Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

The old man, who thus reads and recollects, has seen too much of factions to be a partisan. His only earthly interest is the good of his country. A change in the administration is to him of no import, if it bring not blessings to the preseit generation that entail a debt of gratitude upon posterity. Alterations in public affairs, if violently effected, he scarcely expects will be lasting, and loves human nature too well to desire them; yet he does not despair of private undertakings on account of their novelty or vastness; and therefore he was among the earliest promoters of vaccination, and of Winsor's plan for lighting the streets with gas. He was a proprietor of the first vessel navigated by steam, and would rather fail with Brunel than succeed at court.

The old man's days are few. He has discovered that the essential requisites of human existence are small in number; and that in strength itself there is weakness. He speculates upon ruling mankind by the law of kindness; and, as a specimen of the possibility, he kindles good-will with the materials of strife.

Garrick Plays.

No. XXIII.

From the "Downfall of Robert, Earl of
Huntingdon," an Historical Play, by T.
Heywood, 1601.]

Chorus; Skelton, the Poet.

Shelton, (to the Audience). The Youth that leads yon virgin by the hand

As doth the Sun the Morning richly clad,

Is our Earl Robert-or your Robin Hood-
That in those days was Earl of Huntingdon.

For what we want in wealth, we have in flowers;
And what we lose in halls, we find in bowers.
Marian. Marian bath all, sweet Robert, having
thee;

And guesses thee as rich in having me.

Scarlet recounts to Scathlock the pleasures of an Outlaw's life.

Scarlet. It's full seven years since we were outlaw
first,

And wealthy Sherwood was our heritage.
For all those years we reigned uncontroll'd,
From Barnsdale shrogs to Nottingham's red cliffs.
At Blithe and Tickhill were we welcome guests;
Good George-a-green at Bradford was our friena,
And wanton Wakefield's Pinner loved us well.
At Barnsley dwells a Potter tough and strong,
That never brook'd we brethren should have wrong.
The Nuns of Farnsfield, pretty Nans they be,
Gave napkins, shirts, and bands, to him and me.
Bateman of Kendal gave us Kendal green,
And Sharpe of Leeds sharp arrows for us made.
At Rotherham dwelt our Bowyer, God him bliss:
Jackson he hight. his bows did never miss

Fitzwater, banished, seeking his daughter
Matilda (Robin's Marian) in the forest of
Sherwood, makes his complaint.

Fitz. Well did he write, and mickle did he know,
That said "This world's felicity was woe,
Which greatest states can hardly undergo."
Whilom Fitzwater in fair England's Court
Possest felicity and happy state,
And in his hall blithe Fortune kept her sport;
Which glee one hour of woe did ruinate.
Fitzwater once had castles, towns, and towers;
Fair gardens, orchards, and delightful bowers;
But now nor garden, orchard, town, nor tower
Hath poor Fitzwater left within his power.
Only wide walks are left me in the world,
Which these stiff limbs will hardly let me tread :
And when I sleep, heavn's glorious canopy
Me and my mossy couch doth overspread.

He discovers Robin Hood sleeping;

Robin recounts to Marian the pleasures Marian strewing flowers over him. of a forest life.

Robin. Marian, thou see'st, tho' courtly pleasures
want,

Yet country sport in Sherwood is not scant:
For the soul-ravishing delicious und
Of instrumental music, we have found
The winged quiristers, with divers notes

Sent from their quaint recording pretty throats,
On every branch that compasseth our bower,
Without command contenting us each hour.
For arras hangings and rich tapestry,
We have sweet Nature's best embroidery.
For thy steel glass, wherein thou wont'st to look,
Thy chrystal eves gaze in a chrystal brook.
At Court a hower or two did deck thy head;
Now with whole garlands it is circled:

Fitz. in good time see where my comfort stands,
And by her lies dejected Huntingdon.
Look how my Flower holds flowers in her hands,
And flings those sweets upon my sleeping son.

Feigns himself blind, to try if she will know him.

Marian. What aged man art thou? er by what chance

Camest thon thus far into the wayless wood?

Fitz. Widow, or wife, or maiden, if thou be; Lend me thy hand: thou see'st I cannot see. Blessing betide thee! little feel'st thou want: With me, good child, food is both hard and scant. These smooth even veins assure me, He is kind, Whate'er he be, my girl, that thee doth find,

[blocks in formation]

Prior. What news with you, Sir?

Serv. Ev'n heavy news, my Lord; for the light fire, Falling in manner of a fire-drake

Upon a barn of yours, hath burnt six barns,
And not a strike of corn reserv'd from dust.
No hand could save it; yet ten thousand hands
Labour'd their best, though none for love of you:
For every tongue with bitter cursing bann'd
Your Lordship, as the viper of the land.
Prior. What meant the villains?
Serv. Thus and thus they cried :

[ocr errors]

Upon this churl, this hoarder up of corn,

This spoiler of the Earl of Huntingdon,

This lust-defiled, merciless, false Prior,

Heav'n raineth judgment down in shape of fire."

Old wives that scarce could with their crutches creep,
And little babes that newly learn'd to speak,
Men masterless that thorough want did weep,
All in one voice with a confused cry

In execrations bann'd you bitterly.

Plague follow plague," they cried; "he hath undone The good Lord Robert, Earl of Huntingdon."

[From "Phillis of Scyros," a Dramatic Pastoral, Author Unknown, 1655.]

True Love irremovable by Death.

Serpilla. Phillis.

Serpilla. Thyrsis believes thee dead, and justly may
Within his youthful breast then entertain
New flames of love, and yet therein be free
From the least show of doing injury

To that rich beauty which he thinks extinct,
And happily hath mourn'd for long ago:
But when he shall perceive thee here alive,
His old lost love will then with thee revive.
Phillis. That love, Serpilla, which can be removed
With the light breath of an imagined death,
Is but a faint weak love; nor care I much
Whether it live within, or still lie dead.
Ev'n I myself believ'd him long ago
Dead, and enclosed within an earthen urn;
And yet, abhorring any other love,

I only loved that pale-faced beauty still;
And those dry bones, dissolved into dust:
And underneath their ashes kept alive
The lively flames of my still-burning fire.

Celia, being put to sleep by an ineffectual poison, waking believes herself to be among the dead. The old Shepherd Narete finds

her, and re-assures her of her still being alive.

Shepherd. Celia, thou talkest idly; call again
Thy wandering senses; thou art yet alive.
And, if thou wilt not credit what I say,
Look

up, and see the heavens turning round; The sun descending down into the west,

Which not long since thou saw'st rise in the east;
Observe, that with the motion of the air

These fading leaves do fall:

In the infernal region of the deep

The sun doth never rise, nor ever set;

Nor doth a falling leaf there e'er adorn

[blocks in formation]

Are the sweet fields of Scyros. Know'st thou not
The meadow where the fountain springs? this wood?
Euro's great mountain, and Ormino's hill;
The hill where thou wert born?

Thyrsis, upbraided by Phillis for loving another, while he supposed her dead, replies

Thirsis. O do not turn thy face another way. Perhaps thou thinkest, by denying thus That lovely visage to these eyes of mine, To punish my misdeeds; but think not so. Look on me still, and mark me what I say, (For, if thou know'st it not, I'll tell thee then), A more severe revenger of thy wrongs Thou canst not have than those fair eyes of thine, Which by those shining beams that wound iny heart Punish me more than all the world can do. What greater pain canst thou inflict on me, Than still to keep as fire before my face That lovely beauty, which I have betray'd ; That beauty, I have lost?

NIGHT breaks off her speech.*
NIGHT. But stay! for there methinks 1 see the
Sun,

Eternal Painter, now begin to rise,
And limn the heavens in vermilion dye;
And having dipt his pencil, aptly framed,
Already in the colour of the morn,
With various temper he doth mix in one
Darkness and Light: and drawing curiously
Strait golden lines quite thro' the dusky sky,
A rough draught of the day he seems to yield,
With red and tawny in an azure field.-
Already, by the clattering of their bits,
Their gingling harness, and their neighing sounds.

I hear Eous and fierce Pirous

Come panting on my back; and therefore I

Must fly away. And yet I do not fly,
But follow on my regulated course,
And those eternal Orders I received
From the First Mover of the Universe.

In the P

C. I..

The Brama.

"6 aThe following communication from matter-of-fact" correspondent, controverts an old dramatist's authority on an historical point. It should be recollected, however, that poets have large license, and that few playwrights strictly adhere to facts without injury to poetical character and feeling. The letter is curious, and might suggest an amusing parallel in the manner of Plutarch, between the straightforward character and the poetical one.

KING JOHN AND MATILDA.

To the Editor.

Sir,-Having been in the country during the publication of the first parts of the Table Book, I have but now just bought them; and on perusing them, I find in part 1, col. 112 et infrâ, Mr. C. Lamb's first specimen of the Garrick Plays, called "King John and Matilda;" wherein the said Matilda, the daughter of the old baron Fitzwater is supposed to be poisoned by King John's order, in a nunnery. She is especially entitled therein as "immaculate" "Virtue's white virgin,”—and “maid and martyr." Now, sir, I presume it to be well known, that in the best legends extant of the times of Richard I. and John, this identical Matilda, or Maud Fitzwater, is chronicled as the chère amie and companion of the outlawed Robert Fitzooth, earl of Huntingdon, whom, as "Robin Hood," she followed as "Maid Marian ;" and with whom, on his restoration to his honours by king Richard, (to his earldom and estates,) she intermarried, and became countess of Huntingdon, and was in every respect a wife, though we have no records whether she ever became a mother; and that when by king John the earl was again outlawed, and driven to the wilds of Sherwood forest, his countess also again shared his misforunes, and a second time took the name of “Maid Marian,” (then rather a misnomer,) as he did that of "Robin Hood."

During the first outlawry of Robin Hood, and while Marian, or more properly Matilda, was yet a maid, John (then prince John, Richard being in Palestine) made overtures to the old baron Fitzwalter for his daughter as a mistress, and being refused, and finding she was in the society of Robin Hood and his merry men, attacked them, and a bloody fray ensued; during

This is an eror of the poet's. His real name was Fitz-Walter, i. e. the son of Walter.

which, John and Matilda (in the male costume of forest green) met, and fought: John required her to yield, and she as resolutely desired him, in a reproachful taunt, to win her first; and so stoutly did she belabour him, as the rest of the foresters did his party also, that he was constrained to yield, and to withdraw from a contest in which nothing was to be got but blows.

We hear nothing more of any attempts of John's to molest her or her party till after the death of Richard, and his own accession to the throne, when he spitefully ousted the earl and countess from their honours and possessions, and confiscated all to his own use; and thus this unfortunate pair. as I have above stated, were again constrained to quit the castle for the forest.

But it is certain, that long before John became king, Matilda, alias Maud, alias Marian, had ceased to be a maid; and we have no account of any attempts whatsoever made by king John upon or against the quondam Matilda Fitzwalter, afterwards alternately Maid Marian and countess of Huntingdon. Indeed all the legends of Robin Hood's life present "Maid Marian" as having lived with him unmolested by any such attempts during the whole of his second outlawry, and as having survived Robin's tragical end; though of her subsequent fate they are all silent, expressing themselves indeed ignorant of what was her destiny. Certainly she may then have retired into a nunnery, but at all events not as Matilda Fitzwalter; for she had been legally married and formally acknowledged by Richard I. as countess of Huntingdon; and as she spent the last part of her fellowship with her husband in Sherwood forest under her romantic forest appellation, it is scarcely probable that she would resume her title on entering into a nunnery. I would presume, therefore, that however and wherever she ended her days, it must have been under the cognomen of "Maid Marian." And as her husband lived for some years in the forest after the accession of Joàn, I should think it scarcely likely that after such a great lapse of time, and after the change which had taken place in Matilda both as regards her worldly station and age, and I should presume person, (from such a continued exposure to the air and weather,) John should renew any attempt upon her. I should therefore feel exceedingly gratified if either yourself or Mr. C. Lamb could adduce any historical facts to reconcile all these discrepancies, and to show how the facts, as supposed in the play of " King John and Matilda," could,

in the natural course of events, and in the very teeth of the declarations made in the history of Robin Hood and his consort, have taken place.

