ELIZABETH J. EAMES - Early 19th Century American Female Poet.
But the Lancasterians making head in the north, he "flew out" again, being the chief of those who were in the castle of the Percys, at Alnwick, with five or six hundred Frenchmen, and being taken prisoner at the battle of Hexham, he was beheaded at Newcastle on Tyne, but buried in the north aisle of the cathedral of Salisbury.
Lady Alianore, his widow, lies buried in the church of Stoke Pogeys; and her monument may still be seen, with an epitaph commencing thus:. Notwithstanding the grant to Lord Wenlock, Thomas, the son and heir of Lord Robert Hungerford, succeeded to the estate.
Cultural depictions of Mary, Queen of Scots
For a time he sided with the famous Earl of Warwick, the king-maker, who took part with Edward the Fourth, but afterward "falling off," and endeavoring for the restoration of King Henry the Sixth, was seized on, and tried for his life at Salisbury, before that diabolical tyrant, crook-back Duke of Gloucester, afterward Richard the Third, where he had judgment of the death of a traitor, and suffered accordingly the next day. But during the reign of Henry the Seventh, in , when the Red Roses became triumphant at the decisive battle of Bosworth, and these unnatural and bloody wars which had devastated England for nearly thirty years, being brought to a close, by the union of Henry with Elizabeth of York, representative of the White Roses, the attainder of Thomas, as well as that of his father, Lord Robert, being reversed in Parliament, his only child and heir, called Mary, succeeded to the estate.
He died the 24th of March, , and lies buried in the chancel of Stoke Pogeys. Edward, his second son, was a warrior with King Henry the Eighth, and during the reign of Henry's daughter, Queen Mary, , declared his testament, appointing his body to be buried at Stoke Pogeys, and directing his executors to build a chapel of stone, with an altar therein, adjoining the church or chancel, where the late Earl Huntingdon and his wife his father and mother lay buried; and that a tomb should be made, with their images carved in stone, appointing that a plate of copper, double gilt, should be made to represent his own image, of the size of life, in harness , armor, and a memorial in writing, with his arms, to be placed upright on the wall of the chapel, without any other tomb for him.
He died without issue. Earl Henry was the last of the illustrious family of Huntingdon who possessed the manor and manor-house of Stoke; and the embarrassed state of his affairs compelled him to mortgage the estate to one Branthwait, a sergeant at law, in , during which period it was occupied by Lord Chancellor Sir Christopher Hatton, the fine dancer, one of the celebrated favorites of Elizabeth, the lascivious daughter of King Henry the Eighth—a woman as fickle as profligate, as cruel and hard-hearted, so far as regarded her numerous paramours, as her brutal father was in respect to his wives.
This historical detail, gathered from Domesday Book, Dugdale, and other authorities, is narrated in consequence of its bearing upon some celebrated poems hereafter to be noticed, and is continued up to the present period for a like reason. After the dissolution of the Parliament by King Charles the First, in March, , Sir Edward Coke being then greatly advanced in years, retired to his house at Stoke, where he spent the remainder of his days in a quiet retirement, universally respected and esteemed; and there, says his epitaph, crowned his pious life with a pious and Christian departure, on Wednesday the 3d day of September, A.
Upon the death of Sir Edward Coke, the manor and estate of Stoke devolved to his son-in-law, Viscount Purbeck, elder brother of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who perished by the hand of the assassin, Felton. Lord Purbeck, upon the death of his wife, daughter of Sir Edward Coke, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Slingsby, by whom he had a son, Robert, which Robert, marrying the daughter and heir of Sir John Danvers, one of the judges who sat on the trial of King Charles the First, obtained a patent from Cromwell, Protector of the Commonwealth, to change his name to Danvers, alledging as the reasons for his so doing "the many disservices done to the commonwealth by the name of the family of Villiers.
In , Viscount Purbeck granted a lease of the manor and house of Stoke, to Sir Robert Gayer during his own life; and in the same year, his son, Robert Villiers, or Danvers, sold his reversionary interest in the estate to Sir R. Gayer for the sum of eight thousand five hundred and sixty-four pounds. The family of Gayers continued in possession until , when the estate was sold for twelve thousand pounds to Edmund Halsey, Esq. The house and manor of Stoke were sold in the same year, by the representatives of Edmund Halsey, to the Honorable Thomas Penn, Lord Proprietary of the Province of Pennsylvania, the eldest surviving son of the Honorable William Penn, the celebrated founder and original proprietary of the province.
Upon the death of Thomas Penn, in , the manor of Stoke, together with all his other estates, devolved upon his eldest surviving son, John, by the Right Honorable Lady Juliana, his wife, fourth daughter of the Earl of Pomfret. In , the ancient mansion of Stoke, appearing to Mr. Penn, after some years absence in America, to demand very extensive repairs, chiefly from the destructive consequences of damp in the principal rooms, it was judged advisable to take it down.
The style of its architecture was not of a kind the most likely to dissuade him from this undertaking. Most of the great buildings of Queen Elizabeth's reign have a style peculiar to themselves, both in form and finishing, where, though much of the old Gothic is retained, and a great part of the new style is adopted, yet neither predominates, while both, thus indiscriminately blended, compose a fantastic species, hardly reducible to any class or name. One of its characteristics is the affectation of large and lofty windows, where, says Lord Bacon, "you shall have sometimes faire houses so full of glass, that one cannot tell where to become to be out of the sun.
It is true that high antiquity alone gives, in the eye of taste, a continually increasing value to specimens of all such kinds of architecture; but beside that, the superiority of the new site chosen by Mr. Penn was manifest, the principal rooms of the old mansion at Stoke, where the windows admitted light from both the opposite sides, were instances, peculiarly exemplifying the remark of Lord Bacon, and countenancing the design to lessen the number of bad, and increase that of the good examples of architecture.
But a wing of the ancient plan was preserved, and is still kept in repair, as a relic, harmonizing with the surrounding scenery, and forms with the rustic offices, and fruit-gardens annexed, the villa rustica and fructuaria of the place. The new buildings, or, more properly speaking, Palace of Stoke, was begun by Mr.
Penn immediately after his return from a long absence in Pennsylvania, and was covered-in in December, It is scarcely possible to conceive a finer site than that chosen by him for his new mansion, being on a commanding eminence, the windows of the principal front looking over a rich, variegated landscape toward the lofty towers of Windsor Castle, at a distance of four miles, which terminates the view in that direction; whilst about and around the site are abundance of magnificent aged oaks, elms, and beeches.
The poems of Thomas Gray, who was educated at Eton, and resided at Stoke, are perhaps better known, more read, more easily remembered, and more frequently quoted, than those of any other English poet. Where is the person who does not remember with feelings approaching to enthusiasm, the impressions made on his youthful fancy by the enchanting language of the "Elegy written in a Country Church-yard?
That exquisite poem contains passages "grav'd" on the hearts of all who ever read it in youth, until they themselves become hoary-headed—and then, perhaps, remembered most. But it is not the Elegy alone which makes an indelible impression on the youthful reader; equally imperishable are the lines on a distant prospect of Eton College.
Who can ever forget the pleasure experienced on the first perusal, and 76 on every subsequent reading of these fascinating productions? They are such as all, imbued with even a moderate degree of taste and feeling, must respond to. But there is another poem of Gray's, less read, perhaps, than these, but which, from its humor and arch playful style, is apt to make a strong and lasting impression on an enthusiastic juvenile mind. It opens so abruptly and oddly, that attention is bespoke from the first line. It is entitled "A Long Story.
This poem, teeming with quaint humor, contains one hundred and forty-four lines, beside, as it says , "two thousand which are lost! Extreme admiration of the poems of Gray had been excited in the writer's mind even when a schoolboy. In after years, whilst occupying chambers in the Temple, he first became aware that the scenery so exquisitely described in the Elegy, and the "ancient pile" of building, so graphically delineated in the Long Story, were both within a few hours' ride of London, and adjoining each other.
Until about the year he had constantly supposed that the Country Church-yard was altogether an imaginary conception, and that the ancient mansion of the Huntingdons was far away, somewhere in the midland counties; but when fully aware of the true localities, he was almost mad with impatience, until, on a Saturday afternoon, he could get relieved from the turmoil of business, to fly to scenes hallowed by recollections of the halcyon days of youthful aspirations of hope, and love, and innocence—and sweetly and fresh do such reminiscences still float in his memory.
About the period in question, there was a club in London, formed of about twenty or thirty of the most aristocratic of the young nobility, possessed of more wealth than wisdom. They gave themselves the name of the Whip Club, because each member drove his own team of four horses. The chief tutor of these titled Jehu's in the art and mystery of driving, was no less a personage than the celebrated Tom Moody, driver of the Windsor Coach, and by that crack coach it was intended to proceed as far as Slough, on the intended excursion to Stoke, and then turn off to the left; but as the Whip Club, at the period in question, attracted a large share of public attention in the metropolis, perhaps a short notice of it may be here permitted, as it has been long since defunct, and is never again likely to be revived, now that steam and iron horses have taken the road.
The vehicles, horses, trappings, and gearing, were the most elegant and expensive that money could command; and it was a rare thing to see upward of twenty such equipages, which, as well as the housings of the horses, were emblazoned with heraldric devices, and glittering all over with splendid silver and gold ornaments. The open carriages were all filled with the loveliest of England's lovely women, who generally congregated together at an early breakfast, or what with them was considered an early breakfast, between ten and eleven o'clock!
The meet took place at the house of Lord Hawke, in Portman Square. His lordship was high admiral, or president, Sir Bellingham Graham, whipper-in—and courteously and cleverly did Sir Bellingham or Bellinjim, as it is pronounced perform his delicate duty. When each driver mounted his box, after handing in the ladies, it was wonderful to observe with what dexterity, ease, and order, all wheeled into line, when the leader, with a flourish of his long whip—being the signal for which all were watching—led off the splendid array.
It was a gay sight to witness the start, as they swept round the square—for the horses were one and all of pure blood, and unparalleled for beauty, symmetry, and speed. To one unaccustomed to such a sight, it might appear somewhat dangerous. The fiery impatience of the horses—their pawing and champing, the tossing of their beautiful heads, and the swan-like curving of their glittering, sleek necks, until they were fairly formed into order—at which time they knew just as well as their owners that the play was going to begin.
But it was perfectly delightful to observe the graceful manner in which each pair laid their small heads and ears together when fairly under way, beating time with their highly polished hoofs—pat, pat, pat, pat, as true as the most disciplined regiment marching to a soul-stirring quick step, or a troupe of well-trained ballet girls, bounding across the stage of the Italian Opera.
When fairly off and skimming along the road, it was, perhaps, as animating a show as London ever witnessed since its palmiest days of tilt and tournament. I say nothing of the ladies, their commingled charms, or gorgeous attire; I only noticed that during the gayety in the square, previous to starting, their recognition of each other, and the beaux of their acquaintance, there were plenty of.
This celebrated club congregated every fortnight, during the gay season of May and June, and spent the day at the residence of one of their number, within twenty or thirty miles of London, returning in the evening, exactly in the order they had set out. Master Moody, the driver and proprietor of the fast Windsor Coach, had, as said, been the tutor of these aristocratic charioteers, who placed themselves under his guardianship, and had been taught to handle "the ribbons" until declared perfect in the noble science.
He had consequently imbibed much and many of the airs and graces , and manners of his pupils. Being anxious to have a ride beside this great man, I was at Piccadilly long before he started, and by a pretty handsome douceur to his cad, had the supreme felicity of obtaining a seat on the box, and certainly was well repaid for the extra expense of sitting by Corinthian Tom. He was a tall fellow, and had a severely serious face; was dressed in 77 the extreme of driving fashion; wore delicate white kid gloves, and the tops of his highly-polished boots were white as the lily.
In short, his whole "toggery" was faultless—a perfect out-and-outer. He was truly a great man, or appeared to fancy himself such—for he rarely condescended to exchange a word, except with an acquaintance, and even then, it was with a condescending, patronizing air; and he smiled as seldom as a Connecticut lawyer. Although sitting close by his side for twenty miles, not one word passed between us during the whole journey. The nags driven by this proud fellow were as splendid as himself; finer cattle never flew over Epsom Downs, the Heath of Ascot, or Doncaster Course—pure bloods, every one of them, and such as might have served Guido as models for his famous fresco of the chariot of Apollo; but Guido's steeds, although they are represented tearing away furiously, are lubberly drays , compared with the slim, graceful, fleet stags of Tom Moody.
When the cad gave the word—"all right," Tom started them with his short, shrill "t'chit, t'chit," and a crack of his two-fathom whip right over the ears of the leaders, as loud as the report of a pistol. They sprang forward with a maddening energy, almost terrifying; but the coach was hung and balanced with such precision, and the Windsor road kept in the finest order for royalty, there was no jumping or jolting, it glided along as smoothly as if it had been running on rails. A proud man was Master Moody; not so much of himself, perhaps, or of his glossy, broad-brimmed beaver, and broadcloth "upper Benjamin," or the dashing silk tie around his neck, but of his beautiful nags—and he had reason, for there was not an equipage on the road, from the ducal chariot to the dandy tandem, to which he did not give the go-by like lightning.
The rapidity of the movement, and the beauty of the animals, produced an excitement sufficient to enable one to appreciate the rapture of the Arab, as he flies over the desert on his beloved barb, enjoying, feeling, exulting in liberty, sweet, intoxicating, unbounded liberty, with the whole wilderness for a home. Some such feelings took possession of me, as the well-poised machine shot along. Quick as thought we threaded Kensington High street, skirted the wall of Lord Holland's park, just catching, like the twinkle of a sunbeam, a glimpse of the antique turrets of that classic fane peeping through the trees, as we passed the centre avenue.
We speedily reached Hammersmith and Turnham Green, and then passed Sion House and park, the princely residence of the Duke of Northumberland, then dashed through the straggling old town of Brentford. The intervening fields and openings into the landscape affording enchanting prospects before entering on Hounslow Heath, when the horses having got warm, the driver gave them full head, and the vehicle attained a speed truly exhilarating. The increased momentum, and the extensive prairie-like expanse of Hounslow Heath, would have realized in any enthusiastic mind, the feelings of the children of the desert.
This first excursion to Stoke was made during the month of May, when all nature is fresh and fair; the guelder-roses and lilacs being in full flower, and the hawthorn hedges were one sheet of milky fragrance, the air was almost intoxicating, owing to the concentrated perfumes arising from fruit orchards in full blossom, and the interminable succession of flower gardens opposite every house skirting that lovely road, the beauty of which few can conceive who have not been in England; but the fresh, pure air on the Heath, infused a new feeling, a realization of unalloyed happiness; we were rapidly hastening toward scenes for which the soul was yearning, and hope, bright, young hope, lent wings and a charm to every object, animate and inanimate.
The usual relay of fresh horses were in waiting at Cranburn Bridge, and the reeking bloods were instantly changed for others, not a whit less spirited than their released compeers. Away went Moody, and away went Moody's fiery steeds. In a very short time we passed, at a few miles on the hither side of Slough, the "ivy-mantled tower" of Upton Church, which, but for one or two small, square openings in it, may be mistaken for a gigantic bush, or unshapely tree of evergreen ivy.
Arriving at Slough, I bade adieu to Master Moody; the forty feet telescope of Herschel, with its complicated frame-work and machinery, attracting only a few minutes attention. The road leading up to Stoke Green is one of those beautiful lanes so exquisitely described by Gilbert White, in his History of Selborne, or still more graphically portrayed by Miss Mitford, in her Tales of our Village. Stoke Green lies to the right of this lane, and at the distance of one or two fields further on, there is a stile in the corner of one of them, on the left, where a foot-path crosses diagonally.
In going through a gap in the hedge, you catch the first peep of the spire of Stoke Church. After passing the field, you come to a narrow lane, overhung with hawthorns; it leads from Salt-Hill to the village of West-End Stoke. Keeping along the lane a short way, and passing through a small gate on the top of the bank, you at once enter the domain of Stoke Park, and are admitted to a full view of the church, which stands at a short distance, but almost immediately within the gate, are particularly struck by the appearance of a grand sarcophagus, erected by Mr.
Penn to the memory of Gray, in the year It is a lofty structure, in the purest style of architecture; and a tolerable idea of it, and the surrounding scenery, may be obtained from the cut at the head of this article, which has been executed from a drawing made on the spot. The inscription and quotations following are on the several sides of the pedestal. It is needless to say they are from the Elegy, and Ode to Eton College—the latter poem being unquestionably written from this very spot; and Mr.
Penn has exhibited the finest taste in their selection. This noble monument is erected on a beautiful green mound, and is surrounded with flowers. It is protected by a deep trench, in the bottom of which is a palisade; but the inclosure may be entered by application at one of Mr.
Penn's pretty entrance lodges, which is close by. The prospects from this part of the park are surpassingly beautiful, particularly looking toward the "distant spires and antique towers" of Eton and Windsor. It may be worth while here to remark, that the church and church-yard of Stoke is surrounded by Mr. Penn's property, or more properly speaking his park. Coming upon the beautiful monument quite unexpectedly, was not likely to diminish the enthusiasm previously entertained; and before proceeding to the church-yard, it was impossible to resist the impulse of making a rapid memorandum sketch of it.
In after years, it was carefully and correctly drawn in all its aspects. Proceeding along "the churchway path" into the church-yard, where in reality "rests his head upon the lap of earth," the tomb-stone of the admired and beloved poet was soon found. It is at the east end of the church, nearly under a window. Persons of a cold temperament, and not imbued with the love of poetry, may perhaps smile when it is admitted, that the approach to that tomb was made with steps as slow and reverential as those of any devout Catholic approaching the shrine of his patron saint.
