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221

1825.)

Remarks on the subject of Poetry. his Hudibras, introduced aches, as a duct of every country, but the richest. Thyme to calches ; and it can hardly be growths and fairest shoots of it, spring imagined that he, however small the like other

. plants, from the happiest restraint which he usually places upon exposition and most friendly soil." his Pegasus, would have ventured upon “In the early times of liberty,” acso extravagant a neglect of consonance, cordingly, the first and greatest numhad there not been in his day some au ber of philosophers, historians, and thority or other for the pronunciation, poets, were natives of the Asiatic coast, which he seems to have adopted. and adjacent islands. And after an Yours, &c.

W. C. D. interval of slavery, when the influences

of the Roman freedom and of their Mr. URBAN, Exeter, Sept. 6. mild government had reached that ON

N reading your last Supplement, happy country, it repaid them with

p. 579, I felt much surprised at men of virtue and learning in such the remarks on the subject of poetry, numbers as to fill their schools and the from your Taunton correspondent T. houses of the great; to be companions In the first place T. ascribes the origin for their princes, and to leave some of poetry to the "ancient Hebrew," noble monuments for posterity.” (Life. and to its being so exactly calculated of Homer.) To mention but a few, for that fine and poetical language.” Homer and Hesiod, Archilochus and Hebrew poems are certainly the finest Tyrtæus, Sappho and Alcæus, Simoas well as the earliest in existence; nides and Phocylides, were natives of but this is a very different thing from this happy region. Surely this is quite Hebrew's giving birth to poetry. The sufficient to establish our proposition. original cause of poetry is much more Nature and Poetry are found in perremote. It is to be found in the very fection together; and where every nature of man. Constituted as he every thing, contributes to warm the heart where is, whether, the language he and kindle the feelings, there is heard speaks be a paetical one or not, he will the voice of melody in its greatest occasionally, in every region of the sweetness. earth, break forth into poetical effu. How ridiculous is it then to ascribe sions. Poetry is universally the natural the universality of poetry to the disperlanguage of intense feeling, whether sion of “the Jews over most of the that feeling be. Hebrew or English, Countries of the earth ?". Positively, Italian or Indian, Spanish or African. Mr. Urban, when I had read thus far This, and not the structure of the lan- T.'s letter, I little expected to find him guage, was the cause of its “ becoming a scholar as well as a critic. Wide as the medium of prophecy and religious the dispersion of the Jews has been, instruction.”

there have been poets in nations that Here we see the reason why a plen- had never heard of the name of Jew, tiful crop of poets depends in a great and had never had any intercourse with measure upon external causes ; upon civilized nations. national institutions that restrain or I confess myself in the next place at give the rein to nature, upon climate, a loss to comprehend what T. means upon local situation, or other similar by saying that few modern pieces of causes, suited to excite or deaden feel- poetry meet the applause of the public, ing, to raise or lull asleep sentiment or except they be in a style that differs not fancy. For instance, the fine tract of materially from that of the ancients. It Asia Minor, how plentifully did it pro- must indeed happen that men of a liduce great men of every sort? and how beral education often in their writings was it that it did so ? "The purity and refer to things they have met with in benignity of the air, the varieties of the by-gone days, and even sometimes, imfruits

and fields, the beauty and num- perceptibly perhaps, introduce in them ber of the rivers, and the constant gales the beauties of the ancient writers. But from the happy isles of the Western I take it that Scott, Byron, Moore, Sca, all conspire to bring its produc- Crabbe, with the majority of our potions of every kind to the highest per- pular bards, would be rather surprised fection; they inspire that mildness of io be taken for servile imitators of the temper and flow of fancy, which favour style of the classic authors, except in the most extensive, views, and give the those cases where they have avowed finest conceptions of nature and truth. themselves to be so. But T. tells us Good sense is indeed said to be the pro. "few but imitators of the classics-enjoy

at

Ohe subject of the Leader of T.D.

222
On Poetry-William the Conqueror.

[Sept, at present the honours of the greatest The complaint, however, probably will poets of Britain." I, for one, as a lover never cease to be made. It is indeed of curiosities, should feel much in- almost constitutional in poets. “Nunc debted to T.'s kindness for a few in- hederæ sine honore jacent," and also, stances in proof of his assertion. We Heu miseram sortem, duramque a sidere surely have nothing to do now-a-days

vitam, with Dryden, Pope, and Gray, when Quam dat doctiloquis vatibus ipse Deus! discoursing of the present state of

were laments of a poet even of the English poetry

Augustan age. He next wonders how it is that

With regard to T.'s quotation from poetry has not kept pace with other Horace, Ep. I. 1. 109, I have 'to obarts and sciences, and “remains un

serve, that I never before knew that improved, unaltered, and even une

“dives” in this place meant the sage's qualled by the moderns.” For the being wealthy in worldly riches, "dives the case. T. seems to consider poetry I have been accustomed to take it to as one of those arts or sciences (which signify his possessing, what truly is the he pleases) that may by repeated labour best of wealth, such satisfaction in and application be fagged up to perfec- abundant stores of mind that he looks tion. But here he is mistaken. Po- with neglect on external riches. etry is a natural talent. It is never

Yours, &c.

P. acquired to any degree of excellence. “ Poeta nascitur non fit," is a very old observation. Innumerable instances Mr. URBAN,

Lake House, near Amesmay be adduced to shew how little the

bury, Wills, Sept. 13. cultivation of the mind originates the N an attentive consideration to. spirit of poetry. And in some how little it improves it. A first-rate poem (p. 103), I cannot but arrive at the is never to be expected till the world is conclusion, that England was not (in blessed with a first-rate naturally po- the modern acceptation of the word) etical genius. And when he is given, conquered by William I. It is true it is not as T. supposes“ patronage and he obtained a decisive victory over the support,” that will set him a writing, forces of his rival Harold, who was. nor is it the want of these that will slain at the close of the engagement; keep him from it. Our own Milion is yet he gained this victory with great an example of this. Perhaps T. never numerical loss ; it was fought at an heard how little he obtained for his di- angle of the kingdom, against forces vine poem. Milton's name by the hastily drawn together, whilst the way reminds me, that the reason why strength of the most distant parts of the ancient poets have never been sur the realm was still unimpaired; and passed is, that "the power of nature he manifested his sense of his great incould no farther go, though indeed security by the caution with which he

“ there is ample room for im- pursued his subsequent measures. Had provement.”. And likewise he may Harold survived, Hushed as he must be brought forward as an example of have felt with his recent success against the complete failure of labour to make the Norwegians, and entrenched as he a poet. "Where Milton gives himself was in the love and affection of his up to nature and original feeling, there subjects, we may well presume that he is unequalled. Where he labours the issue of this important contest to shew his acquired forces, there he is would have been in his favour. Wila almost laughable.

liam, however, was more indebted to To return. T. re-echoes this oft re a concatenation of fortunate circumpeated strain that there is a want of pa- stances which assisted him to reach ironage of merit. He owns indeed that the throne to which he aspired, than the idea is “hackneyed.” It may, I to his own exertions. In addition to fancy, to go a step further, be said this union of causes, which operated now-a-days to be unfounded. Howe- powerfully, and against all reasonable ver we may fall short of the ancients in expectation, in the aid of his wishes ; other matters, in this we are with ra we must recollect also, that he invaded pid strides following them, namely, the England under the pretence, and perencouragement given to merit in every haps the semblance of right, that he department of the Arts and Scienceś. claimed the throne, hæreditario jure,

and

T. says

1825.] England not conquered by King William I.

223 and under the alleged will of Edward nated himself, nor was he so called the Confessor, with the accompanied until after his death. In his charters assertion, that Harold had by oath 10 and records he styled himself “Wilhim personally renounced his claims. lielmus, Rex Anglorum, &c. and Whether the Consessor really did make sometimes " Willielinus, Cognomento a will in favour of his illegitimate re Bastardus, Rex Anglorum, &c. In latire William, is doubted by histo- fact, it may be most strongly doubted rians; the presumption is, that he did whether this title was given him in not, as it was never produced, which the modern acceptation of it; the would probably have been eagerly word Conqueror is in reality derived done, if it had existence: he may, from the Latin verb conquiro, and prihowever, have been orally named by marily signified one who came into him as his successor. The death of possession by contract or gift. Thus Edward took place during the extreme Sir Henry Spelman, in his Glossary, youth of Edgar Atheling, his great expressly says,

“ Willielmus Primus, nephew and rightful heir, but the peo- Conquestor, quid Angliam conquisivit, ple set him aside, and, under the in non quod subegit.” And Harold, the Huence of the power and abilities of predecessor of William, who came to Harold, elected him as their King, al- the throne by the choice of the people, though possessing no hereditary right was yet denominated “Conqueror" by to the throne.

an ancient author, “Heraldus, streIn this situation of affairs the Duke nuus Dux, Conquestor Anglie.' of Normandy appealed to the Pope, For the further satisfaction of your who, fattered by the reference made Correspondent, J. D. I beg leave to to him, decided in favour of his claim, refer him to a scarce work on this very and sanctioned his subsequent inva- subject, which is attributed, and I sion. The accidental death of Harold think duly so, to the illustrious Sir impressed the minds of the English, Bulstrode Whitlocke. It is a small superstitious as they were in those 8vo of 164 pages, marked with Roearly ages, that the designs of his rival man numerals, and is dated “ London, was favoured by Divine Providence, printed by John Darby, 1682." It is and they were ihe more reluctant to adorned with a curious frontispiece ; uphold a vigorous opposition. Wil- in the distance is depicted the battle liam,, pursuing a wily policy, ap- between the English and Normans, proached London, and by his conduct and the death of Harold; in the foreintimated his intention of besieging it, ground is represented the Coronation justly concluding that the possession of of William. "He is seated on a chair the capital, whether by siege or volun- surmounted on two steps ; the Archtary surrender, would be followed by bishop of York is in the act of placing the submission of the whole kingdom. the Crown on his head, while the BiThe cautious fear by which he was ac- shop of Constance tenders to him the tuated, was balanced by a similar cau. Coronation Oath, and he at the same tious and prudent timidity in the op- instant is receiving the code of King posite party. The result was, that the Edward's laws from the hands of Bria Citizens of London, unsanctioned by tannia, surmounted on a still higher the State, proffered him the Crown, seat. You will permit me, Mr. Urwhich he accepted as a gift, and the ban, to quote the title-page, and then example of the Metropolis was follow- the conclusion, to which, after a laed by a general and silent submission. boured research and discussion, the

The Coronation of William took place author arrives. The title-page runs shortly afterwards; and, so far from thus : Argumentum Anti-Normantaking on himself, as a victor, to dis- nicum; or an Argument proving from pense with the accustomed oaths, or; ancient Histories and Records, that on the other hand, binding himself to William, Duke of Normandy, made govern his newly-organized possessions no absolute Conquest of Eugland by by the laws of his own country, he the Sword in the sense of our modern confirmed the laws then in existence, Writers, being an Answer to these the code of Edward the Confessor. four Questions, viz. 1. Whether William It is very true we call hiin, by way of the First made an absolute conquest of contra-distinction, William the Con- this nation at his first entrance ; 2. queror, and for ages he has borne that Whether he cancelled and abolished appellation, but he never so denomi- all the Confessor's Laws; 3. Whether

he

224

England not conquered by King William I. [Sept. he divided all our'estates and fortunes historians. Indeed in his recorded hisbetween himself and nobles ; 4. Whé- tory it is difficult to separate truth ther it be not grand error to affirm froin error and purposed misrepresentathat there were no Englishmen in the tion; the more early writers penned Common Council of the whole king. their memorials under the influence of dóm.”—The conclusion to which he prejudice, they were usually descendarrives respectively as to these ques- ants of the Anglo-Saxons, and were rions are these, that

not disinclined to lower the character

of William in the eyes of posterity, to "1. William the First, vulgarly called attribute to him arbitrary actions, of William the Conqueror, did not get the Im- which he was never guiliy, and to perial Crown of England by the sword, vor made an absolute Conquest

of the nation at give even to his good deeds the semhis first entrance. 2. Nor that he abolished blance of evil. In illustration of this all the English Laws, or changed the whole remark, you will permit me, Sir, to reframe and constitution of the Saxon Govern vert to the origin of the New Forest, ment; but, 3. That the English had still and the institution of the Curfew. It estates aud fortunes continued to them; has been generally represented by hisand that it was a great mistake in any to torians, and as generally believed, that affirm, that the King and his Normans di- William, passionately fond of hunting, vided and shared them all among them; as depopulated a whole district for the likewise, 4. Io the fourth place, it has been formation of the New Forest, having a grand error to ascertain that there were

destroyed numerous churches, and disno Englishmen in the Common Council of the whole kingdom in the reign of William possessed the inhabitants of their lands the Conqueror.'

and houses. So far from this being

the case, we have every reason to beTo the foregoing conclusions I can- lieve that the site of the New Forest not but cordially assent; and I think was primevally a woody region, known there is no doubt but that William under the appellation of Ytene, ever gained the throne, not from absolute very thinly inhabited ; and that being conquest, but by mutual compact, aris- first afforested by William, it then, by ing from mutual fear. On the part of way of contradistinctiou alone, received the English, they had set Edgar Athel- the name of New Forest.-With reing, the rightful heir, aside, on account gard to the Curfew, the assertion that of his youth and slender mental abili, at the sound of a certain bell in every ties. Harold himself, although elected district at eight o'clock in the evening, by them, had no hereditary, right. all the inhabitants were under the obThis circumstance, united with their ligation of putting out their lights and Alight into Ireland, precluded them of covering their fires. Intermixed as from turving their attention to his the inhabitants of both countries must sons. The invader, although illegiti- have becume, both as to residence and mate, was yet connected by relation- intercourse, the execution of this manship to the Confessor; and a want of date must have been of general inconunanimity pervaded their domestic venience. It is no where asserted that councils, as the Clergy, who bore a the order was restricted to the Eng. great sway, were in favour of the lish. It was assuredly the interest and Duke of Normandy, be having receiv- policy of William to produce an amaled the sanction of the Pope to his in- gamation of national inanners and cusvasion. On the other hand, William, toms; and it is hardly to be supposed by the proffer of the Crown, must that he would have hazarded a general have felt pleased at the probably un insurrection against him by the instiexpected and easy success after only tution of an arbitrary and useless meaonc battle, and prudently resolved to sure levelled at the English, and at accept the conditions of the English, the same time oppressive to the Norrather than to continue a contest and mans. The Curfew was in use on the certain in its issue, and calamitous in Continent prior to the æra of William, its failure.

