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Description of Claremont.
of the sister of Prince Leopold, which is cha- cypress, the yew, and the larch, combining to racterised not only by great beauty, but by make it still more gloomy, renders this place a sweetness of expression which is more admirably calculated for those contemplaeasy to be conceived than described.
tions which may be supposed best suited to Here ends the inspection of the house: the nature of the building. these are the only apartments exhibited. From this spot you are led through paths There are four other rooms on the same bordered by ever-greens, until you suddenly Hoor, but these are not open to public in- burst upon an extensive circular lake, surspection: they consist of the bed room, in rounded by wood, and having in its centre which her Royal Highness breathed her an island covered with foliage, through last ; her dressing room and that of the which it would seem the rays of the sun can prince, and a breakfast room. In the hall scarcely ever penetrate. In making the cirthere is a handsome brilliant table. Each cuit of this 'lake, your attention is directed room is attended by a female servant, who to a little cottage, which is the peculiar will give every information the visitors may work of the Princess herself: it bears all require, and the whole household are at- the characteristics of rusticity, but at the tired in deep, mourning.
same time fills the mind with an idea of perFrom the mansion you are directed to the fect comfort. In this cottage resides a pleasure grounds, and in this excursion you woman, eighty years of age, who was a faare attended by a servant, who conducts you vourite object of her Royal Highness's to those objects which are most worthy of bounty. It appears that this poor old creayour attention. You first proceed to the ture had, with her husband, lived servant back front of the house, from whence there in successive families who had formerly is a view of a pleasing vista, between rows occupied this estate : at length worn down of luxuriant trees, whose boughs sweep the by age and infirmity, and unable longer to sloping lawn; the lawn terminates with a
support herself by labour, she retired to a rural cottage, intended as a music room, in miserable little hovel which stood on the front of which is a pond, hearing on its sil- scite of the present building, where she ver surface various aquatic birds. From lived upon occasional contributions from the this you are led by a circuitous path to what mansion house, and the small earnings of is called the Mount:" this is a hill of con- her husband. On the arrival of the Prinsiderable elevation, clothed with shrubs and cess, Dame Bewly, as she is called, soon atoverhanging trees. On the summit is a tracted her notice. Her Royal Highness building called Claremont, from whence discovered her residence, and found her enthe estate takes its title, as appears from an deavouring to read an old bible, the small inscription on its front, bearing these words, print of which, to her enfeebled eyes, was “And Claremont be the name, 1715.” almost indistinguishable. Dame Bewly This edifice was, no doubt, erected by the complained of this, but she complained no original proprietors of the place, on account The next day she received what she of the beautiful prospect which is command- considered an inestimable treasure, namely, ed from its scite. The view from its sum- a bible and a prayer book of the largest mit, to which you are led, is extremely fine, print, and, in a short time, through the same and extends over the greater part of the benevolence, her old and shattered residence. county of Surrey. During the life time of was removed, and the present cottage subthe Princess, it was fitting up as a conser- stituted. To offer a word in praise of the vatory, but this plan was abandoned, a more heart that directed this change would be eligible spot for such a purpose having been superfluous. The nation has already testiselected elsewhere.
fied its feelings with regard to her in whose You are next conducted to ihe New Con- bosom that heart glowed ; and sure are we, servatory, which is not quite completed, but that there is not an individual who listens to forms a very pleasing object.-From this the garrulous encomiums of poor Dame you proceed, by circuitous paths, through Bewly upon her whose loss she, as well as the bosom of a wood to a small and elegant every inhabitant of the United Kingdom deGothic mausoleum, commenced in the life- plores--who will not add one more tear to the time of the Princess, and since finished millions which have already been shed by under the direction of her heart-torn hug- those who fondly hoped at some future band; who, in the completion of a work so period to be her subjects. peculiarly adapted to his frame of mind, From Dame Bewly's you pursue your and to the event which has reduced him to course by the side of the lake through a a state of “ solitude even in the midst of wild, but artificial scene of hanging rooks, society," seemed to enjoy a melancholy and from thence through various lawns and pleasure. In the centre of this little edifice shrubberies, until you once more emerge is a pedestal, which also answers the pur- in front of the mansion. You finally inpose of a stove, and upon which is to be spect the kitchen garden and green-houses, placed a bust of the Princess Charlotte. which are only interesting from the recollecThe limited character of the surrounding tion of her under whose direction they have scenery, which is extremely circumscribed, arrived at their present state of perfection. consisting only of the varied hues of ever- The whole excursion occupies about two greens and forest foliage, the wide spreading hours, and although the pleasure to be de
1818.] Original Letters of Robert Burns and Miss Williams.
227 rived may truly be said to be of a melancho- broad, and many miles in length, burnly description, yet it is a pleasure which we ing all straw, hay, thatch and grass, but would rather seek than avoid. The fond re- doing no harm to trees, timber, or any collection of her who has endeared these solid things, onely barns or thatched scenes to the British heart, as well as the houses. It left such a taint on the grasse principle upon which that fondness is founded, must, to all who are capable of a
as to kill all the cattle that eate of it. I refined sentiment, render a visit to Clare
saw the attestations in the hands of tho mont a gratification of no ordinary kind.
sufferers. It lasted many months.") I
have endeavoured to account for this on THE QUERIST.
some acknowledged system, but in vain. SIR-on reading the other day that sin- I shall therefore feel greatly obliged by gularly curious book, lately published, your placing it in the list of queries in “ The Memoirs of John Evelyn, Esq." your useful miscellany, hoping to be faI was struck with the following passage, youred, through your superior know(" On the 22d April, 1694, a fiery ex- ledge, or from some of your learned halation rising out of the sea spread correspondents, with a solution of the itselfe in Montgomeryshire a furlong above singular phænomenon.
AND HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.
THE CABINET. . ORIGINAL LETTERS OF ROBERT BURNS liar to me from my infancy; I was
therefore qualified to taste the charm THE two following articles form part of your native poetry, and as I feel the of a selection from the unpublished cor- strongest attachment for Scotland, I respondence of Robert Burns. The share the triumph of your country in first, a letter from the celebrated Helen producing your laurels. Maria Williams to the poet, refers chiefly “I know the enclosed poems, which to some occasional verses by Dr. Moore, were addressed to me by Dr. Moore, not in our possession, and about which will give you pleasure, and shall thereit does not seem necessary to enquire fore risk' incurring the imputation of more particularly. The second is a vanity by sending them. I own that I criticism by Burns, upon a poem of gratify my own pride by so doing : Miss 'Wo's, which, it appears, she had you know enough of his character not submitted for his opinion. The cri- to wonder that I am proud of his friendtique, though not without some traits ship, and you will not be surprised that of his usualsound judgment and discri- he, who can give so many graces of wit mination, appears on the whole to be and originality to prose, should be able much in the strain of those gallant to please in verse, when he turns his and flattering responses which men thoughts that way. One of these of genius usually find it incumbent to poems was sent to me last summer, from issue, when consulted upon the pro- Hamilton House ; the other is so local ductions of their female admirers. that you must take the trouble to read
“SIR--Your friend Dr. Moore, having a little history before you can undera complaint in his eyes, has desired me stand it. My mother 'removed lately to become his secretary, and to thank to the house of a Captain Jaques, in you in his name, for your very humor- Southampton Row, Bloomsbury Square. ous poem, entitled, “ Auld Willie's What endeared this situation not a Prayer,” which he had from Mr. Creech. little to my imagination, was the recol
“ I am happy in this opportunity of ex- lection that Gray the poet had resided pressing my obligations to you for the in it. I told Dr. Moore, that I had pleasure your poems have given me. very solid reasons to think that Gray I am sensible enough that my suffrage had lived in this very house, and had in their favour is of little value , yet it composed the “ Bard” in my little study; is natural for me to tell you, that, as there were but fifty chances to one far as I am capable of feeling poetic ex- against it, and what is that in poetical cellence, I have felt the power of your calculation? I added, that I was congenius. I believe no one has read vinced our landlord was a lineal descenoftener than myself your Vision,” dant of Shakespeare's Jaques. Dr. Moore your “Cotter's Evening," the “ Ad- laughed, as he has often occasion to do, dress to the Mouse," and many of your at my folly; but the fabric which my fancy other poems. My mother's family is had reared upon the firm substantial Scotch, and the dialect has been fami- air, soon tottered; for it became a mat228 Original Letters of Robert Burns and Miss Williams. [Oct. 1, ter of doubt if our habitation was in 52nd, “ For this” is evidently meant Southampton Row, or in King Street, to lead on the sense of verses 59th, 60th, which runs in a line with it. In the 61st and 62nd; but let us try how the meantime, Dr. Moore called upon me, thread of connection runs. and left the enclosed verses on my table.
