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g. of walking and shooting.
that I could speak of the air, the was ter, and the light, in phrase as white and simple as that which characterises the discourse of goodly Master Walton, when he talketh of the angle rod, and the silver river Leal
l jo to the wicket of the, farm-yard, you pass, or rather I passed (for I must speak by my memory), under an oak that is hollow with age ;-perchance under that i. tree hath Lady Jane passed;—, under that tree read;—there thought and wept (for she had ever a souk sad with an over-wise consciousness); —I leaned against the wicket, and looked up into its forest of branches, mazing my mind in its knotty intricacies, as the philosopher would vainly master some tangled subject of the brain. The brook is within forty paces of this gate, and winds up, snakishly enough, to within the same distance from the ruin of the house. There is a nearer footway, well trodden, through the park; but that was not the way for me, and I chose rather to unthread the little slim palace of the water-spirit that haunts the solitude of the forest, than go as the crow flies, and the milkmaid walks. The tall and beautiful trees which line this delightful stream, hold out the most tempting spots for indolence and rest;—and I could not resist lying down at the foot of many a goodly trunk, and * the wary trout from a similar though deeper enjoyment of solitude and shade. At length I reached the famous ruin—ruin indeed!—The few relics of wall and tower that remain give you little idea of the original shape of the building, although it is described as having been square ard with four towers. There appear to: be some remains of a kitchen, and the side nearest the chapel (which is the most perfect) still partly triumphs over time. The walls on all sides, except this, have not only fallen, but crumbled into the very earth, and become covered with the soft and silent turf. You can walk on a kind of terrace of about eight feet in breadth, within which, as though sunk into the earth, is a place now called the Bowling-green; I could not myself help thinking that it must have been the tilt-yard, and more particularly, as the place pointed §" to me as such did not in the
least satisfy my feeling of that chivalrous spot. The pleasure-grounds are now distinguishable by their being a wilderness.-The uncultivated earth is rich and soft as ever; but the garden of man's care is eloquent of neglect, and seems to disdain any other but its first proud life. - Nichols writes exactly enough, in his Leicestershire History, thus:– * The careful observer may yet discover some traces of the tilt-yard; but the courts are now occupied by rabbits, and shaded with chestnuttrees and mulberries. The lover of the picturesque will be particularly. struck with the approach from Thureaston, especially at the keeper's lodge, where the view is truly enchanting. On the left appears a large grove of venerable trees. the right are the ruins of the mansion, surmounted by rugged rocks and aged oaks; the forest hills, with the tower on the hill, called Old John, forming the back ground of prospect: whilst the valley, through which the trout stream runs, extends in front, with clumps to shade the deer, and terminates in a narrow winding glen, thickly clothed with an umbrageous shade.” This passage, written in the good old county style, gives a very fair picture of the place;—and if it were only from the mention of the rabbits, I should be sure that the writer had visited the Ruin itself. That little grey race has fixed itself immoveably there, and defies extinction. The chapel, which you reach through a mass of ruin, is the least touched by decay. You enter it, and are awed by the intense chill and silence of the place. All is white—solemn—exact. One tomb of the Suffolk family, with its two figures extended, in the usual monu‘mental attitude, with pointing palms, as in a very fine state. . It is impossible here to forget, that Lady Jane Grey must often have knelt in this sacred chapel, and have breathed her virgin prayers audibly within it:— no such voice hath ever broken its 'silence since;—nor will hymn be sung, or orison uttered, with so pure a zeal, in any of the coming years of its decay. The trees around this ruin seem older than any other trees in the forest. They appear musing over their age, and drowsing
With hoods, that fall low down Before their eyes, in fashion like to those Worn by the monks in Cologne. On the opposite side of the brook to that on which the ruin decays, stands a large barn-like building, which was originally used as the kitchen and offices of the mansion. Since that time, it has been converted to a kennel for stag hounds, and now it is utterly closed and neglected. The effect of this huge sombre building is in unison with the whole scene, making the heart grave and melancholy. ** I turned again to the poor fragment of the ruin, and again stood b the side of that yard, which I still must think the tilt-yard. How often, methought, within a bowshot of that desolate place had bounded the armed horse, with glittering poictrel, bearing his juï lord in rich aparel, and costly armour. The sience, now so profound, and vexed only by the lofty rook, had been torn by the daring trumpet, and the turf, now touched but by the simple rabbit, had been spurned by the flashin hoof, or dinted by the j helm. I pictured in a dreaming mood a joustin Suffolk's days—and brought into the field the flower of that age's chivalry:—first, the Earl of Surrey, in his dancing plume—the Howard with his white charger—Seymour and Cromwell—and Dudley—all appareled like brave knights. They tilted like visions of the air, their imagined accomplishments gleaming and glancing in the sun—they shifted—triumphed—encountered—faded—allall by turns, and with the inconstancy of dreams. I became delighted with the enchantment, and in the mad joy of fancy—the walls grew up before me—the lattices, floweradorned, re-opened to my view—fair ladies, goodly nobles, filled terrace and gallery—and I saw the young, the gallant Guilford, the impassioned, brave, and unfortunate Dudley, come fiery off in a joust—and ride with bared forehead to the lady of his love, bending as knights in romances are said to bend. And there was the lady—the lady Jane ! Young as the veriest flower—beautiful as poet can imagine—her hair o bound back, after the fashion of her time, so as to betray her expansive and pearl-white forehead—a costly
close cap on the higher part of the head—and a long and solemn necklace wound in quaint fashion over her neck and bosom,-her gown, goldembossed and fitted to her form, like some gentle armour. There she sat. I saw her smile upon Dudley, and straight, as though fancy were jealous of the splendours of that she had woven her web withal, the walls crumbled to air—the pageant faded —and in their room the rabbit mibbled beneath the shading fern—and the fawn bounded out of some weedy recess of the ruin.
It can never be forgotten, that here in Bradgate, the Lady Jane tasted all that was permitted to her of ease, and learning, and happiness. It was here that Ascham, who sojourned in the neighbourhood, was wont to come, and marvel at, and encourage the noble girl's accomplishments. She wrote a beautiful hand, and Ascham was skilful in penmanship. She read Greek, and Ascham, who once wished that friends could discourse in that brave tongue, gloried in her learned pastime. In one of his letters to a favourite German is the following pleasant description of our gentle girl.
Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the houshold, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber reading Phaedo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight, as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the Park? Smiling, she answered me: “I wist, all their sport in the Park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in
came you, Madam,” quoth I, “to this deep knowledge of pleasure? And what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto ?” “I will tell you,” quoth she, “ and tell you a truth which perchance ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is, that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a scholemaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry, or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing any thing else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly, as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened; yea, presently, sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways (which I will not name for the honour I bear them) so without measure misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer, who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing while I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because whatsoever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures in very deed be but trifles and trouble unto me.” I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and because also it was the last talk that ever I had, and the last time that ever I saw that noble and worthy Lady. Ascham's Scholemaster, 8vo. 1743, p. 37.
This is wholesome prose, and worthy of its gracious subject: it seems idle to vex the sentiment which language, clothed in so fitting a costume, must awaken in the reader; and yet I cannot deny myself the introduction of a few stanzas, which were composed under the influence
Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt of the character to which they are what true pleasure meant.” “And how dedicated. st ANZAs
To the Lady Jane Grey, at Bradgate.
This was thy home then, gentle Jane! This thy green solitude;—and here At evening, from thy gleaming pane, - Thine eye oft watch'd the dappled deer, * While the soft sun was in its wane, - Browsing beneath the brooklet clear: * * * The brook runs still, the sun sets now,
The deer yet browseth ; where art thou ?
Oh, gentle Dudley! Where art thou?
None, none of these abide to tell
The air is sainted;—never shone
Here was thy life! Here was thy bower,
But though thy young and bridal heart
It may be supposed, that often and often during my stay at Bradgate, I wandered amid the ruins of this noble k; and many were the verses that I dedicated to the memory of my favourite Lady and Queen. I did not, however, entirely confine myself to this particular part of the forest, but sought out all the romantic beauties of valley and hill. The valley which leads from the ruin to the village of Newtown, is extremely beautiful, and seen, as I have seen it, in the misty and inconstant lustre of the morning, or warmed and enriched with the steady flood of the evening sunlight, it is quite a scene of enchantment. The sides of either hill are rocky, and fledged with the
most luxuriant fern, from which the deer are continually starting; and trees of magnificent growth are in great profusion. The stream winds gracefully in the depth of the valley, through broken rocky ground,
And to the sleepy woods all night singeth a quiet tune.
Here I used oftimes to take my book, and read the hours away in such a golden idleness as I have never since enjoyed, and now never shall enjoy more | Here I read many a goodly poem, from which shortly thereafter I was ever utterly to be divorced. And here I sat discoursing with my friends on subjects to which now I dare never to recur. In turming to these times, I feel that I am changed; and my present sense of the idle romance of many of my then pleasures is perhaps one of those bitter apples of knowledge, the tasting of which has driven me out of Paradise l However, we cannot always be boys. Let me return to Adams, and in conclusion give a slight account of his pursuits, pastimes they seemed to me, shared as they were at the jolly autumn-tide, when the open air was all enjoyment: to him †. were daily work—drear daily work! One morning I accompanied him to Groby Pool, a large piece of water within a few miles of the forest: thither he went to shoot wild ducks and to take pike. He took an assistant to row the boat, and with his active spaniels, we were soon coasting the reeds and dreary bulrushes of that immense sheet of water. The dogs dashed in and paddled, and struggled, and yelped their way, betraying their passage by their tongue, by the splash of water, and the severing of the reeds. A few ducks were soon scared from their ancient brooding-place, and the keeper fired. At that instant, as the echo of the gun shook its way across the waters, the air was freckled with water birds. One cloud of noisy frightened fowl arose tumultuously into the air, as though a great silence was broken for ever, and these creatures of the place were by one consent quitting their old and desolate habitation. The fishing did not prove successful, for though nets were cast, and the pool is well stocked, only fish of a moderate size were taken. Adams was quite disappointed with the day; but he was the Nelson of such sports, and always calculated on the threedeckers of pike and ducks—aye, and many of them. Another day he took down his rifle piece, and quietly loaded it with ball. I enquired his pursuit, and he told me that he was about to shoot a buck. Of course, I determined on seeing the gallant beast die, if possible, and I therefore kept as near to him as he could permit. The task was tedious and difficult, and many hours were lost before the keeper could obtain his shot; for the herd, being extremely suspicious of his intentions, ever shun him with singular care.
His assistant I found singing a melancholy low ditty of a few notes only, and pacing up and down with a measured monotonous pace (if I may use the expression); the deer began to herd, as though the music lulled and overcame them; and as the notes drew nearer, they huddled up more and more closely, till they appeared to be lost in the melancholy of the keeper's song, and heedless of the freedom of the park and the natural life and wildness of their natures. Suddenly, Adams, having selected with his eye the unfortunate creature whose speed was to be checked, gave a sort of war-whoop, at which sound the herd started from their melancholy trance, threw up their confused and mingled horns, and bounded away in one fleet single line. The keeper steadily leveled at a fine black gallant buck, and the aim was death. The fire flashed, —he plunged upward with a frantic motion of his body, and a mad toss and clash of his horns, and fell with his mostrils at the very brink of that brook to which in the pride of youth he had so often come for water. He was carefully carried home, and carved up by Adams, “as a dish fit for the gods !” I recollect grieving to see such goodly venison go from the cottage; but he was delighted in contemplating the haunch, and thinking what satisfaction it would give. he inhabitants of the neighbouring villages are sad poachers, and much trouble and anxiety did they occasion to our good keeper, who could never rest morning, moon, or night, if he suspected them at the brook. Many a might late, have I seen him take down his gun from the rack, and sally out with his dog, because he had a notion of their haunts, and knew that the hour was likely: what but the sense and pride of doing and deserving well could recompense this man %. the slavish and dangerous existence which he led? His rigid honesty was such that he wished me not to fish in the brook, that he might not sanction in any one under his own roof that practice which he sought to put down in others. I have often walked out with him for the greater part of the day when he has been shooting; and he could not disguise his surprise that I should