« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
road into a lane shaded by oaks, running down a narrow valley, or glen, called the Glen of the Deadly Nightshade : and at the bottom of this glen, under the folemn shade of majestic forest trees, I came upon the ruins of the famous abbey of Furness. I beheld it standing with a grassy area in front, and enclosed on each side by noble groves of plane-tree, ash and oak. Though much shattered, and having lost the central tower, it is still extensive and magnificent. Lofty walls and arches, clustered columns, and long-drawn aisles, remain ; and the fine symmetry and noble proportions of the arches contrast most picturesquely with the rents and fissures of the pile. The former extent of the building may in some degree be judged of, when I state that what remains measures five hundred feet from north to south, and three hundred from east to west.
“ The abbey lies in a nook, apparently fo secluded that it might be deemed the utmost corner of the earth ; but you have only to ascend the hills on either side, and you look ahead on the wide world, embracing all the extent of sea and land visible from the shores of the bay of Morecambe. The college and the school-house are the most complete apartments remaining. The former has an arched roof, still quite perfect : its tall narrow windows have no arch, but terminate upwards in the shape of a pediment.
The school-house is equally perfect, but is smaller and less ornamental.”
After describing the remains of the kitchens and the noble refectories, he says, Passing through the cloisters, of which only the skeletons remain, we entered the church under the great central tower, the lofty arches of which are yet standing. The eastern window is of vast dimensions, and its ornamental frame was anciently filled with painted glass, some of which yet exists in the church of Bowness, Windermere. In the wall at the right of the window, are four stalls with a fretted
canopy, where the priests fate at intervals during the service of mass, and both its rows of pillars are gone. Their bases, which remain, show that the pillars were alternately round and clustered. Four statues of admirable workmanship,--two of marble, and two of stone,-are shown to the visitor. One is in chain armour; two others are also in armour, and the fourth.
is a lady. They are in the recumbent posture, and have lain upon sepulchral monuments. Near the central tower are three chapels, with pavements of ornamental brickwork, and traces of altars. At the western end of the church is a winding staircase, still perfect, ascending to the top of the building, from
whence you have an interesting view of the ruin. The head of Stephen, the founder of the abbey, and that of Maud, his queen, both crowned, are seen on the outside of the eastern window."
The liberty and lordship of Furness remained in the crown from the period of the diffolution till 1662, when Charles II. granted them to Monk, the Duke of Albemarle, and his heirs, for his services in securing his return to his throne. The property passed by Monk's granddaughter, to Henry, duke of Buccleuch, in which family it still remains. Some of the leaseholders of Furness previous to the grant by Charles, of the name of Preston, employed the materials of the abbey to construct them a manor-house on the former site of the abbot's house. Such is the story and the status quo of venerable Furness :
And though Time
With this sketch we close our present excursions amongst the Castles and Abbeys of England. Whilst recalling for a moment the past glories of these memorials of a vanished condition of human society in these islands, we have felt strongly, not only the fragmental beauty of their remains, but the lessons and the encouragements that they afford us. . They stand amid the fair landscapes of England as if meant only to ftud them with gems of additional loveliness; but from amongst their ivymantled walls, where huge trees strike their roots into their once hallowed or dreaded pavements, and the wild rose and the wallflower Aing their hues and fragrance from traceried windows once gorgeous with emblazoned glass, there come to us whispers of retribution and of the profound purposes of Providence. In no country besides our own, do we meet with such numbers of the graceful skeletons and fractured bones of the once proud forms of papal greatness. We are so accustomed to regard these with the eye of poetry and pictorial effect, that we almost forget at times the stupendous power of which they are the signs, and of the great conflict and victory of which they preserve the remembrance. How little do we now realize the state, and the veneration amounting to terror, with which these superb palaces and temples of a gigantic priesthood were furrounded! With what feelings an ignorant and simple population gazed on their sculptured towers and quaintly-chiselled pinnacles, and at the sound of their matin or their vesper anthems prostrated their souls before an overshadowing dread which drew its triple force from the powers of earth, of heaven, and of hell—which came armed with assumptions more than regal, from the King of kings, and his vicegerent, sitting afar off on some diftant throne, around which, in the clouded imaginations of the long-bowed-down multitude, Aashed the lights of Deity, and beneath which roared the fires of delegated damnation. How little do we now realize the messages which came from time to time, from that distant but all-potent presence, blasting, as it were, the monarch on his throne, hurling him down in the dust at the feet of legate and nuncio, and shutting up the doors of church and grave to his banned and shuddering people! How little feel we the amazing strength of those rumours of this representative of Divinity who went forth amid the dust-covered heads of nobles, along a path paved with the prone faces of the multitude, and with monarchs proud to hold the bridle and the stirrup of his steed !-How little the deep reverence which like an aura rose up from the broad lands and wealthy farms, the dark vast forests alive with deer and wild cattle, from the streams and the mountains that lay around the palaces of these fatraps of that fpiritual king, and set them above the steel-clad barons, themselves so haughty and august. We no longer see those great estates, those gorgeous houses, raised by the miraculous force of arts which they and kings only could command; those Gothic temples, carved and crocketted and pinacled, with their great storied windows blazing with the colours of the rainbow, and with all the folemnities of sacred record. On us the sculptured majesty of monarchs and saints no longer looks down from the awful fronts and within the gilded shrines of those temples. We approach no longer trembling those high altars glittering with heaped jewels and gold, spread with resplendent tapestry, as with the colours of the celestial realms, lit by tapers emulating the clustered columns that bore up the groined and escutcheoned roofs, and amid the blaze of fun-glowing windows dazzling with pageantry of dyes; amid canopied tombs, carved as in snowieft ivory, of warriors and kings and prelates; amid the sound of pealing organs, amid the choral thunder of human voices, mingled in dread harmony like the found of