Mark this also;-the historians of Robin Hood and Maid Marian (and their history was written, if not by contemporaries, yet in the next generation; nor is it likely that such a renowned personage should be unnoticed in chronicles for any space of time) all declare that they could not ascertain the fate of Marian after the death of Robin. His death and burial are well known, and the inscription to his memory is still extant; but she was lost sight of from the time of his decease. How comes it then that Robert Davenport, in the 17th century, should be so well informed, as to know that Matilda ended her days in a nunnery by poison administered by order of king John, when there is no tradition extant of the time or manner of her decease? We have no other authority than this of Davenport's tragedy on the subject; and I should therefore be inclined to think that he was misinformed, and that the event recorded by him never happened. As to its being another Matilda Fitzwalter, it is highly preposterous to imagine. Is it likely that at the same time there should be two barons of that name and title, each having a daughter named Matilda or Maud? Davenport calls his baron the old baron Fitzwater; and the father of Maid Marian is described as the old baron: both must therefore have lived in the reign of Richard I., and also in that or John till their death. Indeed we have proof that the baron was alive in John's reign, because Richard I. having restored him at the same time that he pardoned Fitzooth, John dispossessed them both on his accession.

I think it therefore highly improbable that there should have been so remarkable a coincidence as two barons Fitzwalter, and two Matildas at the same time, and both the latter subject to the unwelcome addresses of John: consequently I cannot give credence, without proofs, to the incident in Davenport's play.

I ain, Sir,

respectfully yours, "THE VEILED SPIRIT."

May 17, 1827.

P. S. Since writing the above, my friend F. C. N. suggests to me, that there was a baron Fitzwalter in John's reign, proprietor of Castle Baynard, whose daughter Matilda John saw at a tourney, and being smitten

with her charms, proposed to her father for her as his mistress, (precisely the events connected with Maid Marian;) and being refused, he attacked Castle Baynard, and ultimately destroyed it. However, for the reasons I have before stated, I am decidedly of opinion, that if such a baron was proprietor of Castle Baynard, it must have been the father of Maid Marian, as I cannot suppose that there were two. I cannot precisely remember, nor have I any thing at hand to refer to, but I believe it was at a tourney somewhere that prince John first Saw Maud.

For the Table Book.

THE PHANTOM LIGHT

What phantom light from yonder lonely tower, Glimmers yet paler than the pale moon beam ;Breaking the darkness of the midnight hour,What bodes its dismal, melancholy gleam?

'Tis not the brightness of that glorious light,
That bursts in splendour from the hoary north :
Tis not the pharos of the dangerous night,
Mid storms and winds benignly shining forth.
Still are the waves that wash this desert shore,

No breath is there to fill the fisher's sail;
Yet round yon isle is heard the distant roar
Of billows writhing in a tempest's gale.

Doomed are the mariners that rashly seek

To land in safety on that dreadful shore; For once engulfed in the forbidden creek, Their fate is sealed-they're never heard of more.

For spirits there exert unholy sway-
When favoured by the night's portentous gloom-
Seduce the sailor from his trackless way,
And lure the wretch to an untimely doom.

A demon tenant's yonder lonely tower,

A dreadful compound of hell, earth, and air;

To-night he visits not his favourite bower,

So pale the light that faintly glimmers there.

In storms he seeks that solitary haunt,

And, with their lord, a grim unearthly crew; Who, while they join in wild discordant chant, The mystic revels of their race pursue.

But when the fiends have gained their horrid lair,
The night then bursts forth with a blood-red glare;
And phantom forms will fit along the wave
Whose corses long had tenanted the grave

A GROVE

THE FORMATION OF ONE WITH A VIEW TO THE PICTURESQUE.

The prevailing character of a grove is beauty; fine trees are lovely objects; a grove is an assemblage of them; in which every individual retains much of its own peculiar elegance; and whatever it loses is transferred to the superior beauty of the whole. To a grove, therefore, which admits of endless variety in the disposition of the trees, differences in their shapes and their greens are seldom very important, and sometimes they are detrimental. Strong contrasts scatter trees which are thinly planted, and which have not the connection of underwood; they no longer form one plantation; they are a number of single trees. A thick grove is not indeed exposed to this mischief, and certain situations may recommend different shapes and different greens for their effects upon the surface; but in the outline they are seldom much regarded. The eye attracted into the depth of the grove passes by little circumstances at the entrance; even varieties in the form of the line do not always engage the attention: they are not so apparent as in a continued thicket, and are scarcely seen, if they are not considerable.

But the surface and the outline are not the only circumstances to be attended to. Though a grove be beautiful as an object, it is besides delightful as a spot to walk or to sit in; and the choice and the disposition of the trees for effects within are therefore a principal consideration. Mere irregularity alone will not please: strict order is there more agreeable than absolute confusion; and some meaning better than none. A regular plantation has a degree of beauty; but it gives no satisfaction, because we know that the same number of trees might be more beautifully arranged. A disposition, however, in which the lines only are broken, without varying the distances, is less natural than any; for though we cannot find straight lines in a forest, we are habituated to them in the hedge-rows of fields; but neither in wild nor in cultivated nature do we ever see trees equidistant from each other: that regularity belongs to art alone. The distances therefore should be strikingly different; the trees should gather into groups, or stand in various ir regular lines, and describe several figures: the intervals between them should be contrasted both in shape and in dimensions: a large space should in some places be quite open; in others the trees should be so close

together, as hardly to leave a passage between them; and in others as far apart as the connection will allow. In the forms and the varieties of these groups, these lines, and these openings, principally consists the interior beauty of a grove.

The consequence of variety in the disposition, is variety in the light and shade of the grove; which may be improved by the choice of the trees. Some are impenetrable to the fiercest sunbeam; others let in here and there a ray between the large masses of their foliage; and others, thin both of boughs and of leaves, only checker the ground. Every degree of light and shade, from a glare to obscurity, may be managed, partly by the number, and partly by the texture of the trees. Differences only in the manner of their growths have also corresponding effects; there is a closeness under those whose branches descend low and spread wide, a space and liberty where the arch above is high, and frequent transitions from the one to the other are very pleasing. These still are not all the varieties of which the interior of a grove is capable; trees, indeed, whose branches nearly reach the ground, being each a sort of thicket, are inconsistent with an open plantation; but though some of the characteristic distinctions are thereby excluded, other varieties more minute succeed in their place; for the freedom of passage throughout brings every tree in its turn near to the eye, and subjects even differences in foliage to observation. These, slight as they may seem, are agreeable when they occur; it is true they are not regretted when wanting, but a defect of ornament is not necessarily a blemish.

For the Table Book, GROVES AND HIGH PLACES. The heathens considered it unlawful to build temples, because they thought no temple spacious enough for the sun. Hence the saying, Mundus universus est templum solis, "The whole world is a temple of the sun." Thus their god Terminus, and others, were worshipped in temples openroofed. Hills and mountains became the fittest places for their idolatry; and these consecrated hills are the "high places" so often forbidden in the sacred writings. the number of their gods increased, so the number of their consecrated hills multiplied; and from them their gods and goddesses took names, as Mercurius Cyllenius, Venus Erycina, Jupiter Capitolinus. To beautify these holy hills, the places of their idola

As

« AnteriorContinua »