For this It will give me great pleasure, sir, to
The deeds of mercy that embrace hear that you find your present retire- A distant sphere, an alien race, ment agreeable, for indeed I am much Shal virtue's lips record, and claim interested in your happiness. If I only The fairest honours of thy name. considered the satisfaction I should de
I beg pardon if I misapprehend the rive from your acquaintance, I should matter, but this appears to me the only wish that your fortune had led you to- imperfect passage in the poem: the wards London; but I am persuaded comparison of the sun beam is fine. that you have had the wisdom to choose the situation most congenial to the Richmond is, I hope, as just as it is cer
The compliment to the Duke of Muses. I am sir, with great esteem, tainly elegant. The thought your obedient servant. H. M. WILLIAMS,
Lends from her unsullied source, London, June 20th, 1787.
The gems of thought their purest force, A few Strictures on Aliss William's is exceedingly beautiful. The idea from Poem on the Slave Trade.
verse 81st to the 85th, that the “ blest I know very little of scientific criticisin, decree” is like the beams of morning so all I can pretend to in that intricate ushering in the glorious day of liberty, art is, merely to note, as I read along, ought not to pass unnoticed.
From what passages strike me as uncommonly verse 85th to verse 108th, is an animated beautiful, and where the expression contrast between the unfeeling selfishness seems to me perplexed or faulty.
of the oppressor on the one hand, and The poeni opens finely. There are
the misery of the captive on the other: none of those idle prefatory lines which
verse 88th, might perhaps be mended one may skip over before one comes to thus, “ Nor ever quit her narrow waze. the subject. Verses 9th and 10th, in par- quit a maze. Verse 100, is exquisitely.
We are said to pass a bound, but we ticular,
beautiful, Where ocean's unseen bound, Leaves a drear world of waters round,
They, whom wasted blessings tire. arc truly beautiful. The simile of the Verse 110 is, I doubt, a clashing of metahurricane is likewise fine; and indeed, phors; to “ load a span," is, I am afraid, beautiful as the poem is, almost all the an unwarrantable expression. In verse similies rise decidedly above it. From 114, “Cast the universe in shade," is verse 31st to verse 50th, is a pretty a fine idea. From the 115th verse to the eulogy on Britain. Verse 36th, “that 142nd, is a striking description of the foul drama deep with wrong," is nobly wrongs of the poor African. Verse 120, expressive. Verse 45th, I am afraid, is “ the load of unremitted pain," is a rerather unworthy of the rest ; “ to dare markably strong expression. The adto feel,” is an idea that I do not alto- dress to the advocates for abolishing the gether like. The contrast of valour Slave Trade, from verse 143 to verse and mercy, from the 46th verse to the 208, is animated with the true life of 50th, is admirabie.
genius. The picture of oppression, Either my apprehension is dull, or While she links her impious chain, there is something a little confused in And calculates the price of pain ; the apostrophe to Mr. Pitt. Verse 55th Weighs agony in sordid scales, is the antecedent to verses 57th and And marks if death or life prevails, 58th, but in verse 58th the connection is nubly executed. seems ungrammatical :
What a tender idea is in verse 180; Powers
indeed, that whole description of Home With no gradations marked their flight, may vie with Thomson's somewhere in But rose at once to glory's height. the beginning of his Autumn. I do
Ris'n should surely be the word in- not remember to have seen a stronger stead of rose. Try it in prose. Powers- expression of misery than is contained their flight marked by no gradations, in these verses ; bút (the same powers) risen at once to Condemned, severe extreme, to live the height of glory. Likewise, verse
When all is filed that life can give.
229 The comparison of our distant joys to
Spenser. distant objects, is equally original and IN Todd's “Life of Spenser,” in striking,
which there is to be found much valuaThe character and manners of the ble information regarding the studies dealer in this infernal traffic is a well and parsuits of this great inan, and the done though a horrid picture. I am state of English Literature at that period, not sure how far introducing the sailor there is a curious letter of Spenser's was right; for though the sailor's com- friend, Harvey, in which he recommends mon characteristic is generosity, yet, to the author of the Faery Queen the in this case, he is certainly not only an study of Petrarch. “ Think upon Peunconcerned witness, but in some de- trarche, and perhappes it will advaunce gree an efficient agent in the business: the wings of your imagination a degree verse 224, is nervous, and “ the heart 'higher; at least if any thing can be added convulsive anguish breaks,” expressive. to the loftiness of his conceite, whom The description of the captive wretch, gentle Mistress Rosalind once reported when he arrives in the West Indies, is to have all the intelligences at commandcarried on with equal spirit. The ment, and another time christened him thought, that the oppressor's sorrow on Signor Pegaso.” The gentle Mistress seeing his slave pine, is like the butcher's Rosalind here mentioned, was a lady regret, when his destined lamb dies a
to whom Spenser was early attached. natural death, is exceedingly fine.
It shows the poetical conversations I am got so much into the cant of with which he and his Mistress must have criticism, that I begin to be afraid, lest entertained themselves alluding, as Todd I have nothing except the cant of it; says, to the “ pleasant days that were and instead of elucidating my author, gone and past;"--for the lady deserted am only benighting myself. For this Signor Pegaso, and married' his rival. reason, I will not pretend to go through In July 1580, Spenser was, by the inthe whole poem. Some few remaining terest of the Earl of Leicester and Sir beantiful lines, however, I cannot pass Philip Sydney, appointed secretary to over. Verse 280 is the strongest de- Lord Grey, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. scription of selfishness I ever saw. The He afterwards received, on his return comparison in verses 285 and 286, is
to England, a grant of a considerable new and fine; and the line “your alms property in the county of Cork, from to penury you lend,” is excellent.
Queen Elizabeth. His residence, every In verse 317, “like” should surely spot around which is classic ground, is be “as,” or “ s0;" for instance,
described by Smith in his Natural and His sway the hardened bosom leads
Civil History of thc county of Cork. To cruelty's remorseless deeds ;
The castle was then nearly level with As (or so) the blue lightning when it springs the ground. It must have been a noble With fury on its livid wings,
situation ; a plain almost surrounded Darts to the goal with rapid force,
by mountains, with a lake in the middle ; Nor heeds that ruin mark its course.
and the river Mulla, so often mentionIf you insert the word “ like," where ed by, Spenser, running through his I have placed “ us," you must alter grounds. In this romantic retreat he darts to darting and heeds to herding, Sir Walter Raleigh, himself an accom
was visited by the noble and injured in order to make it grammar. pest is a favourite subject with the poets, plished scholar and poet, under whose but I do not remember any thing even
encouragement he committed his Faery in Thomson's Winter,” superior to
Queen to the press. your verses from the 347 to the 351.
