« ForrigeFortsett »
. In rap
blessed art thou among thy sisters; the image of thy felicity shall never be obliterated from
136. Having exhausted all the interesting materials afforded by London and its environs, our Author sets out for Liverpool; but his journey produces no observation worth recording. It is on the roads, indeed, that our German friend appears to the least advantage ; and we now and then meet with reflections and remarks, the triteness--we had almost said the extreme futility of which, requires the exercise of all our English courtesy towards a stranger to tolerate. His attempts at wit, also, are oftentimes worse than failures.
From Liverpool he proceeds to Carlisle, and the most interesting recital in this division of his work, at least to an English reader, is the following curious story of an antient castle which, in times of old, stood on the present site of Lathorn Hall, a mansion in the vicinity of Ormskirk, in Lancashire.
sacking some English chronicles, found in this mansion, I . found our Author remarks) this tale to be true.'
Lathorn House belonged, in the reign of Charles I. to James, Earl of Derby, a famous person, who miserably lost his life on the scaffold by the fanatic fury of the levellers, for his unshaken fidelity to the king's family Whilst he was sent to defend the Isle of Man, the Countess Charlotte, his wife, a daughter to the Duke of Tremoaille, was besieged in Lathorn House during four months, by a corps of 3000 of the parliamentary troops, under one Captain Rigby, without surrendering. Though her garrison consisted only of 400 men, yet she , beat back the enemy's assaults with so much courage and success, that they were unable to capture the strong hold, till Prince Rupert coming up relieved the besieged beroine. prevailed upon to go to the Isle of Man, but left at Lathorn House a more numerous garrison, which, in the prosecution of the war held out a second siege, with the same dauntlessness, for many months together. The earl's chaplain carried on the crrespondence in cipher, in which he was assisted by one widow Read, of the neighbourhood, who brought in, and carried out despatches by means of sallies appointed for that purpose, on a signal given by her whenever she wanted to come in." This hazardous service she faithfully performed for above a year; and when at last taken with ciphers about her for King Charles and Lord Byron, she refused, with so much perseverance, to disclose the secret, that Rigby caused her to be burnt with matches between her fingers, till three of them dropped off. After the loss of that friend the chaplain found another expedient. Having observed a hound frequently to come and go betwixt his master, at Lathorn House, and his mistress, three miles off, he found means to let the lady know, that as often as the dog came home she should look about his neck for a thread with a small letter wrapped round, and send it to the king, directing her to tie papers, to be sent into the house in like manner about the dog's neck, and,
after having kept the animal a while hungered, to open the door and beat him out. Thus the poor dog, being beaten backward and forward, conveyed all the intelligence into and from the house for nine successive months ; till once leaping the enemy's works he was shot by an ill natured soldier, without however losing his despatches, which he carried to the gate and there expired. When, at last, the house was reduced, only 209 foot soldiers were found in it, their horses being killed and eaten by them. The parliament was so enraged at the obstinate resistance, as to order Lathorn House to be levelled with the ground. p. 241.
Our traveller then proceeds to Glasgow; and passing on his way by Gretna Green, it leads him to give an amusing account of the marriages of clandestine notoriety, which take place at that spot and he sagely remarks, that the English, in order to prevent elopements, ought to pass a marriage act, granting to impassioned couples the same facility of being united as is enjoyed in Scotland.
His account of the far-famed Loch Lomond is narrated in a very interesting manner. Having arrived at the summit of Ben Lomond, he extracts the poet's beautiful description of it.
• There I breath'd, 'mid Scotland's pride,
On Ben Lomond's lofty brow;
Castles, towns, and shires below;
Lay the smiling crystal sheet.' Since my descent from Vesuvius I had never (he says) beheld a bolder horizon.' (And, after describing the surrounding scenery, he adds,) . But the greatest beauty in this immeasurable landscape was Loch Lomond, which, expanding like a mirror at my feet, reflected the blue sky, the bulging falls, and the hanging woods, that here frighten and cheer the eye. This expanse of water, which covers a surface of ground of 20,000 acres, has features so grand and peculiar to itself, that neither the lake of Geneva, nor that of Lucerne, can be assimilated to it, though both do not want daring scenes. The mountain air, the shivers of rock that cover the peak’s sloping sides, the frightful ravines, the silvan seclusion, the pellucid waters below, all remembered me of Switzerland, and threw my soul into delightful reveries ; but when, in my descent on the opposite side, I waded through a trackless waste of brake, where the eagle bursting from its retreat soared to the skies, and the plover screaming left its nest; when I beheld the mountaineers with their blue caps, and overheard the Gaelic dialect in their melancholy tunes, then I felt I was far from the enchanting banks of the Limmat.' p. 59, Vol. 2.
Our Author appears by no means to advantage in his communication from Edinburgh. In the description of the metropolis of Scotland we should have expected, from a foreign visiter, much interesting matter, in the way both of narrative and remark; but instead of this, we have nothing but what may fairly be termed the veriest common-place gossip of two coxcomical correspondents.
From Edinburgh our traveller returns by the way of Newcastle, and gives a very interesting, and indeed picturesque de. scription of the ingenious manner in which coals are conveyed, with most surprising rapidity, up the hills from the collieries. In fact, the whole account of the Newcastle coal-works is exceedingly lively and amusing. But the most striking part of the letter from Newcastle is that which describes the celebrated castle of Tynemouth, with its adjacent enchanting scenery.
* As soon as I had ascended the height behind Shields and passed the barracks, Tynemouth Abbey lay in venerable ruins before my eyes. There is something peculiarly melancholy and pleasing at the same time in those ruins, the witnesses of so many ages past. But it was still more so when I entered the castle, in the precincts of which they are situated, and beheld lovely groups walking silent among their picturesque walls, as if meditating on the perishableness of all earthly greatness. This pensiveness is nourished by every object here around; the church-yard behind with its gravel-walk round the moss-clad tomb-stones; the frightful precipice below; and the briny main that washes its foot, the common tomb of so many thousands of lives lost every year in its unfathomable abyss. This prospect has a grandeur which annihilates the soul. The distance of the horizon in which the eye is lost, the boundless expanse which glitters in the beams of the noon-tide sun ; the innumerable vessels with expanded sails that scud across its billowy waves ; the bold iron-coast that bends into a bay, upon which the surf is seen to foam ; the tremendous gulph over which you stand, and then the church-yard, with fellowcreatures buried in everlasting sleep, and the ruins of the Abbey nodding over them. Oh, Edward ! this scene no human power can depict. p. 116. Vol. II.
EVERLASTING SLEEP! If this be the view our Author has formed of the future destiny of man,-if everlasting sleep is to bind in oblivious fetters the mind that active principle which grasps at infinity of existence, and soars, with a fondly cherished hope, towards a state of increasing perfection, we can easily conceive that these reflections would excite a feeling
peculiarly melancholy,' —he might have said appalling-oppressing-absolutely overwhelming with a weight of gloomy despondency-in one who found himself standing on the verge of such a world-of such a futurity.
Wc cannot, however, realize any sensation bordering in the most remote degree, upon what he terms pleasing in this kind of reflection,
Leaving Newcastle and its neighbourhood, our Author revisits Liverpool, and retires to a village in its vicinity, where he resides some time in the cottage of an honest farmer,' entirely secluded from the busy world. From this retirement he communicates to his friend his sentiments respecting the comparative merits of some of our most popular English works.
. I have found (he says) a collection of English books, which are my friends when I am at home, Thomson has the precedence of all ; he speaks the language of nature, and speaks to the heart. The dirty Swift is the last ; I cannot forgive him his Lady's Bed-chamber. Pope is not my man ;-Odi imitatorum ;--and then his rancour against the better half of mankind. Gray hurries me along; his elegy in a church yard is annihilating. Ossian takes my soul. Milton, in his Penseroso, touches, and in his Comus amuses me; but his devils shock my feelings, whilst niany a time I am inclined to side with Beelzebub. "What shall I say of Shakespeare --Geniuses of transcendent powers cannot be judged by the rules of common phenomena. And the enemy of the Scots, the grand reformer of the English language, Johnson, what do you think of him? With his world of latin he was actually a starched pedant. There is a drawing, made by a lady, representing him as swimming from the Isle of Man to the main land by laying hold of a cow's-tail ;-that was a criticism in nuce. p. 150.Vol. II.
Froin this retreat our lively German takes a circuitous route through Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, and Oxford, to London ; and shortly afterwards we again find him in the North, at the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland. We can, however, no longer accompany him, and must refer our readers for farther information to the work itself. We had marked for insertion a few places as specimens of his very facetious humour, but a little more reflection convinced us that his ' organ' of wit had not expanded to the full extent of the approved English standard. We shall, therefore, now leave the writer and his work to the judgement of our readers.
Art. VII. A New Covering to the Velvet Cushion. Second Edi
tion. 8vo. pp. X. 180. Price 5s.6d. Gale, Curtis and Fenner. 1815.
THERE is a fashion in literature. The inventor of some
thing pre-eminent in folly or in sense, for both qualities are attracting, has soon the mortification or the vanity of finding, his right of patent invaded by a tribe of mere imitators. In the present age, there is a special dislike to monopoly: and, if an original design be projected, that happens to take with
connoisseurs, it most benevolently furnishes materials for inferior artists, whose own stores have been long exhausted, and who are supremely thankful for the happy discovery that gives them one chance more of aiming at notoriety. The history
of imitations' would eke out an amusing chapter for a literary lounger; and we should not be surprised, if some briefless wit, who is at present starving on his genius, improve the hint we have thrown out, for the good of the public-and of himself.
We were not dis appointed on finding the “Velvet Cushion" share the fate of its precursors in the world of fiction. We are rather curious to know which of the various celebrated histories that amused the days of our childhood, first suggested to the imaginative mind of the Vicar of Harrow, the ideą of his magniloquent Cushion. It was impossible that a device so ingenious should not set other mechanics at work; and it was quite natural to expect that a “ New Covering-tassels and fringe” would make an early appearance in the advertisements of literary upholsterers. Our predictions, (for Reviewers are given to soothsaying,) have already been amply verified; and we expect by Christmas, to furnish the lovers of the curious, with a catalogue raisonné of cushions—' red, black and gray--with all their trumpery.'
The “New Covering" resembles its prototype in regard to all its external qualities, and strongly reminds us of the old Vicar's favourite. We hope, however, it is not an infallible proof that the change is for the worse, that the Cushion is not so powerful an advocate on behalf of dissent as it was in the cause of episcopacy. We fear it will be too readily inferred that the recent conversion of the venerable antique is a melancholy proof of dotage. Most unquestionably, if we may be allowed to personify this loquacious affair, we should say his eye is dim and his natural force is abated, since our last interview with him. He exhibits very mournful symptoms of mental decline, and we can hardly congratulate the friends of Nonconformity, on his accession to the
We regret it should ever be said, that he serves the Dissenters, when he is no longer fit for the Church! But our readers will be curious to know how the venerable old Cushion came to change his Communion, and we shall hasten to relieve their anxiety on this interesting subject.
A loving couple, whose ! honey-moon' had lasted at least (seven years,' determined, after having read the Velvet Cushion, to set out in a one-horse chaise for Westmoreland. They leave the metropolis at the sweet hour of prime, and it seems reach Highgate-Hill, "time enough to witness the unparalleled glories of the rising Sun.' Here the husband, in true conjugal affection,