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curves. The first foreground appears to the eye like a view from the clouds to the earth, and the rich contrast of green meadows to wild forest scenery,—the farm of Llancaut, clasped in the arms of the winding river, backed by hanging wood and rock. The further horn of the crescent tapers off into a craggy informal mole, over which the eye passes to a second bay; this terminates in Chepstow Castle, the town and rocks beyond all mellowed down by distance, into that fine hazy indistinctness which makes even deformities combine into harmony with the picture.”*
An observatory, the guide informed us, was intended some years since to have crowned this noble eminence, and a subscription was got up for the purpose; but some difference having arisen between the projectors of the scheme and the proprietor of the land, it was dropped. It was suggested by a local writer, that a few Doric columns with architraves, however rude, would have had an imposing effect on the summit of the Wynd Cliff, and reminded the classic traveller of the ruined temple of Minerva on the Sunium promontory. “It might,” he says, “ be partially immersed in wood; while, in the native rock, niches might be hollowed out; and on a tablet, at the finest point of view, the following words should be inscribed :-VALENTINE MORRISť introduced these sublime scenes to public view. To him be honour : to God praise.” | This is concise and classical; but it is reserved probably for another generation to witness the completion of the design.
The whole scene, from this point to the Abbey of Tinterne, presents an uninterrupted combination of picturesque and romantic features. Above are hanging cliffs, richly clothed in variegated woods, perfumed with flowers, irrigated by murmuring rivulets, fountains, and cascades, and rendered vocal by the songs of birds. These woody solitudes are the annual resort of nightingales, whose note is familiar to every late and early tourist, who with slow and lingering step measures his leafy way between Chepstow and Tinterne—unable to decide at what point of the road there is the richest concentration of scenery. It is, indeed, a sylvan avenue of vast and variegated beauty, reminding us of the softer features of Helvetian landscape.
Fosbroke- Local History and Guide.
his fallen fortunes had produced in the insanity of his + His history is short and melancholy. In the course wife; and shortly after he died at the house of a relaof the American war, he was appointed governor of the tive in London. He was a generous and benevolent island of St. Vincent, where he expended a large sum man, as the poor of his neighbourhood could well tesfrom his own private resources in its fortification. Upon tify. On his departure for the West Indies, they came its fall, the minister of the day disavowed his claim for in troops to bid him a tearful farewell; and the mufcompensation. His creditors became clamorous, and filed bells of the neighbouring church rang a funeral he was cast into the King's Bench prison, where he knell as he left the home of his love, and the scenes languished for twelve years. When released from his which he had embellished both by his taste and his confinement, he was broken in health and spirits-suf- life.- Roscoe's South Wales. fering most of all from the domestic calamity which Chepstow Guide.
Far below, and seen only at intervals through its thick curtain of foliage, the classic Vaga continues its winding course. Here basking in sunshine, there sweeping along under shadowy cliffs—now expanding its waters over a broad channel, or rushing through deep ravines, it is often enlivened by boats laden with produce, or visitors in pleasure-barges, who make the "descent of the Wye,” as, in former days, pilgrims made that of the Rhine and Danube ; for the boats that perform the trip from Ross to Chepstow, make, in general, but one voyage, and are otherwise employed or broken up at its conclusion
Facilis descensus Avernifed revocare gradum.
It is but recently, says a periodical authority, that the Wye has become at all frequented on account of its scenery. About the middle of last century, the Rev. Dr. Egerton, afterwards Bishop of Durham, was collated by his father to the rectory of Ross, in which pleasant town, situated on the left bank of the river, and just at the point where its beautiful scenery begins, the worthy doctor resided nearly thirty years. He was a man of taste, and had a lively enjoyment of the pleasures of society amidst the beautiful scenery of his neighbourhood. His chief delight was to invite his friends and connections, who were persons of high rank, to pay him summer visits at Ross, and then to take them down the Wye
“Pleased Vaga echoing through its winding bounds, "which, as well as the town of Ross, had derived a new interest from the lines of Pope. For this purpose, we are told, Dr. Egerton built a pleasure-boat; and, year after year, excursions were made, until it became fashionable in a certain high class of society to visit the Wye. But when the rector of Ross was consecrated to the see of Durham, his pleasure-boat, like that of the Doges of Venice and Genoa, was suffered to rot at anchor; and with no successor of similar means and taste to follow his example, excursions on the Wye became unfrequent, because no longer fashionable. Yet the beauties of the scenery once explored, became gradually more attractive; and some pilgrim of Nature, deviating now and then from the beaten track, spoke and sang of its beauties, until, having again caught the public ear, it was admitted that we had a “Rhine” within our own borders—with no vineyards and fewer castles, but with a luxuriance of scenery peculiarly its own, and with remains of feudal and monastic grandeur which no description could exaggerate. Mr. Whately, a writer on landscape gardening, and an exquisite critic, first directed attention to the new weir at Tinterne Abbey, and one or two other scenes on its banks ; and, in 1770, the Wye was visited by William Gilpin, who did good service
to taste and the lovers of nature by publishing his tour. The same year, a greater name connected itself with the Wye—for it was visited by the immortal author of the “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.” “My last summer's tour," says Gray, in one of his admirable letters to Dr. Tuharton, “was through Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, and Shropshirefive of the most beautiful counties in the kingdom. The very principal sight and capital feature of my journey was the river Wye, which I descended in a boat for nearly forty miles, from Ross to Chepstow. Its banks are a succession of nameless beauties."* The testimony thus bequeathed to it by the illustrious Gray, has been confirmed and repeated by Wordsworth, while other kindred spirits, following each other in the same track, have sacrificed to Nature at the same altar, and recorded their admiration in immortal song :
· Once again
“ How oft,
WORDSWORTH, July 13, 1798.
* " It may almost be said,” remarks the same writer, ing artice.- Dugdale's Monasticon. - Baronage." that the last happy moments Gray knew in this Camden's Britannia. — Leland's Itinerary. - County world were spent upon the Wye; for, a few months History. — Local Guides : Heath. — Wood. — De la after, we find him a prey to ill health and despondency Beche. — Williams. – Thomas. Roscoe. — Burke's -complaining of an incurable cough, of the irksome- Peerage and Commoners.-Chronicles.-Giraldus CarnDess of his employment at Cambridge, and of 'mechani- brensis.-William of Worcester. - History of the Coincal low spirits.' He died in the course of the follow- monwealth. -Life of Cromwell.— Notes by Corresponing summer, æt. 55.”—P. M. August, 1835.-See his dents.—MS. Tour on the Wye, 1848; with other Life by Mason.
sources, which will be found enumerated in the article
upon Tinterne Abbey. AUTHORITIES quoted or referred to in the preced
" There are some, I hear, who take it ill that I mention monasteries and their founders; I am sorry to hear it. But, not to give them any just offence, let them be angry if they will. Perhaps they would have it forgotten that our ancestors were, and we are, Christians; since there never were more certain indications and glorious monuments, of Christian piety than these."-CAMDEN's Britannia Pref. Ages of Faith, Book xi.
HE Abbey of Tinterne, though one of the oldest in England, makes no conspicuous figure in its history, a proof that its abbots were neither bold nor ambitious of distinction, but devoted to the peaceful and retiring duties of their office. We do not find that the secluded Tinterne was ever the scene of
any rebellious outbreak, or the refuge of any notorious criminal. From age to age, the bell that summoned to daily matins and vespers was cheerfully obeyed ; and all they knew of the great world beyond the encircling hills, was learned, perhaps, from the daily strangers and pilgrims who took their meal and night's lodging in the hospitium.
The name of Tinterne, as etymologists inform us, is derived from the Celtic words din, a fortress, and teyrn, a sovereign or chief; for it appears from history, as well as tradition, that a hermitage, belonging to Theodoric or Teudric, King of Glamorgan, originally occupied the site of the present abbey; and that the royal hermit, having resigned the throne to his son Maurice, "led an eremitical life among the rocks of Dindyrn or Tynterne.” It is also mentioned, as a remarkable coincidence in history, that two kings, who sought Tinterne as a temporary place of refuge, only left it to meet violent deaths. The first was Theodoric, who was slain in battle by the Saxons, under Ceolwilph, King of Wessex, in the year 600, having been dragged from his seclusion by his own subjects, in order that he might act once more as their leader. The next was “the unfortunate King Edward, * who fled from the pursuit of his queen,” Isabella. The Welsh monarch is said to have routed the Saxons at Mathern, near Chepstow, where his body was buried. Bishop Godwin says, that he there saw his remains in a stone coffin; and on the skull, after the lapse of nearly a thousand years, the wound of whic! he died was conspicuous—thus verifying the tradition as to the place and manner of his death.
Nothing could be more happily chosen for the seat of a religious community, than the beautiful valley of which these ruins are the unrivalled ornament. It would be difficult to picture, even with the aid of a fertile imagination, scenes more fitted to cherish devout feelings; to instruct us, from the tranquil bosom of Nature, to look up to Nature's God; and in the exclusion of the busy world, to feel aspirations of gratitude continually ascending towards Him who enriched the valley with his bounty, and in homage to whom that temple and its altars were first erected. The latter, as the work of
the work of man, and a prey to neglect and violence, have disappeared or crumbled into ruins; but the former, as the work of God, has lost nothing of its original beauty. The woods that curtain the scene; the river that sweeps along under pendent cliffs of oak; the meadows and orchards that cover and adorn its banks,—all continue as luxuriant, as copious and abundant, as verdant and blooming, as on that day when the first pilgrimfather planted his cross in the soil, and consecrated the spot to the service of God.
It has been often observed—and the observation is confirmed by fact—that those venerable ascetics, who acted as pioneers in the army of Christian pilgrims, were no mean judges of soil and climate, and generally chose some fertile spot upon which nature had bestowed her special favour. But
But many instances
The historian of the abbey here quoted has prob- to Neath Abbey, not Tinterne, that King Edward ably made some mistake in the name; as it was retreated.-See Append.