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Nec tam Larissæ percussit campus opimæ,
Quàm domus Albuneæ resonantis,

Et præceps Anio, et Tiburni lucus, et uda

Mobilibus pomaria rivis.

HORATII, liber i. Od. 7.


HERE is the aspect of the country grand;

Green are the meads through which clear rivers flow; Here o'er the road, as guardians of the land, Vast oaks their venerable branches throw; And in the sunlight woods continuous glow, Where Perdita might choose her choicest store Of flowers with artless comment to bestow On high-born swains; and where, with Hellenore Laurel-crown'd, sylvan boys from openings might out



Here Flora's spots of loveliness surpass

Armida's gardens or Alcina's isle :

Gay flower-beds, fountains bosom'd in soft grass,
And bowers, o'er which with parasitic wile

Wind flower-inwoven creepers, here beguile The slave to Mammon of his golden cares,

As plays o'er Avon's stream eve's roseate smile. And Nature here her richest livery wears, Flourishing as her poet's fame, whose throne no rival



Beautiful are the fields that brighten round

Stratford, where fairies dance beneath the moon;

And Ariels, as he sleeps on sacred ground,
Such poetry is in the air, at noon

Visit the day-dreams even of rustic loon.

Juliet before the eye of fancy glows

With love, far lovelier than in grand saloon

The richest gems of beauty: Shakspeare throws
There round the mind a charm it never elsewhere knows.


Mightiest of mighty bards! may I unblamed
Approach thee with the homage of my praise?
Hamlet, Macbeth, scarce by historians named,
Familiar to our minds from earliest days,
Haunt us all, “like a passion" in thy plays.
'Twas thine all characters of life to hit

Or in the soul sublime emotions raise,

Or melt with tenderness, delight with wit;
Then people fancied worlds with beings for them fit.


And Warwickshire of Somerville can boast,
The Poet of the Chase, she cannot spare
(Though Avon's Bard is in himself a host)
Her claim to names enroll'd in annals fair

Of fame, since days of Shakspeare somewhat rare. 'Tis said, the county has become effete *

With bringing forth Creation's richest heir: Yet Warton offered up, as was most meet, Incense of praise to Dugdale in a sonnet sweet.


They were congenial spirits, and they drunk
Deep from the fount of antiquarian lore;
Their works monastic piles in ruin sunk
To grandeur architectural restore,

And renovate their Norman fame of yore.
In Warton's verse fair dames and barons bold,
And Gothic pageants, pass the mind before :
Vast local treasures Dugdale's tomes unfold
That might have been for aye buried in records old.


The spirit of the Nimrod-Bard survives

Not in heroic verse, but toast or song:

The sport, now heighten'd into racing, gives
Strength to the weak, and glory to the strong.

There is a caustic saying of Dr. Parr's on record, that "Warwickshire produced Shakspeare, and became effete."

Re-echoing woods the joyous cry prolong

Of "forward!" swift as breeze o'er waving corn,

Hounds sweep unequall'd in their pace along

Large fields from Radbourne Gorse *, and Boxall's + horn

Can make the heart rejoice on dull November's morn.


Where is the sage oracular that dwelt

Whilome at Hatton, cloud-compelling Parr?
Who, boldly speaking what he strongly felt,
With Tories waged interminable war.
Though paled by Porson's light, he was a star
Of magnitude, and gloried in a name

Through realms of knowledge celebrated far;
And many, by the splendour of his fame
Attracted, to the great high-priest of learning came.


His feasts were sumptuous on his natal day;
His viands excellent, and old his wine:
On the smooth sideboard shone in bright array
His plate, magnificent for a Divine;

Fair as the yet unmelted flagons shine

* A famous covert in Warwickshire.

Who knows not Bill Boxall, the celebrated huntsman to the Warwickshire hounds?

In banquet-rooms of high-born thanes: he loved
To welcome in his guests, and make them dine.
Then went the grace-cup round; the cloth removed,
Toasts follow'd,-some too strong for gentler spirits


Rich as the colours of the rainbow shone

His eloquent discourse, whate'er the theme; Whether he spoke of mighty statesmen gone, Their names like bubbles, buoyant on Time's stream— Glittering, though evanescent as a dream ;

Or as his guests with old Falernian warm'd,

Flash'd with the goblet round wit's frequent beam : Sunny old man! his imagery charm'd

Ripe scholars, wise self-love his satire oft alarm'd.


Kenilworth Castle! history relates

Its pristine grandeur, and tradition tells
A tale of more than even romance creates,
Though fancy aids the work with magic spells,
Of pomp, that splendours of the East excels.
What deities salute the Virgin Queen* ?

Each sea-god who in coral cavern dwells!

Triton and Proteus strange, in vesture green

Diana with her nymphs-the gods of Greece are seen!

* See Laneham's Letter describing the magnificent pageants presented before Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle in 1575; also Gascoigne's Princely Pleasures.

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