Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

noblest and most learned cities of Sicilian Greece would have known nothing of the monument of its greatest ornament, had it not fortunately been disa covered by a native of a small town in Italy !"

III. Cicero never ceased to remember the pleasure, he derived from his voyage to Greece, after his youthful education had been completed, in which he visited all those persons, remarkable for attainments, and almost every spot, celebrated in Grecian story. Milton and Addison, when in Italy, reflected with awe, delight, and admiration, on the grandeur, and majesty of Virgil; on the diversity and comprehension of the elder Pliny; on the copious eloquence, the heart, and the soul, of the father of his country; as well as on the vigorous impregnations of Lucretius. Without these associations, the best landscapes were, comparatively, but“sterile promontories.” For scenes, unconnected , with great personages, or great events, fascinate us only for a time. Hence it arises, that the forests and solitudes of America attract so few travellers to enjoy their beauties. They have no retrospects to other ages. “They stand," as a modern writer remarks, “ vast masses, in the midst of boundless solitudes; unenlivened by industry, and unadorned by genius. But if a Plato, or a Pythagoras, had visited their recesses; if a Homer, or a Virgil, had peopled them with heroes; if a people had made a last and successful stand against invasion in their fastnesses; then, indeed, they would

assume a dignity and importance, and excite interest in the mind of every traveller.”

These associations are some of the greatest results of education, and some of the best satisfactions of human life. They shed lustre even over Hesperian land; and he, who visits a village, a town, or a city, without them, loses not only the chief, but nearly the whole, of his enjoyment. He has no poetry in his soul; nor has he any richness in his feelings. When Silius Italicus stood near the lake of Trasimene, could he forget that fifteen thousand Romans had fallen upon its banks ? When Ausonius plucked fragrant roses at Pæstum, could he forget to investigate the obscurity, that hung over the origin and progress of that splendid city ? And when Dante beheld the triumphal arch of Trajan, formed of Parian marble, at Beneventum,-almost every part of which is adorned with sculptures, illustrating the achievements of that magnanimous prince,

could he forget the various struggles its ancestors, under the general name of Samnites, had waged in defence of its liberties, against the aspiring genius of the Roman Republic ? -Struggles, which, during the tyranny of Sylla's dictatorship, closed in the almost total annihilation of the Samnite people; the memory of whose virtues still live, -blooming in the annals of their inveterate enemies,

IV.

You and I, my Lelius, have visited many places, presenting little to attract the eye of the ignorant; and little to command the attention of persons, living in the neighbourhood; but which, to us, afforded infinite satisfaction. When we were at Ipswich, we recognized the fortune of the Suffolk Cardinal. The father was a butcher; yet the son enjoyed preferments, no subject but himself ever enjoyed. Rector of Lymington; Prime Minister to Henry VIII.; Bishop of Lincoln, of Durham, and of Winchester: Archbishop of York; Administrator of Tournay; Bishop of Bath and Wells; Administrator of St. Albans; Lord Chancellor; Cardinal; joint Legate; and lastly, the Pope's Legate for life.-Ruined in a day, with all his preferments ! Miserable; yet, with all his vices, not unworthy of our admiration for his abilities; and not unworthy our esteem for many great and splendid quali. ties.—“Vain pomp and glory of the world, I hate ye.” To the memory of this man Shakespeare has been more faithful even than historians.

With the fate of Wolsey, we associate the rise, elevation and fall, of Menzicoff; who, from being the son of a soldier, became the favorite of Czar Peter the First, and the conqueror of Charles the Twelfth, in defeating General Lewenhaupt. Then we behold him created field-marshal, first senator, regent !-and so rich in lands, that he could travel from Riga, in Livonia, to Derbent, on the frontiers of Persia, and sleep every night on an estate, belonging to himself. His vassals consisted of one hundred and fifty thousand families: he became chief minister to Peter the First, to Catherine the Czarina, and to Peter the Second; and so powerful, that kings deigned to court his favour. In this meridian, he was stripped, inone night, of all his authority and influence; divested of all his honours and wealth; and from being the greatest of subjects, sunk into being one of the lowest. Banished to Beresow,-one of his daughters mended his clothes, and washed his linen;'while the other, who had been betrothed to Peter the Second,—undertook the care of his kitchen. revenge the cause of the peasant and the yeoman, for the desolation of William the Norman, who dispeopled a circumference of thirty miles to make a forest, for the habitation of those beasts, it was his pleasure to hunt. With much more satisfaction, did we behold the room, in which Edward the Sixth was born; where we reflected with admiration on the singularity of the circumstance, that one of the most ambitious of mankind, one of the most virtuous of heroes, one of the most illustrious of patriots, and one of the best of monarchs, were brought into the world by the Cesarean operation. : When we were at Southampton, my Lelius, we saw, in imagination, Henry the Fifth embark for France, previous to the battle of Agincourt: we beheld, too, the Danish king, seating himself in a chair on the beach : “ Oh! Sea! thou art my domain, and the land I sit on is mine; presume not to wet the feet of thy sovereign.” From this time Canute never wore his crown; but caused it to be placed upon the head of the crucifix, in the city of Winchester."

Nor could we pass St. Anne's Hill, without visiting the farm, which affords so remarkable an instance of hereditary possession: it having been occupied by a family of the name of Wapshote, from the time of Alfred the Great. An instance not to be paralleled in Europe; though many occur in India, China, and Japan. There are, also, in the vale of Florence, many farmers, who occupy lands, which were tilled by their ancestors, in the last days of the Florentine republic.

V. At Shrewsbury, where Hotspur was slain; and where the rebellion of the Earl of Northumberland was finally quelled:-at Northampton; at Leicester; at Coventry, the walls of which were levelled by order of Charles's commissioners, because their inhábitants had signalized their zeal, in the cause of the parliament; and in the New Forest we lingered, where the deaths of two sons and one grandson seemed to

[ocr errors]

When at Marlborough, it were impossible not to reflect on the parliament assembled there, in the reign of Henry the Third, which erected that body of statutes, which make so considerable a figure among the laws of England, known by the name of the statutes of Marlbridge. When at Framlingham, we heard, as it were, Mary “ the cruel” first assume the

Cæsar ; Scipio; Edward vi. William of Huutingdon : Brompton, and Matthew of Westminster.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »