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only in theology he was eminent. Neither he, nor indeed any minister of the Russian church, was ever celebrated for his knowledge in the sciences, or generally known to the world by any philosophical work. It is thought requisite in Russia that a parish-priest should devote himself, almost exclusively, to his holy avocations ; and the education of monks, who afterwards fill the highest dignities of the church, is not well calculated to inspire the love of general knowledge, or to call forth the desire of excelling.
The account of the conversation of Platon and Dr. Clarke is extremely amusing,* and speaks volumes of thoughts in a few wordsfor many words are dangerous in the North—and even the few require to be very guarded. Platon had remarked the freedom which some English divines show in their writings, when Dr. Clarke told him that “ we had once a prelate, who, preaching before his sovereign, felt himself at liberty to discuss his conduct to his face." “ I wish,” said Platon, “ we had such a fellow here ;” but aware of the interpretation which might be put upon his words, and perhaps not daring to end with them, he added after a pause, we would send him to enjoy the full liberty of preaching in the free air of Siberia."
Platon was a remarkably agreeable person in society; he was equally ready to receive and to communicate information, and he was a friend of toleration. As a proof of the last statement, it is sufficient to state, that he communicated much intelligence to the late Rev. Dr. King, which was afterwards embodied in that author's work, on the “ Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church ;" and that he was equally obliging to the Rev. Mr. Tooke.
A late author says, that Platon was rather a bon-vivant, and in confirmation of this relates the following anecdote. The divine frequently dined with the military governor of Moscow, who, aware that his guest did not much relish the diet prescribed for the clergy during the fasts, by a very simple process, converted flesh into fish, and relieved, or rather prevented, all the metropolitan's scruples.“ The servant having placed a dish of good animal soup before the old man, the governor said, this is fish soup. The divine crossed himself, said Amen, and immediately partook of it. In the same manner, when delicate veal was served up, the governor said, this is sturgeon, or sterlet; the Amen was repeated, and the contents of the plate disappeared.”+
Bethany was founded in the year 1787, at the expense, and under the care of Platon. It was at first not reckoned among the monasteries of the crown, but merely a pustinya, or hermitage. In 1797, when the Emperor Paul,
after his coronation at Moscow, made a visit with his family to the Troitskoi Monastery, or Convent of the Trinity, to do reverence to the relics of St. Serge, he also went to Bethany, which was then constituted a monastery of the second class, with a seminary, and granted the sum of 4000 roubles annually for its support. The archimandrite of the Troitskoi monastery was also made the archimandrite of Bethany. The monastery and seminary were finished in 1800.
As is usual in Russia, the Viphanskii monastery is surrounded by a stone wall, with towers, and a belfry over the gates.
* Vide Clarke's Travels. Clarke calls the divine Plato, in place of Platon.
Lyall's Travels, vol. ii. p. 433.
The Church of the Transfiguration stands in the centre, of an oval form, with Gothic windows and turrets, and is built of brick unplastered. It surprises all by its unusual internal arrangement. Having entered the Trapeza, in place of the nave and altar, the visitor remarks an artificial hill covered in different parts with moss, and elevated to the height of the first story. The base of this hill is perforated by three separate doors—or rather by the central royal doors, with a window in the form of a door on each side-over each of which is a biblical representation cut in ivory. A stair, with a low railing, winds from the floor to the top of the hill on the left, and on the right is a straight stair close to the wall, for the greater facility of ascent. Having reached the top of this stair, the visitor observes, that, on his present level, an oval balcony, forming the choir, surrounds the church, the balustrade of which opposite the ikonostas, or skreen, is covered by the red and white flowers of gnaphalium dioicum. On the same level with this balcony is the ikonostas, behind which is the altar, and before which is the only nave of the Church of the Transfiguration; the trapeza below being common to it, and to the chapel dedicated to the Resurrection of Lazarus. On walking round this balcony, he notices that on the walls are hung coarse paintings of some of the fathers of the church, and of sacred historical scenes; and that in some of the windows are a few panes of glass stained red, blue, orange, &c.; while others are ornamented by figures of the apostles and prophets.
Below the Church of the Transfiguration, i. e. in the hill, is a very small chapel, dedicated to the Resurrection of Lazarus ; with a small nave before the ikonostas, a still smaller altar behind it, and a little sombre compartment on each side of the nave. In the left compartment is preserved the wooden coffio in ch had been placed the relics of the famous St. Serge, so often mentioned in the Russian rubrick. Here is also raised the tomb of Platon, about two and a half feet high, built of brick and stuccoed, and entirely covered by a brass plate, on which is a representation of a large cross, and an inscription recording the divine's history. This tonib seems short, but Platon was of a low stature. The bill, our guides told us, was called Mount Tabor. So preposterous an arrangement of a church I have never witnessed; and the absurdity of the whole is crowned by the shocking taste, which has added a stuffed hare, issuing from a small cavity in the bottom of the hill, right forward into the church, as a part of the natural, or rather unnatural, scenery.
This church can only demand attention from its containing the relicks of Platon ; a name justly revered in Russia, and which will ever make Bethany distinguished in the annals of that empire; but the plan and execution of the church, in my opinion, do bim no credit.*
A monument near the house in which Platon lived, attracts the notice of the traveller. It is a very small pyramid, placed under a wooden canopy, surrounded by a low railing, and with an inscription on the pedestal, indicating that it was elevated in memory of the visit of the Emperor Paul in 1787. The monument, and the painting behind it, with Latin inscriptions, are alike paltry.
* Yet, speaking of the Convent of the Trinity, Dr. Clarke says, " Rather more than two miles farther there is another convent, less known, but more remarkable; it contains within its walls a Gothic church, erected over a mount which is supposed to typify the Mountain of the Ascension of Jesus Christ. At the foot of the mount, and within it, is a small chapel containing figures, executed in was, to represent the Resurrection of Lazarus."
Bethany contains only' eight monks, who reside in small wooden houses raised on stone foundations, on the right and left of the central entrance to the court. Platon's house is now oecupied by the rector of the semninary.
The seminary is placed near the convent. It is a brick structure, two stories in height, with two wings. A few ecclesiastical students have here their abode, as well as their teachers.
Bethany, though not elevated, must be very agreeable in summer, from its romantic and varied environs; and was a residence well adapted for a contemplative mind, such as Platon's.
PROVINCIAL BALLADS. --NO. III.
Green Warlegh'st sylvan coves below,
The swans of stately Maristow.
* The materials upon which this metrical tale is founded, are contained in the following extract from Prince's Worthies of Devon, p. 237 (London, 1810.) “Esquire Coplestop of Warley, (I can't recover his Christian name, altho'l
suppose it was John) in the days of Queen Elizabeth, bad a young man to his godson, that had been abroad for his education ; who, at his return home, hearing of the extravagances of his godfather's conversation, expressed in some company his sorrowful resentment of it, which was not done so privately but the report thereof was soon brought (as there be tale-bearers and whisperers, which separate very friends, enough every where) to his godfather's ears. This exceedingly enkindled the indignation of the old gentleman against his godson, and (as 'twas supposed) his natural son also; making him break out, saving, • Must boys observe and discant on the actions of men, and of their betters ?' From henceforth he resolved, and sought all opportunities to be revenged upon him. At length they being both at Tamerton, their parish church, on a Lord's day, the young man observing by his countenance, what he was partly informed of before, that his godfather was highly displeased at him, prudently withdrew betimes from the church, and resolved to keep himself away, out of his reach, until his indignation should be overpassed. The old gentleman, seeing his revenge likely to be disappointed, sent the young man word that his anger towards him was now over, and he might return to his church again: accordingly the young man came, at the usual time, but cautiously eyeing his godfather, he found the expression of the poet too true:
Manet alta mente repostum That his displeasure was not laid aside, but laid up in a deep revengeful mind : whereupon,
as soon as the duties of religion were over, he again hastened out of the church as soon as he could ; upon this his godfather followed him, but not being able to overtake him, he threw his dagger after him (the wearing whereof Was the mode of those times), and struck bim through the reins of the back, so that he fell, and died on the spot" To this account I have only to add, that the tradition still continues to be current in the neighbourhood; and that on the green
to the church-yard of Tamerton, there are still the remains of a noble free, which goes by the name of The Copleston Oak, and under which it is said that the tragic event took place.
