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And what perceive; well pleased to recognize,
I read the whole, though we must not quote the whole here. " And these," I said, “ are the pleasures that men, and women too, for the poet's sister was with him, seize upon by quitting their lazy carriages, and entering on the finest estate which God and nature have given them, a vigorous pair of legs. These are the fine free thoughts ranging through woods and mountains, and by pleasant rivers, when age or sickness or other necessity shall have cut off all travelling, fave in the enchanted regions of memory.”
“ It is very fine, very,” said the great manufacturer, “and I am sure it will do me a world of good; but it is very severe ” --and he wiped again his reeking brows, and flung open his ample waistcoat. " But here we are! See, there are the gables of Tintern, its broken walls and arched windows rising out of its wood of trees !” It was a scene of quiet, truly monastic beauty. The smoke ascended in the clear autumnal air from the hamlet cottages near, and the Wye, now brim full from the height of the tide, gave a perfecting charm to the landscape. We entered the interior of the beautiful ruin in silence. No one ever enters the place without being deeply impressed by its noble proportions, and the classical grace and chastity of its architecture. This abbey church was built in 1131, and presents a fine specimen of the early-English style, blending into a more ornamented character, as later additions were made or changes introduced. The roof is gone, but the walls are entire; all the pillars, except those which divide the nave from the northern aisle, and the four lofty arches which supporting the tower spring high into the air, though reduced to narrow rims of stone, still preserve their original form. The western window, with its rich tracery, is extremely beautiful. “From the length of the nave,” says Coxe, “the height of the walls, the aspiring form of the pointed arches, and the size of the east window which closes the perspective, the first impressions are those of grandeur and sublimity. But as these emotions subside, and we descend from the contempla
WEST DOOR AND WINDOW.
tion of the whole to the examination of the parts, we are no less struck with the regularity of the plan, the lightness of the architecture, and the delicacy of the ornaments.
We feel that elegance is its characteristic no less than grandeur, and
that the whole is a combination of the beautiful and the sublime."
What Coxe also adds is true, and gives a peculiar beauty to the place. “Instead of dilapidated fragments overspread with weeds and choked with brambles, the floor is covered with a smooth turf, which by keeping the original level of the church, exhibits the beauty of its proportions, and heightens the effect of the grey stone. Ornamented fragments of the roof, remains of cornices and columns, rich pieces of sculpture, sepulchral stones and mutilated figures of monks and heroes, whose ashes repose within these walls, are scattered on the greensward, and contrast present desolation with former splendour.”
My weighty friend seated himself on a tomb; but I, observing an iron railing surrounding the top of the walls, looked for the ascent thither, and found that the walls were double, and that stairs ascended between them. I soon, therefore, stood aloft over my friend's head, and eagerly invited him to come up, and see the charming view all around, and the admirable perspective of the church below. « Not for the world !” he exclaimed_“Not for the world ! My legs have done wonders to-day, but my head would never stand that." “Good," said I. He had done wonders, and I had done one too; for I had wiled him on to Tintern, fix good miles, and up a long, steep hill, and now he must walk back. It was more than he had done for the last twenty years.
The history of Tintern contains nothing very remarkable. It was founded by the Strongbows, and became rich and hospitable. Edward II. fought refuge there for some time from the pursuit of his queen Isabella. At the diffolution it contained only thirteen monks, and was valued with its estates, according to Dugdale, at £132, but according to Speed at £256, per annum. It was granted by Henry VIII. to the second Earl of Worcester, and is now the property of the Duke of Beaufort.
When we set out to return, my companion, instead of exhibiting fatigue, sprang up from his fepulchral seat, as he remarked, “ like a giant refreshed.” He seemed inspired by a vivid sense of the feat that he had accomplished.
( What would they say at Chapel-en-Frith if they could see me to-day! When I tell them that I walked to Tintern and back, eh? But I tell you what, my friend, I have been thinking of what you have said as I fate on the tombstone there, and I think you are right. One grows sluggish and stupid by riding and lolling in carriages. I will walk! I feel lighter already : and I will be lighter still. Why should not I be as agile as you ? You walked up Cornwall. I am going to Devonshire, and I'll tramp it there as I'on alive!” And inspired by his new idea, the colossal man really became a Colossus of roads, for he strode along with a vigour, and with strides that required all my recent training on the moors and rocks of Cornwall to compete with him. He had found a new pleasure, a new power, and I had to warn him not to abuse it. “Ah!" said he, “now I am putting you to your paces," and he stalked on with a prodigious activity that astonished me. Luckily it was downhill from the Wynd Cliff to the bridge at the bottom of Chepstow, where the steamer lay, or I might have found myself worsted in the rapid walk with my elated companion. But it was all very well, for the bell was already ringing on the steamer, and we had only time to rush on board ere the plank was pulled back, and we were afloat. My stout friend sat down with a laugh, but I rather think, nevertheless, that he was glad the feat was ended, for he sat very persistently during the voyage. How little, when he had singled me out for his companion to Tintern, did he know what a day might bring forth !