Page images

The Rev. Mr. Coxe visiting this castle in 1800, and having in his mind this doleful description, was, he says, greatly “surprised to find a comfortable suite of rooms. The first story contained an apartment which was occupied in his time by Marten and his wife ; and above were the lodgings of his domestics. The chamber in which he usually lived was not less than thirty-six feet in length and twenty-three in breadth, and of proportionate height. It was provided with two fireplaces and three windows, two of which appeared to be the original apertures, and the third was probably enlarged for Marten's convenience!”

A circumstance at which the public was greatly fcandalized at the time, was, that when the judges who had tried Charles I. figned the warrant for his execution, Cromwell, taking up the pen to sign, daubed the face of Henry Marten, who sat next him, with the ink; and Marten, when the pen was handed to him, returned the same compliment to Cromwell. Something of this levity continued to show itself in Marten, who lived to the age of eighty-feven. His epitaph, written by himself, may yet be seen in Chepstow church, and is curious, forming an anagram on his name.


September 9, in the year of our Lord, 1680,

Was buried a true Englishman
Who in Berkshire was well known
To love his country's freedom 'bove his own :
But living immured full twenty year
Had time to write, as doth appear,


H ere or elsewhere, (all's one to you, to me,)
E arth, air, or water gripes my ghostless dust,
No one knows how soon to be by fire set free.
Reader, if you an oft-tried rule will trust,
Y ou'll gladly do and suffer what you must.

My life was spent with serving you, and you,
A nd death's my pay (it seems,) and welcome too :
Revenge destroying but itself, while I
To birds of prey leave my old cage and fly.
E xamples preach to the eye ; care then-mine says-
N ot how you end, but how you spend your days.

Having taken a view over the walls of the castle court, and at the Wye rushing far below at the base of the cliffs on which the castle stands, we set out for Tintern.


Tintern Abbey.

[ocr errors]

ND now for Tintern!” I said to my stout friend. “Ay, ay! for Tintern!” he replied gaily : “but first, my dear fir, for a boat.” “For a boat! why we are a full mile from the bridge. It would be a loss

of time to go all the way down for a boat.” “Well, then, let it be a chaise.” “First,” I said, “let us have a peep in at the gates of Piercefield. It is just above here, and we can see it better and with more time than with a chaise waiting for us.” So, though with a dubious and misgiving air, my friend moved on with me. The ascent of the Monmouth road was pretty steep, but I endeavoured to beguile his attention by talking of Piercefield. « This Piercefield,” I observed, “is one of the paradises of England. Here we are: we will take the liberty of just walking inside the lodge-gate—it is a show-place; they won't object. There ! see what a charming spot ! What a delightful stretch of woods and lawns, and park-like fields! What views out beyond! If we had time to traverse these celebrated scenes-to view the majestic Wynd Cliff and the Bannagor Rocks opposite, and the bold peninsular of Lancaut, all towering magnificently above the Wye-to visit the Lover's Leap, and traverse the woods that skirt the river deep below, and take in all the varying views of dizzy heights and fylvan dells—you would wonder that any one

ever left this place. Yet it has in not very many years passed through many hands. One of its various possessors was the generous Valentine Morris, governor of St. Vincent, in the West Indies, who first comprehended the beauty of the spot, and opened it up, by walks and drives, to the feet and the eye

[ocr errors][merged small]

of the lover of nature. Poor Morris !-imprudent as benevolent, and treated with the groffest dishonesty by a base government, he was as unfortunate as he was philanthropic ; yet you will find his memory retained lovingly in Chepstow.

“And here, too, it is pleasant to think that that good and gifted young woman, Elizabeth Smith, whom the last generation knew and admired, passed the chief part of her short life. Her father bought this place when she was eight years old, and, as she died about twenty years after, here she must have gathered up all that store of languages which she chiefly taught herself, with the exception of the two first:-French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and Persian. Elizabeth was one of the first to make England acquainted with the wealth of German literature, particularly with "Klopstock.' Little is known of her now; but the deserves to be remembered, were it only for one sentence occurring in her letters:-"To be good and disagreeable is high treason against virtue.""

As I was talking of these things, I had quietly quitted the park of Piercefield, and we were again mounting the steep road. Suddenly my companion exclaimed, “But where are we going? This is not the way for the chaise !” “Nonsense about chaises,” I said ; “Don't you see that we are now far on the way to Tintern? We shall be presently at the Wynd Cliff, one of the finest views you ever saw; we are better without a chaise, or any other bother.” “Ha!”-faid the large man, “ You are drawing me on! I see it, I see it. But no! it won't do. Why, to walk all the way to Tintern would kill me!” “All the way to Tintern I suppose is now about four miles," I replied; "and that can do you no harm, surely.” “No harm! Why, sir, I have never for these twenty years walked four miles at a stretch. With my weight, my good stout horse, or my carriage and pair of greys, are much pleasanter. I never walk further than round my grounds, or to my factory and back.” “So, you are a manufacturer ?” and he then informed me that he was a cotton-spinner of Derbyshire. “Of Derbyfhire! why then we are countymen. And now look here. By not walking you make yourself heavy, and lose one of the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »