« PreviousContinue »
sound, and seeing a strange face, her ye have found only its garment. But arms slipped their hold and she drop- oh, if ye had beheld him, as I beheld ped with a groan on the ground. him to-night, riding among the elfin
The morning had now fairly broke: troop the fairest of them all; had the flocks shook the rain from their you clasped him in your arms, and sides, the shepherds hastened to in- wrestled for him with spirits and terspect their charges, and a thin blue rible shapes from the other world, sinoke began to stream from the cot- till your heart quailed and your flesh tages of the valley into the brighten- was subdued, then would ye yield no ing air.
The laird carried Phemie credit to the semblance this cold and Irving in his arms, till he observed apparent flesh bears to my brother. two shepherds ascending from one of But hearken-on Hallowmass-eve, the loops of Corriewater, bearing the when the spiritual people are let lifeless body of her brother. They loose on earth for a season, I will had found him whirling round and take my stand in the burial ground round in one of the numerous eddies, of Corrie, and when my Elphin and and his hands clutched and filled with his unchristened troop come past wool showed that he had lost his with the sound of all their minstrelsy, life in attempting to save the flock of I will leap on him and win him, or his sister. A plaid was laid over the perish for ever.". body, which, along with the unhappy All gazed aghast on the delirious maiden in a half lifeless state, was maiden, and many of her auditors carried into a cottage, and laid in that gave more credence to her distemperapartment distinguished among the ed speech than to the visible evidence peasantry by the name of the cham- before them. As she turned to deber. While the peasant's wife was left part she looked round, and suddenly to take care of Phemie,-old man and sank upon the body with tears matron, and maid, had collected a- 'streaming from her eyes, and sobbedl round the drowned youth, and each be- out, “ My brother! Oh, my brogan to relate the circumstances of his ther!” She was carried out insensideath, when the door suddenly opened, ble, and again recovered; but relapsed and his sister, advancing to the corse into her ordinary delirium, in which with a look of delirious serenity, she continued till the Hallow-eve broke out into a wild laugh and said: after her brother's burial. She was “O, it is wonderful, its truly won- found seated in the ancient burialderful! that bare and death-cold body, ground, her back against a broken dragged from the darkest pool of grave-stone, her locks white with Corrie, with its hands filled with fine frost-rime, seemingly watching with wool, wears the perfect similitude intensity of look the road to the kirkof my own Elphin! I'll tell ye- the yard: but the spirit which gave
life spiritual dwellers of the earth, the to the fairest form of all the maids of Fairyfolk of our evening tale, have Annandale was fled for ever.-Such stolen the living body, and fashioned is the singular story which the peathis cold and inanimate clod to mis- sants know by the name of Elphin lead your pursuit. In common eyes Irving, the Fairies' Cupbearer; and this seems all that Elphin Irving the title, in its fullest and most superwould be, had he sunk in Corrie- natural sense, still obtains credence water ; but so it seems not to me. among the industrious and virtuous Ye have sought the living soul, and dames of the romantic vale of Corrie.
DREAM-CHILDREN ; A REVERIE. Children love to listen to stories other evening to hear about their about their lers, when they were great-grandmother Field, who lived children; to stretch their imagination in a great house in Norfólk (a hunto the conception of a traditionary dred times bigger than that in which great-uncle, or grandame, whom they they and Papa lived) which had been never saw. It was in this spirit that the scene-so at least it was genemy little ones crept about me the rally believed in that part of the Vol. V.
country--of the tragic incidents which dancer, I was saying, in the county, they had lately become familiar with till a cruel disease, called a cancer, froin the ballad of the Children in came, and bowed her down with the Wood. Certain it is that the pain; but it could never bend her whole story of the children and their good spirits, or make them stoop, cruel uncle was to be seen fairly cary- but they were still upright, because ed out in wood upon the chimney, she was so good and religious. Then piece of the great hall, the whole I told how she was used to sleep by story down to the Robin Redbreasts, herself in a lone chamber of the great till a foolish rich person pulled it lone house; and how she believed down to set up a marble one of mo- that an apparition of two infants was dern invention in its stead, with no to be seen at midnight gliding up story upon it. Here Alice put out and down the great staircase near one of her dear mother's looks, too where she slept, but she said “ those tender to be called upbraiding. Then innocents would do her no harm ;" I went on to say, how religious and and how frightened I used to be, how good their great-grandmother though in those days I had my maid Field was, how beloved and respect- to sleep with me, because I was ne-. ed by every boily, though she was ver half so good or religious as she not indeed the mistress of this great and yet I never saw the infants. house, but had only the charge of it Here John expanded all his eye(and yet in some respects she might brows, and tried to look courageous. be said to be the mistress of it too) Then I told how good she was to all committed to her by the owner, who her grand-children, having us to the preferred living in a newer and more great house in the holydays, where I fashionable mansion which he had in particular used to spend many purchased somewhere in the adjoin- hours by myself, in gazing upon the ing county; but still she lived in it old busts of the Twelve Cæsars, that in a manner as if it had been her had been Emperors of Rome, till the own, and kept up the dignity of the old marble heads would seem to live great house in a sort while she lived, again, or I to be turned into marble which afterwards came to decay, and with them ; how I never could be was nearly pulled down, and all its tired with roaming about that huge old ornaments stripped and carried mansion, with its vast empty rooms, away to the owner's other house, with their worn-out hangings, flutwhere they were set up, and looked tering tapestry, and carved oaken as awkward as if some one were to pannels, with the gilding almost carry away the old tombs they had rubbel out-sometimes in the spaseen lately at the Abbey, and stick cious old-fashioned gardens, which I them up in Lady C.'s tawdry gilt had almost to myself, unless when drawing-room. Here John smiled, now and then a solitary gardening as much as to say “ that would be man would cross me—and how the foolish indeed.” And then I told nectarines and peaches hung upon how, when she came to die, her fu- the walls, without my ever offering to neral was attended by a concourse of pluck them, because they were forall the poor, and some of the gentry bidden fruit, unless now and then,too, of the neighbourhood for many and because I had more pleasure in miles round, to show their respect for strolling about among the old melanher memory, because she had been choly-looking yew trees, or the firs, such a good and religious woman; so and picking up the red berries, and good indeed that she knew all the the fir apples, which were good for Psaltery by heart, aye, and a great nothing but to look at—or in lying part of the Testament besides. Here about upon the fresh grass, with all little Alice spread her hands. Then the fine garden smells around me I told what a tall, upright, graceful or basking in the orangery, till I person their great-grandmother Field could almost fancy myself ripening once was; and how in her youth she too along with the oranges and the was esteemed the best dancer-here limes in that grateful warmth -- or in Alice's little right foot played an in- watching the dace that darted to and voluntary movement, till, upon my fro in the fish pond, at the bottom of looking grave, it desisted—the best the garden, with here and there a
great sulky pike hanging midway ed and haunted me; and though I down the water in silent state, as if did not cry or take it to heart as it mocked at their impertinent frisk- some do, and as I think he would ings,--I had more pleasure in these have done if I had died, yet I missed busy-idle diversions, than in all the him all day long, and knew not till sweet flavours of peaches, nectarines, then how much I had loved him. I oranges, and such like common baits missed his kindness, and I missed his of children. Here John slyly depo- crossness, and wished him to be alive sited back upon the plate a bunch of again, to be quarreling with him grapes, which, not unobserved by (for we quarreled sometimes), rather Alice, he had meditated dividing than not have him again, and was as with her, and both seemed willing to uneasy without him, as he their poor relinquish them for the present as ir- uncle must have been when the docrelevant. Then in somewhat a more tor took off his limb. Here the chilheightened tone, I told how, though dren fell a crying, and asked if their their great-grandmother Field loved little mourning which they had on all her grand-children, yet in an es- was not for uncle John, and they pecial manner she might be said to looked up, and prayed me not to go love their uncle, John L- because on about their uncle, but to tell them he was so handsome and spirited a some stories about their pretty dead youth, and a king to the rest of us; mother. Then I told how for seven and, instead of moping about in so- long years, in hope sometimes, somelitary corners, like some of us, he times in despair, yet persisting ever, would mount the most mettlesome I courted the fair Alice W-n; and, horse he could get, when but an imp as much as children could underno bigger than themselves, and make stand, I explained to them what coyit carry him half over the county in ness, and difficulty, and denial meant a morning, and join the hunters in maidens-when suddenly, turning when there were any out-and yet to Alice, the soul of the first Alice he loved the old great house and gar- looked out at her eyes with such a dens too, but had too much spirit to reality of re-presentment, that I bebe always pent up within their came in doubt which of them stood boundaries, and how their uncle there before me, or whose that bright grew up to man's estate as brave as hair was, and while I stood gazing, he was handsome, to the admiration both the children gradually grew of every body, but of their great- fainter to my view, receding, and grandmother Field most especially; still receding, till nothing at last but and how he used to carry me upon two mournful features were seen in his back when I was a lame-footed the uttermost distance, which, withboy-for he was a good bit older out speech, strangely impressed upon than me-many a mile when I could me the effects of speech; “ We are not walk for pain ;-and how in after not of Alice, nor of thee, nor are we life he became lame-footed too, and children at all. The children of Alice I did not always (I fear) make al- call Bartrum father. We are nothing; lowances enough for him when he less than nothing, and dreams. We was impatient, and in pain, nor re- are only what might have been, and member sufficiently how considerate must wait upon the tedious shores of he had been to me when I was lame- Lethe millions of ages before footed; and how when he died, have existence, and a name”-and though he had not been dead an immediately awaking, I found myself hour, it seemed as if he had died a quietly seated in my bachelor armgreat while ago, such a distance there chair, where I had fallen asleep, with is betwixt life and death; and how I the faithful Bridget unchanged by bore his death as I thought pretty my side—but John L. (or James well at first, but after it
Elia) was gone for ever. LIA.
CONTINUATION OF DR. JOHNSON'S
Lives of the Poets.
CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY. An account of Christopher Anstey, of the University as a qualificawritten by his second son, is prefixed tion for their degrees. This right to the handsome edition of his works, was now questioned ; and it was reprinted at London, in 1808. He was quired of the Bachelor Fellows of born on the thirty-first of October, King's, that they should compose 1724, and was the son of Doctor and pronounce a Latin oration in the Anstey, rector of Brinkley, in Cam- public schools. Such an infringement bridgeshire, a living in the gift of of privilege was not to be tamely St. John's College, Cambridge ; of endured. After some opposition which the Doctor had formerly been made by Anstey, in common with fellow and tutor. His mother was the other junior Fellows, the exercise Mary, daughter of Anthony Thomp-in dispute was at length exacted. son, Esq. of Trumpington, in the But Anstey, who was the senior Basame county. They had no offspring chelor of the year, and to whose lot but our poet, and a daughter born it therefore fell first to deliver this some years before him.
obnoxious declamation, contrived to His father was afflicted with a frame it in such a manner, as to cast total deafness for so considerable a a ridicule on the whole proceeding.' portion of his life as never to have He was accordingly interrupted in heard the sound of his son's voice; the recitation of it, and ordered to and was thus rendered incapable of compose another; in which, at the communicating to him that instruc- same time that he pretended to extion which he might otherwise have culpate himself from his former ofderived from a parent endowed with fence, he continued in the same vein remarkable acuteness of understand- of raillery. Though his degree was ing. He was, therefore, sent very withheld in consequence of this perearly to school at Bury St. Edmunds. tinacity, yet it produced the deHere he continued, under the tuition sired effect of maintaining for the of the Rev. Arthur Kinsman, till he' College its former freedom. was removed to Eton; on the foun- While an undergraduate, he had dation of which school he was after- distinguished himself by his Latin wards placed.
