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versities as requiring a radical trans- cumstances, occasioned by a differformation, and even do not hesitate ence of times, any pertinacious adto call them the sources of the most herence to ancient forms is always degeneral ignorance and immorality, do serving of blame, is evident; but, but repeat the very words of the at the same time, that, in an old English themselves, such as Knox, building, where every thing hangs and Gibbon, especially of that son of firm and fast together, the effect of carth (Terræ Filius), who treated Ox- any shaking of its walls, or disjointford with the same severe and bittering of its parts, must be extremely censure, as an anonymous person a- doubtful, is a truth confirmed by exmong us did the school of Pforta. perience, which, in most things, is That under an entire change of cir- the surest instructress.



ELEANOR (commonly called the damsel of Britain) sole daughter of Geoffrey, Earl of Britain, and only sister and heir of Earl Arthur, was sent into England by her uncle, King John, and imprisoned in Bristol castle, for no other crime than her title to the crown; but that was sufficient to make her liberty both suspected and dangerous. In durance there she prolonged her miserable life until the year of our Lord 1241, which was the 25th of King Henry III. at which time she died a virgin, and lieth buried in the church of the Nunnery at Ambresbury, unto which Monastery she gave the Manour of Melkesham with its appurtenances.

Sandford's Genealogical History of the Kings of England.

Printed in the Savoy, for the Author, 1677.
A quiet knell the convent bell

Of Ambersbury knoll’d;
And quietly the moonlight fell

On tower, and stream, and fold.
When towards the tower a shepherd old

A look of wonder cast,
As by the stream, and near his fold,

The sad procession past.
By pairs they came, the virgins all

Clad in snow-white array,
Save that a sable velvet pall

On the twain foremost lay.
Upon that cloth in golden woof

A regal crown was wrought:
The moon a watry glimpse thereof,

As if in sadness, caught.
On a grey stone the bier is laid,

Which soon that pall must hide ;
And therein lies a royal maid

Who of long sadness died.
Ah, who can tell her heavy years,

Dragg’d on by Avon's side?
Ah, who can tell the scalding tears

She mingled with his tide ?
How oft on Arthur's name she cried,

At the still midnight hour,
When nought but echo's voice replied

Amid the lonesome tower?

How oft she saw him, 'mid her dreams,

Now smiling on a throne,
Now struggling in the fatal streams,

Dash'd from the heights of Roan?
Nor of a crown alone debarr'd

She lost her rightful due,
But in the tyrant's jealous guard

Had pined a prisoner too.
The horsemen train have laid her down

Upon that stone so grey,
And homeward straight to Bristow town

They slowly wend their way.
At stated hour the virgins come

To meet the expected bier,
And circling stand amid the gloom

In silent love and fear.
The wondrous pile is gleaming nigh,

Believed by giant hands
Brought hither through the murky sky,

At Merlin's stern commands.
The moon, that labour'd through the cloud,

Shot sudden from a rift,
As their white arms the sable shroud

Upon the coffin lift.
No longer sinking, as before,

It flapp'd and idly hung,
But its full plaits extended o'er

Upon the coffin flung.
Toward the pall that shepherd old

A look of sorrow cast;
As down the stream, and by the fold,

Again the virgins past.
And now entomb’d, in lowly guise,

’Neath Ambersbury's floor,
In holy peace

for ever lies
The saintly Eleanor.
In Worcester's dome the tyrant king,

Reclined by Severn's wave,
Hears the stoled priests their anthem sing

Around his gorgeous grave.
3o long the vengeful demons sleep;

But when the strain is done,
Once more in furious mood they leap

Upon the heart of John.
His princely son the sceptre sways:

In vain it fills his hand :
Distrust, and dread, and pale amaze,

Pursue him through the land.
'Neath Ambersbury's floor she lies :

Her slumbers there are sweet,
For Arthur's spirit comes and cries;

-In joy at last we meet.



HALIDON HILL, BY SIR WALTER SCOTT. The day seems drawing to a close vours all other inferior enchantments. for dramatic composition and dra- Thus the dramatic poet has to promatic enjoyment. If the fair, the ceed by rule and pattern; and the gay, and the gallant, who fill the lets and incumbrances are so great seats of our theatres, have a whim- and manifold, that the native powers sical taste, and capricious fancy-are of the English mind have not free much too wise, and by far too critical, exercise in dramatic composition. to be readily pleased-it must be There are many lesser causes which owned that they are seldom presented combine to occasion the fall of the with aught but cold, timid, and cor- drama—the total scorn with which rect productions; where there are the town regards all superstitious befew faults, and few excellencies, and liefs, and supernatural influences, is little of the bold manly character, not the least; even the Author of and fresh and glowing language, Waverley was obliged to find a wild of our elder dramatists. Most of the Northumbrian nurse for his young higher poetical spirits of the age, citizen, Francis Osbaldistone, to

