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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.
THE FUNERAL OF ELEANOR.
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.
Of Ambersbury knoll’d;
On tower, and stream, and fold.
A look of wonder cast,
The sad procession past.
Clad in snow-white array,
On the twain foremost lay.
A regal crown was wrought:
As if in sadness, caught.
Which soon that pall must hide ;
Who of long sadness died.
Dragg’d on by Avon's side?
She mingled with his tide ?
At the still midnight hour,
Amid the lonesome tower?
How oft she saw him, 'mid her dreams,
Now smiling on a throne,
Dash'd from the heights of Roan?
She lost her rightful due,
Had pined a prisoner too.
Upon that stone so grey,
They slowly wend their way.
To meet the expected bier,
In silent love and fear.
Believed by giant hands
At Merlin's stern commands.
Shot sudden from a rift,
Upon the coffin lift.
It flapp'd and idly hung,
Upon the coffin flung.
A look of sorrow cast;
Again the virgins past.
’Neath Ambersbury's floor,
for ever lies
Reclined by Severn's wave,
Around his gorgeous grave.
But when the strain is done,
Upon the heart of John.
In vain it fills his hand :
Pursue him through the land.
Her slumbers there are sweet,
-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
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