« PoprzedniaDalej »
charms of rational society and moderate enjoyment, yet ready to retire from this scene of things, if not without anxiety and apprehension, yet grateful, satisfied, and uncomplaining. Such was the philosophy which guided the latter and the better days of Horace, which he pressed upon his contemporaries with the most insinuating address, and which has entitled him to be considered, among the bards of antiquity, as beyond all others the poet of reason, and the inculcator of practical morality.
It may not, probably, be thought entirely out of place, if, at the close of a paper whose chief object has been to point out a frequent appeal to, and consideration of, the frail tenure of human life, as forming a valuable and instructive feature in the compositions of the most popular poet of antiquity, I should venture to subjoin the memorial which friendship has suggested to me, for one whom I had known for more than a quarter of a century, and known only to esteem and love. It has been placed by the sorrowing
widow of the deceased in the parish-church of Stanstead, in Suffolk.
Near this tablet
Are deposited the remains
Of the Rev. John Plampin, M. A.
Rector of Whatfield and Stanstead, in the county of Suffolk,
A Magistrate for the district in which he resided, And formerly Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College, Cambridge.
He died May the 30th, 1823, in the 69th Year of his age.
If taste, if learning, if the love of art,
Here sleeps, what all should prize, an honest man!
"Not distant far from Wyeburne" tower
SHAKSPEARE had ever been, especially when in the country, an early riser; and he now awoke, after a night of calm and refreshing sleep, to the enjoyment of one of the brightest mornings of the season; for the sun had just become an inmate of his chamber, and began to play upon the rich colours of the arras which surrounded him, with a brilliancy that almost dazzled his eyes. Taking, therefore, a rapid survey of the scenery presented to him from his window, and which, from its beauty, served but to quicken his desire of being speedily amidst it, he hastened down stairs, stopping, however, a few minutes as he passed through the hall, to admire its
very striking and truly venerable aspect; its grotesquely carved roof, its antique music gallery, its stained windows rich in tracery, and its curiously sculptured deer.
Only a very few of the servants were as yet up; and Peter, the old grey-headed groom, who was preparing to go to his stables, very opportunely entered the hall, just in time to unbar the great door which opened into the porch, a task of time and labour, and which required, for its prompt execution, a previous acquaintance with its mechanism and springs. He seemed delighted by the sight of Shakspeare, and made so many respectful enquiries after his family, and more particularly after the poet's little granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall, that our bard could not recollect the epithet, however merited, which he had bestowed on him the preceding night, without some degree of compunction. He shook him, therefore, cordially by the hand, told him he was right glad to see him look so hale and cheerily; and then, after slyly hinting that he would thank him not to fill John's head with any more ghost or goblin stories, he passed forward into the park, leaving Peter, though
proud of the notice he had received, not a little disconcerted by the total want of belief which he had manifestly shown for the legends of Wyeburne Hall.
With the species of scenery which the park unfolded to his view, Shakspeare was peculiarly delighted, as possessing features, perhaps, beyond all others, adapted to call forth and cherish the dreams of imagination. Few situations were there in the county, indeed, as may have been already surmised from what has been briefly stated concerning it, more singular and striking than that which formed the site of Wyeburne Hall; for, though sunk, as it were, in the bosom of a deep valley, the ground at the bottom of this valley gradually rose to the mansion, in the most picturesque manner, from the right bank of the stream; and being wild and broken, and spreading out to not less than a mile in width in this direction, and being at the same time thickly interspersed with trees of some centuries growth, skirted with rocks, and cliffs, and hanging woods, with the village just visible at one extremity, and the Wye meandering through its centre, it might