Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and the melody of the birds, are sounds that oaptivate the ear and delight the heart. A storm on the Moor is a spectacle not easily forgotten. The vivid and peculiar lustre of the lightning, and the thunder echoing from tor to tor, and from hill to hill, with the intervals of awful silence, strike the mind with awe and admiration. The principal rivers that rise on the Moor are the Dart, the Teign, the Tavy, the Taw, the Plym, and the Ockments. On either side of these streams are piotures of entrancing beauty, some of which have been well painted by local artists, like the venerable Traies, and the self-taught Widgery. The innumeraable brooks that sing, and often roar, down the sides of the hills are variously named. There are Black brooks and Cherry brooks; Walla brooks and Moor brooks. Huge tors, here and there, stand close together, like Titanic brethren :

Unnumber'd shapes-
By Nature strangely form’d, fantastio, vast

The silent desert throngs. From the road, leading to Sampford Courtenay, where in ancient times a great battle was fought between the Roman Catholics and Protestants, a range of seven hills may be seen, including two of the loftiest on the Moor -Yes (or East) tor, which stands about 2,050 feet above the level of the sea ; and Cawsand Beacon, which is 58 feet less in height. Nineteen of the hills beat their Cornish brother, Brown Willy, in loftiness, Some of the tors are named after the gods of the Druids, as Mis-tor, Bel-tor, and Ham-tor. Others are called after animals, as Hare-tor, Hound-tor, Fox-tor, and Sheep's-tor. The antiquarian, the geologist, the naturalist, and the sportsman have a wide field for research and enjoyment on the Moor and its borders. The Celtic remains are numerous and highly interest. ing. There are the sacred circles of the Druid 3-rude patriarchal temples, where the Sun and the Serpent wore worshipped; stone avenues, the processional

roads of the Druids; the logan stone—the “stone of power"-about which the Bards moved, chanting and making it rook as an oracle of the fate of battle ; rock basins, for purposes of lustration ; kistvaens and cairns for sepulohral purposes; rock pillars, that commemorated great events; hut circles ; trackways; Cyclopean bridges; and ancient forts, castles, and entrenchments. The Moormen, who are for the most part superstitious and utilitarian, have their own peculiar views of these objects. Hut circles, they say, were erected for the security of cattle by night, when the forest was infested with wolves. Pillar stones were gibbets. Circles and avenues were places for public games; or, as some hold, are the remains of men, who were suddenly metamorphosed from flesh into stone for the sin of “ Sabbath breaking." Kistvaens and cairns are supposed to be ancient depositories of treasure. Many of these have been searched for gold by the Moormen, but always with evil consequences. A certain Vicar of Widdecombe-in-the-Moor was one day very fortunate in bis search, and returned home laden with gold. He was not, however, permitted to live to enjoy the treasure, for tradition states that, on the night of his return, his house was blown down, and he perished in the ruins.

Hunting foxes and other game was, and now is, enjoyed by manya jovial sportsman on the Moor. The red wild deer, which are hunted with so much success on Exmoor, are not to be found on Dartmoor as they were wont to be. One of the earliest Nimrods of the Moor - Master of Hounds-was Amyas Childe. It was he, of whom old Fuller, the historian, speaks, as having been overtaken by a snow-storm, after a long and exciting run. Amyas slew his horse, and got into its body for warmth; but ultimately perished of cold. Before his death he wrote, with his blood, ona stone :

The fyrst that findes, and brings me to my grave,
The landes of Plymstock he shall have.

[ocr errors]

Certain Benediotine Monks discovered the body, and the lands of the hunter became their property. But the race of Moorland sportsmen, down to the present time, has been worthy of gallant Amyas Childe. The memory of some of the modern Masters of Hounds, as Bulteel, Templer, Phillips, and others, is cherished with much tenderness by surviving sportsmen. These were remarkable men in many ways. Of Templer it may be said, as indeed of Bulteel, that he was sportsman, scholar, wit, and poet. He was alike the pet of the field and of the social circle. It is recorded of bim that he taught his splendid pack of hounds so perfectly that each dog comprehended every inflection of his voice—"every note of his horn was intelligible to them, and conveyed a full meaning ; and to the wave of his hand an instant obedience was given." His generosity and lavish hospitality impoverished him ; and he became the victim of a certain lawyer or lawyers. To this fact, we are indebted for one of the most severe and caustic satires ever written on the legal fraternity by mortal hand. The poem is, of course, an exaggeration - I mean as applied to lawyers in general-for, although personally, the writer smarted from the conduct of certain of the legal fraternity, I happen to know, as everybody does, that there are as many honourable men among attornies as in any other profession. As it is but little known, I transfer it to these pages :

THE ATTORNEY.

Friends ! neighbours ! countrymen! I tako

The liberty to warn ye,
Against that universal scourge,

A rascally Attorney.
Pandora's box of bitter pills,

That vex us on life's journey ;
And all its thousand, nameless ills

Are oentred in-Attorney.

The canker-worm of social bliss,

The serpents that suborn us, From honour, honesty and truth,

Are treacherous-Attornies. That wicked wretch in Paradise,

For so the Scriptures learn ye, Who did deceive our mother Evo,

Was he, the arch-Attorney ?
Who tempted Judith to destroy,

The Captain Holofernes ?
Old Chabris, Chamris and Ozias,

I guess they were Attornies.
And what's the curse of magistrates ?

Go ask Sir Richard Birnie,
When justice, law and reason's foilod,

'Tis done by an Attorney.
Each village that you travel through,

The first thing you discover, is A plate of brass in letters large,

Some “Rogue and Co,"-Attornios.
In managing your matters then,

The only thing to learn is,
To keep in bounds, and keep yourself

From villanous Attornies.
No victim in the devil's den,

I reckon so forlorn is,
As is within the higher world,

The victim of Attornies.
When debts and claims are plaguing him,

The thought a constant thorn is, All others may be satisfied,

But never the Attornies. Tho' late to rest and early rise,

Yet all that he can earn is,
Like stubble in the oven burnt,

Devoured by the Attornies.
When lands are gone and body bare,

As every child's unborn is,
The wretch may call his soul his own,

His skin 18,-his Attorney's.

Unhappy wight l-when to the quick

The laws keen shares have shorn thee, Disgusted with thy nakedness,

Walks off the sly,-Attorney. Yet still with base ingratitude,

The heartless wretch will spurn thee, And thou shall bless the poverty,

That shakes off,-the Attorney. From good men's hate I'll screen the wretch,

Whose name my bitter curse is, To yield him to the deeper curse,

The friendship of-Attornies. Oh! if I had a darling child,

May names of brimstone burn me, I'd rather cut its pretty throat,

Than breed him an,-Attorney.
But if I had an imp from where

The Latins call Averni,
God give him grace to fill the place,

I'd make him an-Attorney.
When bloody Mary's bigot zeal,

Made scores of bishops burn,--she Far better had the country served,

By roasting one,-Attorney. Although compassionate and mild,

As sentimental Sterne is,
I still anathemas can find,
'Gainst that vile race,-Attornies.

Heaven a Pandæmonium,
The only thing to form is,
Take angels, saints and cherubims,

And make them all-Attornies.

As there's in sin a grade ;-and that

Of lesser rogues, the scorn is, The damnable monopoly

Of dæmons and Attornies. Oh! he will have a jubilee,

And double heat his furnace, When he of you a boiling gets,

You double damned Attornies,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »