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“ 'Tis merry in greenwood,—thus runs the old lay
In the gladsome month of lively May,
Invites to forest bower ;
Like a chieftain's frowning tower ;
With brighter tints the flower;
Harold the Dauntless.-Canto ii, 1.
dc, lc. &c.
“Fools gaze at painted courts ; to th' country let me go
To climb the easy hill, then walk the valley low;
Drayton's Poly-Olbion.-Song xix. It was a lovely day in June, and the sun shone brightly. There had been a soft shower to water the earth; the dust was laid, and the fields and the hedges smelt sweet, as they are used to do, when after a period of warmer weather, with the wind east and north-east, the rain descends and gladdens the face of
So altogether delightful was it that I determined to lay by the morning work that I had cut out ; and I went to summon Alethes for a walk. I knew he was to be found in the garden, and on the sunny side of the house,--his usual place of recreation, when not at high romps with the children. He spied me coming, and guessed at the cause. His favourite “ Chaucer was by his side on the grass; and I observed that it was the neat and new edition of “Sir Harris Nicholas,” who deserves the thanks of all the lovers of old Geoffrey for the nice come-atible form in which he has thrown together the scattered works of that great genius,--to use the words of Spenser,
“ In whose gentle spright
." Starting up from the old seat on which he was sitting, he
1 The Faerie Queene, c. vii. 9.
exclaimed, “Such days as these, Eubulus, are all enjoyment ! I see even you cannot complete your routine of work, but must needs pay court to the air and sun before your time. I have just been reading old “Dan Geoffrey's ” Prologue to the Legend of Good Women. Hear what he says-confess to the truth of his lines-and then I am ready :
“And as for me, though that I can but lite,
On bookes for to rede I me delight,
Now have I than eke this condition,
There was no gainsaying the natural truth and simple beauty both of the lines and of the recitation. It was at once admitted ; and, staff in hand, we started for the walk we had on a previous day determined on ;-that is to say, from Tarring to the old chapelry of Durrington: thence to Patching; from Patching to Angmering; from Angmering to Ferring; from Ferring to Goring; and thence, by the sea, through Heene, home. The walk was long enough for well-girt men; and experience in longer rambles gave Alethes heart of grace'.
From Tarring to Durrington is a long mile and a half; and the direct path is across that magnificent field adjoining the church-than which there may be as fine, but there is no finer, land in England. It is not uncommonly called “ Markwick's big field,” from the name of a worthy tenant, who died a few years ago, leaving a name behind him, which will not soon be forgotten. One who knew him well, and was privy to the work of grace on his heart, drew up a little memorial on his departure hence, which appeared in the “Brighton Gazette," under the title of “The Good Parishioner.” It is not unworthy of a more extended circulation, and for this reason it is inserted here. If there were those who undervalued his character at the time, there have been many since who have acquiesced in this truth: “ They who suspect a bad motive in every generous action, are always to be suspected themselves ?." The author of this little work was, of course, the writer.
THE GOOD PARISHIONER,
“ He was a faithful man, and feared God above many."
Nehem, vii. 2. Verily, such was the man of whom these simple words are a worthy record. This was he,' of whom many a once uncharitable, but a stricken and repentant spirit, will now say, “This was he whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach: we fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot among the saints !' (Wisd. v. 3—5.) By those who knew him not, and who were wrapt up in themselves, and in their own self-righteousness, and in their unjustifiable words, he was accounted a hard and an austere man. But what of that? He went about in a humble way, doing good,-he comforted the fatherless and the widow,— his fountains were dispersed abroad,' -he sought out the afflicted, -he withheld not from the poor their desire, except upon a point of conscience and for their good,
* A very old English expression. See Nare's Gloss. in v. Perhaps it is more commonly said “ to take heart of grace.” Grace is no doubt the original form of writing the word. To take heart at grass,-as from a horse becoming hearty at grass,--seems a conceit of Lyly’s.
3 Southey's Hist, of the Brazils, vol. i. p. 549.
- he was the best of guardians,—and, if his temper was warm (as was that of Barnabas and Paul, Acts xv. 39), it was most generous, most forgiving, most forgetful of injuries; the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon him, and he caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.' (Job xxix. 13.) Ask of those who now rue his loss, -ask of his labourers who rejoiced in his presence,-ask of her who now mourns over him with hope,—the widow, whose heart was like his own, -ask of the clergyman of his parish, at whose right hand he stood, as a guard against unrighteous judges, -ask of all who have the spirit of supplications, and that charity which is the end of the commandment,and their reply will be,
HE WAS A GOOD MAN.'-Acts xi. 24. “ His were no fine or superficial notions. His education was simple, like his heart, and all that he had made was the blessing of God upon the labour of his hands. He did that which was right,-he enjoined it upon others,—he enforced it upon his household, when (in the words of Bishop Wilson, that saint of Sodor and Man) he had set up an altar there, and family prayer was his morning and evening sacrifice. Nor was he careful only in this, but he worshipped the Lord in the congregations, and washed his hands in innocency, and so approached the altar, and ate and drank abundantly to his soul's health, -awaiting the resurrection of the just when he should be numbered with those that sleep! Blessed be God, in the only merits of whose Son he trusted, there is a book of remembrance written in heaven; and there, we doubt not, his name is recorded, as the names of all the justified of the Lord Jesus have been, and shall be.
“ His house was nigh to the church, and he belied that proverb, so often found to be true. He was as Justus (by name and nature), whom we read of in the Acts, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue’ (xviii. 7).