Long was it gazed upon, and frequently was the inscription read, and the following cut exhibits the coat of arms and inscriptions on the blue marble tabular stone, as they were carefully drawn and copied, that very evening:. It was a soft, balmy evening; "every leaf was at rest;" the deer in the park had betaken themselves to their favorite haunts, under the wide-spreading boughs of ancient oaks and elms, and were reposing in happy security.
The long continued twilight of England was gathering in, and I still lingered in the consecrated inclosure, fascinated with the unmistakable antiquity of the church, which, although small as compared with many others, is eminently romantic, and I cannot better describe the scene, and the feelings impressed at the moment, than in the words of one equally near as dear—.
It may be proper to mention that the poem from which this is extracted, is descriptive of Haddon Hall, one of the most ancient and perfect specimens of the pure Gothic in England. The poem appeared in one of the English Annuals. At peace with all the world, and filled with emotions of true and 79 sincere gratitude to the Giver of all good, for the pure happiness then enjoyed, I sank down by the tomb-stone, overpowered with veneration, and breathed fervent thanks to Him who refuses not the offering of a humble and contrite heart.
This narrative is meant to be a faithful and honest representation of facts and circumstances that actually occurred, and it is firmly believed that none can stray into an ancient secluded country church-yard, during the decline of day, without deeply meditating on those who for ages have slept below, and where all must soon sleep, without feeling true devotion, and forming resolves for future and amended conduct. Slowly quitting the church-yard, and approaching the elevated monument, now become almost sublime as the shades of evening rendered dim its classic outline, it was impossible to avoid lingering some time longer beside it, recalling various passages of the Elegy appropriate to the occasion; the landscape was indeed "glimmering on the sight," and there was a "solemn stillness in the air," well befitting the occasion; more particularly appropriate was that fine stanza, which, although written by Gray, is omitted in all editions of the Elegy except the one hereafter noticed, in where it was re-incorporated by the editor, [the present writer,] in consequence of a suggestion kindly offered in a letter from Granville Penn, Esq.
The Elegy is undoubtedly the most popular poem in the English language; it was translated into that of every country in Europe, besides Latin and Greek. It has been more frequently, elaborately and expensively illustrated with pictorial embellishments. The autograph copy of it, in the poet's small, neat hand, written on two small half sheets of paper, was sold last year for no less than one hundred pounds sterling ; and the spirited purchaser was most appropriately the proprietor of Stoke Park, Granville John Penn, Esq. The truthfulness of the pictures presented to the imagination in the Elegy could not be denied, for there, on the very spot where, beyond all question, it was composed, and after a lapse of nearly one hundred years, the images which impressed the mind of the inspired poet came fresh at every turn.
It is true the curfew did not toll, but the "lowing herd" were as distinctly audible as the beetle wheeling his droning flight. The yew tree's shade—that identical tree, to which, to a moral certainty, the poet had reference—is represented in the cut, in the corner of the inclosure, as distinctly as the smallness of the scale admitted, underneath its shade the "turf lies in many a mouldering heap," and the "rugged elms" are outside the inclosure, but their outstretched arms overspread many a "narrow cell and frail memorial," where the "rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep," and where also "their name and years are spelt by th' unlettered muse.
The excepted edition, in which alone it is correctly given, was published in , and edited by the present writer for his friend Mr. The circumstance will be noticed presently. The Elegy of Gray was evidently written under the influence of strong feeling, and vivid impressions of the beautiful in the scenery around him, and when his sensitive mind was overspread with melancholy, in consequence of the death of his young, amiable and accomplished friend West, to whom, in June, , he addressed his lovely Ode to Spring, which was written at Stoke; but before it reached his friend he was numbered with the dead!
So true was the friendship subsisting between them, that the poet of Stoke was overpowered with a melancholy which, although subdued, lasted during a great part of his life. The scenes amid which the Elegy was composed were well adapted to soothe and cherish that contemplative sadness which, when the wounds of grief are healing, it is a luxury to indulge, and that the poet did indulge them is self-evident in many a line.
In returning to Stoke Green to spend the night, some of the rustic peasantry were wending their way down the lane to the same place, but none of these simple people, although questioned, could tell aught of him whose fame and works had induced the pilgrimage to Stoke; neither did better success attend any succeeding inquiry at the village. So universally true is that scriptural saying, like all the sayings of Him who uttered it, that a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country and in his own house.
Retiring to rest early, with a full determination to do that which had often been resolved but never accomplished, that is, to rise with the dawn; the resolution had nearly defeated the purpose, inasmuch as the mind being surcharged with the past and the expected, there was little inclination to sleep until after midnight. But a full and fixed determination of the will overcomes greater difficulties, and the first streak of light at break of day found me up and dressed, and of a truth. The dawn was most lovely, and the perfume from the hawthorns delicious; every thing indicated a beautiful day.
The sarcophagus stands on the most elevated spot, and there, where probably in days 80 long past the poet had watched the rising of the sun, did I, a humble pilgrim at his shrine, await the same sublime spectacle. As if to gratify a long cherished desire, the sun did rise with a splendor impossible to be exceeded, and the following lines, by an anonymous author, immediately recurred to memory:.
To witness the break of day in the country is indeed a luxury to which the inhabitants of cities are strangers. As the sun rose from the horizon, his increasing light brought into view myriads of dew-drops on every bud and blossom, which glittered and shone like diamonds. The sky-larks began to rise from their grassy beds among the daisies, ascending in circles to the clouds, and caroling a music which is almost heavenly to hear. The deer also were getting up from their shadowy lair under the trees, and the young fawns sprung away and took to flight as I passed a herd, under a clump of beeches, in order to obtain a view of the ancient mansion.
In approaching it, a sound, familiar indeed but far from musical, struck the ear, and added another proof and a fresh charm to the fidelity of the picture drawn by the poet. The swallows were merrily "twittering" about the gable-ends, and it did the heart good to stand watching the probable successors of those active little visiters, whose predecessors had possibly attracted the notice of the bard.
It is well known that these birds, like the orchard oriole, return year after year to the same house, and haunt where they had previously reared their young. A strong and perhaps natural desire to inspect the interior of all that remained of the ancient mansion of the Huntingdons and Hattons was defeated, inasmuch as it was found barricaded. Imagination had been busy for many a year, in respect to its great hall and gallery, its rich windows "and passages that lead to nothing;" but as access to the interior was denied, the sketch-book was put in requisition, and an accurate view soon secured.
Observing at some distance, through a vista among the trees, a lofty pillar with a statue on its summit, and proceeding thither, it was found to be another of those splendid ornaments with which the taste and liberality of the proprietor had adorned his park, being erected to the memory of Sir Edward Coke, whose statue it was which surmounted the capital. Whilst engaged in sketching this truly classic object, a gentleman approached, who introduced himself as Mr.
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Osborne, the superintendent of the demesne. He expressed pleasure at seeing the sketches, and politely offered every facility for making such, but hinted that Mr. Penn had scruples, and very proper ones, about strangers approaching too near the house on the Sabbath day, to make sketches of objects in its vicinity. Osborne's offer was courteously made, and the consequence was that many visits to Stoke afterward took place, and the whole of the interesting scenery carefully sketched. He kindly pointed out all that was most worthy of attention about the estate and neighborhood, and made tender of his company to visit West-End, and show the house which Gray, and his mother and aunt had for many years occupied.
The proprietor he said was Captain Salter, in whose family it had remained for a great many generations.
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Latterly the house has been purchased, enlarged, and put into complete repair by Mr. After "a hasty" breakfast at Stoke Green, the church-yard was again visited, and there was not a grave-stone in it which was not examined and read. The error formerly alluded to was immediately detected. The passages in the Long Story, describing the mock trial at the "Great House," before Lady Cobham, may be worth transcribing. Finding on the stone alluded to, that it was to the memory of Mrs.
Ann Tyacke, who died in , it occurred that this was the Styack of the poem, where a footnote in a copy then and there consulted, stated her to have been the housekeeper; and on inquiring of Mr. Osborne, he confirmed the conjecture. Two other footnotes state Squib to have been groom of the chamber, and that Groom was steward; but finding another head-stone both are represented in the large wood-cut, although not exactly in the situations they occupy in the church-yard close to that of Mrs. Tyacke, to the memory of William Groom, who died , it appears to offer evidence that Gray mistook the name of the one for the office of the other.
The Eton edition has not a single footnote from beginning to end of the volume. It is dedicated to Mr. Granville John Penn, and his "kind assistance during the progress of the work " acknowledged, both in its illustrations, and in 81 the biographical sketch, not withstanding which "assistance," the error of the house-keeper's name is continued; and amongst the wood-cut illustrations, there is one entitled both in the list and on the cut "Stoke Church, east end, with tablet to Gray," when, in fact, it represents the tomb-stone at the end of the church, under which Gray and his mother are interred.
The tablet to Gray is quite another thing, that was lately inserted in the wall of the church; but by some extraordinary blunder it records his death as having taken place on the 1st of August, while on the sarcophagus it is stated to have occurred on the 30th of July. Neither the one nor the other is correct. The Etonian edition has it the 30th.
After a considerable time spent in the church-yard, the hour of public worship drew near, the aged sexton appeared, opened the doors, and began to toll the bell—that same ancient bell which, century after century, had "rung in" generation after generation, and tolled at their funerals. It is difficult to realize the feelings excited on entering a sacred edifice of very ancient date, particularly if it is in the country, secluded amongst aged trees, looking as old as itself; and in walking over the stone floor, which, although so seldom trodden, is worn away into something like channels; in sitting in the same antique, and curiously carved, black oaken pews, which had been sat on by races of men who had occupied the same seats hundreds of years long past; but the effect is greatly increased on viewing the effigies of the mighty dead, lying on their marble beds, in long and low niches in the walls, some with the palms of their hands pressed together and pointing upward, as if in the act of supplication; and others grasping their swords, and having their legs crossed , indicating that they had fought for the cross in the Holy Land.
Such a church, and such objects around, fill the mind with true devotion. The sublime words of Milton work out the picture to perfection. It was gratifying and affecting to witness the piety, humility, and devotion of the congregation as they entered and took their seats in silence, long before the venerable clergyman entered the church; there was something exceedingly touching in the profound silence that reigned throughout the congregation, and induced one to think highly of that rule amongst those excellent people, who with great propriety are termed Friends.
Public worship was attended both in the morning and afternoon, and I returned to London, feeling myself a much better man than when I left it, with a full determination to revisit a place where so much pleasure had been received.
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It was nearly three months before the resolve was carried into effect; but a second excursion was made in August, and Mr. Osborne was kind enough to show the house at West-End, together with the celebrated Burnham beeches, amongst which were several "which wreathed their old fantastic roots so high," evidently the originals alluded to in the Elegy. They are scarcely a mile from West-End, and are approached through another of those sweet green lanes with which the neighborhood abounds. They are part of the original forest.
The spot was one of Gray's favorite haunts; and it would be difficult to find one better fitted for a lover of nature, and a contemplative mind. Late in the autumn an invitation was received from Mr. Osborne to spend a day or two with him; but it was not until the beginning of November that advantage could be taken of it. Arriving at his house late in the afternoon, his servant informed me he had been suddenly called away to the Isle of Portland, in Dorsetshire, where Mr.
Penn was erecting a castle. She also apologized for Mrs. Osborne's inability to receive company, in consequence of "a particular circumstance," which circumstance she blushingly acknowledged was the birth of a fine boy the night before. There was no resource, therefore, but to walk down either to Stoke Green, or to Salt-Hill, where there are two well-known taverns. Before proceeding, however, the church-yard, almost of necessity, must be visited; and although in a direct line, it was not far from Mr. Osborne's house, a considerable circuit had to be made to get into the inclosure.
The evening was particularly still—you could have heard a leaf fall; the twilight was just setting in, and a haze, or fog, coming on, but the spot was soon reached; and whilst kneeling, engaged, like Old Mortality, in plucking some weeds and long grass, which had sprung up about the tomb since the last visit, a slight sound—a very gentle rustle—struck the ear. I supposed it to be the ivy on the church-wall, but the next instant it was followed by a movement—something very near was certainly approaching.
Elizabeth J. Eames
On looking up, it is impossible to describe with what mixed feelings of astonishment, apprehension, and awe, I beheld coming from a corner of the church-yard, where there was no ingress through the brick wall, and directly toward the spot where I knelt, the figure of a tall, majestic lady, dressed in a black velvet pelisse, black velvet hat, surmounted by a plume of black ostrich feathers. She was stepping slowly toward me, over the graves.
It would be useless to deny that fear fixed me to the spot on beholding the expression of her very serious face, and her eyes firmly fixed on mine. Appalled by her sudden appearance, it seemed as if she had just risen from the grave, dressed in a funeral pall; for I was facing toward that corner of the enclosure from which she was coming, and feeling certain no human being was there one minute before, I was breathless with apprehension, and glad to rest one arm on the tomb-stone until she came close up to me.
Osborne to receive you, and as you came by invitation from her husband, if you will accept a night's lodging from me, I am enabled to offer it. Penn's housekeeper, and none of the family are at home. Most joyfully was the invitation accepted; my mind was relieved from a very unpleasant load of apprehension—but the end was not yet! She began to lead the way over the graves, exactly toward the spot from whence she had so suddenly and mysteriously appeared; after proceeding a few steps, I ventured to say—.
I can see no egress in that direction, unless it be into an open grave or under a tomb-stone. This was not very encouraging, and not much liked, but she was 83 a woman, and a lovely one, too much so by half to be a Banshee—I was on my guard, however, and ready, but the fog became so thick it was impossible to see three steps before us; in fact, it rolled over the church-yard wall in clouds.
The lady linked her arm in mine, to prevent herself from stumbling, holding up her dress with the other hand, as the long dank grass was wetting it. At last we arrived in the very corner of the church-yard, she still keeping a firm hold of my arm. On saying which, I observed her to take something bright from her girdle, which apprehension converted into a stiletto or dirk, and such is the force of self-preservation, that I was on the point of tripping her up and throwing her on her back. But thrusting the supposed dirk against the wall—presto—open sesame—the wall gave way, and she drew me through a doorway.
This was done so quickly it absolutely seemed magic. The drifting cold fog, however, soon made it plain we were in no vault, but the open park. In short, it was a door in the wall, flush with the bricks, and painted so exactly like them, it was impossible for a stranger to discover it. Penn's private entrance, and saved the family a walk of some distance. A narrow green walk, not previously remarked, led from the door to the west end of the church. The housekeeper of a nobleman or gentleman of wealth, in England, generally enjoys an enviable situation.
Intrusted with much that is valuable, she is generally a person of the highest consideration and respect, and seldom fails to acquire the elevated manners and refined address of her superiors. The lady in question was exactly one of this description, well educated, and well read; a magnificent library was at her command, and having much time, and what is better, fine taste, she had profited by it.
Never was an evening passed in greater comfort, or with a more agreeable companion. After partaking of that most exhilarating of all beverages, the pure hyson, we began to chat with almost the same freedom as though we had been long acquainted. During a pause in the conversation, after looking in my face a moment, she said—.
I saw you from Mr. Osborne's going toward it, and determined to startle you—and I think I succeeded pretty effectually. Much laughter at my expense ensued, for the lady lacked neither wit nor humor, and the evening flew faster than desired. On retiring, a man servant conducted me to an apartment on the upper floor of the mansion, and sleep soon came and soon went, for an innumerable number of rats and mice were careering all over the bed! This sent them pattering all about the room, and dreading that I might find myself minus a nose or an ear before morning, I groped all around the room for a bell, but could find none; proceeding into the corridor and standing on tip-toe, bell-wires were soon found, and soon set a ringing; watching at the top of the very long staircase, a light was at last seen ascending, borne in the hand of a very fat man, who proved to be the butler; he had nothing on but his shirt, and a huge pair of red plush, which enveloped his nether bulk.
Puffing with the exertion of ascending so many stairs, he at last saw me, still more lightly clothed than himself, and inquired what I wanted? As he descended the stair he was heard mumbling, "cats! After long waiting, the reflection of light on his red plush smalls greats would better describe them flashed up like a streak of lightning, and puffing harder than before, told me if I would follow him down stairs, he had orders to show me to another room. Gathering up the articles of my dress over my arm, we descended, and I was shown into a room of almost regal splendor.
The lofty bedstead had a canopy, terminating in a gilded coronet, and the ample hangings were of rich Venetian crimson velvet, trimmed and festooned "about, around 84 and underneath. Out of the royal palaces I had never seen such a bed. In consequence of having stood so long undressed on the marble floor at the top of the stairs, shivering with cold, the magnificent bed, on getting into it, was found comfortable beyond expression. It felt as if it would never cease yielding under the pressure; it sunk down, down, down—there appeared no stop to its declension; and then its delicious warmth—what a luxury to a shivering man!
Hugging myself under the idea of a glorious night's rest, and composing myself in the easiest possible position, it was more desirable to lay awake in such full enjoyment, than to sleep—sleep had lost all its charms. I was in the bed of beds—the celestial!
After thus laying about twenty minutes, enjoying perfect bliss, a sensation of some uneasiness began slowly to manifest itself, which induced a change of position; but the change did not relieve the uncomfortable feeling. It would be difficult to describe it, but it increased every moment, until at last it seemed as if the points of a hundred thousand fine needles were puncturing every pore. This was borne with great resignation and equanimity for some time, expecting it would go off; but the stinging sensation increased, and finally became intolerable; the celestial bed became one of infernal torture.
I tossed, and dashed, and threw about my limbs in all directions, and almost bellowed like a mad bull. What to do to relieve the torment I knew not.
To ask for another bed was out of the question, and to attempt to sleep on thorns—thorns! After long endurance of the pain, and in racking my brains considering what was best to be done, the intolerable sensations began by degrees to subside and grow less and less; but the heat, although nearly insupportable, was more easily endured. That horrible night was a long one—and long will it be before it is forgotten. Coming down in the morning, expecting to find the lady all smiles and graces, I was surprised and hurt to find she received me rather coldly, and with averted head; but when she could no longer avoid turning round, never, in the whole course of my life, was I more astonished at the change she had undergone.
