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On the green grass dance shadows, streams sparkle and run,
And full on the form of the demon in flight
The rainbow's magnificence gladdens the sight!
The Gray Forest Eagle, oh! where is he now,
While the sky wears the smile of its God on its brow?
Time whirls round his circle, his years roll away,
The green tiny pine-shrub points up from the moss,
The wren's foot would cover it, tripping across;
The beach-nut down dropping, would crush it beneath,
But 't is warm'd with heav'n's sunshine and fann'd by its breath;
Its thick branches challenge each mood of the sky;
A trunk dry and wasted, a top jagg'd and bare,
He has seen it defying the storm in its might,
Then prostrate, soil-blended, with plants sprouting o'er,
And he sees dome and roof where those smokes once arose;
An emblem of Freedom, stern, haughty and high,
Oh that Eagle of Freedom! when cloud upon cloud
Oh that Eagle of Freedom!-age dims not his eye,
THE OLD INN AT NAMPTWICH.
A BRIGHT Spring morning, in Old England-when the mighty Sun has dispersed the Earth's exhalations, and the last drops have fallen from the young leaves, and the birds sing with confidence that the rain is over, and the bee hums loudly, as if every thing now belonged to himself, and the tree bourgeons, and the hawthorn-blossom receives for the first time into her expanding bosom the warm ray of life, and sheds her incense in return, and all the gardens and all the hedges are redolent with perfume :-a bright spring morning, in Old England, when God sends it, hath a charm that warms the heart.
It is like a blush of joy upon the cheek of a brunette, russet mantling into pink. It hath neither the clear red and white, the distinctive coloring, of our own glorious pencilling; where Nature, like Rubens, lays her tints side by side, leaving them to incorporate as they may; nor the soft and melting shades, the mingling outlines, the visible sunlight, the golden atmosphere, and the ineffable blue of Italy; but it is a gracious and unwonted boon, that makes a man look up and interchange a smile with Heaven, and go upon his way rejoicing; or if he be a stranger, that causes him to bless himself and exclaim, 'Can this be England? Yes, yes, this is our fathers' 'Merrie England,' and not half the truth was told us!'
It was upon a morning of this description, after four days of exhaustless showerings since our arrival at Liverpool, that we found ourselves walking through the by-ways and green lanes of the old town of Namptwich, some thirty miles distant from our place of landing, and where we had arrived the night before. It was our first visit to Europe, and to our eyes every structure was old, and every thing old was reverend. We entered the little decrepid old church upon tip-toe; admired the old coats of arms and mortuary notices; looked with veneration upon the dusty old pews with their dusty old cushions, and on the stone floors irregular through age and use; spoke to each other in whispers and to the old sexton in an under tone; paid him as much respect as if he had been a Verger, and four times the ordinary fee when we took leave of him, with thanks for all that he had shown us; and blessed GOD, as we returned with new delight into the open air, for the delicious verdure and the balmy breath of heaven.
We threaded the lanes once more, and found that every object had unfolded into beauty, into a richer beauty, while we had been occupied in the church; and as often as the tumultuous sensation of haste arose within us, we silenced it by recollecting that we were no longer in America, where the whole world of travellers must fly at the same moment to the same public conveyance; but in England, where the post-chaise waited the signal of our satisfied and luxurious leisure. It was not our plan to proceed farther than Warwick during the day, and we sauntered home leisurely to our own inn.
Gentle reader, I will imagine thee for the first time seated near the small fire that has been kindled to remove the dampness, and air the parlor, in that charm of the traveller's life, an English Inn. No object about thee seems new, or of late acquisition. The furniture is any thing rather than of modern date; it has been thoroughly used, and admirably kept; every thing is in its place, and speaks its welcome; nice, tidy, prepared, quiet, cheery, comfortable.
The fragrant tea is of thine own mixture, two spoonsful of black to one of green; furnished with fresh cream: one more glance at the Times newspaper, and every thing has been noiselessly arranged. A cover is now lifted off, and in the deep well of a blue-edged plate, that contrasts beautifully with what it contains, is disclosed that dream of farinaceous enjoyment, the English muffin. How it fills and gratifies the eye as its snowy margin rests teeming upon the border of the dish, and yields to the gradual suffusion of pink that crowns its upmost surface! And in the same degree how does its consistency change, from a rich, pulpy, fruit-like elasticity, into the most delicate and inviting crispness of resistance!
the sugar is a study of refinement; and the table is
It is cut into quarters, as the world was said to be divided when we were school-boys; but the whole of this is thine own! ready buttered for thee moreover with grass-fed butter through the plane of the horizon! Thou hast finished it? Thou hast drank thy nice tea, poured out for thee by the hands that are dearest to thee in the world?" Thou hast lived and hast loved!'
