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With a fire in thy heart,
And visit thee never,
All others are but vanity.
Nor avarice in the vaults of hell;
But Love is indestructible.
Its holy flame for ever burneth,
Too oft on earth a troubled guest,
It here is tried and purified,
It soweth here with toil and care,
The babe she lost in infancy,
SUNSET. “ 'Twas at that sober hour when the light of day is receding, And from surrounding things the hues wherewith day has adorned
them Fade, like the hopes of youth, till the beauty of earth is departed; Pensive, though not in thought, I stood at the window, beholding Mountain, and lake, and vale; the valley disrobed of its verdure ; Derwent retaining yet from eve a glassy reflection, Where his expanded breast, then still and smooth as a mirror, Under the woods reposed; the hills that, calm and majestic, Lifted their heads in the silent sky, from far Glaramara, Bleacrag, and Maidenmawr, to Grizedale and westermost Withop. Dark and distinct they rose. The clouds had gather'd above them High in the middle air, huge, purple, pillowy masses, While in the west beyond was the last pale tint of the twilight; Green as a stream in the glen, whose pure and chrysolite waters Flow o'er a schistous bed, and secure as the age of the righteous. Earth was hushed and still; all motion and sound were suspended : Neither man was heard, bird, beast, nor humming of insect,
Only the voice of the Greta, heard only when all is in stillness.
Mr. Southey's forte is in description. Every section of his works is a picture. The Curse of Kehaina and Thalaba are galleries of highly finished paintings. If the opinion of Horace, “ Ut pictura Poesis erit,” be correct, Southey's poems are of the most perfect kind. In this he resembles Spenser, of whom he is ambitious to be considered the scholar.
COWEY STAKES. The public have lately been informed, through the medium of the newspapers, of the recent discovery of the Cowey Stakes; it may not be uninteresting to lay before our readers some account of these celebrated relics of antiquity.
When Cæsar landed in Britain, his progress was vigorously opposed by a combination of the native princes, who chose for their leader Cassivelaun, under whom they fought several battles ; but, as Cæsar relates, were defeated in all of them. Want of success produced disunion; the auxiliaries deserted their leader, who being thus disabled, retired to his own dominions, and prepared to defend them against the advancing Romans. “ On the south, the territories of Cassivelaun were defended by the River Thames ; and the same," says Cæsar", “ being only fordable at one place, the Britons, to prevent Cæsar's passing there, had not only fortified the adverse bank, but likewise the bottom of the river, with sharp stakes, with intent to dispute the passage." Cæsar, however, resolved to attack them, and at last got safely over. The stakes thus driven into the river, are the same which have always been known as the Cowey Stakes.
Some persons have imagined that the ford in the Thames at which Cæsar crossed, was not at Cowey, but nearer the sea; and Maitland, the author of the History of London, took the trouble to sound the Thames, in order to discover at what parts it was sufficiently shallow for Cæsar to have forded, not imagining that the lapse of 1700 years could have made any difference in the bed of the river. The general opinion, however, has always been, that the ford was just above Walton, at a place called Cowey, and some of the stakes have been frequently got up. They are of oak; and although they have been so long immersed in the water, are of extreme hardness, and as black as jet. A hundred years ago, knife handles used to be made of them at Shepperton. As the second invasion of Cæsar was in the 54th year before Christ, they have consequently been in the water one thousand, eight hundred, and eighty years!
* Com. de Bel. Gal. lib. 5.
Historical and Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk,
and its Environs. By John Henry Druery. Lond. Nichols,
1826. 12mo. pp. 382. To write a good topographical work, is an extremely difficult thing. Buoks, whose subject is limited to any one science, may be rendered worthy of public attention with little trouble ; but the topographer, if he desires that his labours should be approved, must bring an infinite deal of knowledge to bear upon the subject he takes in hand: if he does not, his work will be found extremely dull, and common place. It is the prevalence of such works that has thrown the study of topography into partial disrepute: every body thinks he can write a history of a town; and the reading public are so often called upon to peruse such a marvellous deal of nonsense, under the title of local antiquities, that a topographer, and a dull, heavy plodding fellow, have with some people become almost synonymous terms. But surely this is extremely unjust. There is scarcely a mile of our coast-scarcely a parish in our island, that is not celebrated for some beauty wherewith nature has invested it--- some achievement whereby our heroes have distinguished it or some man of genius born or resident within its precincts. The description of natural beauty-the history of battles or sieges--the illustration of customs, manners, and antiquities—the lives and pedigrees of poets, statesmen, and heroes, are the true subjects of the topographer, and can any subjects require greater skill in their treatment, or afford better opportunities for the exercise of talent? It is no objection to these remarks, that topographical works very seldom answer to this description ; we point out what they ought to be, not, alas ! what they frequently are. To trace the genealogies of men whose names are uncelebrated, and eke out a bulky volume with dull details of matters which conduce to no useful or entertaining end, are faults to be found in most of our town and county histories-faults which answer no other purpose than to disgust general readers, merely for the sake of adding to the number of subscribers a few whose vanity is flattered by finding their ignoble names in print.
That the work now before us is free from the faults here pointed out, we will not assert: there are many things in it which, had they been omitted, the general character of the book would have been improved; but it is altogether a work of considerable merit, and in a little compass comprises much general, as well as local, information. It is presented to the public, not as a history, but merely as “ Historical Notices," of Great Yarmouth, and the diffidence which induced its author to adopt this modest title, is apparent throughout the volume. There is to be found in it no ostentation—no assumption of superior
learning ; every thing is stated simply, and sometimes forcibly. The author, indeed, more than redeems the pledge which his prospectus gave to the public, and has unquestionably added to our literature a cheap, useful, and amusing production. The following extracts will sufficiently show his style and manner; we commence with an interesting notice of the old miracle plays.
“In the chancel of this church (St. Nicolas, Yarmouth) during the periods of monachism, was a kind of machinery, intended to represent the star which foretold the birth of Our Saviour; and several memorandums of money expended for its repair, are quoted by Swinden from old church books. It has been asserted, and indeed become a favorite opinion, that the items appearing in these accounts, are convincing proofs of the methods resorted to by the monks to delude the people, and attempt to impose upon them these artificial resemblances for something of a more supernatural kind. This opinion, however, appears to have been hastily and incautiously adopted, wbile the true signification of the emblems were misrepresented, or improperly understood. It was principally by dramatic exhibitions, performed in churches and convents, that the leading incidents of scripture history, and the prominent miracles of evangelic record, were first rendered familiar by the Church of Rome to the popular memory. These sacred dramas were mostly written in Latin ; but by degrees, partial vernacular versions of the dialogue were provided, to explain the exhibited pageants to the wondering multitudes. Thus arose those mysteries and miracle plays, which migrated at length from the church to the theatre, and there became obnoxious to the clergy, who were frequently alarmed, and with good reason, for the dignity of the persons brought upon the stage. Not all the Catholic countries, however, have dismissed the scripture plays from their protection ; for in Spain, and at Vienna, the Autos Sacramentalis of Calderon continue to be performed. The prophecies of Daniel are to this day a favorite spectacle at Madrid, and perhaps they preserve fragments of scenes more ancient than Christianity.
It was natural that the monastic orders should provide appropriate représentations for the several festival days on which they wished to convene the people: thus at Christmas they selected the mysteries of the nativity, the adoration of the shepherds, and the magi and the massacre of the innocents; at Easter they performed the mysteries of the passion, the resurrection, and the ascension ; and on the birth-day of their patron saint, they exhibited the miracles related in his legendary history. In these religious dramas, every description of scenery was employed which could heighten the effect, and give popularity to the subject ; and there is little doubt but that the memoranda in our church books related alone to these exhibitions. With the most awful subjects, the lowest pleasantries were sometimes mingled; and certainly only the goodness of the intention can apologize for the approach which was thus made to impiety."
The following is curious, as relating to the fate of the unfortunate Charles I.
“ The house now standing, was erected in 1591 by Benjamin Cooper, an alderman of Yarmouth, who rendered himself conspicuous for attempting an innovation in the civil government of the town, in which he was unsuccessful. Mr. Cooper sold it in 1635 to John Carter, Esq., the staunch Presbyterian friend and counsellor of Oliver Cromwell. While in the possession of this gentleman, the house is said to have been frequently the scene of consultation between Cromwell and the officers of the parliamentary army : at one of these meetings, the death of the unfortunate Charles is believed to have been proposed and determined upon : an upper room in the house is pointed out as the place in which this sanguinary act was contemplated. The regicides assembled early in the afternoon; and to prevent the possibility of intrusion, a confidential person was placed without the door of the apartment, with a strict injunction not to allow any one to approach. Hughes says, they had ordered their dinner to be ready at four o'clock ; but it was not served until half-past eleven at night, the party remaining in close conference during the whole of that time; they then hastily partook of some refreshment, and departed, some for the metropolis, and others for the head quarters of the army. It has been said, that the death of Charles I. was determined on at Windsor; but there can be little doubt that so momentous a circumstance would require more than
mne, probably many meetings; and it is certain that one of great secresy and importance was held in that chamber; for it appears by a letter from Mr. Hewling Lewson to Dr. Brooke, that the room was shewn, and a similar statement of the circumstance just recited, then related in the time of Mr. Nathaniel Carter, the son of the proprietor, who must have been aware of the authenticity of the fact, as the house was the residence of his father at the time the above-mentioned event took place."
At page 76, we have the following account of the well-known library of Mr. Dawson Turner, whose collection of autographs is we believe only inferior to that of Mr. Upcott.
“Mr. Turner possesses an extensive private library, of about eight thousand volumes, of general literature, unrivalled perhaps in botanical productions, most of which are of great beauty, and on large paper, but chiefly rich in natural history and the arts. His own works on Normandy, with Robinson's Scripture Characters, are beautifully printed on vellum, and not mentioned in De Pradt's Catalogue des Livres imprimés sur vélin. There are also about one hundred and fifty volumes of manuscripts, and at least half of these full of original letters from men of eminence, comprising all Sir Henry Spelman's correspondence, and Dr. Covell's, the learned author of the History of the Greek Church, with manuscripts of Dr. Colbatch, the great opponent of Bentley; a volume of original letters, unpublished, from Cowper ; and a similar volume, chiefly unpublished, from Gray, the poet. * In this valuable collection is also deposited the correspondence of Sir George Downing, the ambassador of Oliver Cromwell in the Low Countries. The topographical and historical volumes are splendidly illustrated, particularly Blomefield's History of Norfolk, which contains above two thousand original drawings of antiquities in the county, executed by Mr. Turner's own family. The elegant and finished labours of Mrs. Turner, and Mrs. Hooker, and Mrs. F. Palgrave (daughters of Mr. Turner), appear in five exquisite quarto volumes of etchings, some of which may rank with the finest productions of our best artists."
We might make a variety of amusing extracts from the volume now before us; but our limits admonish as to close this article ; which we do, with sincere wishes for Mr. Druery's success in the department of literature which he has chosen. ·
Death's Doings, in Twenty-four Plates, designed and etched by
R. Dagley, with Illustrations in prose and verse, the friendly
contributions of various writers. Lond. Andrews. 8vo. pp. 369. Tuis is an extraordinary work, and as far as Mr. Dagley is concerned, certainly an able one; but whether the meed of praise ought to be extended to that part for which the public are indebted to the friendly contributors, is a question which we are inclined to think will not be answered in the affirmative. There are certainly amongst them some superior productions, but by far the greater part are not above mediocrity. The plates are twenty-four in number, and form a modern Dance of Death ; not equal, indeed, to its celebrated predecessor, but still having sufficient wit and originality to claim a great deal of the public attention.
The plate No. 1, called “ The Poet,” has reference to the fate of Lord Byron. A man in the prime of life is seated at a table, writing an “ Ode to Immortality;" whilst Death, advancing behind with cautious step, and an extinguisher in his hand, is just putting out the candle, as the poor poet is in the very act of composition. On the floor is a scroll, on which is engraved, “ Greece, 1824.”