Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Which oft the nut-brown maid, Erithacis,
Has hegg'd, and paid before-hand, with a kiss;
And lince you thus my ardent passion Night,
Her's they shall be before to-morrow night.
My right eye itches-may it lucky plove,
Perhaps I foon shall see the nymph I love;
Beneath yon pine I'll fing diftinct and clear,
Perhaps the fair my tender notes thall hear;
Perhaps may piry my melodious moan--

She is not metamorphos'd into stone ! The conclusion of the Idyll is in the true language of a despairing lover ready to give up the ghoft.

My head grows giddy— love affects me fore,
Yet you regard nut--so I'll fing no more;
Here will I put a period to my care-
Adieu, false nymph! adieu, ungrateful fair!
Stretch'd near the grotto, when I've breath'd my
My corse will give the wolves a sweet repait,

As sweet to them as honey to your taste! The ease and fimplicity of these several passages are difcernible by every reader. These are the traits of the Sicilian muse, and for these uncommon tokens of excellence have, her strains been uniforınly distin, guished.

We shall close this bricf sketch of THEOCRITus in the words of the editors of the New Biographical Dictopary—"

“ His Pastorals, doubtless, ought to be conhdered as the foundation of his credit; upon this claim be will be admitted for the finisher as well as the inventor of his art, and will be acknowledged to have exceeded all his imitators, as much as' originais usually do their copics. He has the same advantage in the pastoral, as Homer had in the epic poesy; and that was to make the critics turn his practice into permanent rules, and to measure nature herself by his accomplished model. THEOCRITUS writes in the Doric dialect, which was very proper for his fhepherds.”

« His

B 3

« His rustic and pastoral muse," says Quintilian, « dreads not only the forum but even the city.” The critic, however, did not mean any reproach to THEO. CRITUS, as some have foolishly construed, for he was too good a judge of propriety. He knew that this did not hinder the poet froin being admirable in his way, admirabilis in fuo genere," as he expressly calls him in the same sentence; nay, he knew that he could not have been admirable without this rusticity, and would certainly have thought very meanly of most modern paftorals, where shepherds and country louts hold insipid conversation with the affectation of delicacy and refinement."

AN

EXCURSION INTO THE WEST OF ENGLAND,

DURING THE MONTH OF JULY, 1799.

IN

FOUR LETTERS TO A FRIEND.

BY THE REV. JOHN EVANS, A. M.

A

LETTER I. DEAR SIR,

GREEABLE to your request I siç down to give

you a plain narrative of the incidents of my jour. ney into the West ; at least I shall notice those things which appear most worthy of attention. Your never having visited this part of Britain, will induce me to enter into a detail which, otherwise, might have been deemed unneceffary: Travelling, during the fuinmeir season, has lately become a fathionable amusement. However laborious such excursions may prove, yer; in our beloved island, its scenery in general affords a rich repast to the imagination. To the tourist, indeed, the

[ocr errors]

West of England has been long a subject of panegyric, and justice demands from me the declaration, that my expectations were not disappointed. I beheld many of its views, and gazed upon many of its select spots' with admiration :

“ In England's happy ifle we see display'd

The charms of nature and the force of art,
Our bills and dales with verdure all array'd,

All that can please the eye or cheer the heart !" In this letter I shall include my route to Sidmouth, specifying the towns through which I passed, and noricing what may be thought most remarkable respecting them.

I left London on Tuesday, July 9, in a post-chaise, accompanied by an intelligent friend, who once resided in the West of England, and to whom, therefore, I am indebted for many pleasing articles of information. After passing through the populous villages of Knightsbridge, Kensington, Hammersmith, and Turnhamgreen, we came to Brentford, the county town for Middlesex. Here, therefore, elections are held, and this was, of course, the spot where the turbulent business of John Wilkes was transacted. The town itself has been long famous for its length and filth, which Thomlon, in his Castle of Indolence, has thus humorously recorded :

• Behold, through Brentford town, a town of mud,
An herd of briíly (wine is prick'd along !
The filthy beasts that never chew the cud,
Still grunt and squeak, and sing their troub’lous song,
And oft they plunge themselves the mire among;
But ay the ruthless driver goads them on,
And ay of barking dogs, the bitter throng
Makes them renew their unmelodious moan,
Ne never find they rest from their unresting fone.”

A little A little beyond Brentford, on the left, the entrance into the Duke of Northumberland's park, makes a magnificent appearance, adorned with a lion, sphinxes, and other sculptured embellishments. Sion House, within the park, is not seen from the road. It is a plain antique structure, chiefly remarkable for its great gallery, which extends the whole length of the east front, over the arcades. There is also an immense quantity of old china vases, of different forms and sizes, crowded together in almost every apartment; and the Pedigree picture here is one of the greatest curiosities of its kind in England, exhibiting the noble and royal connections of the Percies, all which are now united in the present Duchess of Northumberland.

On the right, before we entered Hounslow, is the seat of Sir Joseph B.inks; a neat mansion, with considerable gardens, where curious plants are reared with great care and afsiduity. The learned proprietor accompanied Captain Cook round the world, is now President of the Royal Society, and has long been distinguished for his extensive relearches into every branch of knowledge connected with natural history.

At Hounslow we just stopped to change horses, and then set off over the dreary heath, on which has been committed many a depredation. Of late years the traveller has met with fewer interruptions, though still we hear, not unfrequently, of robberies in that quarter during the winter season of the year; a recent proof of which is exhibited by a new gibbet, erected not far from Belfont, on which we saw fuspended the body of Haines, generally known by the designation of the wounded Highwayman. He was, apparently, a large tall man; his irons were so constructed that his arms hung at some little distance from his body, by which means the hideous fight was rendered more terrific and impressive. The skirts of his coat waved in the wind, and, together with other parts of his appearance, sug

gested,

gested, with full force, the horrible idea of a fellowcreature deprived of the decent honours of sepulture, and consigned, with every mark of execration, to the grinning scorn of public infamy. The heath, about fifty years ago, used to be decorated with a long range of gibbets ; but the Royal Family, frequently pafling and re-paffing to Windsor, occasioned their removal, and no renewal of them has been attempted.

· Around the extremities of the heath are scattered a Few pleasant cottages, where, secluded from the bustle of the adjacent metropolis, their peaceful inhabitants enjoy all the advantages of retirement. At one of these little mansions I have, occasionally, passed many agree. able hours~" Teaching the young idea how to shoot,” and witnessing the pleasures of domestic tranquillity.

We foon reached Staines, a pleasant town, seventeen miles from London. It derives its name from the Saxon word pana, which signiñes a stone, and was applied to this place from a boundary stone, anciently set up here to mark the extent of the city of London's jurisdiction upon the Thames. The church stands alone, almost half a mile from the town. On the south-east side of Staines lies Runnymead, the celebrated spot on which King John was compelled by his barons to fign the famous charter of English liberties, stiled Magna Charta;

_* Near Thames' silver waters lies a mcad,
Where England's barons, bold in freedom's cause,
Compell’d her king to ratify her laws:
With constancy maintain’d the subjects' right,
And serv'd a lov’reign in his own despite.
On that fam'd mead their honeft claims to real,
They rik'd their private for the public weal;
Bravely resolv'd to make the tyrant yield,

Or die like heroes on the glorious field. Hume has thus briefly recorded the tranfaétion-“ A conference between king John and the Barons was 3

appointed

1

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »