« НазадПродовжити »
to say nothing of his fine classical tragedy of “Damon and Pythias,” Mr. Banim, so successful in the delineation of the sweet, delicate, almost idealised girl of the people, has written at least one song that may rival Gerald Griffin in grace and sentiment. A lover sings it to his mistress :
'Tis not for love of gold I go,
'Tis not for love of fame ;
And yet it is for fame;
I leave thy love awhile,
And woo it o'er and o'er,
I know a heart will care !
And, when with both returned again
My native land I see,
Is it not strange that with such ballads as these of John Banim, Thomas Davis, and Gerald Griffin before us, Mr. Moore, that great and undoubted wit, should pass in the highest English circles for the only song-writer of Ireland ? Do people really prefer flowers made of silk and cambric, of gum and wire, the work of human hands however perfect, to such as Mother Earth sends forth in the gushing spring time, full of sap and odour, sparkling with sunshine, and dripping with dew?
I can find no regular life of our poet; nothing beyond a chance record of a kind word to one young struggling countryman, and a kind act to another. He died in the vigour of his age ; married, and as I
The too frequent story of a man of genius.
AUTHORS ASSOCIATED WITH PLACES.
VISIT TO TAPLOW.
THREE summers ago I spent a few pleasant weeks among some of the loveliest scenery of our great river. The banks of the Thames, always beautiful, are nowhere more delightful than in the neighbourhood of Maidenhead,--one side ramparted by the high, abrupt chalky cliffs of Buckinghamshire; the other edging gently away into our rich Berkshire meadows, chequered with villages, villas, and woods.
My own temporary home was one of singular beauty,—a snug cottage at Taplow, looking over a garden full of honeysuckles, lilies, and roses, to a miniature terrace, whose steps led down into the water, or rather into our little boat; the fine old bridge at Maidenhead just below us; the magnificent woods of Cliefden, crowned with the lordly mansion (now, alas ! a second time burnt down), rising high above; and the broad majestic river, fringed with willow and alder, gay with an ever-changing varietythe trim pleasure-yacht, the busy barge, or the punt of the solitary angler, gliding by placidly and slowly, the very image of calm and conscious power. No pleasanter residence, through the sultry months of July and August, than the Bridge cottage at Taplow!
Besides the natural advantages of the situation, we were within reach of many interesting places, of which we, as strangers, contrived—as strangers usually doto see a great deal more than the actual residents.
A six-mile drive took us to the lordly towers of Windsor—the most queenly of our palaces—with the adjuncts that so well become the royal residence, St. George's Chapel and Eton College, fitting shrines of learning and devotion ! Windsor was full of charm. The ghostly shadow of a tree, that is, or passes for, Herne's oak—for the very man of whom we inquired our way maintained that the tree was apocryphal, although in such cases I hold it wisest and pleasantest to believe—the quaint old town itself, with the localities immortalised by Sir John and Sir Hugh, Dame Quickly and Justice Shallow, and all the company of the Merry Wives, had to me an unfailing attraction. To Windsor we drove again and again, until the pony spontaneously turned his head Windsor-ward.
Then we reviewed the haunts of Gray, the house at Stoke Pogis, and the churchyard where he is buried, and which contains the touching epitaph wherein the pious son commemorates the careful mother of many children, one of whom only had the misfortune to survive her.” To that spot we drove one bright summer day, and we were not the only visitants. It was pleasant to see one admirer seated under a tree, sketching the church, and another party, escorted by the clergyman, walking reverently through it. Stoke Pogis, however, is not without its rivals;
and we also visited the old church at Upton, whose ivy-mantled tower claims to be the veritable tower of the “Elegy.” A very curious scene did that old church exhibit—that of an edifice not yet decayed, but abandoned to decay, an incipient ruin, such as probably might have been paralleled in the monasteries of England after the Reformation, or in the churches of France after the first Revolution. The walls were still standing, still full of monuments and monumental inscriptions; in some the gilding was yet fresh, and one tablet, especially, had been placed there very recently, commemorating the talent and virtues of the celebrated astronomer, Sir John Herschel. But the windows were denuded of their glass, the font broken, the pews dismantled, whilst on the tottering reading-desk one of the great Prayerbooks, all mouldy and damp still lay open—last vestige of the holy services with which it once resounded. Another church had been erected, but it looked new and naked, and everybody seemed to regret the old place of worship, the roof of which was remarkable for the purity of its design.*
Another of our excursions was to Ockwells—a curious and beautiful specimen of domestic architecture in the days before the Tudors. Strange it seems to me that no one has exactly imitated that graceful front, with its steep roof terminated on either side by two projecting gables, the inner one lower than the other, adorned with oak-carving, regular and delicate as that on an ivory fan. The porch has equal ele
* Since writing this paper, the fine old church in question has been completely restored. VOL. I.