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without seeing any thing but a sign-post or some corn; and yet it is so beautiful, that it is called emphatically "the country."
It abounds in the finest natural productions. The more majestic parts of it are at a distance, but the zealous explorer may come upon its gentler beauties in an incredibly short time. Its pastures and cattle are admirable. Deer are to be met with in the course of half a day's journey; and the traveller is accompanied, wherever he goes, with the music of singing birds. Immediately towards the south is a noble river, which brings you to an upland of the most luxuriant description, looking in the water like a rich-haired beauty in her glass: yet the place is in general solitary. Towards the north, at a less distance, are some other hilly spots of ground, which partake more of the rudely romantic, running however into scenes of the like sylvan elegance; and yet these are still more solitary. The inhabitants of these lands, called the country-people, seem, in truth, pretty nearly as blind to their merits as those who never see them; but their perceptions will doubtless increase, in proportion as their polished neighbours set the example. It should be said for them, that some causes, with which we have nothing to do in this place, have rendered them duller to such impressions than they appear to have been a century or two ago; but we repeat, that they will not live in such scenes to no purpose, if those who know better take an interest in their improvement. Their children have an instinct that is wiser, till domestic cares do it away. They may be seen in the fields and green lanes, with their curly locks and brown faces, gathering the flowers which abound there, and the names of which are as pretty as the shapes and colours. They are called wild roses, primroses, violets, the rose campion, germander, stellaria, wild anemone, bird's-eye, daisies and buttercups, lady-smocks, ground-ivy, hare-bells or blue-bells, wake-robin, lillies of the valley, &c. &c. The trees are oaks, elms, birches, ash, poplar, willow, wild cherry, the flowering may-bush, &c. &c. all, in short, that we dote upon in pictures, and wish that we had about us when it is hot in Cheapside and Bond-street. It is perfectly transporting, in fine weather, like the present for instance, to lounge under the hedge-row elms in one of these sylvan places, and see the light smoke of the cottages fuming up among the green trees, the cattle grazing or lying about with a heavy placidity accordant to the time and scene, "painted jays" glancing about the glens,
the gentle hills sloping down into water, the winding embowered lanes, the leafy and flowery banks, the green oaks against the blue sky, their ivied trunks, the silverbodied and young-haired birches, and the mossy grass treble-carpeted after the vernal rains. Transporting is it to see all this; and transporting to hear the linnets, thrushes, and blackbirds, the grave gladness of the bee, and the stock-dove "brooding over her own sweet voice." And more transporting than all is it to be in such places with a friend, that feels like ourselves, in whose heart and eyes (especially if they have fair lids) we may see all our own happiness doubled, as the landscape itself is reflected in the waters.*
A REMARKABle Narrative. Nicolai, the celebrated German bookseller, a member of the royal society of Berlin, presented to that institution a memoir on the subject of a complaint with which he was affected, and one of the singular consequences of which was, the representation of various spectres. M. Nicolai for some years had been subject to a congestion in the head, and was blooded frequently for it by leeches. After a detailed account of the state of his health, on which he grounds much medical as well as psychological reasoning, he gives the following interesting narrative :
In the first two months of the year 1791, I was much affected in my mind by several incidents of a very disagreeable nature, and on the 24th of February a circumstance occurred which irritated me extremely. At ten o'clock in the forenoon my wife and another person came to console me; I was in a violent perturbation of mind, owing to a series of incidents which had altogether wounded my moral feelings, and from which I saw no possibility of relief: when suddenly I observed at the distance of ten paces from me a figure-the figure of a deceased person. I pointed at it, and asked my wife whether she did not see it. She saw nothing, but being much alarmed endeavoured to compose me, and sent for the physician. The figure remained some seven or eight minutes, and at length I became a little more calm; and as I was extremely exhausted, I soon afterwards fell into a troubled kind of slumber, which
lasted for half an hour. The vision was ascribed to the great agitation of mind in which I had been, and it was supposed I should have nothing more to apprehend from that cause; but the violent affection having put my nerves into some unnatural state, from this arose further consequences, which require a more detailed description. In the afternoon, a little after four o'clock, the figure which I had seen in the morning again appeared. I was alone when this happened; a circumstance which, as may be easily conceived, could not be very agreeable. I went therefore to the apartment of my wife, to whom I related it. But thither also the figure pursued me. Sometimes it was present, sometimes it vanished; but it was always the same standing figure. A little after six o'clock several stalking figures also appeared; but they had no connection with the standing figure. I can assign no other reason for this apparition than that, though much more composed in my mind, I had not been able so soon entirely to forget the cause of such deep and distressing vexation, and had reflected on the consequences of it, in order, if possible, to avoid them; and that this happened three hours after dinner, at the time when the digestion just begins.
At length I became more composed with respect to the disagreeable incident which had given rise to the first apparition; but though I had used very excellent medicines, and found myself in other respects perfectly well, yet the apparitions did not diminish, but, on the contrary, rather increased in number, and were transformed in the most extraordinary manner.
After I had recovered from the first impression of terror, I never felt myself particularly agitated by these apparitions, as I considered them to be what they really were, the extraordinary consequences of indisposition; on the contrary, I endeavoured as much as possible to preserve my composure of mind, that I might remain distinctly conscious of what passed within me. I observed these phantoms with great accuracy, and very often reflected on my previous thoughts, with a view to discover some law in the association of ideas, by which exactly these or other figures might present themselves to the imagination. Sometimes I thought I had made a discovery, especially in the latter period of my visions; but, on the whole, I could trace no connection which the various figures that thus appeared and disappeared to my sight had, either with my state of mind or with my employment, and the other thoughts
which engaged my attention. After frequent accurate observations on the subject, having fairly proved and maturely considered it, I could form no other conclusion on the cause and consequence of such apparitions than that, when the nervous system is weak, and at the same time too much excited, or rather deranged, similar figures may appear in such a manner as if they were actually seen and heard; for these visions in my case were not the consequence of any known law of reason, of the imagination, or of the otherwise usual association of ideas; and such also is the case with other men, as far as we can reason from the few examples we know.
The origin of the individual pictures which present themselves to us, must undoubtedly be sought for in the structure of that organization by which we think; but this will always remain no less inexplicable to us than the origin of these powers by which consciousness and fancy are made to exist.
The figure of the deceased person never appeared to me after the first dreadful day; but several other figures showed themselves afterwards very distinctly; sometimes such as I knew, mostly, however, of persons I did not know, and amongst those known to me, were the semblances of both living and deceased persons, but mostly the former; and I made the observation, that acquaintances with whom I daily conversed never appeared to me as phantasms; it was always such as were at a distance. When these apparitions had continued some weeks, and I could regard them with the greatest composure, I afterwards endeavoured, at my own pleasure, to call forth phantoms of several acquaintance, whom I for that reason represented to my imagination in the most lively manner, but in vain. - For however accurately I pictured to my mind the figures of such persons, I never once could succeed in my desire of seeing them externally; though I had some short time before seen them as phantoms, and they had perhaps afterwards unexpectedly presented themselves to me in the same manner. The phantasms appeared to me in every case involuntarily, as if they had been presented externally, like the phenomena in nature, though they certainly had their origin internally; and at the same time I was always able to distinguish with the greatest precision phantasms from phenomena. Indeed, I never once erred in this, as I was in general perfectly calm and selfcollected on the occasion. I knew extremely well, when it only appeared to me that the
Joor was opened, and a phantom entered, and when the door really was opened and any person came in.
It is also to be noted, that these figures appeared to me at all times, and under the most different circumstances, equally distinct and clear. Whether I was alone, or in company, by broad daylight equally as in the nighttime, in my own as well as in my neighbour's house; yet when I was at another person's house, they were less frequent; and when I walked the public street they very seldom appeared. When I shut my eyes, sometimes the figures disappeared, sometimes they remained even after I had closed them. If they vanished in the former case, on opening my eyes again nearly the same figures appeared which I had seen before.
I sometimes conversed with my physician and my wife, concerning the phantasms which at the time hovered around me; for in general the forms appeared oftener in motion than at rest. They did not always continue present-they frequently left me altogether, and again appeared for a short or longer space of time, singly or more at once; but, in general, several appeared together. For the most part I saw human figures of both sexes; they commonly passed to and fro as if they had no connection with each other, like people at a fair where all is bustle; sometimes they appeared to have business with one another. Once or twice I saw amongst them persons on horseback, and dogs and birds; these figures all appeared to me in their natural size, as distinctly as if they had existed in real life, with the several tints on the uncovered parts of the body, and with all the different kinds of colours of clothes. I think, however, that the colours were somewhat paler than they are in nature.
None of the figures had any distinguish ing characteristic; they were neither terrible, ludicrous, nor repulsive; most of them were ordinary in their appearance-some were even agreeable.
On the whole, the longer I continued in this state, the more did the number of phantasms increase, and the apparitions became more frequent. About four weeks afterwards I began to hear them speak: sometimes the phantasms spoke with one another; but for the most part they addressed themselves to me: those speeches were in general short, and never contained any thing disagreeable. Intelligent and respected friends often appeared to me, who endeavoured to console me in my grief, which still left deep traces in my
mind. This speaking I heard most frequently when I was alone; though I sometimes heard it in company, intermixed with the conversation of real persons; frequently in single phrases only, but sometimes even in connected discourse.
Though at this time I enjoyed rather a good state of health, both in body and mind, and had become so very familiar with these phantasms, that at last they did not excite the least disagreeable emotion, but on the contrary afforded me frequent subjects for amusement and mirth; yet as the disorder sensibly increased, and the figures appeared to me for whole days together, and even during the night, if I happened to awake, I had recourse to several medicines, and was at last again obliged to have recourse to the application of leeches.
This was performed on the 20th of April, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon. I was alone with the surgeon, but during the operation the room swarmed with human forms of every description, which crowded fast one on another; this continued till halfpast four o'clock, exactly the time when the digestion commences. I then observed that the figures began to move more slowly; soon afterwards the colours became gradually paler; and every seven minutes they lost more and more of their intensity, without any alteration in the distinct figure of the apparitions. At about half-past six o'clock all the figures were entirely white, and moved very little; yet the forms appeared perfectly distinct; by degrees they became visibly less plain, without decreasing in number, as had often formerly been the case. The figures did not move off, neither did they vanish, which also had usually happened on other occasions. In this instance they dissolved immediately into air; of some even whole pieces remained for a length of time, which also by degrees were lost to the eye. At about eight o'clock there did not remain a vestige of any of them, and I have never since experienced any appearance of the same kind. Twice or thrice since that time I have felt a propensity, if I may be so allowed to express myself, or a sensation, as if I saw something which in a moment again was gone. I was even surprised by this sensation whilst writing the present account, having, in order to render it more accurate, perused the papers of 1791, and recalled to my memory all the circumstances of that time. So little are we sometimes, even in the greatest composure of mind, masters of our imagination.
The Porch of Beckenham Church-yard.
Beyond the Lich gate stand ten ancient yews-
Over the wickets to many of the churchyards in Kent is a shed, or covered way, of ancient structure, used as a resting-place for funerals, and for the shelter of the corpse until the minister arrives to commence the service for the dead. This at Beckenham is one of the most perfect in the county: the footway beyond, to the great entrance-door of the church, is canopied by a grove of trees, "sad sociate to graves.' These old church-yard buildings, now only seen in villages, were formerly called lich-gates, and the paths to them were called lich-lanes, or lich-ways.
The word lich signified a corpse. Hence
the death-owl was anciently called the lichowl.
The shrieking Litch-owl, that doth never cry
Also, from lich is derived the name of the city of Lichfield, so called because of a massacre on that spot.
A thousand other saints whom Amphibal had tanght,
Flying the pagan foe, their lives that strictly sought. Were slain where Litchfield is, whose name doth rightly
There, of those Christians slain, dead field, or burying ground. Drayton.
For the Table Book.
In yonder cowslip's sprinkled mead
Unto a fairer paradise;
Often upon a summer's eve
The church-yard's smooth, green sward I've trod ! Reading the rugged epitaphs
Of those who lie beneath the sod But in one spot two graves were seen, Which always stopp'd my wandering.
Upon one stone's expansive front
Was writ, in language stiff and cold,
That he, who lay beneath that slab,
And at its close a simple line
Another small and polish'd stone
Had died when in his third year: How eloquent the polish'd praise Lavish'd on that child's winning ways!
The old man lay beneath the stone,
And that he died when he was old:
His joys and sorrows-hopes and fears.
Ninety-nine years of varying life
On gliding pinions by had fled,
(Oh what long years of toil and strife!) Ere he was number'd with the dead;
But yet no line was left to tell
Had he no wife,-no child,-no friend?
How must his soul have been oppress'd,
As intimates dropp'd from his side! And he, almost unknown, was left
Alone,-upon this desert wide! Wife-children-friends-all, all were gone, And he left in the world alone!
His youthful friends had long grown old,
but then the record nought supplied, How he had spent this length'ned life; Whether in peace and quietness,
Or had he worried been with strife: Perhaps the muse to him had given Visions of glory, fire from Heaven!
All is conjecture! He was laid
Beneath the cold, unfeeling clay,
Oh! cold and cheerless is the thought,
My very name remember'd not,
And fame's wreath wither'd on my brow:
Of me no record be supplied,
But that I liv'd, and that I died!
Such is the tone of sorrowing thought
That through my heart has often past, As, on a summer's brightning eve, A look upon those graves I've cast, Where youth and age together lie, Emblems of frail mortality!
O. N. Y.
THE WHITE LADY.
A ROMANTIC AND TRUE ANECDOTE.
At Nottingham, a year or two ago, Sophia Hyatt, in consequence of extreme deafness, was accidentally run over by a carrier's cart, at the entrance of the Maypole inn-yard, and unfortunately killed. She had arrived that morning in a gig from Newstead Papplewick, or somewhere in that neighbourhood, and had been, for the three or four preceding years, a lodger in one of the farm-houses belonging to colonel Widman, at Newstead Abbey. No one knew exactly from whence she came, nor what were her connections. Her days were passed in rambling about the gardens and grounds of the abbey, to which, from the kindness of colonel Wildman, she had fiet access. Her dress was invariably the same; and she was distinguished by the servants at Newstead, as the "white lady." She had ingratiated herself with the Newfoundland dog which came from Greece with the body of lord Byron, by regularly feeding him; and on the evening before the fatal accident, she was seen, on quitting the gardens, to cut off a small lock of the dog's hair, which she carefully placed in her handkerchief. On that evening also, she delivered to Mrs. Wildman a sealed packet,