It was a total, a radical change—she was hardly to be recognized—and it was scarcely possible to believe she was the lovely woman of the last night. Not that her splendid figure was altered—in fact, an elegant morning-dress rather tended to improve and set-off her full and almost voluptuous contour, and her soft, sweet voice was equally musical; but her face—the charms of her lovely face were vanished and gone!
Every one will admit that the nose is a most important, nay, a very prominent feature in female beauty. It is indispensible that a belle should have a beautiful nose; in fact, it is a question whether a woman without an eye would not be preferable to one with—but I anticipate. I presume you allude to the altered appearance of your face, but I cannot conceive what I can have had to do with the change.
In brief, her beautiful nose was all over as red as scarlet, particularly the point of it, which exactly resembled a large red cherry, or ripe Siberian crab-apple. Now just think of it—a very fair woman with a blood-red nose! Suppose any gentleman going to be married, and full of love and admiration, should, on going to the house of his beloved bride on the appointed morning, to take her to church, humming to himself that sweet song, "She Wove a Wreath of Roses," finds her beautiful nose become a big rosy nosegay—would he not be apt to suppose she had over night been making pretty free sacrifices, not to the little god of love, but to jolly Bacchus?
I did not do my belle such an injustice—and yet what could I think? Did not your wo-begone terrors in the church-yard throw me into immoderate fits of laughter, as you well know? And did not your adventures, after you retired, when reported to me, throw me all but into convulsions—the more I thought, the more I laughed, until it brought on a nervous headache so intense, it felt as if my head would have split? To relieve so distressing a pain, I took a bottle of eau de cologne to bed with me, and pulling out the stopper, propped it up by the pillow, right under my nose.
I quite forgot it, and fell asleep with the bottle in that position. How long I slept I know not, it must have been a long time; when I awoke, I was surprised to find my shoulder cold and wet—and then I recollected the bottle of cologne; but what was my horror, on getting up, to behold my face in this frightful condition, you may easily imagine. Poor, dear lady, if she laughed heartily at the scare she gave me in the church-yard, I now had my revenge, full and ample—for I could not refrain from laughing outright every time I looked in her face; and laughter, when it is hearty and hilarious, is catching, almost as much as yawning; and I fancy few will dispute how potent, how Mesmeric, or magnetic the effect of an outstretched arm and wide gaping oscitation is.
I declare, I caught myself gaping the other night on seeing my wife's white cat stretch herself on the rug, and yawn. Now it need hardly be remarked, that when any thing is the matter with a person's face, be it a wall-eye, a squint, a cancer, very bad teeth, or any such disfigurement or malady, it is impossible to look at any other spot—it is sure to fix your gaze, you can look at no other 85 part; you cannot keep your eye off it, unless you are more generous, or better bred than most men.
She said this half earnest, half jest; and I obliged her, by directing my looks to her taper fingers and white hands—and the conversation proceeded with the breakfast. Why, madam, it would have been considered paradise, compared with the purgatory you inflicted on me. Her eyes sparkled with glee—and she began to laugh joyously; but soon checking herself, and assuming a sort of mock sympathy, said,. On inquiring whether the grand coroneted bed, which had been as a hot gridiron to me, was intended for any particular person, she informed me it was for a Russian nobleman, Baron Nicholay, a much respected friend of Mr.
Penn's, who sometimes visited Stoke, and who, being used to a bed of down in the cold climate of his own country, Mr. Penn, with his characteristic kindness and attention, had it prepared for the baron's especial comfort. She added that the reason why Mr. Penn had all his life remained a bachelor, was in consequence of an early attachment which he had formed for the baron's sister; that they were to have been married, but in driving the lady in a drouschky , or sledge, on the ice of the Neva, at St.
Petersburg, by some fatality the ice gave way, and notwithstanding the most strenuous exertions of her lover, and the servant who stood behind the sled, the lady, by the force of the current, was swept away under the ice, and never afterward seen. That this shocking accident had such effect on Mr. Penn's mind, as well it might, he never could think of any other woman, but remained true and constant to his first love, mourning her tragic end all his life.
This was exactly the case with that most amiable and gifted man, the late Sir Thomas Lawrence, who being engaged and about to be married to a daughter of the celebrated Mrs. Siddons, the young lady was suddenly snatched from him by a rapid consumption; and Sir Thomas remained faithful to her beloved memory, wearing mourning during his life, and ever after used black wax in sealing his letters, as the writer can prove by many, many received from him during a series of years until his lamented death.
On asking my intelligent companion if she knew any particulars respecting Gray, she replied she did know a great deal regarding him; that Mr. Penn idolized his memory, and had made collections respecting him and the personages mentioned in the Long Story. At my pressing solicitation she was good enough to say she would write out all the particulars—a promise which she faithfully kept; and they may hereafter appear in some shape.
The morning proving foggy and damp, the time instead of going to church was passed in the library—a magnificent room, nearly two hundred feet long, extending the whole length of the building, and filled with books from floor to ceiling. In one of the principal rooms, mounted upon a pedestal, there is a large piece of the identical tree under the shade of which Mr. Penn's celebrated ancestor, William, signed his treaty with the Indians, constituting him Lord Proprietary of what was afterward, and what will ever be, Pennsylvania.
The piece of wood is part of a large limb, about five feet long. The tree was blown down in , and the portion in question was transmitted by Dr. Penn, who had it varnished in its original state, and a brass plate affixed to it, with an inscription. The sun broke through the fog about twelve o'clock, and had as cheering an effect on the landscape, as it almost invariably has on the mind. In the afternoon, after a most delightful day spent with the fair housekeeper, it became time to think of returning to London, and as the distance would be much lessened by proceeding through Mr.
Penn's grounds, and going down to Salt-Hill instead of Slough, the lady offered to accompany me to the extent of the shrubberies, and point out the way. These enchanting shrubberies are adorned with busts of the Roman and English poets, placed on antique terms, along the well-kept, smooth gravel-walks, which wind about in many a serpentine direction through the grounds.
There are appropriate quotations from the works of the different bards, placed on the front of each terminus. The bust of Gray, is placed under an ancient wide-spreading oak, with this inscription:. There is an elegant small building, inscribed "The Temple of Fancy," in which a bust of the immortal Shakspeare is the only ornament. It is on a small knoll, commanding an extensive prospect through the trees, which are opened like a fan. Windsor Castle terminates this lovely view. Within the temple there is a long inscription from the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 5, sc.
The grounds, laid out with so much fine taste, terminate in a lovely little dell, sheltered on every side. In the centre there is a circle bordered with box, and growing within it, a collection of all the known varieties of heath. The plants were then in full flower, and innumerable honey-bees were feeding and buzzing.
To one who, in early life, had been accustomed to tread the heath-covered hills of Scotland, the unexpected sight of these blooming plants of the mountain was a treat; and the effect was heightened on seeing the bust of Scotia's most admired bard, Thomson, adorning it. The inscription was from that sublime, almost divine hymn, with which the Seasons conclude, and eminently well applied to the heath, as some one or other of the varieties blossom nearly all the year through.
In that secluded dell I bade a sorrowful and unwilling adieu to the lady who had shown such extraordinary politeness. It may be worth the while to mention that she was soon after married, much against the wish of Mr. Penn, who had a great aversion to any changes in his establishment; for a kinder, a better, a more pious, or more accomplished gentleman than the late John Penn, of Stoke Park, England could not boast.
In consequence of the extraordinary prices lately paid for the autograph copies of Gray's poems, more particularly that of the Elegy, it has been thought it would be acceptable to the readers of the Magazine to be presented with a fac simile. The following have therefore been traced, and engraved with great care and accuracy, from the first and last stanzas of the Elegy, and the signature from a letter. These will give an exact idea of the peculiarly neat and elegant handwriting of the Poet of Stoke.
It was a warm, cloudy, sultry summer morning—scarcely a breath of air stirred the clematis and woodbine blossoms that peeped in and clustered around the breakfast-room window, greeting us with fresh fragrance; but on this morning no pleasant air breathed sighingly over them, and they looked drooping and faded. I was visiting my friend Effie Morris, who resided in a pleasant country village, some twenty or thirty miles from my city home. We were both young, and had been school-girl friends from early childhood.
The preceding winter had been our closing session at school, and we were about entering our little world as women. Effie was an only daughter of a widowed mother. Possessing comfortable means, they lived most pleasantly in their quiet romantic little village. Effie had stayed with me during the winters of her school-days, while I had always returned the compliment by spending the summer months at her pleasant home.
Her mother was lovely both in mind and disposition, and though she had suffered much from affliction, she still retained youthful and sympathizing feelings. Effie was gentle and beautiful, and the most innocent, unsophisticated little enthusiast that ever breathed. She had arrived at the age of seventeen, and to my certain knowledge had never felt the first heart-throb; never had been in love. In vain had we attended the dancing-school balls, and little parties.
A host of boy-lovers surrounded the little set to which we belonged, and yet Effie remained entirely heart-whole. She never flirted, never sentimentalized with gentlemen, and she was called cold and matter-of-fact, by those who judged her alone by her manner; but one glance in her soft, dove-like eyes, it seems to me, should have set them a doubting.
I have seen those expressive eyes well up with tears when together we would read some old story or poem—. How beautifully would she improvise at times—for improvisations in truth were they, while she was quite unconscious of her gift. She never wrote a line of poetry, but when in such moods, every word she uttered was true, pure poetry.
She had a most remarkable memory, and seemed never to forget a line she read. To me she would repeat page after page of our favorite authors, when we would be wandering through the woods, our arms entwined around each other. Effie Morris was an enthusiastic dreamer, and entertained certain little romantic exaggerated opinions, out of which it was impossible to argue her—sometimes her actions ran contrary to these opinions, and we would fancy that surely now she would admit the fallacy of her arguments in favor of them; but when taxed with it, she would in the most earnest, sincere manner defend her original position, proving to us that no matter how her actions appeared to others, they were in her own mind entirely in keeping with these first expressed opinions, which to us seemed entirely at variance.
But she was so gentle in argument, and proved so plainly that though her reasoning might be false, her thoughts were so beautiful and pure, as to make us feel perfectly willing to pardon her obstinacy. On the morning I speak of, we lounged languidly over the breakfast-table, not caring to taste of the tempting crisp rolls, or drink of the fragrant Mocha juice, the delicious fumes of which rose up from the delicate China cups all unheeded by us.
At first we talked listlessly of various things, wandering from subject to subject, and at last, to our surprise, we found ourselves engaged in a sprightly, animated argument; each forgetting the close atmosphere that seemed at first to weigh down all vivacity. The subject of this argument was the possibility of pride overcoming love in a woman's heart.
Morris and I contended that love weakened or quite died out if the object proved unworthy or indifferent. Our romantic Effie of course took the opposite side. True love to her mind was unalterable. Usually the operas dealt with the section of her life when she was being persecuted by Elizabeth I of England. She was considered a sympathetic character in southern Europe due to her Catholicism. Mary's story proved popular among liberals and revolutionaries in 19th-century Italy. These were especially attracted by the various plots made to save her as well as her death as a political martyr, both of which they interpreted as comparable to their own struggle.
The Carbonari took their name from a mythical ring of English coal-burners, supposedly dedicated to Mary's cause. For this reason, the subject of Mary Stuart came to be seen as a concern of radicals, and operas about her were banned on several occasions.
In the and film biographies of Mary, fictional meetings between Queens Mary and Elizabeth take place. These historical meetings between the two queens had previously been added for dramatic effect in Schiller 's Maria Stuart. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cultural depictions of English and British monarchs. Oliver Cromwell 4 Richard Cromwell 4. Debatable or disputed rulers are in italics. Peter Davidson and Anne Sweeney.