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truths of the gospel as the only knowledge in which he could find perfect rest.
Here we are thrown back upon the introductory supplication, and made to feel its especial propriety in this case. His life was long, and every part of it bore appropriate fruits. Urbino, his birth-place, might be proud of him, and the passenger who was entreated to pray for his soul has a wish breathed for his welfare. This composition is a perfect whole; there is nothing arbitrary or mechanical, but it is an organised body of which the members are bound together by a common life, and are all justly proportioned. If I had not gone so much into detail I should have given further instances of Chiabrera's epitaphs; but I must content myself with saying that if he had abstained from the introduction of heathen mythology, of which he is lavish—an inexcusable fault for an inhabitant of a Christian country, yet admitting of some palliation in an Italian who treads classic soil, and has before his eyes the ruins of the temples which were dedicated to those fictitious beings as objects of worship by the majestic people his ancestors,— that if he had abstained from this fault, had omitted also some uncharitable particulars, and had not on some occasions forgotten that truth is the soul of passion, he would have left his readers little to regret. I do not mean to say that higher and nobler thoughts may not be found in sepulchral inscriptions than his contain; but he understood his work; the principles upon which he composed are just. The reader of The Friend' has had proofs of this. One shall be given of his mixed manner of exemplifying some of the points in which he has erred:
• O Lælius, beauteous flower of gentleness,' &c.
This epitaph is not without some tender thoughts, but a comparison of it with the one upon the youthful Pozzobonelli will more clearly show that Chiabrera has here neglected to ascertain whether the passions expressed were in kind and degree a dispensation of reason, or at least commodities issued under her licence and authority.
“ The epitaphs of Chiabrera are twenty-nine in number, all of them, save two, upon men probably little known at this day in their own country, and scarcely at all beyond the limits of it; and the reader is gene. rally made acquainted with the moral and intellectual excellence which distinguished them by a brief history of the course of their lives, or a selection of events and circumstances, and thus they are individualised; but in the two other instances, namely, in those of Tasso and Raphael, he enters into no particulars, but contents himself with four lines expressing one sentiment, upon the principle laid down in the former part of this discourse, where the subject of an epitaph is a man of prime note.
“In an obscure corner of a country churchyard I once espied, half overgrown with hemlock and nettles, a very small stone laid upon the ground, and bearing nothing more than the name of the deceased, with the date of birth and death, importing that it was an infant which had been born one day and died the following. I know not how far the reader may be in sympathy with me, but more awful thoughts of rights conferred, of hopes awakened, of remembrances stealing away or vanishing, were imparted to my mind by that inscription there before my eyes than by any other that it has ever been my lot to meet with upon a tombstone."
Such is a concise analysis of the Dissertation on Epitaphs, as far as it was written: probably additions would have been made to it if “ The Friend" had enjoyed a longer existence.
The portion which has been published received the following commendation from one of the best essaywriters in the English language.
“ Your Essay on Epitaphs,” says Charles Lamb to Wordsworth, “ is the only sensible thing which has been written on that subject, and it goes to the bottom.”
From these pages, the reader will turn with interest to the examples presented by the author in illustration of his own precepts. In addition to the epitaphs translated from Chiabrera he will peruse the original epitaphs and elegiac pieces among the poeins of Wordsworth. The inscription on the grave of his own child in Grasmere churchyard ?, that on the cenotaph of Mrs. Fermor, at Coleorton”, that on the tombstone of the Rev. Owen Lloyd, in Langdale chapel-yard 4, and of Mr. Southey, in Crosthwaite church 5, will show the value of his principles and how successfully he applied them. These epitaphs possess the happy faculty of interesting the reader in the persons whom they commemorate, and of making
1 Talfourd's Final Memorials of Charles Lamb, vol. i.
180. Wordswortli's Elegy on Charles Lamb, vol. v. p. 141., written A. D. 1835, was originally designed as an epitaph, as the first lines show. It affords an instance of a playful allusion to the name of the person commemorated, an allusion in accordance with the principles previously stated in the MS. sequel of the Essay.
121. 3 Vol. v. p. 122. 4 Vol. v. p. 123. 5 Vol. v. p. 147. The first six lines of an epitaph in Grasmere Church were also his composition. The elegant marble tablet on which they are engraved was designed by Sir Francis Chantrey, and prepared by Allan Cunningham, 1822. It is over the chancel door.
2 Vol. v.
him sympathise with them, while they suggest topics of endearing consolation drawn from the invisible world, and thus purify the affections and elevate the thoughts. They show how instructive a churchyard may be; how the interests of this life may be interwoven with those of another; how heavenly affections may chasten the joys and cheer the sorrows of earth; and how the sorrows of earth may minister occasion for the exercise of faith, and hope, and joy, and raise the soul to heaven.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SCENERY OF THE LAKES.- SONNETS AND
LETTERS ON THE PROJECTED WINDERMERE RAILWAY.
In the year 1810, appeared a folio volume, entitled “ Select Views in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire,” by the Rev. Joseph Wilkinson, Rector of East and West Wrotham, Norfolk. It was published at London ; and contains forty-eight sketches of the Lake Scenery.
Prefixed to these Views is an Introduction, containing thirty-four pages, and two sections of twelve pages, giving some practical directions for visiting the Lakes.
The whole of this letter-press was supplied by Mr. Wordsworth, and was afterwards printed with his name,
in his volume of Sonnets on the River Duddon, and subsequently as a separate publication ; the fifth edition of which, with considerable additions, appeared at Kendal in 1835.
Previously to the present century, the beauties of the Lake-District had attracted little public attention. Indeed, except in the works of Thomson and Dyer, few traces are to be found of a just taste for natural beauty in the last century. Bishop Burnet, in his Tour, speaks only of the horror of the Alps. Even
1 See two letters to the Morning Post, Dec. 1944, by Mr. Wordsworth.