Warlegh, formerly a seat of the Copleston family, now the residence of the Rev. Walter Radcliffe.
Maristow, the beautiful seat of Sir M. M. Lopes, Bart. Vol. X. No. 57.-1825.
There many a scene will meet thy gaze
That oft may rise on memory's eye,
The brightest prints of early joy.
Could find a horse in scenes so fair-
Or dæmon passion riot there?
Sweet Devon's harp obeys my hand,
A legend of my fathers' land.
Where, winding far, the blue waves glide
To the grey beach of Tamerton,
And Warlegh's woods, in beauty shone.
A soft mist, scarcely seen, hung o'er
The lake, like golden glass in show,
Rock, wood, and cove-lay traced below.
Near the slight wave-mark, boats were tied
To stakes around the sylvan bay ;
The village mill-wheel ceased to play.
From the grey tower of Foliot* swells ;
You might have heard Saint Budeaux's bells.t
Yet of the scene so calm and fair
One breast felt not the soft control;
The Lord of Warlegh's haughty soul.
Wrath and revenge along his face,
And o'er his brow, dark lightnings threw,
On through his own green woods he drew.
With fear and awe the menjal train
Follow'd a space their lord behind,
The workings of a vengeful mind.
“The beardless churl!"-(by fits dark words
Were heard, by fits a mutter'd sound)-
Be rated by a base-born hound ?
And merry light of maiden's eye-
Of deeds I dare right well ahye?
Tamerton-Foliot-so denominated from the Foliot fanily, to which it anciently belonged. King's-Tamerton lies within a few miles of it.
+ St. Budeaux, a romantic village at a small distance from Tamerton.
“ Shall the young minion cross my path,
Win from my arms the Tamar's Flower, And lord it, spite of love and wrath,
In Mary's heart and Mary's bower?
"No, by the rood ! it is the last”
But here he thought his train too nigh ;Yet, as he paused, a dread smile pass'd
O'er his white lip and murky eye.
-But now they reach the holy pile
That looks on rural Tamerton,
That paves the dead of ages gone.
The strains of sacred love and fear
Were pealing through the hallow'd fane ; Oh, was there one, on whose lost ear
That Sabbath music fell in vain ?
Yes, even there-while far aloof
To Heaven the sacred anthem stray'da Stern Copleston, beneath the roof
Of God, half drew his dagger blade !
«i 'Tis well !"-he mutter'd, but repress'd
His hand, and sheathed the half-drawn steel ; Yet his fierce mien too well confess'd
He thirsted still the blow to deal.
But wherefore glares his eye so wild ?
What is it pales his working brow At sight of his own injured child,
The offspring of a broken vow?
A father's guile had sent from home
The youth who bure no father's name, In other lands awhile to roam
And find a soldier's path to fame.
But long ere this, her heart to him
The Lily of the Tamar gave ; And fairer eyes no tear may dim,
Than watch'd his bark adown the wave.
A rural maid was Tamar's Flower
No pride was hers of birth or gold ; But many a heart had own'd her power,
And many a tongue her virtues told.
Full oft, on summer's golden eve,
Her feet had traced the river shore,
Beneath the diamond-dropping oar.
Oft had he breathed, by moonlight pale,
In shades to Love and them so dear, The music of the whisper'd tale
That sounds most sweet in Beauty's ear.
And once, amid the rustic fair
Around the pole with garlands gay, Her Bevil's hand had crown'd her there
The village Lady of the May.