« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE CASTLE OF KILKENNY.
The banks of the river, beneath the lofty wall, afford an agreeable promenade to the inhabitants of the populous city of Kilkenny; and the summit of the hill is crowned by the stately Castle, adorned by its military towers, and now enclosed on either side by magnificent forest-trees.
The situation of Kilkenny Castle, is advantageous in a two-fold point of view. That noble building is not only in itself a beautiful and stately object, but it commands a landscape rarely to be equalled. One of the most accomplished of our Irish tourists, the author of the Survey, compares Kilkenny Castle, with the country surrounding it, to the views of and from the royal Castle of Windsor.
Though the country around Kilkenny,” he writes, “is not improved, like that around the most princely of royal residences, yet the site of Kilkenny Castle is at once bold and beautiful, with almost every advantage that could be wished, to decorate the scene.”
This fine structure stands upon a precipice overhanging the head of a deep and rapid river, which is crossed by two stately bridges, of which the Castle commands a view. The more distant of these two bridges is composed of seven arches; that nearest to the Castle has but three; but they are of a very wide span, and are constructed of hewn marble, and in fine elliptical proportions. The banks of the river are richly planted, and the adjacent town has all the appearance of having been formed merely to decorate the landscape. Every object in the neighbourhood, worth viewing, may be seen from the Castle; while everything of an unpleasing character is screened from observation. In one direction, the horizon is shut in by mountains, situated at a due distance, and affording variety to the whole splendid scene. The immediate views around the Castle, gains, too, in imposing effect, from the circumstance, that the middle distances are destitute of that richness of cultivation, and that embellishment of country seats, which constitute the capital beauty of Windsor.
“ As when a limner has a landscape drawn,
Those towers ! in what a glorious group they stand,
S. S.VOL. III.
That beauty theirs, of which we never tire ;
Windsor Castle is an august and venerable object to behold; but to the spectator who looks from it, there is nothing to inspire imposing ideas. Not Eton's spires, nor Cooper's classic hill, nor Cleveden's gay alcove, nor Gloster's gayer lodge, can furnish such a lavish variety to the landscape-painter, as is to be found in these Hibernian scenes. There, nature has painted with her most correct pencil ; bere, she has dashed with a more careless hand; this is the fanciful and fiery sketch of a great master; that, the re-touched and finished work of a studious composer. Windsor Forest was a theme exactly suited to the mild genius of Pope; but a scene of rude magnificence, like the castle and neighbourhood of Kilkenny, demands the genius of Spenser or of Milton. Here we have
“Mountains, on whose barren breast
The place, in short, with its noble towers and battlements,
“ Bosom'd high in tufted trees," is one of the finest of the many fine places which adorn the sister-island.
THE LOVER OF SIIA KE S P E A R E.
Lovest thou Shakespeare, Lady ? Then thy soul,