after another, have seceded elevate the youth to the level of rofrom the stage in scorn or in pity; mantic history. The town is a merry Southey, it is true, has remained si- and a pleasant place; the region of lent; but Lord Byron speaks out wits, and parodists, and punsters ; with proud and undisguised con- where amusement is wrung from the tempt; and the poet of Halidon Hill most obstinate words, and merriment says, that his dramatic sketch is in no from the most perverse appellations; particular either designed or calcu- and an innocent and useful name is lated for the stage, and that any at- hunted down through fifty wicked tempt to produce it in action will be meanings, and pursued like the viat the peril of those who make the zier's spouse into many strange transexperiment. A legion of lesser spi- formations. All this is exceedingly rits have preceded or followed this delightful ; but it is not the best way defection of the higher powers; each to prepare one for the natural, the lifting up his voice against being superstitious, the romantic, and nacarted across the stage, and insulted tive beauties of the drama. in his last moments by dramatic exe

When we look back, we are surcutioners, and a critical and capri- prised at the multitude of dramatic cious crowd. They have found out miscarriages; a correct and a wella far safer and surer way to equitable told story fails from the want of glow, judgment and fame, than trusting to animation, and original freshness of the hazardous presentment of the the characters and language; while characters they draw, by the heroes others, seemingly possessed in an emiof the sock and buskin, and to the nent degree of those rare and shining dubious and captious shout of the qualities, owe their oblivion to the pit and the galleries.

want of a clear and obvious plot, and One cause of the unwillingness of a regular succession of visible and authors to approach the public, well-connected action. That Halithrough the limited avenue of the don Hill is a native, heroic, and chistage, is the necessity of chipping valrous drama, clear, brief, and and shaping the story, and casting moving in its story-full of pictures, and drawing the characters, according living and breathing, and impressed to the will or the vanity of actors. with the stamp of those romantic The craving of each for an important and peculiar times, and expressed in and characteristic part is equal to the language rich and felicitous, must be demand of the insubordinate spirits felt by the most obtuse intellect : yet of Michael Scott for employment, we are not sure that its success would while the monopolizing spirit of the be great on the stage, if for the stage favourite of the hour demands a it had been ever designed. The part, which, like Aaron's rod, de- beauties by which it charms and ens

* Halidon Hill, a dramatic Sketch, by Sir Walter Scott, Bart. 8vo.

chains attention in the closet-those telligible, and break the consistency bright and innumerable glimpses of of the tale as little as possible. past times—those frequent allusions The Scottish army, led by the printo ancient deeds and departed he- cipal nobility, appears on the summit roes—the action of speech rather of Halidon Hill; while the English, than of body, would be swallowed conducted by King Edward and Sirup in our immense theatres, where a John Chandos, occupy the plain beplay to the eye is wanted, rather low. The former, commanded by the than to the heart. The time of ac- Regent, amean and envious man, waste tion equals, it is true, the wishes of the precious moments of preparing the most limited critic; the place too, for battle, in vain contention, and the foot of Halidon and its barren angry parleying for place; while the ascent, cannot be much more ample latter, headed by wise and warlike than the space from the farther side leaders, array themselves in secresy of the stage to the upper regions of and silence, and place their archers in the gallery; and the heroes who are the front, to whose skill England called forth to triumph and to die, owes so many of her victories. are native flesh and blood, who yet But the charm of the drama belive in their descendants. It has all longs not to kings and councillors ; the claims which a dramatic poem the titled and the great are but as can well have on a British audience; lookers on, and form the mute and yet we wish it so well as to hope it motionless audience to the converwill escape from the clutch of those sation and deeds of Sir Alan Swinton who cut up narratives into quan- and Sir Adam Gordon--two knights tities for the theatres. Is there no of the northern army. Swinton, a law to protect the most touching pa- brave and approved warrior, who thos, and chivalrous feelings, from had fought and conquered with profanation by inferior spirits? Bruce and with Douglas, places his

The transfer which the poet has pennon on the hill, and awaits the avowedly made, of the incidents of orders of the chief leaders. An old the battle of Homildon to the Hill comrade in arms, Sir Symon Vipont, of Halidon, seems such a violation a Templar of renown, but who was of authentic history as the remark- a Scotchman before he was a Temable similarity of those two disas- plar, advances and addresses him. trous battles can never excuse. It is dangerous to attempt this violent

Vipont. (advancing.) There needed not,

to blazon forth the Swinton, shifting of heroic deeds; the field of His ancient burgonet, the sable boar Bannockburn would never tell of Chain'd to the gnarled oak,- nor his proud any other victory than the one which

step, has rendered it renowned ; history Nor giant stature, nor the ponderous mace, lifts tip her voice against it; the Hill Which only he of Scotland's realm can of Homildon will never tell the story wield: of the Hill of Halidon in return for His discipline and wisdom mark the leader, this; nor the story of any other bat- As doth his frame the champion. Hail, tle but its own.

