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his beard descending to his broad girdle, his own natural hair of dark brown—blessings on the head that keeps God's own covering on it, and scorns the curled inventions of man— falling in thick masses on his broad, manly shoulders. Nor silver, nor gold, wore he ; the natural nobleness of his looks maintained his rank and pre-eminence among men; the step of Sir George Vernon was one that many imitated, but few could attain— at once manly and graceful. I have heard it said, that he carried privately in his bosom a small rosary of precious metal, in which his favourite daughter Dora had entwined one of her mother's tresses. The ewerbearers entered with silver basins full of water; the element came pure and returned red; for the hands of the guests were stained with the blood of the chase. The attendant minstrels vowed, that no hands so shapely, nor fingers so taper, and long, and white, and round, as those of the Knight of Haddon, were that day dipped in water. y “There is wondrous little pleasure in describing a feast of which we have not partaken; so pass we on to the time when the fair dames retired, and the red wine in cups of gold, and the ale in silver flagons, shone and sparkled as they passed from hand to lip beneath the blaze of seven massy lamps. The knights toasted their mistresses, the retainers told their exploits, and the minstrels with harp and tongue made music and song abound. The gentles struck their drinking vessels on the table till they rang again; the menials stamped with the heels of their ponderous boots on the solid floor; while the hounds, imagining they heard the call to the chase, leaped up, and bayed in hoarse but appropriate chorus. “The ladies now re-appeared, in the side galleries, and overlooked the scene of festivity below. The loveliest of many counties were there; but the fairest was a young maid of middle size, in a dress disencumbered of ornament, and possessed of one of those free and graceful forms which may be met with in other counties, but for which our own Derbyshire alone is famous. Those who admired the grace of her person were no less charmed with her simplicity and natural meekness of deportment.
Nature did much for her, and art strove in vain to rival her with others; while health, that handmaid of beauty, supplied her eye and her cheek with the purest light and the freshest roses. Her short and rosy upper-lip was slightly curled, with as much of maiden sanctity, perhaps, as pride; her white high forehead was shaded with locks of sunny brown, while her large and dark hazel eyes beamed with free and unaffected modesty. Those who observed her close, might see her eyes, as she glanced about, sparkling for a moment with other lights, but scarce less holy, than those of devotion and awe. Of all the knights present, it was impossible to say, who inspired her with those love-fits of flushing joy and delirious . agitation; each hoped himself the happy person; for none could look on Dora Vernon without awe and love. She leaned her white bosom, shining through the veil which shaded it, near one of the minstrel's harps; and looking round on the presence, her eyes grew brighter as she looked; at least, so vowed the knights, and so sang the minstrels. “All the knights arose when Dora Vernon appeared. ‘Fill all your wine-cups, knights,” said Sir Lucas Peverel. “ Fill them to the brim,” said Sir Henry Avenel. “And drain them out, were they deeper than the Wye,’ said Sir Godfrey Gernon. “ To the health of the Princess of the Peak,’ said Sir Ralph Cavendish. “ To the health of Dora Vernon,” said Sir Hugh de Wodensley; ‘beauty is above titles, she is the loveliest maiden a knight ever looked on, with the sweetest name too.” “And yet, Sir Knight,' said Peverel, filling his cup, “I know one who thinks so humbly of the fair name of Vernon, as to wish it charmed into that of De Wodensley.’ ‘ He is not master of a spell so profound;’ said Avenel. • And yet he is master of his sword,” answered De Wodensley, with a darkening brow. ‘ I counsel him to keep it in its sheath,’ said Cavendish, “ lest it prove a wayward servant.’ ‘ I will prove its service on thy bosom where and when thou wilt, Lord of Chatsworth, said De Wodensley. Lord of Darley,' answered Cavendish, “it is a tempting moonlight, but there is a charm over Haddon to-night it would be unseemly to dispel. To-morrow, I meet Lord John Manners to try whose hawk has the fairer flight, and whose love the whiter hand. That can be soon seen ; for who has so fair a hand as the love of young Rutland? I shall be found by Durwood-Tor when the sun is three hours up, with my sword drawn—there's my hand on't, De Wodensley;” and he wrung the knight's hand till the bloodseemed starting from beneath his finger nails. “‘By the saints, Sir Knights,” said Sir Godfrey Gernon, “you may as well beard one another about the love of ‘some bright particular star and think to wed it,” as the wild wizard of Warwick says, as quarrel about this unattainable love. Hearken, minstrels: while we drain our cups to this beauteous lass, sing some of you a kindly love strain, wondrously mirthful and melancholy. Here's a cup of Rhenish, and a good gold Harry in the bottom on’t, for the minstrel who pleases me.’ The minstrels laid their hands on the strings, and a sound was heard like the swarming of bees before summer thunder. ‘ Sir Knight,” said one, * I will sing ye, Cannie Johnie Armstrong with all the seventeen variations.” “He was hanged for cattle stealing,' answered the knight. “I’ll have none of him.” “What say you to Dick of the Cow, or the Harper of Lochmaben P’ said another, with something of a tone of diffidence: * What! you northern knaves, can you sing of nothing but thievery and jail-breaking?” “Perhaps your knightship,' humbly suggested a third, ‘may have a turn for the suernatural, and I'm thinking the Fairy egend of young Tamlane is just the
thing that suits F. fancy.” “I like the naïveté of the young lady very much,” answered the knight, ‘ but the fair dames of jo prize the charms of lovers with flesh and blood, before the gayest Elfin-knight that ever ran a course from Carlisle to Caerlaverock.’— ‘What would your worship say to William'of Cloudesley?’ said a Cumberland minstrel, “ or to the Friar of Orders Grey?’ said a harper from the halls of the Percys. “ Minstrels,” said Sir Ralph Cavendish, the invention of sweet and gentle poesy is dead among you. Every churl in the Peak can chaunt us these beautiful but common ditties. Have you nothing new for the honour of the sacred calling of verse, and the beauty of Dora Vernon 2 Fellow—harper, what's your name? you with the long hair and the green mantle, said the knight, beckoning to a young minstrel who sat with his harp held before him, and his face half buried in his mantle's fold: * come, touch your strings and sing ; I'll wager my gold-hilted sword against that pheasant feather in thy cap, that thou hast a new and a gallant strain; for I have seen thee measure more than once the form of fair Dora Vernon with a ballad-maker's eye. — Sing, man, sing.’ “The young minstrel, as he bowed his head to this singular mode of request, blushed from brow to bosom ; nor were the face and neck of Dora Vernon without an acknowledgment of how deeply she sympathized in his embarrassment. A finer instrument, a truer hand, or a more sweet and manly voice, hardly ever united to lend grace to rhyme.
