighe in the field of allegory. Passion in the form of the 
lion subdued by the knight; Psyche betrayed by Vanity 


; the Bower of Loose 

tif Slender; the Cattle of Suspicion ; the Court 

; tse 4rcer lsfend of Indifference; and die fioal 

of the gentle soul — oil are vigor- 

with a living distinctness. 

e peiaoed her task is exproav 

tanzas of the fifth canto. 


Ofe maii. Sb* sw bat kad proportiaDed powen, 
JLai |T"» : 

> thrmch the sky. 
* H:gK 1 "in* j^r^T-^aasu «oeor* recall ! 
3r*Kir ** -sjt* mn»at ra-^aii of raznnrr ere. 
TV? ^»» ^lici i.*i£ st «si at wv?r»g tfaraJX 
.Vai BfaFv *imnm** oars deceive. 

Jhai AXMr *rant >e ^rabai wink tae «raia; 
3*tf xyc-,* I *n* :ae Jtnr ttrmi» a> mneare. 
'•"iwi {(cck .-vnoanni swk» » Srsftlea* pain, 
at *1 s«? mnr vrn* it- vaB*ae«i &vm bt brain. 
-?wa£ irwaswr setLsoe aw si* was ! 

JfcrV^nm? XL*? MK^BBabovB: 
TSr «T9rsr wokti ^Msn ar anSbafe. proioar : 

Wjfcc ]m«i :c ,*ttacm a? BaaaarBfit bat thy own. 
TVnaca st irwtjt ?*«cft* *&£* » tte tLone. 
$&**•! r y*Ki£ 3M su tmau ifaoc fame ; 
.laii w^n. «k«w%£ ivm :»rnn^. daxi ha 
T> s« iear «rac Vsars. * cB&Tamf f 
i s«t 2aai{au save her am?c*r tocbit < 

Mv-vnr sb* , ^ , wwc i» aisifmioo of Psyche in a lyric, 
je wttodi =kw* «ttr» ire act d* least expressire : 

* r»«t tw s* wndkcatf sir amis. 
Foe ar««r W st heart or ear 
do|«»(«t«C ** pare a icraca. 
3* pur* v wet ** *mc *» star. 


" Say, Love I in all thy spring of fame, 
When the high Heaven itself was thine. 
When piety confessed the flame, 
And even thy errors were divine ! 
" Did ever muse's hand so fair 

A glory round thy temple spread ? 
Did ever life's ambrosial air 
Such perfume o'er thine altars shed ?" 

Mrs. Hemans had always been much struck with the poe- 
try of Mrs. Tighe. She imagined a similarity between the 
destiny of this pensive poetess and her own. She had her 
in her imagination when she wrote The Grave of a Poet- 
ess; and the concluding stanzas are particularly descrip- 
tive of Mrs. Tighe's spirit. 

" Thou hast left sorrow in thy song. 

A voice not loud, but deep ! 
The glorious bowers of earth among, 

How often didst thou weep ! 
" Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground. 

Thy tender thoughts and high ? 
Now peace the woman's heart hath found, 

And joy the poet's eye !" 
It was certainly among earth's glorious bowers that Mrs. 
Tighe passed her days. Rosanna, in Wicklow, is said to 
have been her principal residence after her marriage. The 
whole country round is extremely beautiful, and calculated 
to call forth the poetic faculty where it exists. All the 
way from Dublin to Rosanna is through a rich and lovely 
district. As you approach Rosanna the hills become high- 
er, and your. way ties through the- most beautifully wooded 
valleys. At the inn at Ashford Bridge you have the cele- 
brated Devil's Glen on one band, and Rosanna on the other. 
This glen lies a mile or more from the inn, and is about a 
mile and a half through. It is narrow, the hills on either 
hand are lofty, bold, craggy, and finely wooded ; and along 
the bottom runs, deep and dark over its rocky bed, the 
River Vartree. This river runs down* and crosses the road 
near the inny and then takes its way by Rosanna. Rosanna 

T 2 

406 M E8. TIOHt 

is perhaps a mile down die valley from the ion. The bouse 
is a plain old brick boose, fit for a country squire. It lies 
low in the meadow near the river, and around it, on both 
sides of the water, the slopes are dotted with the most beau- 
tiful and luxuriant trees. The park at Rosanna is indeed 
eminently beautiful with its wood. The trees are thickly 
scattered, and a great proportion of them are lime, the soft, 
delicate foliage of which gives a peculiar character to the 
scenery. The highway, for the whole length of the park 
as you proceed toward Rathdrum, is completely arched 
over with magnificent beeches, presenting a fine natural ar- 
cade. On the right the ground ascends for a mile or more, 
covered with rich masses of wood. In met, whichever way 
you turn, toward the distant hill, or pursuing your way 
down the valley, all is one fairy land of beauty and rich- 
ness. It is a region worthy of the author of Psyche, wor- 
thy to inspire her beautiful mind ; and we rejoice that so 
fair, and gentle, and good a spirit had there her lot cast. 
In her poems she addresses one to the Vartree : 

" Sweet are thy banks, O Vartree ! when at morn 
Their velvet verdure glistens with the dew ; 
When fragrant gales, by softest zephyrs borne, 
Unfold the flowers, and ope their petals new. 
" And sweet thy shade, at noon's more fervid hoars, 
When faint we quit the upland gayer lawn, 
To seek the freshness of thy sheltering bowers, 
Thy chestnut glooms, where day can scarcely dawn. 
" Beneath the fragrant lime, or spreading beech, 
The bleating flocks in panting crowds repose ; 
Their voice alone my dark retreat can reach, 
While peace and silence all my soul compose." 

In her sonnets, too, she alludes to her favorite Rosanna, 
and to her "chestnut bower," which, I believe, still re- 
mains. Indeed, Rosanna will always be interesting to the 
lovers of gentle female virtue and pure genius, because here 
Psyche was written ; here the author of Psycho lived, loved, 
and suffered. 

MRS. TI6HE. 467 

Woodstock, where she died, lies, I suppose, forty or fifty 
miles distant, in Kilkenny. It is equally beautiful, though 
in a different style. It lies on a high, round, swelling hill — 
a good modern mansion. You see it afar off as you drive 
over a country' less beautiful than that about Rosanna. 
There is a fine valley, along which the River Nore runs, 
amid splendid masses of wood, two miles in length, and 
meadows of the deepest green ; and beyond swells up the 
steep round hill, covered also with fine timber to the top, 
eight hundred feet in elevation. The whole is bold, ample, 
and impressive. To reach the house you pass through the 
village of Innerstiogue, at the foot of the hill, and then be- 
gin the long and steep ascent. A considerable way up you 
are arrested by smart lodge gates, and there enter a fine and 
well-kept park, in which the neatness of the carriage roads, 
which are daily swept, and the skillfully dispersed masses 
of fine trees, speak of wealth, and a pride in it. On the top 
of the hill stands the house, commanding noble views down 
into the superb vale below, and over a wide extent of 

In traveling between these two estates, a mind like that 
of Mrs. Tigbe would find scenery not inferior to that im- 
mediately lying around both of them. In one direction she 
might traverse the celebrated district of Glendalough, or 
the Vale of the Seven Churches ; in another, she might de- 
scend the Vale of Avoca, and cross some of the finest parts 
of Carlow to Kilkenny. I took this latter route. No part 
of England is more beautiful or more richly cultivated than 
much of this : thick woods, fertile fields, well-to-do villages, 
and gentlemen's houses abounded. From the little town 
of Rathdrum we began to descend rapidly into the Vale 
of Avoca, and passed the Meeting of the Waters just before 
dark. The vale, so far, had a very different character to 
what I expected. I expected it to be a mile or two long, 
or so, soft, flowing, and verdant. On the contrary, it is 
eight miles in length, and has to roe a character: of great- 

408 MRS. T I o u 9. 

D688 and extensiveness about it. It is what the Germans 
call "grossartig" — we want the word. You descend down 
and down, and feel that a deeper country is still below you. 
To me it had a feeling as if descending from the Alps into 
a champaign* country. Long ranges of hills on either hand 
ever and anon terminated, as if to admit of a way into the 
country beyond, and then began again, with the river wan- 
derings on still far below us; and here and there stupen- 
dous masses of lofty rock, open meadows, and bold, high 
woods. These were the features of this striking and great 

At the bridge, where the first meeting of the waters 
takes place, that is, the meeting of the two streams, Avon- 
beg and Avonmore, which thence become the Avoca, the 
driver of the car said, "Perhaps your honor knows that this 
is the Meeting of the Waters. It was here that Moore made 
his speech V* 

But the most striking meeting to us was a meeting with 
a great number of one-horse carts, those of miners, with 
whom this vale abounds. They were coming up from a 
market at Avoca, just below, and they took no more notice • 
of being just all in our way than if we were not there. 
The driver shouted, but in vain ; and it was only by using 
his whip over them till he broke off the lash that he could 
get a passage. When they did draw out of the way, it was 
always purposely to the wrong side. The fact is, they 
were all drunk, and seemed to have a very animal dogged* 
ness of disposition about them. The Wooden Bridge Inn, 
at the bottom of the vale, and at the commencement of the 
Vale of Arklow, and the place of the second meeting of the 
waters, is the great resort of travelers. The scene here 
has great softness. A bend of the valley, an opening of 
rich meadow, surrounded by hills thickly clothed with 
foliage, and the rivers running on to their meeting, give a 
feeling of great and quiet seclusion. Here I posted, as I 
have said, across Carlow to Kilkennv, and to Woodstock. 

MRS. T I Q H K. 469 

But at Rosanna and at Woodstock, my hope of obtaining 
some information regarding Mrs. Tighe— of seeing some 
painting or other object connected with her, was, with one 
exception, thoroughly frustrated. " Mrs. Tighe was an an- 
gel ; of her successors I have somewhat more to say. In 
all my visits to remarkable places in England, I have re- 
ceived the utmost, courtesy from the proprietors of those 
houses and scenes which it was my object to see. In those 
where I was anxious to obtain sight of relics of celebrated 
persons of antiquity not ordinarily shown to the public, I 
have written to the owner to request opportunity of exam- 
ining them. \n Buch cases, noblemen of the highest rank 
have not, in a^jqgle instance, shown the slightest reluct- 
ance to contribute to that information which was for the 
public In some cases, they have themselves gone down 
into the country to give me the meeting, and thrown open 
private cabinets, and the like depositories of rare objects, 
with the most active liberality. In every other case, so in- 
variably have I found the most obliging facilities given for 
the. prosecution of my inquiries, that I have long ceased to 
carry a letter of introduction ; my name, of twenty-three 
years' standing before the public, being considered war- 
ranty enough. I found it equally so in Ireland, except 
with the Tighes. . 

At Rosanna, Mr. Dan Tighe, as the people familiarly 
call him, certainly not Dantl, was pointed out to me by a 
workman, walking in the meadow before his house, hand- 
ling his bullocks which grazed there. On asking the serv- 
ant who came to the door whether Mr. Tighe was at home, 
he. first, as a perfect tactician, requested my name, and he 
would see. I gave him my card ; and though he could see 
his master as well as I could in the meadow, to whom I 
directed his attention, he very solemnly marched into the 
house, and returned, saying he was not in. A self-evident 
truth. I inquired if Mrs. Tighe was at home, explaining 
that I had come from England, and for what object. He 

470 MRS. TIflHL 

said u yes, but she was lying in, and could see no one.' 9 I 
then inquired when Mr. Tighe might be expected in, as I 
should much regret losing the opportunity of learning from 
him any particulars connected with my present inquiry. 
" He could not say ; most likely at six o'clock, his dinner 
hour." I promised to call on my way toward Avoca, about 
half an hour before that time, that I might not interfere) 
with Mr. Tighe's dinner hour. I did so. Mr. Tighe was 
now standing in his field, not a hundred yards from his 
house.. As soon as the servant appeared, he assured me 
Mr. Tighe was not at home ; he could not tell where he 
was. I immediately directed his attention to where he 
stood looking at some men at work.- The man did not 
choose to see him ; and, under the circumstances, it was 
not for me to advance and address him. It was evident 
that the man had his cue ; the master did not choose to be 
seen. I therefore mounted my car, and ordered the driver 
to drive off. The spirit of the place was palpable. A 
willing master makes a willing man; but on this man's 
nose sat perched that solemn lie that is unmistakable. 
Well, as Mr. Tighe was walking out, and Mrs. Tighe was 
lying in, I bade adieu to Rosanna not much wiser for my 
visit ; but then there was Woodstock. 

I drove fifty miles across the country, and found myself 
at the door of Woodstock. Woodstock is a show-house ; 
and here, therefore, I anticipated no difficulty of at least 
obtaining a sight of portrait or statute of the late charming 
poetess. But, unfortunately — what in England would have 
been most fortunate — Mr. Tighe was at home, and the serv- 
ant, on opening the door, at once informed me that the house 
was never shown when the family was there. Having 
written on my card what was my object, that I had made 
the journey from England for it, and added the name of a 
gentleman well known to Mr. Tighe, who had wished me 
to do so, I requested the servant to present that to Mr. 
Tighe. He did so; and returned, saying, "Mr. Tighe 

MIS, T I G H K. 471 

said I was at liberty to see the grounds, but not the house; 
and he had nothing further to say!" 

My astonishment may be imagined. The servant seem- 
ed & very decent, modest sort of fellow, and 1 said, '* Good 
heavens ! does Mr. Tigho think I am come all the way 
from England to see bis grounds, when ten thousand emu- 
try squires could show much finer 1 Was there no picture 
of Mrs. Tighe, the poetess, that I might be allowed to see V 
4 * He thought not ; he did not know." " Was there no 
statue V* ■ He thought not ; he never heard of any." 
? How long had he been there t** ** Five years," ** And 
never heard of a statue or a monument to Mrs, Tigbe, the 
poetess V* * No, never ! He had never heard Mrs, Tighe, 
the poetess, spoken of in the family ! But if there were 
any monument, it must be at the church at Xnnerctiogue!" 
I thanked him for bis intelligence, the only glimpse of 
information 1 bad got at Rosanna or Woodstock, and 
drove off. 

The matter was now clear. The very servants who had 
lived years in the family had never beard the name of Mrs, 
Tighe, the poetess, mentioned I These present Tighes had 
been marrying the daughters of lords — this a daughter of 
the Duke of Richmond, and Dan Tigbe, a daughter of 
Lord Crofton. They were ashamed, probably, that any of 
their name should have degraded herself by writing poetry, 
which a man or woman without an acre may do. When I 
reached the church at Innersliogue, the matter received a 
most striking confirmation. There, sure enough, was the 
monument, in a small mausoleum in the church-yard. It is 
a recumbent figure, laid on a granite altar-shaped base* 
ment. The figure is of a freestone resembling Portland 
stone, and is lying on its side, as on a sofa, being said, by 
the person who showed it, to be the position in which she 
died, on coming in from a walk. The execution of the 
whole is very ordinary, and if really by Flax man, displays 
none of his genius, I have seen much better things by a 

472 Mil. tioii. 

swsninoB stone-mason. Then is ft little angel rittiug at die 
head, but this baa never been fastened down by cement 
The monument was, no doubt, erected by the widower of 
die poetess, who waa a man of classical taste, and, I believe, 
much attached to her. There is no inscription yet pot 
npon the tomb, though one, said to be written by her hus- 
band, has long been cut in stone for the purpose. In the 
wall at the back of the monument, aloft, there is an oblong- 
square hole left for this inscription, which I understood 
was lying about at the house, but no single effort had been 
made to put it up, though it would not require an hour's 
work, and though Mrs. Tighe has been dead six-and-thixty 

This was decisive ! If these two gentlemen, nephews of 
the poetess, who are enjoying the two splendid estates of 
the family, Woodstock and Rosanna, show thus little re- 
spect to the only one of their name that ever lifted it above 
the mob, it is not to be expected that they will show much 
courtesy to strangers. Well is it that Mrs. Tighe raised 
her own monument, that of immortal verse, and wrote her 
own epitaph in the hearts of all the pure and loving, not 
on a stone which sordid relatives, still fonder of earth than 
stone, may consign to the oblivion of a lumber-room. 

That these nephews of the poetess do look after the earth 
which her husband left behind him, though not after the 
stone, I learned while waiting in the village for die sexton. 
I fell into conversation with the woman at the cottage by 
which I stood. It was as follows : 

Self. " Well, your landlord has a fine estate here. I 
hope he is good to you/' 

Woman. " Well, your honor, very good, very good." 

Self. " Very good ? What do you call very good t I 
find English and Irish notions of goodness don't always 

MRS. T I O U E. 473 

Woman, " Well, your honor, we may say he is mixed ; 
mixed, your honor." 

Self. " How mixed V 9 

Woman. " Why, your honor, you see I can't say that 
he was very good to me." , 

Self. " How was that 1" 
. Woman, "Why, your honor, we were backward in our^ 
rent, and the squire sent for my husband, and told him that 
if he did not pay all next quarter, he would sell us up. 
My husband begged he would give him a little more time, 
as a neighbor said he had some money left him* and would 
take part of our land at a good rent, and then we should 
be able to pay ; but now we got little, and the children 
were many, and it was hard to meet and tie. ' Oh !' said 
the squire, 'if you are going to get all that money, you 
will be able to pay more rent. I must have two pounds a 
year more.' " 

Self "Gracious Heaven! But, surely, he did not do 
such a thing V* 

Woman. "But he did it, your honor. The neighbor 
had no money : it was a hum ; he never took the field of 
us at all ; we never were able to get a penny more from 
any one than we gave ; but when my husband went to pay 
the rent at the next rent-day, the steward would not take 
it. He Baid he had ordera to have two pounds a year 
more ; and from that day we have had it regularly to pay." 

What a fall out of the poetry of Psyche to the iron real- 
ities of Ireland ! This screwing system on the poor, which 
you find almost every where, soon makes us cease to wonder 
at the wretchedness and the wild outrages of the people 
there. At one splendid place where I was, the lord of the 
estate and the gentry were all bowling away on the Sun- 
day morning to a church three miles distant. When I 
asked why they did not stay at their own, this was the re- 
ply : " The clergyman had given great offense by saying 
in one of his sermons that their dogs were better lodged 

474 M R 8. T I O H B. 

and fed than their neighbors ! ,r Poor Ireland! where such 
ib the distortion of circumstances that the poor are too poor 
to have the truth told about them to ears polite even from 
the pulpit, and where the squirearchy live in splendid 
houses, and in state emulating the peerage, surrounded by 
hovels and wretchedness, such as the world besides can 
not parallel. The condition of Ireland is fatal in its effects 
on all classes. The poor are reduced to a misery that is 
the amazement of the whole world ; and the squirearchy, 
who live in daily contemplation qf tins misery, are render- 
ed utterly callous to it. They go on putting on die screw 
of high rental to the utmost limit, and surrounded, as it 
were, only by serfs, naturally grow selfish beyond our con- 
ceptions in England, haughty, and ungracious. I believe 
that no country, except Russia, can furnish such revolting 
examples of ignorant and churlish insolence as Ireland can 
from the ranks of its solitary squirearchy — so utterly op- 
posed to the generally generous, courteous, and hospitable 
character of its people. 


11 Where la Che youth for deeds immortal born, 
Who loved to whisper to the embattled corn, 
And clustered woodbines, breathing o'er the stream, 
Endymion's beauteous passion for a dream ! 
Why did he drop the harp from tinge™ cold, 
And aleep so soon with demigods of old ! 
Oh, who so well could sing Love's joys and pains ? 
He lived in melody, as if his veins 
Poured music i from his lips came word* o( fire, 
The voice of Greece, the tones of Homer's lyre." 

Ebtntzer Elliott. 

We come now to one whose home and haunts on the 
earth were brief; 

" Who sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven." 

John Keats was one of those sweet and glorious spirits 
who descend, like the angel messengers of old, to discharge 
some divine command, not to dwell here. Pare, ethereal, 
glowing with the fervency of inward life, the bodily vehicle 
appears but assumed for the occasion, and as a mist, as a 
shadow, is ready to dissolve the instant that occasion is 
served. They speak and pass away into the higher light 
from whence they came ; but their words remain — them- 


476 KE,ATa. 

•elves life, and spirit, and power— like the electric element 
in the veins of the earth, quickening and Vitalising the 
souls of men to the end of time. They become part and 
parcel of our nature ; they -are as essential to the aliment 
and the progress of our intellectual being, aa the light, die 
morning dew of summer, the morning and the evening star, 
or any of those great components of nature, the sky, the 
sea, or the mountain, from which we draw the* daily spirit 
of beauty; and live! — live, not as mere material ma- 
chines ; not as animal existenc es as brutes, 

" Which graze the mountain top with feces prone, 

And eye* intent upon the scanty herb 

It yields them; or, recumbent on its brow, 

Ruminate heedless of the scene outspread 

Beneath, beyond, and stretching far away 

From inland regions to the distant main"— Cowper. 
not mere men of the world, money-getting, house-building, 
land-purchasing creatures, but souls of God and of eterni- 
ty. " Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word 
which proceeds out of the mouth of God," and which de- 
scends to earth by his prophets, whether of prose or of 
poetry. It is by the mediation of such pure and seraphic 
intelligences that our true psychological frame and consti- 
tution are built up. For, created to take our places in the 
great future of the universe, amid the spiritual revelation 
of all things spiritual, we must be raised substantially from 
the mere germ of immortality within us into " spirits of 
just men made perfect." We must be composed of the 
spiritual elements of beauty, thought, Benaation, and seizure 
of all intellectual things, growing by the daily absorption 
of divine essences into spiritual bodies, incorporate of love, 
of light, of lofty aspirations and tenderest desires; of 
thoughts that comprehend the world, and hearts that em- 
brace it with a divine capacity of affection. As we walk 
on our daily way, and along the muddiest paths of life, 
amid our own cares and loneliness, .we do not and can not 
walk unblessed. The shower of God's benedictions falls on 

rsATB. 477 

us ; the sunshine of his ceaseless gifts Burrounds us. From 
his own appointed men, whether living or dead, " the re- 
freshments from his presence" reach us, melt into us, and 
sustain us. Words spoken thousands of years ago steal, 
like the whisper of a breeze, into our bosoms, and become 
bright guests there ; music, full of deep movings, heard but 
yesterday from the lips of the inspired, touches the spring 
of happiness within, us. The thoughts and sentiments of 
poets, and philosophers, "beautiful exceedingly," stand 
around us like the trees and {he flowers of our wayside ; 
and from every point of heaven and earth are reflected 
upon us the flowing waters, the cool forest shades, the 
bright and glittering stars of that mind, which has been 
poured through a myriad of vehicles and a host of ages 
down upon us here. The light, and color, and warmth 
which mature our very corn and fruits, come from the sun. 
They are no more inherent in this nether earth than our 
own life is. All that we have and enjoy must come from 
other worlds to us. Our material aliments are sustained 
by the strength and life issuing from the infinite heavens ; 
and thence too descend, in still more ethereal actuality, alj 
that our souls are made of. 

Of the class of swift but resplendent messengers by 
whom these ministrations are performed, neither ours nor 
any other history can furnish a specimen more beautiful 
than^ John Keats. He was of feeling and " imagination all 
compact." His nature was one pure mass of the living 
light of poetry. On this world and its concerns he could 
take no hold, and they could take none on him. The 
worldly and the worldly wise could not comprehend him, 
could not sympathize with. To them his vivid orgasm of 
the intellect was madness ; his exuberance of celestial gifts 
was extravagance ; his unworldliness was effeminacy ; his 
love of the universal man, and not of gross distinctions of 
pride and party, was treason. As of the highest and di- 
vinest of God's messengers to earth, they cried, " Away 


478 KBATfc 

with him; he is not fit to live ;" and the body, that i 
mist-like, that mere shadow-like body, already failing be- 
fore the fervency of his spiritual functions, fell, "faded 
away, dissolved," and disappeared before the bitter frost- 
wind of base criticism. 

It was a dark and wretched time when Keats made his 
appearance among us. War, and party, and peculation 
on the one side, and resentment and discontent on the oth- 
er ; the necessity for the gainer maintaining his craft at all 
costs, and the equal necessity for the loser dragging this 
ruinous craft to the ground, had infused into literature an 
atrocious, spirit From this foul spirit, genius, in every 
fresh incarnation, suffered the roost ruthless and inhuman 
assaults. The stronger possessor of it stood ; the weaker 
or more sensitive fell. Keats was one of the latter. He 
had soul enough for any thing, but his physique was feeble, 
and sunk. It will be one of the " damned spots" which 
will forever cling, not to the country, but to the age. Bat 
it is to the everlasting honor of Leigh Hunt, that, himself 
a critic as well as a poet, he never dipped his hand in the 
blood of the innocents. He never slew one of those mar- 
tyrs whose glorious tombs we now build with adamantine 
stones of admiration, tempering the cement with the tears 
of our love. Himself assailed, and shot at, and cruelly 
wounded by the archers, he not only turned and manfully 
defended himself, but spread the shield of his heart to pro- 
tect those who were rising up to become formidable rivals 
in the public regard. Will the country ever show to this 
generous man, and in time, that warm-heartedness which 
he always showed to its sons of genius in their unfolding 
hours 1 It is a glory that is peculiar, and peculiarly beau- 
tiful, that amid that iron age of a murderous criticism, he 
was forever found in close union and communion with the 
morning stars of poetry. They truly "sang together/* 
They seemed by an instinct of life to flock to him, and by 
an instinct equally sure and unselfish, he felt at once their 

»■■■*= % 

UATfl* 479 

claim*, and with open hand and heart maintained them. It 
was in the pages of the Examiner that, amid specimens 
of young poets, I first made acquaintance with the mag- 
nificent sonnet of Keats on reading Chapman's Homexv 
and with Shelley's Hymn to Intellectual Beauty. From 
that hour there could be no moment's question but that 
great men were come among us ; those men who, in fact, 
" turn the world upside down," and by which turning up- 
side down, the only process, the asps and scorpions of mal- 
ice are shook out of it, and ail its strong-rooted fabrics of 
prejudice and pride are toppled into the dust. Till death, 
the souls of these men, who 

" Learned in suffering what they taught in song," 
never ceased to maintain that brave union thus begun, but 
amid abuse, misrepresentation, and the vilest onslaughts 
from the army of the aliens, went on blessing the world 
with those emanations" of splendid and unshackled thought, 
which are now recognized as among the most precious of 
the national property. Who in future days will not pray 
that he might have been as one of these 1 

It is to the account by Leigh Hunt, in his "Byron and 
some of his Cotemporaries," that we owe almost all that we 
know of the life and haunts of Keats. From this we learn 
that " Mr. Keats's origin was of the humblest description. 
He was born October 29, 1796, at a livery-stable in Moor- 
fields, of which his grandfather was proprietor. He never 
spoke of it, perhaps out of a personal soreness which the 
world had exasperated. After receiving the rudiments of 
a classical education at Mr. Clarke's school at Enfield, he 
was bound apprentice to Mr. Hammond, a surgeon, in 
Church-Btreet, Edmonton ; and his enemies having made a 
jest even of this, he did not like to be reminded of it; at 
once disdaining them for their meanness, and himself for 
being weak enough to be moved by them. Mr- Clarke, 
Jun., his schoolmaster's bod, a reader of genuine discern- 
ment, had encouraged with great warmth the genius that 



he saw in the young poet ; and it was to Mr. Clarke I was 
indebted for my acquaintance with him." 

Mr. Hunt, in his warm-hearted way, lost no time in in- 
troducing his poetry to the best judges of poetry, among 
them to Godwin, Hazlitt, Basil Montagu, Charles Lamb, 
and others. He read to them, among others, that fine son- 
net already mentioned, which, as it is printed in a volume 
now not much seen, can not too often be quoted : 


" Much have I traveled in the land of gold, 

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen, 
Round many western islands hare I been, 

Which hards in fealty to Apollo bold ; 

Oft of one wide expanse have I been told, 
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his d e m e sn e ; 
Yet I did never breathe its pure serene 

Till I heard Chapman speak oat loud and bold. 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies. 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 

Or like stout Cortez, when, with eagle eyes. 
He stared at the Pacific— end all his men 

Looked at each other in a wild i 

k n t d. 481 

hence. It was in the beautiful lane running from the road 
between Hampstead and Highgate to the foot of High* 
gate Hill, that, meeting me one day, he first gave me the 
volume. If the admirer of Mr. Keats's poetry does iftOt 
know the lane in question, he ought to become acquainted 
with it, both on his author's account and its own. It has 
been also paced by Mr. Lamb and Mr,Hazlitt, and fre- 
quently, like the rest of the beautiful neighborhood, by Mr. 
Coleridge ; so that instead of Millfield Lane, which is the 
name it is known by * on earth/ it has sometimes been 
called Poet's Lane, which is an appellation it richly de- 
serves. It divides the grounds of Lords Mansfield and 
Southampton, running through trees and sloping meadows, 
and being rich in the botany for which this part of the 
neighborhood of London has always been celebrated." 
Mr. Hunt was at this time living at Hampstead, in the Vale 
of Health, and the house at which it is said Keats wrote the 
beautiful poem on Sleep and Poetry was his. There is 
another fact in this account that deserves attention, and that 
is, the date of the publication of Keats's first small volume. 
This was 1817 ; in 1818 he published his Endymion ; on 
the 26th of June, 1820", his third volume, Lamia, and other 
Poems, was published; and on the 27th of December of the 
same year he died at Rome. Thus the whole of his poetical 
life, from the issue of his first small volume to his death, was 
but about three years. During the greater part of that pe- 
riod he felt his disease, consumption, was mortal. Yet 
what progress in the development of his powers, and the 
maturing of his judgment and feeling of art, was manifested 
in that short space and under those circumstances ! The 
first volume was a volume of immature fancies and unsettled 
style, but with things which denoted the glorious dawn of 4 
short but illustrious day. The Endymion had much extrav- 
agance. It was a poetical effervescence. The mind of 
the writer was haunted by crowds of imaginations, and 
scenes of wonder, and dreams of beauty, chiefly from the 
Vol. I.— IT 


old mythological world, but mingled with the passion far 
living nature, and the warmest feelings of youth. It brought 
forward the deities of Greece, and invested them with the 
passions and tenderness of men, and all the youthful glow 
which then reigned in the poet's heart. The mind was 
boiling over from intense heat ; but amid the luscious foam 
rose streams of the richest wine of poetry which ever came 
from the vintage of this world. The next. volume, Lamia, 
Isabella, &c, showed how the heady liquor had cleared it- 
self and become spirit bright and strong. There was an 
aim, a settled plan and purpose in each composition, and a 
steady power of judgment growing up amid all the vivid 
impulses of the brain that still remained vivid as ever. The 
style was wonderfully condensed, and the descriptive at 
well as conceptive faculty had assumed a vigor and acumen 
which was not, and is not, and probably never will be, sur- 
passed by any other poet For proofs to justify these high 
terms, it is only necessary to open the little volume, and 
open it almost any where. How powerful and tender is 
the narrative of Isabella ; how rich, and gorgeous, and chaste, 
and well-weighed iB the whole of St, Agnes*s Eve ; how 
full of the soul of poetry is The Ode to the Nightingale. 
Perhaps there is no poet, living or dead, except Shakspeare, 
who can pretend to any thing like the felicity of epithet 
which characterizes Keats. One word or phrase is the 
essence of a whole description or sentiment. It is like the 
dull substance of the earth struck through by electric fires, 
and converted into veins of gold and diamonds. For a 
piece of perfect and inventive description, that passage from 
Lamia, where, Lycius gone to bid the guests to his wed- 
ding, Lamia, in her uneasy excitement, employs herself and 
her demon powers in adorning her palace, is unrivaled : 

** It was the custom then to bring away 
The bride from home at blushing shut of day, 
Veiled, in a chariot, heralded along 
By strewn flowers, torch'jt, and a marriage-song, 

KEATS. 488 

With other pageants: bat this fair unknown 

Had not a friend. So being left alone— 

Lycius was gone to summon all his kin — 

And knowing surely she could never win 

His foolish heart from its most pompousness, 

She set herself high-thoughted, how to dress 

The misery in fit magnificence. , 

She did so ; but 'tis doubtful how and whence 

Came, and who were her subtle servitors. 

About the halls, and to and from the doors, 

There was a noise of wings, till in short space 

The glaring banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace. 

A haunting music, sole, perhaps, and lone 

Supportress of the fairy roof, made moan 

Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade. 

Fresh carved cedar mimicking a glade 

Of palm and plantain, sent from either side 

High in the midst, in honor of the bride, 

Two palms, and then two plantains, and so on ; 

From either side their stems branched one to one 

All down the aisled place ; and beneath all 

There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wall. 

80 canopied lay an untasted feast 

Teeming with odors. Lamia, regal dressM, 

Silently paced about, and as she went, 

In pale, contented, sflent discontent, / 

Missioned her viewless servants to enrich 

The fretted splendor of each nook and niche: 

Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first, 

Came jasper panels; then anon there burst 

Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees, 

And with the larger wove in small intricacies. - 

Approving all, she faded at self-will, 

And shut the chamber up, close, hushed, and still, 

Complete and ready for the revels rude, 

When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude." 

The description of Lamia undergoing the metamorphosis 
by which she escaped from the form of a serpent to that of 
a beautiful woman, is marvelous for its power and pre-* 
cision of language. 

" Left to herself the serpent now began 
To change: her elfin blood in madness ran, 


Her north fosnwid, and the grass, therewith bespent, 
Withered with dew so sweet and viraisnt. 
Her eyes in torture fixed* and anguish drear, 
Hot. glased, and wide, with lid-banes all sear, 

The colors all hAuned thyooghont her train, 

8he writhed about convulsed with soariet pain: 

▲ deep, mhssasn yellow took the place 

Of all her nnlder saooaad body's grace ; 

And as the fanrm laii s bu s the me a d , 

SpeOed aD her ssHer snail and golden hrede; 

Made gjossn of aB her freekhnga, stioaii, and bars, 

BiKpsfd her tit iionls, and ticked op her stars: 

So that m nwaaents few she was nadnuss'd 

Of aU her snps*fc*a. eesns, and amethyst, 

Andinbaw argent; of sll these bereft, 

Sob^ bat pain an^nn j hwa s wsn left 

§&£ shone her crown; mat vanished, also she 

Melted sad ilna|yteiid as snddrnry ; 

And is the air her new voice rating soft 

Cried * Lyvsa*. cende LvcJosf Borne aloft 

With the bright saists abont the mnontaina hoar 

TVee word* devolved : Crete's forest heard no more." 

The most inagnincent trophy of his genius, however, is the 
rxa^usetit of Hyperion. On this poem, which has some- 
thing vast, colossal, and dreamy about it, giving you a con- 
ception of the sjawbldings of an almost infinite scope of " the 
T»ion and the acuity divine" in this extraordinary youth, 
he was employed when the progress of nis complaint, and 
the savage treatment of the critics, sunk bis heart, and be 
aha n ton es! the task, and went forth to die. How touching, 
under the cirrunsatances, is the short preface affixed to this 
*wlun*e by the publishers. " If any apology be thought 
necessary for the appearance of the unfinished poem of 
Hvwnjox, the publishers beg to state that they alone are 
JWI^e^Ue. as at was printed at their particular request, 
•*^oe**nij to the wish of the author. The poem was in- 
?•"** •ohnve been of equal length with the Exdymiov, 
*• *•"•!*""• §wwn to that work discouraged the author 

KEATS. 485 

from proceeding." Can a critic even read the passage 
without some compunction? and who shall again repeat 
the stale sophism that unkind criticism never extinguished 
genuine poetry ? 

Mr. Hunt says of Keats, that " he enjoyed the usual priv- 
ileges of greatness with -all whom he knew, rendering it 
delightful to be obliged by him, and an equal, but not a 
greater, to oblige. Jt was a pleasure to his friends to have 
him in their houses, and he did not grudge it." 

He was sometimes a regular inmate with Mr. Hunt at 
Kentish town, and used to ramble about the sweet walks 
of Hampstead and Highgate to his heart's content. " When 
Endymion was published, he was living at Hampstead with 
his friend Charles Brown, who attended him most affection- 
ately through a long and severe illness, and with whom, to 
their great mutual enjoyment, he had taken a journey into 
Scotland. The lakes and mountains of the North delight- 
ed him exceedingly. He beheld them with an epic eye. 
Afterward he went into the South, and luxuriated in the 
Isle of Wight." He was, too, down in Devonshire. The 
preface to his Endymion is dated from Teignmouth. 

On Mr. Brown's leaving England a second time, " Mr. 
Keats," says Leigh Hunt, " was too ill to accompany him, 
and came to reside with me, when his last and best volume 
of poems appeared, containing Lamia, Isabella, The Eve 
of St. Agnes, and the noble fragment of Hyperion. I re- 
member Charles Lamb's delight and admiration on reading 
this work; how pleased he was with the designation of 
Mercury as ' the star of Lethe/ rising, as it were, and glit- 
tering when he came upon that pale region ; with the fine, 
daring anticipation in that passage of the second poem, 
1 So the two brother* and their murdered man 
Bode put fair Florence ;' 

and with the description, at once delicate and gorgeous, of 
Agnes praying beneath the painted window." 

This must have been hnmediately before the young poet 

486 K E A T B. 

quitted England in the vain quest of health. There is a 
very affecting passage in Mr. Hunt's brief memoir of him, 
which showB what was the state of mind of this fine young 
poet at this crisis. The hunter had stricken him, death 
was dealing with him, and the pain of affections unassured 
of a return was helping his other enemies to pull him down. 
" Seeing him once," says Mr. Hunt, " change countenance 
in a manner more alarming than usual, as he stood silently 
eyeing the country out of the window, I pressed him to let 
me know how be felt, in order that he might enable me to 
do what I could for him ; upon which he said that his feel- 
ings were almost more than he could bear, and he feared 
for his senses. I proposed that we should take a coach and 
.ride about the country together, to vary, if possible, the im- 
mediate impression, which was sometimes all that was for- 
midable, and would come to nothing. He acquiesced, and 
was restored to himself. It was, nevertheless, on the same 
day, sitting on the bench in Well Walk, at Hampstead, 
nearest the heath, that he told me, with unaccustomed tears 
in his eyes, that ' his heart was breaking.' A doubt, how- 
ever, was upon him at that time, which he afterward had 
reason to know was groundless ; and during his residence 
at the last house that he occupied before he went abroad, 
he was at times more than tranquil." 

His house, it appears, was in Wentworth Place, Down- 
shire Hill, Hampstead, by Pond-street, and at the next 
door lived the young lady to whom he was engaged. Mr. 
Hunt accompanied Keats and this young lady to the place 
of embarkation in a coach, and saw them part. It was a 
most trying moment. Neither of them entertained a hope 
to see each other again in life, yet each endeavored to sub- 
due the feelings of such a moment to the retention of out- 
ward composure. Keats was accompanied on his voyage 
by that excellent artist, Mr. Severn, and who, to quote 
again the same competent authority, possessed all that could 
recommend him for a companion: old acquaintanceship, 

KEATS. 487 

great animal spirits, active tenderness, and a mind capable 
of appreciating that of a poet. They first went to Naples, 
and afterward to Rome, where they occupied the same 
house, at the corner of the Piazza di Spagna. Mr. Severn 
made several sketches of Keats, both on the voyage and at 
Rome, and, while there, finished a portrait of him for Mr., 
now Lord Jefiery, who had spoken handsomely of him in 
the Edinburgh Review. At Rome, on the 27th of Decem- 
ber, 1820, as already stated, John Keats died in the arms 
of his friend, completely worn out and longing for release. 
How the circumstance of this 1 life- weariness reminds us of 
his longing for death in his inimitable Ode to the Nightin- 

" Oh for a draught of vintage that hath been 
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth, 
Tasting of Flora and the country green ; 
Dance and Provencal song, and sunburned mirth ! 
Oh for a beaker full of the warm south, 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 
And purple-stained mouth ! 
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 
And with thee fade away into the forest dim; 

" Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget ~ 

What thou among the leaves hast never known, 
The weariness, the fever, and the fret, 

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ; 
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs ; 
Where youth grows pale, and spectre thin, and dies ; 
Where still to think is to be fall of sorrow, 
And leaden-eyed despairs : 
Where beauty can not keep her lustrous eyes, 
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow." 

" A little before he died, he said that ' he felt the daisies 
growing over him.' But he made a still more touching re- 
mark respecting his epitaph. ' If any,' said he, ' were put 
over him, he wished it to consist of nothing but these words : 
Here lies one whose name was writ in water ;' so little did 



be think of the more than pronnee lie bed 

fine and lasting things he had added to die i 

The physicians expressed their 

held out so long ; the longs taming < 

have been almost obliterated. They said he 1 

lived upon the mere strength of die i 

was interred in the English burying groaaad it ] 

the monument of Caius Cestrae, < 

etical mourner, Mr. Shelley , ' 

Sack is the brief but deeply i 
Keats, drawn mostly from the ' 
\f from the conversation of his true friewd i 
It is not possible to close it in more jost or 
words than those of this i 
" So much for the mortal life of ae 1 
these latter times have seen ; one of those who ere too gen- 
uine and too original to be pr ope rly app r e cia ted at first, 
but whose time for applause will infallibly arrive with the 
many, and has already began in all poetical < 


Keats was the martyr of poetry, but Shelley was the 
martyr of opinion, Keats dared to write in a new vein, to 
disregard all the old canons of criticism, to pour out his 
heart, and all his fancies, in that way only which seemed 
naturally to belong to them, and this was cause enough to 
bring down upon him the vengeance of all the rule-and-line 
men of literature. But besides this, Keats kept suspicious 
company. Hunt and Shelley were notorious Radicals ; and 
Hunt and Shelley were his friends. ** Tell me what com- 
pany you keep, and I will tell you what you are," is an old 
proverb, and was, in John Keat's case, most promptly ap- 
plied. But Shelley was perhaps the most daring, as he 
was the most splendid offender of modern times. Born of 
a good family, educated in the highest schools of orthodoxy, 
it was to the public, which looked for a new champion of 
the old state of things, a most exasperating circumstance 
that, in his very teens, he should set all these expectations, 
and all the prospects of his own worldly advantage, at 


-%?J&tfinWa/iiDc«^ . , 

ism* The fact is every way to be deplored. It becunatht ft»J*j 
source of blight tadfqjafato^hilbself through his whole 
life. It alienated his friends and family r it occasioned an 
excitement of fiery bigotry and party wrath, which, in their 
united virulence, were poured upon bis head, and, destroy- 
ing the sale of his works, greatly dispirited him, and so di- 
minished the amount, and perhaps, in no slight degree, the 
joyous and buoyant spirit of what he did write. Who shall 
say, wonderful as are the works of Shelley, all accomplish- 
m ed amid ill health and the bitterest persecutions, before 
the age of thirty, and most of them before the age of twen- 
ty-six, what he would have produced had he written with 
the encouraging feeling of a generous public with him 1 
And when we regard the whole affair impartially, it was 
the public which was really the greatest offender after all. 
On the part of Shelley, it was a rash and boyish action. It 
was the act of a really fine and noble spirit led away, and 
so far led wrong, by its impetuous indignation against pop- 
ular delusions and impositions. He was not the first man, 
nor will he be the last, whom the spirit of a virtuous zeal 
precipitates into an offense against virtue itself. In him it 
was meant to be no such tiling. He was honest as he was 
zealous, and the world ought to have respected his honesty, 
if it could not his opinions. It should have endeavored to 
show him, by calm and sound reason, that he was wrong as 
to the existence of a God, and by its charity and forbear- 
ance, that Christianity was true. There can be little doubt 
what effect a wise conduct like this would have had on a 
nature like his. As it was, spite of all the outrageous cries 
of infidel, blasphemer, and atheistic wretch with which he 
was pursued, time showed a wonderful change in his opin- 
ions on these matters. 

The world should have recollected that it professed to be 
a Christian world, and it should not have let the spirit and 
conduct of the infidel put it to shame by its superior liber 

... • • • •• 

8 H, E L L B T. 491 m 

ality and goodness. Our Savior nowhere preached or conv 
manded persecution, but to bless those who curse us, and 
do good to those who hate us and despitefully use us. The 
world did not do thus: it left p4s>r Shelley to show this con- 
duct to it. Christ left a glorious example to all time— why 
is the Christian world blind to it 1 He declared a glorious 
doctrine on the treatment of unbelievers — why is the world 
deaf to it 1 He declared that he was come to seek and 
save that which was lost, and to die for the conversion of 
those who mocked and denied him. He nowhere left us 
the whip, the gag, or the sword of extermination. He 
brought no such things with him out of heaven, but the * 
great corrector — patience; the great weapon — charity. 
When his disciples ran and called upon him to silence those 
who performed miracles, and yet did not follow him, he 
gave a reply which never should be forgotten while the sun 
rises and sets t " Let them alone ; ye know not what man- 
ner of spirit ye are of." 

It was Shelley who showed the spirit of the Christian, 

and the so-called Christian world the spirit of the infidel. 

It was infidel. It did not trust to the sublime toleration of 

- Christ, but fell to the dark, bitter paganism of curses and 


There was another particular, too, which the virtuous 
world should here bear in mind. It was priestcraft, which 
had so disguised Christianity with the trappings of gentile- 
ism that it had reduced it to the level of a pagan system. 
It had introduced so much mummery, so many pagan fa- 
bles, so many false doctrines, that it had (aught thousands 
and millions, and does still, to confound it with the selfish 
impostures of heathenism itself! No man who does not go 
much among the people can tell the extent to which infi- 
delity, and even atheism, has spread among them from this 
cause. Tbey see the great and groaning oppressions which 
are done under the sun, and which endure from age to age, 
and they begin to doubt a Providence which can permit 

499 i a i l l e t. 


this. They tea the selfish arts, the pride and luxury of 
pastors, and the misery of the many, and they say, these 
men do not believe what they teach — they know it to be a 
fable. When our countr^nen travel into Catholic coun- 
tries, and see millions of deluded wretches streaming up 
from all quarters to edore the so-called coat of Christ it 
Metz, or to have a cross touched with the Virgin Mary's 
chemise, the swaddling clothes, and the grave-clothes of 
Jesus, hoisted aloft in the Cathedral of Aix la Chapelle, 
they say, what is this Christianity but old paganism under 
another name ? These are the things which make infidels. 
These are the men who, by their impious greed mocking 
God and man at once, under the garb of teachers, stab re- 
ligion to the heart, murder faith, strangle charity, and spread 
moral death from end to end of Christendom; These are 
they against whom the holy anger of the zealous should be 
turned. The mocking devils in the tabernacle, who, for 
the bread and wine of the hour, scatter perdition through 
descending centuries. These are the men and things who 
convert the most beautiful spirits into apostles of unbelief 
— who make Shelleys, ay, and far worse men. 

Shelley, indeed, was a good and noble creature. He 
had, spite of his skepticism, clearly and luminously stamped 
on his front the highest marks of a Christian ; for the grand 
distinction appointed by Christ was— love. Shelley was a 
Christian spite of himself. We learn from all who knew 
him that the Bible was his most favorite book. He vener- 
ated the character of Christ, and no man more fully carried 
out his precepts. His delight was to do good, to comfort 
and assist the poor. It was his zeal for truth and for the 
good of mankind which led him, in his indignation against 
those who oppressed them and imposed upon them, to leap 
too far in his attack on those enemies, and pass the borders 
which divide truth from error. For his conscientious opin- 
ion he sacrificed ease, honor, the world's esteem, fortune, 
and friendship. Never was there so generous a friend, so 


truly and purely poetical a nature. Others are poets in 
their books and closets ; the poet's soul in him was the 
spirit of all hours and all occasions. His conduct to bis 
friend Hunt was a magnificent example of this. Mr. Hunt 
himself tells us that he at once presented him with fourteen 
hundred pounds to free him from embarrassments, and he 
meant to do more, an intention which his son has nobly re- 
membered. Where are the censorious zealots who can 
show like deeds 1 " He was," says Mr. Hunt, " pious to- 
ward his friends, toward the whole human race, toward the 
meanest mseet of the forest. He did himself an injustice 
with the public in usin£ the popular name of the Supreme 
Being inconsiderately. He identified it solely with the 
vulgar and tyrannical notions of a God, made after the 
worst human fashion, and did not sufficiently reflect that 
it was often used by a juster devotion to express a sense 
of the great Mover of the universe." 

The same generous, enthusiastic spirit was the living 
and glowing principle of his poetry. With an imagination 
capable of soaring into the highest and most ethereal re- 
gions, and drawing thence most gorgeous colors, and most 
sublime, spiritual, and beautiful imagery, he preached love 
and tenderness to the whole family of man, except to ty- 
rants and impostors. For liberty of every kind he was 
ready to die. For knowledge, and truth, and kindness, he 
desired only to live. He was a rare instance of the unioa 
of the finest moral nature and the finest genius. If he 
erred, the world took ample vengeance upon him for it ; 
while he conferred, in return, his amplest blessing on the 
world. It was long a species of heresy to mention his 
name in society ; that is passing fast away. It was next 
said that he never could become popular, and therefore 
the mischief he could do was limited. He is become pop- 
ular, and the good that he is likely to do will be unlimited. 
The people read him: though we may -wonder at it, they 
comprehend him — at least so far as the principles of free- 


dom and progress are concerned ; and in these he will not 
lead them astray. He is the herald of advance, and every 
year must fix him more widely and firmly in men's hearts. 
How truly does he describe himself and his mission in 
Laon, the poet of the Revolt of Islam : 

" Yes, from the records of my youthful state; 
And from the lore of bards and sages old, 
, From whatsoe'er my wakened thoughts create, 
Oat of the hopes of thine aspirings bold, 
Have I collected language to unfold 

Truth to my countrymen ; from shore to shore 
Doctrines of human power my words have told ; 
They have been heard, and men aspire to more 
Than they have ever gained, or ever lost of yore. 

" In secret chambers parents read, and weep, 
My writings to their babes, no longer blind; 
And young men gather when their tyrants sleep, 

And vows of faith each to the other bind ; 
And marriageable maidens, who have pined 

With love, till life seemed melting through their look, 
A warmer zeal, a nobler hope now find ; 
And every bosom thus is rapt and shook, 
Like autumn's myriad leaves in one swoln mountain brook. 

" Kind thoughts, and mighty hopes, and gentle deeds 
Abound for fearless love, and the pure law 
Of mild equality aria* peace succeeds 

To faiths which long had held the world in awe, 
Bloody, and false, and cold : as whirlpools draw 

All wrecks of ocean to their chasm, the sway 
Of thy strong genius, Laon, which foresaw 
This hope, compels all spirits to obey, 
Which round thy secret strength now throng in wide array." 

This extraordinary man, and most purely poetic genius 
of his age— this great and fearless, and yet benign apostle 
of freedom, whose influence on succeeding ages it is im- 
possible to calculate, or calculating, perhaps, to overrate, 
mixed, it is true, with a skeptical leaven deeply to be de- 
plored, was a descendant of a true poetic line, that of Sir 
Philip Sidney. He was born at Field Place, in Sussex, 


on the 4th of August, 1792. He was the eldest son of Sir 
Timothy Shelley, Bart, of Castle Goring in that county ; 
and his son, Percy Florence Shelley, now bears the family 
title. His family connections belonged to the Whig aris- 
tocrats of the House of Commons ; and Mr. Hunt has, in 
the circumstances of such birth and connection, hit, per- 
haps, upon the fact which solves the mystery of a mind 
like Shelley's rushing into the extreme course he did. 
" To a man of genius," he observes, " endowed with a 
metaphysical acuteness to discern truth and falsehood, and 
a strong sensibility to give way to his sense of it, such an 
origin, however respectable in the ordinary point of view, 
was not the very luckiest that could have happened for the 
purpose of keeping him within ordinary bounds. With 
what feelings is truth to open its eyes upon this world, 
among the most respectable of our mere party gentry 1 
Among licensed contradictions of all sorts 1 Among the 
Christian's doctrines, and the worldly practices? Among 
fox-hunters and their chaplains ? Among beneficed loung- 
ers, noli-episcoparian bishops, rakish old gentlemen, and 
more startling young ones, who are old in the folly of know- 
ingness 1 In short, among all those professed demands of 
what is right and noble, mixed wkh real inculcations of 
what is wrong and full of hypocrisy t * * • Mr. Shelley 
began to think at a very early age, and to think, too, of these 
anomalies. He saw that at every step in life some com- 
promise was expected between the truth which he was 
told he was not to violate, and a coloring and a double 
meaning of it, which forced him upon the violation." 

This is, no doubt, the great secret of both the noble re- 
solve of Shelley to burst at once loose from this convention- 
al labyrinth, and of the length to which the impetus of his 
effort carried him. He saw that truth and falsehood were 
so intimately mixed in all the education, life, and purposes 
of the class by which he was surrounded, that he suspect- 
ed the same mixture in every thing ; and the very effort 

to oWr himself of tbU state of i 
him into ''the natural result of rejecting 4ndiecriminete)j r in 
the cue of Christianity, the grain with the cheC At ev- 
ery school to which he was sent, he found die same system 
existing. Education was molded tea. great national plan- 
to a future support of a church and e party. The noble 
heart of the-boy rebelled against this sacrifice of truth to 
interest, and, I believe* at every school to which he went, 
showed a firm resolve never to bend to it. He was brought 
up for the first seven or eight years in the retirement of 
Field Place with his sisters, receiving the same education 
as they ; and hence, it is stated, he never showed the least 
taste for the sports or amusements of boys. Captain Mod- 
win tells us that it was nor Eton, but Sion House, Brent- 
ford, to which he alludes in his introductory stanzas to die 
Revolt of Islam, where he says, 

"Thereto** ^ 

From the near school-room voice* that, alaa ! • 
Were but an echo from a world of woes, 
The harsh and grating strife of tyrants end of foes." 

Captain Med win, who is a relative, was Shelley's school- 
fellow there, and says, " this place was a perfect hell to 
8helley. His pure and virgin mind was shocked by the 
language and manners of his new companions ; but, though 
forced to be with them, he was not of them. Methmks I 
see him now, pacing with rapid strides a favorite and re- 
mote spot of the play-ground, generally alone, and 
he says, he formed these resolutions : 


And just, and free, and mild, if in me lies 
Sneh power; for I grow weary to behold 
The eelfiih and the strong Hill tyrannise 
Without reproach or check.' 

** Tyranny," continues Captain Medwin, " generally pro- 
duces tyranny in common minds ; not so with Shelley. 
Doubtless much of his hatred of oppression may be attrib- 


uted to what he saw and suffered at this school ; and so 
odious was the recollection of the place to both of us, that 
we never made it a subject of conversation in after life. 
He was, as a schoolboy, exceedingly shy, bashful, and re- 
served ; indeed, though peculiarly gentle, and elegant, and 
refined in his manners, he never entirely got rid of his dif- 
fidence ; and who would have wished be should 1 With 
the character of true genius, he was ever modest, humble, 
and prepared to acknowledge merit; wherever he found it, 
without any desire to shine himself by making a foil of 

Yet it was this gentle and shy boy, who had so early re- 
solved to be "just, and free, and mild/ 1 that was roused by 
his sense of truth, and his abhorrence of oppression, to make 
the most bold and determined stand against unjust and de- 
grading customs, however sanctioned by time, place, or 
persons. At Eton, whither he went at the age of thirteen, 
he rose up stoutly in opposition to the system of fagging. 
He organized a conspiracy against' it, and for a time com- 
pelled it to pause. While thus resisting school tyranny, he 
was reading deeply of German romances and poetry ; and 
to Burger's Leonora, and the ghost stories and legends of 
the Black Forest, has been traced his fondness for the ro- 
mantic, the marvelous, and the mystic, rjis mind was 
rapidly unfolding, and to the high pitch of his moral nature 
and aims, these stanzas from the Dedication to the Revolt 
of Islam bear touching testimony : 

" Thoughts of great deeds were mine, dear friend, when fint 
The clouds that wrap this world from youth did ] 
1 do remember well the hour which burst 

My spirit's sleep : a fresh May-day it was 

When I walked forth upon the glittering grass, 

- And wept, I knew not why ; until there rose 

From the near school-room voices that, alas ! 

Were but an echo from a world of woes, 

The harsh and grating strife of tyrants and of foes. 


489 MMLLii. 


Bat none wu near to mark my etreaming eye 
.Which pooped their warm drop* oik the saury gi 

80 without aheme I jpoke, C I «fct» wise. 
And jut, tad free, tad mild, ******* 
. Such power; far I grow* 
The tela* and the strong sail I 

Without reproach or cheek.' It 
My tew; my heart grew cafan, and I was meek and bold. 

GTeap knowledge torn forbidden mmetofkre; 
Tet'noibiagtiiatmytyimDtkBewortaa^it * ^ 

I oared to learn; hot from that aaeret etore 

Wronght linked .armor for pry eonl before 
It might walk forth to waf among ineakmd." 

This war began in earnest at Oxford. He had left Eton, 
it is understood, before the- usual time, and in c on sequence 
of his resistance to the practices which he there found in- 
consistent with his ideas of self-respect : what was to be 
hoped from Oxford 1 The contest into which he soon fell 
with the principal of University College on theological and 
metaphysical questions, quickly led to his expulsion. No 
circumstance in his history has made so much noise as this; 
on it turned the whole character of his destiny. He was 
expelled on a charge of atheism. In the New Monthly 
Magazine for 1833 is given " The History of Shelley's Ex- 
pulsion from Oxford." From this account, nothing could 
have been more barbarous, unfeeling, and tyrannical than 
the conduct of the principal on this occasion. It appears 
that Shelley and some of his companions had indulged 
themselves in puzzling the logicians. They had made a 
careful analysis of Locke on the Human Understanding, and 
Hume's Essays, particularly the latter, as was customary 
with those who read the Ethics, and other treatises of Aris- 
totle, for their degrees. They printed a syllabus of these, 
and challenged, not only the heads of houses, but others, to 
answer them. " It was," says the writer, " never offered 
for sale : it was not addressed to the general reader, but to 

IRSLLM. 400 

the metaphysician alone ; and rt was so short that it only 
designed to point out the line of argument. It was, in 
truth, a general issue ; a compendious denial of every alle- 
gation, in order to put the whole case in proof. It was a 
formal mode of saying, You offer so and so-— then prove 
it ; and thus was it understood by his more candid and in- 
telligent correspondents. As it was shorter, so it was 
plainer, and, perhaps, in order to provoke discussion, a little 
bolder than Hume's Essays, a book which occupies a con- 
spicuous place in the library of every student. The doc- 
trine, if it deserve the name, was precisely similar; the 
necessary and inevitable consequence of Locke's philoso- 
phy, and of the theory that all knowledge is from without. 
I will not admit your conclusions, his opponent might say ; 
then you must deny those of Hume ^ I deny them ; but you 
must deny those of Locke also; and we will go back to- 
gether to Plato. Such was the usual course of argument ; 
sometimes, however, he rested on mere denial, holding his 
adversary to strict proof, and deriving strength from his 
weakness. The young Platonist argued thus negatively 
through the love of argument, and because he found a noble 
joy in the fierce shock of contending minds. He loved 
truth, and sought it every where, and at all hazards, frankly 
and boldly, like a man who deserved to find it ; but he also 
dearly loved victory in debate, and warm debate for its 
own sake. Never was there a more unexceptionable dis- 
putant. He was eager beyond the most ardent, but never 
angry and never personal ; he was the only arguer I ever 
knew who drew every argument from the nature of the 
thing, and who never could be provoked to descend to per- 
sonal contentions." — P. 25 of Tart II. 

This is a very different thing to the foul and offensive 
statement put forth to the world, that Shelley avowedly, 
with his name, put forth a pamphlet on atheism, challenging 
the whole bench of bishops to refute it, for the sake and from 
the mere love of atheism. Not less disgraceful was the 

* ft 

y ¥- 

«xzffc*x?ed of this pun- 
l - i --S-. TaMtf'rr-j t^jc of a college 
r_z= ^ ex launcnrfB ii»i inauspicious 
. - .^r.-^rsi^fx btt -: Tie caster astbe 
~_i_ - r tn* iii-cs rr ^--,as.:~. he was, as 
■r^-.-rt-x v-ni ^w i«:ac ar'.eo^iJ bene- 
r T"» ssKCer himself a 
a nan p .igggka g so more 
rax. «« ^nssiiied 
[ "« wrr-ELy than 
>~ .1 7 V - v a ii jueL> f:c=c a wa- 
?=■- T Jij *tf tj tw jrm: Hellespont," 
* . rr-s- jt! " »i *em 3C =as *:=ce; 
jr.. tw* «■ ana m«» Wi-Iefce 
*^r **.t.»3t • n imL . ami irxik treelj 
r^ -cs^uatni. "arTmrKic ae whole 
▼r?. .> as* mac acoiy. rj cow sa- 
nK ?w mr Torus irenafli 
iac It us itmipsece c: the 

• SI £ L L fc Y. 501 

that time, and all wholesome discipline fallen into decay, 
but the splendid endowments of the University were grossly 
abused. The resident authorities of the college were, too 
often, men of the lowest origin ; of mean and sordid souls ; 
destitute of every literary attainment except that brief and 
narrow course of reading by which the degree was attain- 
ed ; the vulgar sons of vulgar fathers ; without liberality, 
and wanting the manners and sympathies of gentlemen. A 
total neglect of all learning, an unseemly turbulence, the 
most monstrous irregularities, open and habitual drunken- 
ness, vice, and violence, were tolerated or encouraged, with 
the basest sycophancy, that the prospect of perpetual licen- 
tiousness might fill the colleges with young men of fortune. 
Whenever the rarely-exercised power of coercion was ex- 
ercised, it demonstrated the utter incapacity of our un- 
worthy rulers, by coarseness, ignorance, and injustice. If 
a few gentlemen were admitted to fellowships, they were 
always absent ; they were not persons, of literary preten- 
sions, or distinguished by scholarship, and they had no 
share in the government of the college." — P. 26. 

It is fitting that the world should know out of what a sty, 
anctby what swine, Shelley was expelled from Oxford. It 
seems that any crime or licentiousness might be practiced 
-—nay, was encouraged — so that no question of learning 
was provokingly pushed forward that might show the igno- 
rance, and thus wound the brutal pride of the fellows. Let 
us now see the manner in which it was done. 

* As the term was drawing to a close, and a great part of 
the books we were reading together still remained unfinish- 
ed, we had agreed to increase ouf exertions, and to meet at 
an early hour. It was a fine spring morning, on Lady Day, 
in the year 1811, when I went to Shelley's rooms : he was 
absent ; but before I had collected our books he rushed in. 
He was terribly agitated. I anxiously inquired what had 
happened. 'I am expelled,' he said, as soon as he had 
recovered himself a little, ' I am expelled ! I was sent 

802 iHULir. 

for suddenly a few minutes ago; I went to the common 
room, where I found our master, and two or three of the 
fellows. The master produced a copy of the little syllabus, 
and asked me if I were the author of it. He spoke in a 
rude, abrupt; and insolent tone. I begged to be informed 
for what purpose they put the question. No answer was 
given ; but the master loudly and angrily repeated, " Are 
you the author of this book V " If I can judge from 
your manner/' I said, " you are resolved to punish me if I 
should acknowledge that it is my work. If you can prove 
that it is, produce your evidence j U is neither just nor law* 
ful to interrogate me in such a case and for such a purpose. 
Such proceedings would become a court of inquisitors, but 
not free men in a free country." " Do you choose to deny 
that this is your composition 1" the master reiterated in the 
same rude and angry voice.' 

" Shelley complained much of his violent and ungentle- 
man-like deportment, saying, ' I have experienced tyranny 
and injustice before, and I well know what vulgar insolence 
is ; but I never met with such unworthy treatment. I told 
him calmly, but firmly, that I was resolved not to answer 
any questions respecting the publication on the table.' 
• Then,' said he, furiously, • you are expelled, and I desire 
you will quit the college early to-morrow morning, at the 
latest' " 

A regular sentence of expulsion, ready drawn up in due 
form, was handed to him, under the seal of the college. So 
monstrous and illegal did the outrage aeem to one of Shel- 
ley's fellow-stud en ts, that he immediately wrote a remon- 
strance to the master and fellows against it, declaring that he 
himself, or any one else in that college, might just as well be 
treated in the same manner. The consequence was, that he 
teas immediately treated in the same manner. He was called 
before this tribunal. " The angry and troubled air," he says, 
in a statement to the writer of the article, " of men assem- 
bled to commit injustice, according to established forms, 

• M E L L E Y. 603 

was new to me ; but a native instinct told me, as soon as I 
entered the room, that it was an affair of party ; that what- 
ever could conciliate the favor of patrons was to be done 
without scruple, and whatever could tend to prevent pref- 
erment was to be brushed away without remorse." The 
same question was put to him ; he refused to answer it, 
and he was also expelled with the same summary violence. 
Thus were Shelley and another youth of eighteen ex* 
pelled and branded for life with the stigma of atheism, to 
serve the sordid ends of those greedy preferment-seeking 
fellows. They were expelled simply because they refused 
to criminate themselves, and the boast of a virtuous zeal 
against atheism was trumpeted abroad, which soon raised 
one man to a bishopric, and others, no doubt, to what they 
wanted. So are sacrificed the rare spirits of the earth for 
the worldly benefit of the bogs of Epicurus. If all the youths 
were treated thus brutally at that age, when doubts beset 
almost every man, and more especially the earnest and in- 
quiring, what would become of our finest and noblest char- 
acters 1 When men begin to study the grounds of theolo- 
gy, they must study, too* what is advanced by the opposers. 
The consequence is at once, that all that has been received 
as fact by unquestioning boyhood, falls to the ground, and 
they have to begin again, and test, through doubts and anxi- 
eties, and amid the menaces of despair, all the evidence on 
which our faith is built. Seize on any one of these inquir- 
ers at this peculiar crisis, and expel him for atheism, and, 
if he be a man of quicjc feelings and a high spirit, you will 
pretty certainly make him that for which you have stigma- 
tized him. His pride will unite with his doubts to fix him, 
to petrify him, were, into incurable unbelief. It would 
be a brutal and murderous procedure. Such procedure 
had the worst effect on Shelley. The consequences were 
a sort of repudiation of him by his father and family, who 
had built the highest worldly hopes on his talenja. There 
was a fierce hue and cry set up after him in die wtorld, and 

'.« a 

i : -li -j= _r*»- ne east iiSKSs:- 
1- -eesieti -r^uea*. innarrey izd 

i -ti- »i- zi.r* let-Eiy "nan *ts 

— - -r -r=s-rc :atL ie Jeen r-aau 

- 3=^. i _-: — .e inc. u i 
"T-t^- -er-irae^x ice 2 

r^ xu ■"■ ■ * ■:?* : r ?ilt ^ r. 

ssTScrasti mam . f»ti*f~a iiu 

. x. ze rzse .2 L^iar i- le :e- 
-is :3agasgK,^5> unle .He nrt-u 
* c r^stiua* t^txacsi nunc 2: uc 

I U £ L L £ ¥. 505 

Place, a corner house next to Hastings-street, are known 
as lodgings of his. He was also in Dublin, and in North 
Wales, where, in the absence of his landlord, Mr. Mad- 
docks, an extraordinary tide menacing his embankment 
against the sea, Shelley put his name at the head of a sub- 
scription paper for <£500, and, carrying it round the neigh- 
borhood, raised a sum sufficient to prevent this truly Ro- 
man work being destroyed. In 1814 he made, a tour on 
the Continent, visiting France, Switzerland, the Reuss, and 
the Rhine, the magnificent scenery of which produced the 
most striking effects on his mind. In 1815 he made a tour 
along the southern coast of Devonshire, and then renting a 
bouse on Bishopsgate Heath, on the borders of Windsor For- 
est, he spent the summer months in ruminating over the 
scenes be had visited, and produced there his -poem of 
Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude. The next year he again 
visited the Continent. He was now married to Mary 
Wolstoncroft Godwin, who accompanied him. They fixed 
their residence for a time on the banks of the Lake of 

Here Shelley and Lord Byron first met ; they had cor- 
responded before, but here began that friendship which 
contributed so palpably to the purification and elevation of 
tone in the higher poetry of Byron. They seemed equally 
pleased with each other. Byron was occupying the Villa 
Diodati ; a name connected with Milton, and, perhaps, one 
of the noble poet's reasons for choosing it as a residence, 
Shelley engaged one just below it, in a most sequestered 
spot. There was no access to it iu a carriage ; it stood only 
separated from the lake by a small garden, much overgrown 
by trees, and a pathway through the vineyard of Diodati 
communicated with it. The two poets entered deeply into 
poetical disquisition. Nothing could be more opposite 
than their natures and their poetic tendencies. Shelley 
was all imagination ; Byron had a strong tendencjr to the 
actual, or to that which must tell upon the generAmind : 

Vol.!.— Y 


Shelley was purely spiritual ; Byron had much of the world 
in him : Shelley was all generosity ; Byron, with a great 
show of it, had a tremendous dash of the selfish. Still, they 
had many things in common. They were fond of boating 
and pistol-ehooting ; they were persecuted by public opin- 
ion ; they had broken from all bonds of ordinary faith, and 
were free in discussion and speculation, as the birds were 
in their flight over their heads. They rowed together round 
the lake, and were very near being lost in a storm upon 
it. They visited together Meillerie and Clarens ; and the 
effect of the scenery on Shelley, with the Nouvelle Heloise 
in his band r was entrancing. He visited, also, Lausanne, 
and while walking in the Acacia Walk belonging to Gib- 
bon's house, he could not help saying, " Gibbon had a cold 
and unimpassioned spirit. I never felt more inclination to 
rail at the prejudices which clung to such a thing, than now 
that Julie and Clarens, Lausanne and the Roman Empire, 
compel me to a contrast between Rousseau and Gibbon." 
His lines on the Bridge of Arve and his Hymn to Intellect- 
ual Beauty were written at this time. 

The poets and Mrs. Shelley were constantly together, 
out in the air amid that sublime scenery in fine weather, 
and in the evenings at each other's houses ; and during a 
week of rain, they horrified themselves with German ghost- 
stories, and gave a mutual challenge to write each one of 
their own. To this we owe the Vampire, which was, on its 
first appearance, attributed to Lord Byron, but was, in reali- 
ty, written by his vain satellite of a physician, Polidori. By- 
ron wrote a story called The Marriage of Belphegor, which 
was to narrate the circumstances of his own — as he was 
now smarting under a recent refusal of his wife to live with 
him ; but on hearing from England that Lady Byron was 
ill, with an impulse that did him honor, he thrust it into the 
fire. What Shelley did does not appear, but the production 
of Mrs. Shelley was Frankenstein. 

On his return to England in the autumn of that year, he 

I H E L L E r. 507 

had to endure the misery of his two children being taken 
from him by the Court of Chancery, on the ground of his 
disbelief of revealed religion, and the authorship of Queen 
Mab, a work published without his consent. It was at this 
period that he went to live at Great Marlowe, in Bucking- 
hamshire. Mrs. Shelley says, " Shelley's choice of abode 
was fixed chiefly by this town being at no great distance 
from London, and its neighborhood to the Thames. The 
poem of the Revolt of Islam was written in his boat, as it 
floated under the beech groves of Bis ham, or during wan- 
derings in the neighboring country, which is distinguished 
for its peculiar beauty. The chalk-hills break into cliffs 
that overhang the Thames, or form valleys clothed with 
beech. - The wilder portion of the country is rendered 
beautiful by exuberant vegetation, and the cultivated part 
is particularly fertile. With all this wealth of nature, 
which, either in the form of gentlemen's parks, or soil ded- 
icated to agriculture, flourishes around, Marlowe was in- 
habited — I hope it is altered now— by a very poor popula- 
tion. The women are lace-makers, and lose their health 
by sedentary labor, for which they are very ill paid. The 
poor-laws ground to the dust not only the paupers, but those 
who had risen just above that state, and were obliged to 
pay poor-rates. The change produced by peace following 
a long war, and a bad harvest, brought with them the most 
heart-rending evils to the poor. Shelley afforded what al- 
leviation he could. In winter, while bringing out his poem, 
he had a severe attack of ophthalmia, caught while visiting 
the cottages. I mention these things — for this minute and 
active sympathy with his fellow-creatures gives a thousand* 
fold interest to his speculations, and stamps with reality his 
pleadings for the human race." 