The waiter to whose noiseless footstep we were indebted for the constant anticipation of every want during our repast, was a hale and erect person, turned of sixty, much inclined to be corpulent if it had suited his vocation, with white hair nicely combed about a sleek and roseate face, white cravat, a scarlet plush waistcoat, well but carefully worn, drab coat and breeches, buckles at the knees, worsted stockings, and well-polished shoes tied with strings of black riband. Hope that you found the saxton's house without difficulty, Sir?' Without the least, John; your direction was so exact that we could not miss it. 'Hope that the eggs are boiled to the lady's taste, Sir?' They could not be more so. John gave another glance at the table, placed a small bell upon it, and vanished.
To an American, accustomed from his earliest youth to a bustling and unrelaxed exertion both of body and mind, with hardly a thought of repose unconnected with a state of existence beyond the grave; or even of leisure, without a sensation bordering upon contempt; a quiet breakfast in a still country town, and in a foreign land, is a novelty. We prolonged it for some time, but at last rang for John, and
ordered post-horses and the bill. There arn't no post-horses, Sir,' said John. No post-horses! No, Sir, all the post-horses and postchaises have been engaged for some days to start to-day for the Chester races. The Gentleman and Lady came up in a return chaise that went down again this morning quite early.' How are we to get on then to Warwick and Oxford? "The mail-coach will be up here by one o'clock, and the Gentleman and Lady can go on in that, Sir.' But suppose it should be full? There arn't no danger of that, Sir; the Chester races has given the travel a cant the other way, and there will be seats enough inside or out, Sir.' This is very extraordinary, John; desire the Landlord to step in; I will speak to him upon the subject. 'There arn't no Landlord, Sir.' Then the Landlady. 'There arn't no Landlady, Sir.' No Landlady! No, Sir.' Who keeps the house? 'I and Betsy, Sir.' Who is Betsy? 'She is as was the Barmaid, Sir.' What is your name? John, Sir.' Well, John, how does all this happen? Measter, Sir, that is Measter White as was, died ten years agone, and left every thing to Missus, and Missus when she died, six years agone, called me and Betsy to the bed-side and told us we must keep up the Red Lion as well as we could till the youngest child came of age, take the same wages as we had in her life-time, and pay for the schooling and bringing up of the children, and put them all out and take care of the rest of the money till the youngest child came of age, and then let all be sold and divided. And I and Betsy has done so for six years, and has got eight years more to go afore the youngest child comes of age, and Measter John is of age next week, and he's a coming down here; but I and Betsy shall make him up his bill as if he had nothing to say about the property, as no more he has till the youngest child comes of age.'
You seem to be advancing in life as well as myself, John, said I; how long have you been in the family? Twenty years with Measter as was, and ten years afore with a brother of his 'n, and ten years since Measter's death. I've sarved the Whites forty year last Michaelmas tide.'
Well, John, go now and make out my bill; and as we are strangers and hardly know what is proper to be done in the way of fees, put down for the servants at the foot of the bill whatever is proper for post-chaise people to pay who have been well taken care of during two days. It is the way they do in Liverpool. John returned soon after with the note of our expenses. You have put nothing down for fees, John;
how is this?
'I spoke to Betsy, Sir, and Betsy says its a new way them 'ere Liverpool people has got, and that we had better not get into a new way; that the Gentleman can give what he likes, or he can let it alone, but it's better not to have any thing to do with a new way.'
The mail-coach drove past at the time appointed, and proved the truth of John's prediction by being almost vacant. We parted good friends with the Red Lion, chose seats according to our wish, and have often since then adverted, with a pleasure not unmingled with respect, to the simple-minded but good and faithful servants' who administer even yet as I trust to the credit and prosperity of the old Inn at Namptwich.
'THE Indians speak of a beautiful river far to the South, which they call Merrimac.'
STREAM of my fathers! sweetly still
The green hill in its belt of gold,
But lies distinct and full in sight,
Centuries ago, that harbor-bar,
And yonder island's wave-smoothed strand,
Saw the adventurer's tiny sail
Flit, stooping from the eastern gale;*
And o'er these woods and waters broke
Weary of forest, sea, and sky,
Mingling that clear pellucid brook
When spring-time's sun and shower unlock
And more abundant waters given
From that pure lake, 'The Smile of Heaven,'
With ocean's dark, eternal tide!
On yonder rocky cape, which braves
*THE celebrated Captain SMITH, after resigning the government of the colony in Virginia, in his capacity of Admiral of New-England,' made a careful survey of the coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod, in the summer of 1614.
+ LAKE Winnipiscogee-'The Smile of the Great Spirit' the source of one of the branches of the Merrimack.