Verses, called the Tripos Verses ; His studies having been completed and, in 1748, by a poem, in the same with great credit to himself, under language, on the Peace; printed in Doctor George, the head-master of the Cambridge Collection. Eton, in the year 1742 he succeeded His quarrel with the senior part of to a scholarship of King's College, the University did not deprive him Cambridge, where his classical at- of his fellowship. He was still tainments were not neglected. He was occasionally an inmate of the Coladmitted in 1745 to a fellowship of lege; and did not cease to be a Felhis college; and, in the next year, he low, till he came into the possesion took his degree of Bachelor of Arts. of the family estate at his mother's He now resided chiefly in the Uni- death, in 1754. versity; where his resistance to an in- In two years after, he married novation, attempted to be introduced Anne, third daughter of Felix Calinto King's College, involved him in vert, Esq. of Albury-Hall, in Herta dispute which occasioned the de- fordshire, and the sister of John gree of Master to be refused him. Calvert, Esq. one of his most intiThat College had immemorially as- mate friends, who was returned to serted for its members an exemption that and many successive Parliafrom the performance of those pub- ments, for the borough of Hertford. lic exercises demanded of the rest “ By this most excellent lady,” say
his biographer, with the amiable productive to him than that of any warmth of filial tenderness, “ who other book in which he had before was allowed to possess every endow- been concerned ; and with much liment of person, and qualification of berality restored the copy-right to the mind and disposition which could author. render her interesting and attractive In 1767 he wrote a short Elegy on in domestic life, and whom he justly the Death of the Marquis of Taviregarded as the pattern of every stock; and the Patriot, a Pindaric virtue, and the source of all his hap- Epistle, intended to bring into dispiness, he lived in uninterrupted and credit the practice of prize-fighting. undiminished esteem and affection for Not long after he was called to nearly half a century; and by her serve the office of high-sheriff for (who for the happiness of her family the county of Cambridge. In 1770 is still living) he had thirteen chile he quitted his seat there for a house dren, of whom eight only survive which he purchased in Bath. The him.”
greater convenience of obtaining This long period is little checquer- instruction for a numerous family, ed with events. Having no taste for the education of which had hitherto public business, and his circumstan- been superintended by himself, was ces being, easy and independent, he one of the motives that induced him passed the first fourteen years at to this change of habitation. his seat in Cambridgeshire, in an The Heroic Epistle to Sir William alternation of study and the recre- Chambers appearing soon after his ations of rural life, in which he took arrival at Bath, and being by many much pleasure. But, at the end of imputed to a writer who had lately that time, the loss of his sister gave so much distinguished himself by his a shock to his spirits, which they did talent for satire, he was at considernot speedily recover. That she was able pains to disavow that publicaa lady of superior talents is probable, tion; and by some lines containing from her having been admitted to a a deserved compliment to his sofriendship and correspondence with vereign, gave a sufficient pledge for Mrs. Montague, then Miss Robinson. the honesty of his declaration. The effect which this deprivation
In 1776, a poem entitled An Elecproduced on him was such as to tion Ball, founded on a theme prohasten the approach, and perhaps to posed by Lady Miller, who held a aggravate the violence, of a bilious sort of little poetical court at her fever, for the cure of which, by villa at Batheaston, did not disapDoctor Heberden's advice, he vi- point the expectations formed of the sited Bath, and by the use of those author of the Bath Guide. It was waters was gradually restored to at first written in the Somersetshire health.
dialect, but was afterwards judiciIn 1766 he published his Bathously stripped of its provincialism. Guide, from the press of Cambridge; About 1786 he entertained a dea poem, which aiming at the popular sign of collecting his poems,
and follies of the day, and being written publishing them together. But the in a very lively and uncommon style, painful recollections which his task rapidly made its way to the favour awakened, of those friends and comof the public. At its first appear- panions of his youth who had been ance, Gray, who was not easily separated from him by death during pleased, in a letter to one of his so long a period, made him relinquish friends observed, that it was the only his intention. He committed, howthing in fashion, and that it was a ever, to the press, translations of new and original kind of humour. some of Gay's Fables, which had Soon after the publication of the se- been made into Latin, chiefly with a cond edition, he sold the copy-right view to the improvement of his chilfor two hundred pounds to Dodsley, dren; an Alcaic Ode to Doctor Jenand gave the profits previously ac- ner, on the Discovery of the Cowcruing from the work to the General pock; and several short poems in his Hospital at Bath. Dodsley, about own language. “ His increasing ten years after his purchase, candidly years,” to use the words of his son, owned that the sale had been more “ stole imperceptibly on the even