Shelley does not seem to have had any acquaintance at 
Marlowe or in the neighborhood ; it was simply the charm 
of the country and the river which attracted him ; but his 
friend Mr. Peacock, of the India House^waa residing them 

508 BBELiir. 

at the time, either drawn there by Shelley, or Shelley by 
him. Marlowe stands in a fine open valley, on the banks 
of the Thames. The river here is beautiful, running bank* 
ml through the most beautiful meadows, level as a bowling 
green, of the richest verdure, and of a fine, ample, airy ex- 
tent. Beyond the river these meadows are bounded by 
steep hills clothed with noble woods, and a more charming 
scene for boating can not be imagined. The grass and 
flowers on the river margin overhang and dip lovingly into 
the waters, which, from running over a chalk bottom, are 
as transparent nearly as the air itself; and at the various 
turns of the river new features of beauty salute you. Im- 
pending woods, which invite you to land and stroll away 
into them ; solitary valleys, where house or man is not seen; 
and then, again, cultivated farms, and hills covered with 
flocks. No wonder that Shelley was all summer floating 
upon this fine river, and luxuriating in the composition of 
his splendid poem. A little below the town stands the vil- 
lage of Little Marlowe, with its gray church, and old man- 
or-bouse, called Bisham Abbey, amid its fine trees; and 
around, a lovely scene of the softly flowing, beautiful river, 
the level meads, and the hills and woods. On the other 
side of the town, the country is of that clear, bright aspect, 
witH its tillage farms and isolated clumps of beech on swell- 
ing hills, which always marks a chalk district. The town 
itself is small, and intensely quiet. The houses are low and 
clean-looking, as if no smoke ever fell on them from the 
pure diaphanous air. It consists of three principal streets, 
something in the shape of the letter T, with some smaller 
ones. In passing along it, you would not suspect it of that 
intense poverty which Mrs. Shelley speaks of, though, from 
the wretched depression of the hand-lace weaving, it may 
exist. The houses have a neat miniature look, and the 
people look cheerful, healthy, and the women of a very 
agreeable expression of countenance. 

Such was the spot where Shelley resided eigfat-and-twen- 

I H K L L I T. 509 

ty yearn ago. His house was in the main street— a long 
stuccoed dwelling, of that species of nondescript architect- 
tire which once was thought Gothic, because it had pointed 
windows and battlements. It must hate been then a spa- 
cious and a very pleasant residence. It is now, as is the 
lot of most places in which poets have lived, desolated and 
desecrated. It is divided into three tenements, a school, a 
private house, and a pot-house. I entered the latter, and 
with a strange feeling. In a large room with a boarded 
floor, and which had probably been Shelley's dining-room, 
Was a sort of bar partitioned off, and a number of visitors 
were drinking on benches along the walls, which still bore 
traces, amid disfigurement and stains, of former taste. The 
garden behind had evidently been extensive, and very 
pleasant. There were remains of fine evergreen trees, and 
of a mound on which grew some deciduous cypresses, 
where had evidently stood a summer-house. This was 
gone. The garden was divided into as many portions as 
there were now tenants, and all evidences of care had van- 
ished from it. Along the side of it, however, lay a fine 
open meadow, and the eye ran across this to some sweetly 
wooded hills. It was a melancholy thing to go back to the 
time when Shelley and his wife and friends walked in this 
garden, enjoying it and its surrounding quiet scenery, and 
to reflect what had been the subsequent fate of it and him. 
Among the poor of the town the remembrance of his be- 
nevolence and unassuming kindness had still chroniclers ; 
but from the other classes little could be learned, and that 
not what the memory of such a man deserves. One old 
shopkeeper, not far from his house, remembered him, and 
"hoped his children did not take after him." "Why?" 
" Oh ! he was a very bad man !" " Indeed ! what bad ac- 
tions did he do V* " Oh ! I beg your pardon ! he did no 
bad actions that I ever heard of, but, on the contrary, he 
was uncommonly good to the poor; but then—" "But 
then, what t" "Why, he did not believe in the devil!" 

610 0RILL1T, 

Such are the fruits of bigot teaching. - Chris* says, "By 
their fruit* shall ye know" men; but those calling them- 
selves his followers say,- " No;" no matter what good fruits 
men produce, they are all doomed to perdition if they cast 
a single aspersion on that very favorite personage, Satan. 
I begged the poor man, of whom I found Shelley bought 
no groceries, to at least leave Shelley to the judgment of 
his God and of Christ, who tame to seek and to save all 
that were lost; and to believe those great assurances of 
the Gospel, that the prodigal, when be had committed all 
kind of crimes, found not only a pacified, but a fond father; 
that he that hath not charity is as sounding brass and a 
tinkling cymbal ; and that he that loveth intensely, though 
he may think very erroneously, will stand a very fair chance 
with the Father of love himself. 

" But, pray r what has become of this Mr. Shelley, then V* 
asked the man's wife, who had come from an inner room. 
" He was drowned," I replied. " OH ! that's just what one 
might have expected. Drowned! Lud-a-mercy! ay, just 
what we might ha' said he'd come to. He was always on 
the water, always boating, boating — never easy but when 
he was in that boat Do you know what a trick was played 
him by some wag 1" " No." " He called bis boat • VagaJ 
and one morning be found the name lengthened by a piece 
of chalk with the word « bond*— Vagabond. There are 
clever follows here as well as in London, mind you. But 
Mr. Shelley was not offended. He only laughed; for, you 
Bee, be did not believe in a devil, and so he thought there 
could be nothing wrong. • He used to say, when he heard 
of any wickedness, * Ah, poor people ! it's only ignorance ; 
if they knew better, they'd do better !' Oh ! what darkness 
and heathenry ! to excuse sin, and feel no godly jealousy 
against wickedness !" I found that the crabbed creedsman 
had been there too long before me. My hint about charity 
was thrown away, and I moved, off, lest both myself and 
Jesus Christ, who would not condemn even the adulteress 


at the desire of the vengeful and the sensual, should be 
found wanting in holy indignation too. 

It was in vain that I inquired among the class of little 
gentry in the place for information about Shelley ; they 
knew nothing of any such person. At length, after much 
research, and the running to and fro of waiters from the 
inn, I was directed to an ancient surgeon, who had attended 
almost every body for the last half century. I found him 
an old man of nearly ninety. He recollected Shelley ; had 
attended him, but knew little about him. He was a very 
unsocial man, he said ; kept no company but Mr. Peacock's, 
and that of his boat, and was never seen in the town but he 
had a book in his hand, and was reading as he went along^ 
The old gentleman, however, kindly sent his servant to 
point out Shelley's house to me, and as I returned up the 
street, I saw him standing bare-headed* on the pavement 
before his door, in active discourse with various neigh- 
bors. My inquiries had evidently aroused the Mario wean 
curiosity. On coming up, the old gentleman inquired ea- 
gerly if I wanted to learn more yet about Mr. Shelley — I 
had learned little or nothing. I replied that I should be 
very happy. " Then," said he, "come in, sir, for I have 
sent for a gentleman who knows all about him/ 9 I enter- 
ed, and found a tall, well-dressed man, with a very solemn 
aspect. " It is the squire of the place/' said I to myself. 
With a very solemn bow he arose, and with very solemn 
bows we sat down opposite to each other. " I am happy 
to hear," said I, " that you knew Mr. Shelley, and can give 
me some particulars regarding his residence here/' " I 
can, sir," he replied, with another solemn bow. I waited 
to hear news, but I waited in vain. That Mr. Shelley had 
lived there, and that he had long left there, and that his 
house was down the street, and that he was a very extra- 
ordinary man, he knew, and I knew ; but that was all : not 
a word of his doings or his sayings at Marlowe came out 
of the solemn brain of that large, solemn man. But at 

612 BU1LLIY. 

length a degree of interest appeared to gather in his cheek* 
and brighten in his eyes. " Thank God !" I exclaimed, in- 
wardly. " The man is slow, but it is coming now." His 
mouth opened, and he said, " Bat pray, sir, what became 
of that Mr. Shelley!" 

" Good gracious 1" I exclaimed. " What ! did you never 
heart Did it never reach Marlowe— but thirty miles from 
London — that sad story of his death, which created a sensa- 
tion throughout the civilized world V No, the thing had 
never penetrated into the Bceotian denseness of that place ! 
I rose up, and now bowed solemnly too. "And, pray, 
what family might he leave V asked the solemn personage, 
as I was hasting away. "You will learn that," I said, still 
going away, " in the Baronetage, if such a book ever reaches 

I hastened to the inn, where my chaise was standing 
ready for my departure, and was just in the act of entering 
it, when I heard a sort of outcry, perceived a sort of bustle 
behind me, and, turning my head, saw the tall and solemn 
man hasting with huge and anxious strides after me. 

" You'll excuse me, sir — you'll excuse me, I think ; but 
I could relate to you a fact, and I think I will venture to re- 
late to you a fact connected with the late Mr. Shelley." 
" Do," said I. " I think I will," replied the tall, stout man, 
heaving a deep sigh, and erecting himself to his full height, 
far above my head, and casting a most awful glance at the 
sky ; " I think I will — I think I may ventured' " It is cer- 
tainly something very sad and agonizing," I said to myself; 
•' but I wish he would only bring it out." " Well, then," 
continued he, with another heave of his capacious chest, 
and another great glance at the distant horizon, " I cer- 
tainly will mention it. It was this : When Mr. Shelley left 
Marlowe, he ordered all his bills to be paid, most honorably, 
certainly most honorably; and they were paid — all— ex- 
cept — mine ! There, sir ! it is out ; excuse it — excuse it ; 
but I am glad it is out." 

8HEL1IY. 518 

"What ! a bill !" I exclaimed, in profoundest astonish- 
ment ; " a bill ! was that all V 

" All, sir ! all ! every thing of the sort ; every shilling, I 
assure you, has been paid but tny little account; and it 
was my fault; I don't know how in the world 1 forgot to 
send it in." 

" What ! u said I, » are you not the squire here ? . What 
are you V 

"Oh, Lord! no, sir! I am no squire here! I am a 
tradesman ! I am — in the general way !" 

•• Drive on !" I said, springing into the carriage ; " drive 
like the Dragon of Wantley out of this place : Shelley is 
remerabeted in Marlowe because there was one bill left 
unpaid !" 

There again is fame. It would be a curious thing if the 
man who deems himself most thoroughly and universally 
famous, and walks about in the comfortable persuasion of 
it, could see his fame mapped upon the country. What an 
odd figure it would make! A few feeble rays shooting 
here and there, but air around what vast patches of un- 
visited country, what unilluminated regions, what deserts 
of oblivion of his name ! Shelley lived, and suffered, and 
spent himself for mankind ; and, in the place where he last 
lived in England, within thirty miles of the great metropolis 
of genius and knowledge, he is only remembered by a bad 
joke on his boat, by his disbelief of the devil, and by a for- 
gotten bill. Were* it not forgotten, he had been so ! Eheu ! 
jam tads. 

On the 12th of March, 1818, Shelley quitted England 
once more. He was* never to return. His own fate and 
that of Byron were wonderfully alike. The two greatest, 
most original, most powerful, and influential poets of the 
age were driven into exile by the public feeling of their 
country. They could not bring themselves to think on 
political questions with a large party, nor on religious ones 
with a still larger; and every species of vituperation and 



insult was let loose upon them. As if charity and forbear- 
ance had been heathen qualities, and wrath and calumny 
Christian virtues, the British public most loftily resolved 
not to do as Christ required them— to love those who hated 
them and despitefully used them — but to hate those who 
loved them, and had noble virtues, though they had their 
errors. Their errors should have been lamented, and their 
doctrines refuted as much as possible ; but there is no law, 
hitman or divine, that can release us from the law of love, 
and the command of seventy times seven forgiveness of in- 
juries. Both these great men died in their exile of hatred; 
the world had its will for the time, and the spirits of these 
dead outcasts must now have their will, in their deathless 
volumes, to the end of time. 

If any one would know what sort of a man this moral 
monster, Shelley, was, let him read the eloquent account 
of him and his life at Oxford in the New Monthly Maga- 
zine for 1832, written by one who was his friend and com- 
panion, and who, Mrs. Shelley says, has described him most 
faithfully. There we find him full of zeal for learning; 
most zealous in accumulating knowledge ; overflowing in 
kindness ; indignant against all oppression to man or to 
animals. Never failing to rush in on witnessing any cruelty 
or hearing of any calamity, to stop the one and alleviate the 
other. Full of gayety and fun as a child, sailing his paper 
boats on every pool and stream, or rambling far and wide 
over the country in earnest talk and deep love of all nature. 
He was ready to caress children, to smile on even gipsies 
and beggars, to run for refreshment for starving people by 
the way side, pledging even his favorite microscope, his 
daily means of recreation, to assist a poor old man. Such 
was the dreadful creature that must be expelled from col- 
leges, have his children torn from him to prevent the con- 
tamination of his virtues, and to be hooted out of his native 
land. Yet, amid all the anguish that this inflicted on him, 
he was ever ready still to do a sublime good, or enter with 

a H £ L L E T. 515 

the most boyish relish into the merest joke. Nothing can 
convey a more vivid idea of the latter disposition — which is 
not that of a man systematically malicious, which is the true 
spirit of wickedness — than to quote a joke related to him by 
the writer of these articles, and see the manner in which it 
was enjoyed. 

" I was walking one afternoon, in the summer, on the 
western side of that short street leading from Long Acre 
to Covent Garden* where the passenger is earnestly invited, 
as- a personal favor to the demandant, to proceed straight- 
way to Highgate or Kentish Town, and which is called, I 
think, James-street. I was about to enter Covent Garden, 
when an Irish laborer, whom I met bearing an empty hod, 
accosted me somewhat roughly, and asked why I had run 
against him. I told him briefly that he was mistaken. 
Whether somebody had actually pushed the man, or he 
only sought to quarrel, and although he, doubtless, attend- 
ed a weekly row regularly, and the week was already 
drawing to a close, he was unable to wait till Sunday for a 
broken head, I know not, but he discoursed for some time 
with the vehemence of a man who considers himself injured 
or insulted, and he concluded, being emboldened by my long 
silence, with a cordial invitation just to push him again. Sev- 
eral persons, not very unlike in costume, had gathered round 
him, and appeared to regard him with, sympathy. When 
he paused, I addressed him slowly and quietly, and it should 
seem with great , gravity, these words, as nearly as I can 
recollect them : ' I have put my hand into the hamper ; I 
have looked upon the sacred barley j I have eaten out of 
the drum ! I have drunk, and was- well pleased ; I have 
said, icdyf fyi7ra£ and it is finished !' • Have you, sir V in- 
quired the astonished Irishman ; and his ragged friends in- 
stantly pressed round him with, 'Where is the hamper, 
Paddy V * What barley V and the like. And ladies from 
his own country, that is to say, the basket-women, suddenly 
began to interrogate him : • Now, I say, Pat, where have 

616 IIILL1Y, 

you been drinking 1 What hare you hadf I tuned, 
therefore, to the right, leaving the astounded neophyte, 
whom I had thus planted, to expound the mystic words of 
initiation as he could to his inquisitive companions. As I 
walked slowly under the piazzas, and through the streets 
and courts toward the West, I marveled at the ingenuity 
of Orpheus — if he were, indeed, the inventor of the Eleu- 
sinian mysteries ; that be was able to devise words that, 
imperfectly as I had repeated them, and in the tattered 
fragment that has reached us, were able to soothe people 
so savage and barbarous as those to whom I had addressed 
mem, and which, as the apologists for those venerable rites 
affirm, were manifestly well adapted to incite persons who 
hear them for the first time, however rude they may be, to 
ask questions; Words that can awaken curiosity even in 
the sluggish intellect of a wild man, and can open the inlet 
of knowledge !" 

- M Konx ompax ; and it is finished !". exclaimed Shelley, 
crowing with enthusiastic delight at my whimsical adven- 
ture. A thousand times, as he strode about the house, and 
in his rambles out of doors, he would stop and .repeat the 
mystic words of initiation, but always with an energy of 
manner, and a vehemence of tone and gesture, that would 
have prevented the ready acceptance which a calm, pas- 
sionless delivery had once procured for them. How often 
would he throw down his book, clasp his hands, and, start- 
ing from his seat, cry suddenly, with a thrilling voice, ** I 
have said Konx ompax; and it is finished !" 

This child-like, this great, and greatly kind, and if men 
would have let him, this light-hearted man, thus then quit- 
ted England. Like Byron, he sought a home in Italy. He 
lived in various cities, and wrote there his very finest works ; 
among them, Prometheus Unbound ; The Cenci ; Hellas ; 
part 6f Rosalind and Helen ; his Ode to Liberty, perhaps 
the very finest ode in the language, and certainly, in its de- 
scription of Athens,* never excelled in any pieee of de- 

S H E L L I T. 517 

scription in any language ; Adonais, an elegy on the death 
of Keats, and those very melancholy verses written in the 
Bay of Naples. He was drowned, as is well known, by the 
■inking of his boat in a squall, in the Gulf of Spezia, in the 
summer of 1822, at the age of thirty. 

Shelley must have enjoyed this portion of his life beyond 
all Others, had he been in health and spirits. He was 
united to a woman worthy of him, and who could partake 
of all his intellectual pleasures. Children were growing 
around him, and he was living in that beautiful country, 
surrounded by the remains of former art and history, and 
under that fine sky, pouring out from heart and brain, glo- 
rious, and impassioned, and immortal works. But his 
health failed him, and the darts of calumny were rankling 
in his bosom, depressing his spirits, and sapping his consti- 
tution. I can only allow myself a few passing glances at 
his homes in Italy, of which Mrs. Shelley has given us such 
delightful sketches in the notes to her edition of her bus- 
Hand's poems. 

They went direct to Milan, and visited the Lake of Como; 
then proceeding to Pisa, Leghorn, the Baths of Lucca, Ven- 
ice, Este, Rome, Naples, and back to Rome for the winter. 
There he chiefly wrote his Prometheus. In 1818 they 
were at the Baths of Lucca, where Shelley finished Rosa- 
lind and Helen. Thence he visited Venice, and occupied 
a house lent him by Lord Byron at Este. •■ 1 Capuciui 
was a villa built on the site of a Capuchin convent, demol- 
ished when the French suppressed religious houses. It 
was situated on the very overhanging brow of a low hill, at 
the foot of a range of higher ones. The house was cheer- 
ful and pleasant ; a vine-trellised walk, or pergola, as it is 
called in Italian, led from the hall door to a summer-house 
at the end of the garden, which Shelley made his study, and 
in which he began the Prometheus ; and here, also, as he 
mentioned in a letter, he wrote Julian and Maddalo. A 
slight ravine, with a wood in its depth, divided the « 



from the bill; on which stood the ruins of .the ancient Castle 
of Este, whose dark, massive wall gave forth an echo, and 
from whose ivied crevices owls and bats flitted forth at 
night, as the crescent moon sank behink the black and 
heavy battlements. We looked from the garden over the 
wide plain of Lombardy, bounded to the west by the far 
Apennines; while to the east, the horizon was lost in 
misty distance. After the picturesque but limited view of 
mountain, ravine, and chestnut wood at the Baths of Lucca, 
there was something infinitely gratifying to the eye in the 
wide range of prospect commanded by our new abode." 

Here they lost a little girl, and quitting the neighborhood 
of Venice, they proceeded southward. Shelley was de- 
lighted beyond expression with the scenery and antiquities 
of Italy. " The aspect of its nature, its sunny sky, its ma- 
jestic streams ; the luxuriant vegetation of the country, and 
the noble, marble-built cities, enchanted him. The first en- 
trance to Rome opened to him a scene of remains of an- 
cient grandeur that far surpassed his expectations ; and the 
unspeakable beauty of Naples and its environs added to 
the impression he received of the transcendent and glorious 
beauty of Italy." 

The winter was spent at Naples, where they lived in ut- 
ter solitude, yet greatly enjoyed their excursions along its 
sunny sea or into its beautiful environs. From Naples 
they returned to Rome, where they arrived in March, 1819. 
Here they had the old MS. account of the story of the Cenci 
put into their hands, and visited the Doria and Colouua 
palaces, where the portraits of Beatrice were to be found. 
Her beauty cast the reflection of its grace over her appall- 
ing story, and Shelley conceived the subject of his master- 
ly drama. In Rome they lost their eldest child, a very 
lovely and engaging boy, and, quitting the Eternal City, took 
the villa Valsovano, between Leghorn and Monte Nero, 
where they resided during the summer. " Our villa," says 
Mrs. Shelley, " was situated in the midst of a podere ; the 

I U I L L I Y. 510 

peasants sang as they worked beneath our windows, during 
the heat of a very hot season ; and in the evening the wa- 
ter-wheel creaked as the progress of irrigation went on, 
and the fire-flies flashed among the myrtle hedges ; nature 
was bright, sunshiny, and cheerful, or diversified by storms 
of a majestic terror, such as we had never before witnessed. 

" At the top of the house there was a sort of terrace. 
There is often such in Italy, generally roofed. This one 
was very small, yet not only roofod r but glazed. This 
Shelley made his study ; it looked out on a wide prospect 
of fertile country, and commanded a view of the near sea. 
The storms that sometimes varied our day, showed them- 
selves most picturesquely as they were driven across the 
ocean. Sometimes the dark, lurid clouds dipped toward 
the waves, and became water-spouts, that churned up the 
waters beneath as they were chased onward, and scattered 
by the tempest. At other times the dazzling sunlight and 
heat made it almost intolerable to every other ; but Shelley 
basked in both, and his health and spirits revived under 
their influence. In this airy cell he wrote the principal 
part of the Cerici." 

They spent part of the year 1819 in Florence, where 
Shelley passed several hours dayly in the Gallery, studying 
the works of art, and making notes. The summer of 1820 
was spent chiefly at the Baths of Guiliano, near Pisa, where 
Shelley made a solitary journey on foot during some of the 
hottest weather of the season to the summit of Monte San 
Pelegrino, a mountain on which stands a pilgrimage chap- 
el, much frequented ; and during this expedition he con- 
ceived the idea of The Witch of Atlas, and immediately 
on his return sat down and wrote it in three days. An 
overflowing of the Serchio inundated the house, and caused 
them to quit San Guiliano : they returned to Pisa. 

In 1821, the Spanish Revolution excited throughout Italy 
a similar spirit. In Naples, Genoa, Piedmont, almost every 
where, the spirit of revolt showed itself; and Shelley, still 

030 <*■ .1 » ■ IL LIT. 

at Pisa, sympathized enthusiastically with these i 
Then came the news of the Greek insurrection, and the 
battle of Navarino, which put the climax to his joy; and 
in this exaltation he wrote Hellas. These circumstances 
seem to have given a new life to him. He had now bis 
new boat, and was sailing it on the Arno. It waa a pleas- 
ant summer, says Mrs. Shelley, bright in all but Shelley's 
health; yet -he enjoyed himself greatly. He waa in high 
anticipation of the arrival of Leigh Hunt ; and at this j tinc- 
ture, the now happy poet and his family made their last 
remove. Lei us give the deeply interesting picture of 
Shelley's last home in the words of his gifted wife, 
• " The Bay of Spezia is of considerable extent, and is di- 
vided by a rocky promontory into a larger and a smaller 
one. The town of Lerici is situated on the eastern point, 
and in the depth of the smaller bay, which bears the name 
of this town, is the village of Sant Arenzo. Our house, 
Casa Magni, was close to this village ; the sea came up to 
the door, a steep hill sheltered it behind. The proprietor 
of the estate was insane ; he had begun to erect a large 
house at the summit of the hill behind, but his malady pre- 
vented its being finished, and it was falling into ruin. He 
had, and this, to the Italians, seemed a glaring symptom of 
decided madness, rooted up the olives on the hill-side, and 
planted forest trees. These were mostly young ; but the 
plantation was more in English taste than I ever saw else- 
where in Italy. Some fine walnut and ilex trees intermin- 
gled their dark, massy foliage, and formed groups which 
still haunt my memory, sa then they satiated the eye with 
a sense of loveliness. The scene was, indeed, of unimag- 
inable beauty; the blue extent of waters, the almost land- 
locked bay, the near Castle of Lerici, shutting it in to the 
east, and distant Porto Venere to the west ; the various 
forms of precipitous rocks that bound in the beach, near 
which there was only a winding, rugged path toward Leri- 
ci, and none on the other side ; the tideless sea, leaving no 


Bands nor shingle, formed a picture such as one sees in 
Salvator Rosa's landscapes only. Sometimes the sunshine 
vanished when the sirocco raged — the ponente, the wind 
was called on that shore. The gales and squalls that hail- 
ed our first arrival surrounded the bay with foam ; the 
howling wind swept round our exposed house, and the sea 
roared unremittingly, so that we almost fancied ourselves 
on board ship. At other times sunshine and calm- invested 
sea and sky, and the rich tints of Italian heaven bathed the 
scene in bright and ever-varying hues. 

" The patives were wilder than the place. Our near 
neighbors, of Sant Arenzo, were more like savages than 
any people I ever before lived among. Many a night they 
passed on the beach, singing, or, rather, howling ; the wom- 
en dancing about among the waves that broke at their feet, 
the men leaning against the rocks, and joining in their loud, 
wild chorus. We could get no provisions nearer than Sar- 
zana, at a distance of three miles and a half off, with the 
torrent of the Margra between ; and even there the supply 
was deficient. Had we been wrecked on an island of the 
South Seas, we could scarcely have felt ourselves further 
from civilization and comfort; but where the sun shines, 
the latter becomes an unnecessary luxury, and we had 
enough society among ourselves. Yet, I confess, house- 
keeping became rather a toilsome task, especially as I 
was suffering in my health, and could not exert myself ac- 

To this wild region they had come to indulge Shelley's 
passion for boating. News came of Leigh Hunt having 
arrived at Pisa. Shelley, and his friend Captain Ellerker 
Williams, set out to welcome him, and were on their return 
to Lerici when the fatal squall came on, and they went 
down in a moment. The particulars of that event, and the 
singular scene of the burning of the body by his friends, 
Byron, Hunt, Trelawney, and Captain Shenley, have been 
■o vividly related by Mr. Hunt as to be familiar to every 

>• •■■». 

588 0HKLLIT. 

one. Shelley had gone down with the last volume of Keats, 
the Lamia, &c, in hia jacket pockety where it waa found 
open. The bodies came on shore near Via Reggie, hot 
had been so long in the aea as to be much decomposed. 
Wood was therefore collected on the strand^ and they 
were burned in the old classical style.- The magnificent 
Bay of Speria, says Mr. Hunt, is on the right of this spot, 
Leghorn on the left, at equal distances of about twenty-two 
miles. The headlands projecting boldly and far into the 
aea, form a deep and dangerous gulf/ with a heavy swell 
and a strong current generally running right into it. 

So ended this extraordinary man his shorty but eventful 
and influential life ; and his ashes were buried near his 
friend John Keats, under a beautiful ruined tower in the 
English burial-ground at Rome. It was remarkable, that 
Shelley always said that no presentiment of evil ever came 
to him except as an unusual elevation of spirits. When 
he was last seen, just before his embarking for his return, 
he was said to be in most brilliant spirits. On the contra- 
ry, Mrs. Shelley says, " If ever shadow of evil darkened 
the present hour, such was over ray mind when they went 
During the whole of our stay at Lerici an intense presenti- 
ment of coming evil brooded over my mind, and covered 
this beautiful place and genial summer with the shadow of 
coming misery. * * A vague expectation of evil shook 
me to agony, and I could scarcely bring myself to let them 
go." The very beauty of the place, she says, seemed un- 
earthly in its excess ; the distance they were from all signs 
of civilization, the sea at their feet, its murmurings or its 
roarings forever in their ears, led the mind to brood over 
strange thoughts, and, lifting it from every-day life, caused 
it to be familiar with the unreal. "Shelley," she adds, 
" had now, as it seemed, almost anticipated his own desti- 
ny; and when the mind figures his skiff wrapped from 
sight by the thunder-storm, as it was last seen upon the 
purple sea, and then aa the cloud of the tempest passed 

E L L E Y. 


•way, no sign remained of where it had been — who but 
will regard as a prophecy the last stanza of the Adonais 1. 

* The breath, whose might I hare invoked in long, 

Descend upon me: my spirit's bark is driven 
Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng, 

Whose sails were never to the tempest given ; 
The massy earth and sphered skies are riven ! 

I am borne darkly, fearfully, alar; 
While burning through the inmost vefl of heaven, 
The soul of Adonais, like a star, 
Beacons from the abode where the eternal are.' " 

b y ft o n . 635 

for their poverty and eccentricity. Commodore Byron, 
whose name will always be remembered from the narrative 
of the sufferings of himself and crew, in consequence of the 
wreck of the Wager, and who was still better known by 
the name of " Foul-weather Jack," from the singular fact 
that he never put to sea, even when holding the rank of 
admiral, and in command of the fleet for the protection of 
the West Indies^ without encountering the most tempestu- 
ous weather, was his grandfather. His father, Captain 
Byron, appears to have been one of the most unprincipled 
and dissipated men of his day. He ran off with the wife 
of Lord Carmarthen to the Continent; and this, of course, 
leading to a divorce, he married Lady Carmarthen, and 
had by her one daughter, the present Hon. Augusta Leigh, 
the wife of Colonel Leigh. Lady Carmarthen did not live 
long; and covered with debt, and pursued by hungry cred- 
itors, Captain Byron looked out for some woman of for- 
tune to victimize to his own comfort. This species of le- 
galized robbery, that is, of selecting a simple and unsus- 
pecting woman to plunder under the sanction of the laws, 
instead of running the hazard of hanging or transportation 
by the more vulgar method of highway robbery, house- 
breaking, or forgery, is one so fashionable, that a man like 
Captaiq Byron was not likely to boggle at it. Of all spe- 
cies of theft, it is the most dastardly and despicable, be- 
cause it is performed under the sacred name of affection. 
The vampire who means to suck the blood of the selected 
victim, makes his approach with flatteries and vows of the 
deepest attachment, of the most eternal tenderness, and 
protection from the ills of life. He wins the heart of the 
confiding woman by the basest lies, and then deliberately 
proceeds to the altar to pronounce before the all-seeing 
God the same falsehood, "to love and comfort," and "cher- 
ish till death," the helpless creature that is binding herself 
for life to ruin and deception. One would think it were 
enough for a man to feel, as he stands thus before God and 

MM irioir, 

man, that he is a mere seeker of creature comforts and 
worldly honor while he is wedding a rich wife; but know- 
ingly to hare picked out his prey under the pretense of 
loving her above all of her sex, in order to hand over her 
estate to his creditors, to defray the scores of his gambling 
and -licentiousness, that characterizes a monster of so re- 
volting a kind, that nothing bat the gradual corruption of 
society through the medium of conventionalism could save 
him from the expatriating execrations of his fellows. 
There are cases of peculiar aggravation of this kind, those 
where the property of the victim is almost wholly demand- 
ed far the liquidation of the demon-lover's debts, and the 
Wife is left to instantaneous beggary. The marriage of 
Captain Byron was one very much of this kind. His wife's 
most convertible property, as bank shares, salmon fisheries, 
money securities, were hastily disposed of; then went the 
timber from her estates, then the estates themselves, all 
amounting to probably <£30,000, leaving her a mere annu- 
ity of <£123 ! The property gone to this mite, the harpy 
husband still hung upon her, and upbraided her with the 
want of further means to contribute to his reckless riot 
With cash extorted from her now severe poverty, he at 
length luckily departed again for the Continent, and died 
at Valenciennes in 1791, when Byron was three years old. 
Such were the circumstances in which Lord Byron en- 
tered the world. If he were the prey of violent passions; 
if he, too, had a tendency to dissipation ; if he, in future 
years, followed his father's example, though not to so cul- 
pable a degree, and married an heiress, 

" And spoiled ber goodly lands to gild his waste." 
there may be some excuse for him, drawn from hereditary 
taint. His father was not the solitary instance of irregu- 
larity, violent passions, and wastefulness. His great- 
uncle, to whose title and diminished property he succeed- 
ed, was of the like stamp. His violence had led to his 
wife's separation from him ; he had killed his next neigh- 

BYRON. 527 

bor, Mr. Chaworth, in a duel; he bad shot his coachman; 
he had hewed down extensive plantations on his estate, 
with the avowed purpose of preventing his son's enjoyment 
of their profit, because he had offended him. This son, and 
also his grandson, died before him, and the wifeless and 
childless old lord had led a moody and solitary life in the 
decaying abbey of Newstead, which threatened to drop 
about his ears, feeding a heap of crickets on the hearth, 
and feared by the whole peasant population of the country 

Such was the paternal lineage of Lord Byron ; his ma- 
ternal one, if more moral, was not the less fiery and vol- 
canic. His mother, a little fat woman, was a woman of a 
most excitable temperament, an evil which no doubt was 
much aggravated by the outrage on her warm affections 
and trust in her husband, which the base object of his mar- 
riage with her revealed in all its blackness to her. She 
appeared all feeling and passion, with very little judgment 
to control them. She was fond to distraction of her child, 
and used to spoil him to the utmost extreme, at the same 
time that her passions occasionally broke out so impetuously 
against his freaks, that she would fling the tongs or poker 
at his head when a mere child. 

At the age of eleven brought to England, and, with all 
this ancestral fire in him, introduced to the ruinous and 
gloomy abode of his forefathers, with the stories of their 
recent doings rife all around him, no wonder that on his 
peculiarly sensitive mind the impression became deep. 
He grew up a Byron in the eccentricity and other charac- 
teristics of his life; like his father, his morals were not 
very nice, his habits were not very temperate, he too mar- 
ried to repair the waste of his lands, and quitted his wife to 
live abroad, and die there a comparatively early death. 
Happily, there was implanted in him an ethereal principle, 
which gave a higher object to the exercise of his passions 
and energies than had of late distinguished his fathers. 

598 i t i o n. 

He was a born poet, and the divine gift of .poetry convert 
ed, in some degree, his hereditary impetuosity tape an en- 
nobling instrument. His very dissipations extended his 
knowledge of life and human natore, and if they led him 
too frequently to seek to embellish sensuality, they com- 
pelled him to depict in the strongest terms thai language 
can Jurnish, the disgust and remorse which inevitably pur- 
sue vice. He was a strange mixture of the poet and the 
man of the world; of the radical 'and- the aristocrat; of 
the scoffer at creeds, and the worshiper of the Divine Be- 
ing in the sublimity of his works. Well was it for him 
and the world that his early years were cast amid the 
beauty and the solitude of nature* where he could wander 
wholly abandoned to the* influence* of heath anstanountain, 
river and forest; and that the prospect of aristocratic 
splendor did not come in to disturb those influences till 
<ffcey had acquired a life-long power over him. The grand- 
eur of nature can not make a poet ; thousands and millions 
live during their whole existences amid its most glorious 
displays, and are little more sentient than the rucks that 
tower around them ; but where the spark of poetry lies la- 
tent, it is sure to call it forth. 
'• *- ' They who ever visit, then, the earliest scenes of Lord 
.^ : Byron's life, will not be surprised at the influence which 

they exercised upon him, nor at the fondness with which 
he cherished the memory of them. This is strongly ex- 
pressed in one of his juvenile poems. 


" Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses ! 

In yon let die minions of luxury rore ; 
Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake rep oses, 

Though still they are sacred to freedom and lore : 
Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains, 

Round their white summits though elements war; 
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains, 

I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr. 

BYRON. 529 

" Ah ! there my young footsteps in infancy wandered ; 
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid ; 
On chieftains long perished my memory pondered, 
As daily I strode through the pine-covered glade: 
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory 
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star ; 
For fancy was cheered by traditional story, 
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr." 

Hours of Idleness, p. 111. 

The, feeling thus ardent in youth was equally vivid to 
the last. Only about two years before his death he wrote 
thus in The Island : 

" He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue 
Will love each peak that shows a kindred hoe; 
Hail in each crag a friend's familiar face, 
And clasp the w wn"»«»t« in his mind's embrace. 
Long have I roved through lands which are not mine, 
Adored the Alp, and loved the Apennine ; 
Revered Parnassus, and beheld the steep 
Jove's Ida, and Olympus crown the deep ; 
But 'twas not all long ages' love, nor all 
Their nature held me in their thrilling thrall ; 
The infant rapture stiQ survived the boy, 
And Loch na Garr with Ma looked o'er Troy; 
Mixed Celtic memories with the Phrygian mount, 
And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount." 

The city of Aberdeen was the place where the chief part 
of the earlier boyhood of Byron was spent. He went 
thither as an unconscious infant, and there, in the neighbor- 
ing Highlands, he continued till in his eleventh year, when 
the title fell to him, and he was brought by his mother to 
England. Aberdeen is a city which must have been a 
very charming abode for a boy of Byron's disposition, 
ready either to mix in the throng of lads of his own age in 
all their plays, contentions, and enterprises, to shoot a mar- 
ble, or box out a quarrel, or to stroll away into the country 
and enjoy nature and liberty with an equal zest. There 
are people who are inclined to think that a great deal of 
the sublime tone of some of Byron's poetry, as that of the 

Vol. I.— 7 


Childe Harold, of the awntiment, almost sentimentality of 

his Hours of Idleness, and many of his smaller poems 

throughout his works, was put on fey him at wQl and for 

.effect. They do not see bos? these things could proceed 

from the same mind as the rodomontade of many of his 

.4. most familiar letters, er the slang and wild humor of many 

parts of Don Juan. How little do such persons know of 

% the human mind ! Did not Tarn O'Shtfnter, and Mary in 

% Heaven, and the Cotter's Saturday Nifebt, all proceed from 

the same mind, and one df the most earnest minds that 

ever lived f Did not the sublime scenes of the Iliad, and 

1 . the battle of the beggars in the Odyssey* and the trick of 

Ulysses in Ae omre of Polypheme, when he called himself 
Noman— so that when Polypheme roared out as they put 
out his eye, and he told his neighbors who came running 
to inquire what was the matter, that Noman hurt him, they 
- replied, 

M If no man hurt thee, why dost thou complain ?" 
and marched away without helping him— did not these 
proceed from the same mind 1 Did not the puns of Hood, 
and the sober ballad of Eugene Aram, and the Song of the 
Shirt, proceed from one and the same mind 1 Did not John 

* Gilpin and the loftiest strains of pious poetry proceed from 

that of Cowper? Did not Chatterton write equally Sly 
Dick and the tragedy of Ella] In fact, we might run 
through the whole circuit of poetic and prose literature, 
and show that the moods of our minds are as various and 
changeable as those of external nature. The very gravest, 
the most steadfast of us, have our transitions from sad to 
gay, from frivolous to the highest tone of the highest pur- 
* pose, with a rapidity that seems to belong to the most 

changeful of us. There is, in fact, no such chameleon, no 
such kaleidoscope as the human mind. Light and shadow 
pass over us, and communicate their lusters or their glooms. 
Facts give us a turn up or down, and the images of our 
brain present new and ever new arrangements. But in all 

BYRON. 581 

this change there is no mere chance, far less confusion ; 
every movement depends on a fixed principle. Perhaps 
there have been few men in whom circumstances-— circum- 
stances of physical organization, of life, and education — 
cherished and made habitual so many varied moods as in 
Lord Byron. Thrown at a very early age into the bosom 
of a beautiful and solitary nature, he imbibed a profound 
and sincere love of nature and solitude. Sent early to pub- 
lic schools to battle his way among boys of his own age, 
and with a personal defect which often subjected him to 
raillery, his native spirit made him bristle up and show 
fight, as he did afterward with his reviewers. Raised to 
rank and wealth, and, spite of his crooked mot, endowed 
with, in all other respects, a very fine person, he was led to 
plunge into the dissipations of young men of his class, and 
he thus acquired a tone of libertinism that ever afterward, 
under the same circumstances, was sure to show itself. Led 
by his quick sense of right and wrong, and by his shrewd 
insight into character, to despise priestcraft and political 
despotism, and spurred on by the spirit of the time, espe- 
cially abroad where he traveled, he imbibed a spirit of 
skepticism and radicalism as principles. From these causes, 
he soon began to exhibit the most opposite phases of char- 
acter. In solitude and nature he was religious in his tone 
— in society, a scoffer ; in solitude he was pensive, and even 
sentimental — in society he was convivial, fond of practical 
jokes, satirical. He wrote like a radical, and spoke like 
an aristocrat. In him Childe Harold and Don Juan, the 
sublime and the ludicrous, the noble and the mean, the sar- 
castic and the tender, the voluptuous and beautifully spirit- 
ual, the pious and the impious, were all embodied. He 
was all these by turns, and in all, for the moment, most sin- 
cere. Like an instrument of many strings, each had its 
peculiar tone, and answered faithfully to the external im- 
pulse. Multifarious as were his moods, you might in any 
given circumstances have predicated which of these would 




prevail* There would be no sensuality in the face of the 
Alps, there would be no sublimity in tb© chy saloon. If 
be bad to speak in the House of Lords, bis speech, by the 
spirit of antagonism, would assuredly be radical ; did he 
come into contact wilb the actual mob, be would case him- 
■elf in the hauteur of the aristocrat. With nature, he was 
ashamed of men, and his doings and sayings among them; 
with men, he was ashamed of nature and poetry. He 
would laugh at his own flights of sentiment* He was a 
many-sided monster, showing now sublime and now gro- 
tesque, but with a feeling in the depths of his soul that he 
ought to be something greater than he was or dared to he. 
To go back, however, from bis character to himself 
Aberdeen presented to the boy ample mod for two of his 
propensities, those toward the enjoyment of nature and 
society. The country round, though not sublime, is beauti- 
ful. The sea is at hand, an ever grand and stirring object. 
The Dee comes winding from the mountains of the west 
through a vale of great loveliness ; the Don, from the north, 
through scenes perhaps still more striking. There is an 
air of antiquity about the town, with its old churches, col- 
leges, and towers, that is peculiarly pleasing, and the coun- 
try has likewise a primitive look that wine at once on the 
spectator. To one of us from the south, the approach to it 
by the sea is very striking. I do not mean the immediate 
approach, for this is flat, but the coast voyage out from Ed- 
inburgh, The whole coast is bleak, yet green, and pre- 
senting to the sea bold and time-worn rocks. For a 
siderable pert of the way they appear to be of red i 
stone, and are therefore scooped out into the boldest cavi 
hollows, and promontories imaginable. Here and there 
are deep, dark caverns, into which the sea rushes as into 
its own peculiar dens, and in other places it has cut oat 
arches and doorways through these rocks where they stand 
insulated, and you see the light through them di spiny in 
other rocks behind. One of these is noted for prcsen 


by effect of light behind it, the appearance of a lady all in 
white r standing at the mouth of a cave, and beckoning with 
her hand. As you skim along the coasts of Fife, Forfar, 
Kincardine, and Aberdeen, these rocks and caverns pre- 
sent ever-new forms, while all the country above them is 
green, smiling, and cultured now, but formerly must have 
been savage indeed, and giving rise, and no wonder, to 
strange superstitions and legends. Bleak little towns ever 
and anon stretch along the shore ; though green, ttie coun- 
try is very bare of trees, Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, 
are good large towns ; and there are the ruins of Arbroath 
Abbey and Dunnottar Castle, with others of less note. 
Dun not tar can not he passed without thinking of Old Mor- 
tality, whom Scott found in the church -yard there restoring 
the inscriptions on the grave-stones of the Covenanters ; 
nor can Uri, an old-fashioned house on the hare uplands 
above Stonehaven, as the abode of Barclay, the writer of 
the celebrated Apology for Quakerism, and in our day for 
that of his pedestrian descendant, Captain Barclay. How 
singular are the reflections which arise on human life and 
its combinations when gazing on such a place as this I 
What should induce a man at one time to go forth from a 
remote scene and solitary old house like this, to mingle 
with the ferment of the times — to become an active apostle 
of Quakerism, and the expositor of its faith ; and another, 
nearly two centuries afterward, to march out of the same 
house down into England, not for an exhibition of Quaker- 
ism, but of pedestrian ism ; not of reasonings but of walking 
powers? Why should that house — just that house and its 
family, be destined to produce great Quakers, ending in 
great walkers and great brewers ? How often in my boy- 
hood had I read Barclay's Preface to his Apology, dated 
from M Uri in Scotland, the Place of my Pilgrimage/* and 
addressed to King Charles IL ( by M Robert Barclay, the 
servant of Jesus Christ, called by God to a dispensation of 
the Gospel revealed anew in this our ago/' Sec. And there 

534 BYRON. 

it stood, high, bare, and solitary, eliciting the oddest com- 
pound ideas of " hops and heresy," according to the phrase 
of a clergyman of the time, or, rather, of Quakerism, Lon