and may have had its origin in teliThe authenticity of the anecdoté gious influence. Many barbarous nareferred to by your Cofrespondent, re tions even now hail the rising of the lative to the meeting between William Sun, and in like inanner, by some exand the Men of Kent, the latter hav- pression of their feelings, deplore the ing each a bough in his hand, has departure of the light of Heaven; and been strongly doubted by the best it seems to me that Gray tbus elo

gantly

rial:

,

1995.] Effigy of Bp. Shepey discovered at Rochester.

225 gantly alludes to this religious memo- initation of nature, supposing the

effigy to be a likeness. The Prelate The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day.” may be imagined to have been a man

about forty, with a dark complexion, In the prevalence of superstition, the and handsome features. He held the extinguishinent of artificial light may see about eight years. In the aile, have been superadded, from the supposi- North of the choir, there is a monution that it was irreligious to supply that ment affixed in the wall, which sepalight which the God of Nature had

rates it from the choir; it has a lofty withdrawn. The etymology of the single-arched canopy, in which may be word Curfew, which is a corruption seen the remains of foliage closely refrom Couvre-feu, proves it to be of sembling the mouldings discovered ; Normanic origin; and I am strongly and though this monument has sufferinclined to think that William intro- ed very much from wilful dilapidaduced it as an usage incumbent on both tions, still the remaining carvings are Nornans and English to observe, and of the most elegant description. An that it was tortured by the subsequent angel on the wall at the back, in high Monkish historians into an arbitrary relief, is nearly perfect, and from the mandate, with the view of harassing uneven surface of the wall appears to the English, although they none of have formed part of a group. The althem assert that its practice was not of tar tomb has been broken; the

pregeneral injunction.

sent covering is quite rough and unYours, &c. EDWARD DUKE. even. There is little doubt an effigy

was once laid upon it. This tomb Mr. URBAN,

Sept. 17. was pointed out to me by the verger, OU have already recorded (Part i. and I think there is great probability

p. Cathedral, of the Efligy of Bishop longed to it. John de Shepey, who died in 1360. The triple stalls in the South side of Splendid indeed must have been the the altar have been assigned as a momonument to which the effigy and the nument to this prelate. They are posJisjointed fragments discovered with it terior, in point of date, by many years; belonged (though I entertain great and our increased knowledge will at doubts whether the last-mentioned are this time inform us that they were at all connected with the effigy). There never intended for a sepulcbral monuis a finely preserved statue of Moses ment. The fragments of sculpture now holding the iables of the law, on which discovered probably formed the deare singularly enough inscribed the coration of a splendid altar in somne name of the law-giver himself part of the Cathedral. The old and Moyses. The remains of the group ugly oaken altar-screen is remored for next this statue appear to have been ever, and with it a picture of two anformed for a holy family, containing gels bearing their message to the shepreliefs of the Virgin, Joseph, St. done, herds on pieces of paper in their hands, and an angel crowning the former; the work, I believe, of Benjamin West. the whole of this group is dreadfully One of the angels appears to be of the mutilated. Some beautiful moulding's masculine, the other of the feminine in frieze, &c. remain in high preserva- gender; an absurdity too common in tion, and the care taken of them re- angelic represen!ations.

It was worflects the highest credit on the Dean thy of the screen it decorated, and it and Chapter. The tomb on which will, I trust, in future occupy an humthis effigy now lies, is of inferior work- bler place. The wall which was conmanship, and differs in length from cealed by the old altar, shows three the efligy. The robes, iniure, and other pointed arches resting on clustered.co. habiliments of the prelate are superbly lumos in relief attached to the wall, coloured, and afford a splendid speci- and sustaining a gallery even with the men of the state of the fine aris in sill of the upper East window fronted that magnificent æra, the 14th cen with a parapet of pierced quatrefoils. tury. The discoveries at St. Stephen's In the intercolumniations are windows, Chapel are alone worthy 10 compete and below each is a cross in a circle with it. The face is finely coloured; painted on the wall. The windows the close shaved beard a most correct are re-glazed in plain glass, the design Gent. Mag. September, 1825.

of

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