Obrazy na stronie

cently augmented editions of the French poem, but from the increasing beauty of those extracts, which it will be my pleasing province to select from the residue of this first and early attempt to introduce M. De Lille to an English public. Let us not forget, however, in this place, the consolation which has been held out in the preceding number, that the most essential, and highly-finished parts of this noblest work of the Gallic bard, are to be found as well in the earliest as the latest impressions.

(To be continued.)

No. VI.

Thou smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
Where Shakspeare lies, be present.


Ir was on the morning of the Vigil of St. John the Baptist, 1615, one of the loveliest which the season had afforded, when Shakspeare and his friends, including Montchensey and his daughter, the younger Combe, and Mrs. Hall, set off, after an early breakfast, on their excursion to Charlecote-House. As the distance from Stratford was not much more than three miles, and they had time for the performance of their pleasant task in the most leisurely manner, they preferred walking to any mode of conveyance.

Every thing conspired, indeed, to render the exercise they were about to undertake, even to such an invalid as Montchensey still was, and

while the heats of the day were yet unfelt, in a high degree delightful; for a gentle shower had fallen during the early part of the preceding night, and the breeze swept by with freshness, health, and fragrance on its wings. To Montchensey in particular, who had only within these few days ventured forth from confinement, it seemed, as it were, an opening paradise, and he was eloquent even to rapture on the gratifications he so keenly felt.

The occasion was, in fact, worthy of the rapture it inspired; for, whether the eye, the ear, or the faculty of smell, were considered, the appeal to the senses was alike perfect and exquisite. It was just that period when the clouds had ceased contending with the growing light; when the mists had risen like the vapours of an accepted offering, and the landscape was kindling into life and beauty. The dew-drops, those stars of the morning, glistened on every leaf; a livelier verdure mantled over the fields; a richer colouring glowed upon the flowers, and the Avon, winding and doubling through its fertile valley, now partially concealed by overhanging wood, and now sweeping unshaded through

pasturage of the most vivid green, was seen laughing and sparkling in the sun-beams.

The breath of heaven, meanwhile, was whispering through the trees; the sound of the cattle cropping the crisp herbage, fell distinctly on the ear, and the melody of the feathered world was heard in ever-varying strains of gratitude through every copse and grove; while perfumes of the most delicious odour, from the clover, the beanflower, and the meadow-sweet of the plains, from the honeysuckle, sweet-briar, and muskrose of the hedges, stole upon and enriched the


Invigorated by the balmy coolness of the breeze, and interested by the features of the vale, which, at frequent turns of the road, opened up new beauties, the green and lively tinting of the home landscape being contrasted with the soft blue haze of distant hills, the party wandered on, heedless of time, and either commenting on the scenes before them, or absorbed by the reminiscences they were calculated to suggest.

They at length reached the park gates, and here Montchensey, on whose mind every thing

connected with Shakspeare had made an indelible impression, recollected, what tradition had been careful to preserve, that it was to these gates the young bard had affixed the pasquinade which had so materially contributed to hasten his flight from Stratford, and turning to him with a smile, he enquired if the lines yet dwelt on his memory, and whether they might venture to request a repetition of them.

"Mere doggrel, Master Montchensey," answered the bard," and therefore not worth repeating. I wish, indeed, they were buried in oblivion; for though I still think Sir Thomas exhibited more warmth and animosity than the occasion called for, and I well remember being pleased with the opportunity of bringing him on the stage, under the character of Justice Shallow, yet the verses in question, the offspring of youthful petulance and unbridled resentment, were coarse and exasperating in a high degree. The worthy knight, I have reason to believe, never entirely forgave their severity; but I must add, in justice to the present possessor of Charlecote, that, if he has not forgotten the transaction, he reviews it without a feeling of hostility;

« PoprzedniaDalej »