« PreviousContinue »
And Glory, with her glittering wings extended,
And crumbling walls are crown'd with gay wild flowers
As if in mockery of their former state;
Luxuriantly green through frequent showers Thickens the couch-grass near the castle-gate, Where gaudy vassals stood their lord's approach to wait.
And are the ensigns of thy grandeur gone,
Thou art immortalised, but not thy lot
To have the guerdon of Fame's purest ray
By genius pour'd around thy name by Scott;
The portrait is too true to life-'twere best to be forgot!
NOTES TO "WARWICKSHIRE."
I would have ventured a few stanzas in praise of Warwick Castle, that rivals the proud keep of Windsor, rising in the majesty of proportion, and girt with the double belt of its kindred and coeval towers," were I not aware that no description of mine could do it adequate justice. I have selected a stanza or two from an unpublished Poem, "Lines on Warwick Castle," that has been much admired. author is, I believe, a physician of eminence at Edinburgh.
"Discern ye not the mighty master's power
O'er the first Charles † the shades of sorrow nigh?
In the soft eye of Henrietta ‡ dreams,
And fills with fire the glance of Gondomar ? §
"Here, to Salvator's solemn pencil true,
Huge oaks swing rudely in the mountain blast;
The lights that steal from clouds of tempest past.
Like eastern mosques, patrician Venice rise !
Where Claude's warm sunsets tinge Italian skies.
"Hark! from the depths beneath the proud saloon
Smiles on the arch that nobly spans the flood.
The banks where Avon's lingering fountains flow."
P. 222, I. 15.
Mightiest of mighty Bards.
What commentators and eulogists, English or German, can do justice to Shakspeare? And he was born at Stratford in this county; "Think of that, my masters," and on this day (April 23rd). Seven cities laid claim to Homer; Stratford claims Shakspeare, and no town or city in the world can dispute that claim.
Let us feast on his works to-day; and if they want any garnish, let it be the garnish of Mrs. Jameson's admirable "Characteristics of Women." How beautiful (perhaps a little too ornamented) is the chapter on "Juliet!" Mrs. Jameson has sprung a new mine; she has discovered unsuspected beauties in Shakspeare, inexhaustible as his foster-mother Nature.
In Drake's "Memorials of Shakspeare," there are some admirable delineations of the characters of the great poet by the most distinguished writers of the present day, -Schlegel, Göthe, Campbell, Coleridge. Perhaps the finest of the sketches, all of which are excellent in their way, is that taken from Blackwood's Magazine (p. 93). But no description of Shakspeare's genius by a writer of talent and taste can convey to the reader what the writer himself must feel. To attempt such a description is
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
"Each year brings forth its millions; but how long
And not the whole combined and countless throng
Compose a mind like thine !-though all in one
Condensed their scattered rays, they would not form a sun."
This note may seem impertinent; but surely a Warwickshire man is privileged to be garrulous about his Shakspeare.
P. 223, 1. 1.
And Warwickshire of Somerville can boast.
"A greater than Somerville," Michael Drayton, was born at Hartshill in Warwickshire, 1563. See his Life in the Biographia Britannica, vol. iii. page 1744, folio edition. In the thirteenth song of his Poly-Olbion, Drayton gives us a lively description of a stag-hunt in the forest of Arden, in Warwickshire. The comprehensive largeness which this Ardene once extended (before ruine of her woods) makes the Author limit her with Severne and Trent."-Illustrations to the thirteenth song in the Poly-Olbion, folio edit. 1613, page 216.
ON THE BIRTH OF DRAYTON AT HARTSHILL.
"Lux Haresulla tibi (Warwici villa tenebris
Arma, viros, veneres, Patriam modulamine dixti:
P. 223, 1. 8.
Yet Warton offered up, as was most meet,
SONNET WRITTEN IN A BLANK LEAF OF DUGDALE'S
Deem not devoid of elegance the sage,
Who turns of these proud domes the historic page,
Her mouldering roll; the piercing eye surveys
P. 224, 1. 7.
Dr. Parr loved his pipe-no man was more happy than he was with
"His calumet of peace and cup of joy."
I had the pleasure for many years of an intimate acquaintance with the late Dr. Parr, who was as distinguished for his benevolence and hospitality, as for his great talents and extraordinary erudition. What Lord Grey, in his fine classical language, said of Windham, may be applied to Parr:-" He was a man of a great, original, and commanding genius, with a mind cultivated with the richest stores of intellectual wealth, and a fancy winged to the highest flights of a most captivating imagery." And here may be added, as applicable to Parr, the concluding part of Lord Grey's eulogium on the same distinguished statesman. "He had indeed his faults; but they served, like the skilful disposition of shade in works of art, to make the impression of his virtues more striking, and give additional grandeur to the great outline of his character."-See "Life of Windham," prefixed to his Speeches, vol. i. page 160; and Hansard's Debates, June 6, 1810.
Parr was no great admirer of modern poetry, but he always spoke with enthusiasm of Lord Byron's poetical genius, and when his name was mentioned often exclaimed,
"Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,
Ut magus, et modò me Thebis, modò ponit Athenis."
Dryden was a great favourite with Parr, who used to quote with delight the paraphrase of the 29th Ode of the third Book of Horace, so admirably executed by Dryden as, in the opinion of such a scholar as Parr, to be equal to the original. High praise indeed!
Dr. Parr's opinion of Warburton is well known he particularly admired that celebrated writer's character of Bayle; but thought that in delineating Bayle's, he drew the character of Bishop Warburton!
His favourites among our English divines were, Butler, Jeremy Taylor, and Paley. He rather underrated Horsley, who, he said, was indebted for the great theological erudition displayed in his controversy with Priestley, to Bishop Bull.