brave Swinton! If it be necessary to describe the Swinton. Brave Templar, thanks ! Such story of the poem, it may be done But the closed visor, which conceals your

your cross'd shoulder speaks you ; very briefly, for never perhaps did a

features, drama involve fewer incidents. The Forbids more knowledge. Umfraville, perperiod of time is the golden day of

hapsEnglish and Scottish chivalry ; the Vipont. (unclosing his helmet.) No; one close of the adventurous and brilliant less worthy of our sacred order. reign of Robert Bruce, and the com- Yet, unless Syrian suns have scorch'd my mencement of the victorious career

features of the third Edward. The heroes Swart as my sable visor, Alan Swinton are some of the most renowned and Will welcome Symon Vipont. stirring spirits of England and Scot- Swinton. (embracing him.) As the land; but the part on which the poet Welcomes a practised mate, when the ripe fixes the attention of his readers

barvest forms but a portion or episode of the Lies deep before him, and the sun is high. battle. We shall embellish our de. Thou'lt follow yon old pennon, wilt thou not? scription with some passages of the 'Tis tatter'd since thou saw'st it, and the poem which will render the whole in


blithe reaper

to me.

Look as if brought from off some Christ. Had bored their cuirasses ! Their lives had mas board,

been Where knives had notch'd them deeply. Lost like their grandsires, in the bold deVipont. Have with them nc'ertheless.

fence The Stuart's chequer,

Of their dear country—but in private feud The bloody heart of Douglas, Ross's With the proud Gordon, fell my long lymphads,

spear'd John, Sutherland's wild cats, nor the royal lion, He with the axe, and he, men called the Rampant in golden tressure, wins me from ready, them.

Ay, and my fair-hair'd Will-the Gordon's We'll back the Boarheads bravely. I see

wrath round them

Devour'd my gallant issue. A chosen band of lances some well known Vipont. Since thou dost weep, their death

is unavenged ? Where's the main body of thy followers ? Swinton. Templar, what think'st thou Swinton. Symon de Vipont, thou dost see me ?-See yonder rock, them all

From which the fountain gushes-is it less That Swinton's bugle horn can call to battle, Compact of adamant, though waters flow However loud it rings. There's not a boy from it? Left in my halls, whose arm has strength Firm hearts have moister eyes. They are enough

avenged; To bear a sword—there's not a man behind, I wept not till they were—till the proud However old, who moves without a staff.

Gordon Striplings and grey beards, every one is here, Had with his life-blood dyed my father's And here all should be-Scotland needs

sword, them all.

In guerdon that he thinned my father's liVipont. A thousand followers-such, with neage, friends and kinsmen,

And then I wept my sons; and, as the Allies and vassals, thou wert wont to lead

Gordon A thousand followers shrunk to sixty lances Lay at my feet, there was a tear for him, In twelve years space! And thy brave sons, Which mingled with the rest.-We had Sir Alan,

been friends, Alas! I fear to ask.

Had shared the banquet and the chace toSwinton. All slain, De Vipont. In my gether. empty home,

Fought side by side, –and our first cause A puny babe lisps to a widow'd mother,

of strife, “ Where is my grandsire ? Wherefore do Woe to the pride of both, was but a light

you weep?" But for that prattler, Lyulph's house is Vipont. You are at feud, then, with the heirless.

mighty Gordon ? I'm an old oak, from which the foresters Swinton. At deadly feud. Here in this Have hewed four goodly boughs, and left border land, beside me

Where the sire's quarrels descend upon the Only a sapling, which the fawn may crush son, As he springs over it.

As due a part of his inheritance, Vipont.

All slain-alas! As the strong castle and the ancient blazon ; Swinton. Ay, all, De Vipont. And their Not in this land, twixt Solway and Saint attributes,

Abbs, John with the long spear-Archibald with Rages a bitterer feud than mine and theirs, the axe

The Swinton and the Gordon. (P. 24-29.) Richard the ready-and my youngest darling,

We have said, many of the chief My fair-hair'd William-do but now sur- beauties of the poem are of the re

vive In measures which the grey-hair'd min. Swinton and his friend justifies our

trospective kind-the conversation of strels sing, When they make maidens weep.

assertion. The character of an ancient

warrior has seldom been touched off Vipont. These wars with England, they with such masterly skill, or endowed have rooted out

with deeper claims on our regard and The flowers of Christendom. Knights, who

admiration. Unbroken by old agemight win The sepulchre of Christ from the rude firm in his affections-unshaken in heathen,

his valour, sedate in his military arFall in unholy warfare !

dour, and lofty in his sorrow, he stands Swinton. Unboly warfare ? Ay, well hast amid the wreck and desolation of his thou named it ;

house and his followers, ready to die But not with England would her cloth. in defence of his country. The interest yard shafts

which his early appearance claims


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