Anecdote of Heylin. Indeed that last simile, beginning with This celebrated man, soon after pub“ Fancy may dress," &c. and ending lishing his Geography of the World," with the 350th verse, is, in my opinion, accepted an invitation to spend a few the most beautiful passage in the whole weeks with a gentleman who lived on poem ; it would do honor to the great the N Forest, Hampshire ; with diest names that ever graced our profession. rections where his servant should meet
I will not beg your pardon, Madam, for him to conduct him thither. As soon these strictures, as my conscience tells as he was joined by the gentleman's serme, that, for once in my life, I have vant, they struck off into the thick of acted up to the duties of a Christian in the Forest, and after riding for a considoing as I would be done by.
derable time, Mr. Heylin asked if that R. BURNS. was the right road ; and to his great
230 Anecdote of Frederic the Great.-- Discovery of a Murder. (Oct. 1, astonishment received for answer that times he takes his revenge ; and if he the conductor did not know, but he had happens to have been reading in the heard there was a very near cut to his morning, in the way of his business, any master's house through the thicket; paper or papers, through which he has and he certainly thought, as Mr. Heylin acquired some piece of statistical knowhad written the Geography of the ledge, he does not rest till he gives the World,” that such a road could not conversation such a turn, as will enable have been unknown to him.
him to bring it out. Woe, then, to any The Shifts of Ignorance in Places of to him by making many inquiries upon
one who thinks he shall pay his court Importance.
the subject, or who offers some slight The conduct of a man in public life, objection, that he may ask for an exoccupied in concealing his ignorance, is planation ;-our man of ignorance is an absolute system of tactics. It is cu- already at the full length of his tether; rious to remark his studied silence when he answers only by monosyllables, and the conversation turns upon a subject becomes evidently out of humour. which he is conscious he ought to know
Madame de Stael. well, and of which he is equally con
Anecdote of Frederic the Greut. scious that he knows nothing; to see how he slinks away when this conver Frederic the Great, being insormed sation approaches too near him, and the of the death of one of his chaplains, a looks of the circle around seem to ex man of considerable learning and piety, press that they are all expectation to determining that his successor should hear his opinion. He goes up in an not be behind him in these qualifications, absent way to the chimney-piece, takes took the following method of ascertainup some papers that lie there, and be- ing the merit of one of the numerous gins to look them over with profound candidates for the appointment. He attention, while, nevertheless, if he hears told the applicant that he would himany thing said on which he may venture self furnish him with a text, the followwith confidence to put in a word, 'tis so, ing Sunday, when he was to preach at says le, exactly so, not taking his eyes the Royal Chapel, from which he was however from the papers till the mo to make an extempore sermon. The ment when he can adroitly give another clergyman accepted the proposition. The turn to the conversation; and to this whim of such a probationary discourse resource he has been obliged to recur was spread abroad widely, and at an so often, that it has become entirely fa- early hour the Royal Chapel was miliar to him.
crowded to excess. The King arrived Sometimes he will be a little more at the end of the prayers, and on the adventurous; and if a debate arises in candidate's ascending the pulpit, one of his company upon the period when some his Majesty's aides-de-camp presented event of antiquity happened, or upon him with a sealed paper. T'he preacher the distance between two large towns, opened it, and found nothing written and several different opinions on the therein; he did not, however, in so question are supported with equal per- critical a moment, lose his presence of tinacity, one maintaining, for instance, mind; but, turning the paper on both that it was the year 300, before our sides, he said, “ My brethren, here is era, another, that it was the year 200, nothing, and there is nothing; out of one that the distance between the towns nothing God created all things," and was 2000 leagues, another that it was proceeded to deliver a most admirable 2400, he will fix the period at the year discourse upon the wonders of the 250, the distance at 2200 leagues : this creation. is a medium he ventures to take without having any notion whatever upon the
A remarkable discovery of a Murder. subject, only he feels confident that he The murderer of Mr. Martin, recannot be very wide of the mark. But ceiver of taxes at Bilguy, says a letter with such fortunate opportunities to from Bar-sur-Aube, was discovered a display his knowledge, he is not often few days ago, in the most singular manfavoured. It is more easy for him to ner, and arrested. The crime was comterminate a controversy on any axiom mitted on the 9th of February, on the laid down, since he has always some high road, at one o'clock in the aftercommon-place remark, or assertion ready noon. The shot entered Mr. Martin's at hand, suited to the occasion. Sone heart, and lie fell down dead. He was