THE MINst REL's song.
The stars stream'd out, the new-woke moon O'er Chatsworth hill gleam'd brightly down, And my love's cheeks, half-seen, half-hid, With love and joy blush'd deeply red:
“‘Fellow,” said Sir Ralph Cavendish, “ thou hast not shamed my belief of thy skill; keep that piece of gold, and drink thy cup of wine in quiet, to the health of the lass who inspired thy strain, be she lordly, or be she low.' The minstrel seated him
self, and the interrupted mirth re-com
menced, which was not long to continue. When the minstrel began to sing, the King of the Peak fixed his large and searching eyes on his person, with a scrutiny from which nothing could escape, and which called a flush of apprehension to the face of his daughter Dora. Something like a cloud came upon his brow at the first verse, which, darkening down through the second, became as dark as a December might at the close of the third, when rising, and motioning Sir Ralph Cavendish to follow, he retired into the recess of the southern window. “ Sir Knight,” said the lord of Haddon, ‘ thou art the sworn friend of John Manners, and well thou knowest what his presumption dares at, and what are the letts between him and me. Cavendo tutus / ponder on thy own motto well.—‘Let seas between us swell and sound:’—let his song be prophetic, for Derbyshire, -for England has no river deep enough and broad enough to preserve him from a father's sword, whose peace he seeks to wound.’ “ Knight of Haddon,’ said Sir Ralph, “John Manners is indeed my friend; and the friend of a Cavendish can be no mean person; a braver and a better spirit never aspired after beauty.’ “Sir Knight,” said the King of the Peak, “I court no man's counsel; hearken to my words. Look at the moon's shadow on Haddon-dial; there it is beside the casement; the shadow falls short of twelve. If it darkens the
midnight hour, and John Manners be found here, he shall be cast fettered, neck and heel, into the deepest dungeon of Haddon.’ “All this passed not unobserved of Dora Vermon, whose fears and affections divined immediate mischief from the calm speech and darkened brow of her father. Her heart sank within her when he beckoned her to withdraw ; she followed him into the great tapestried room. “My daughter, my love Dora,' said the not idle fears of a father, wine has done more than its usual good office with the wits of our guests to-night; they look on thee with bolder eyes, and speak of thee with a bolder tongue, than a father can wish. Retire, therefore, to thy chamber. One of thy wisest attendants shall be thy companion.—Adieu, my love, till sunrise !' He kissed her white temples and white brow; and Dora clung to his neck, and sobbed in his bosom;-while the secret of her heart rose near her lips. He returned to his guests, and mirth and music, and the march of the wine-cup, recommenced with a vigour which promised reparation for the late intermission. “The chamber, or rather temporary prison, of Dora Vernon, was nigh the cross-bow room, and had a window which looked out on the terraced garden, and the extensive chase towards the hill of Haddon. All that side of the hall lay in deep shadow, and the moon, sunk to the very summit of the western heath, threw a level and a farewell beam over river and tower. The young lady of Haddon seated herself in the recessed window, and lent her ear to every sound, and her eye to every shadow that flitted over the garden and chase. IIer attendant maiden—shrewd, demure, and suspicious, of the ripe age of thirty—yet of a merry pleasant look, which had its admirers—sat watching every motion with the eye of an owl. “It was past midnight, when a foot came gliding along the passage, and a finger gave three slight scratches on the door of the chamber. The maid went out, and after a brief conference suddenly returned, red with blushes from ear to ear. ‘Oh, my lady l’ said the trusty maiden,_ * oh, my sweet young lady, here's that poor young lad—ye know his name—who gave me three yards of crimson ribbon, to trim my peachbloom mantle, last Bakewell fair.— An homester or a kinder heart never kept a promise; and yet I may not give him the meeting. Oh, my young lady, my sweet young lady, my beautiful young lady, could you not stay here for half an hour by yourself?’ Ere her young mistress could answer, the notice of the lover's presence was renewed.—The maiden again went—whispers were heard— and the audible salutation of lips; she returned again more resolute than ever to oblige her lover.—‘Oh, my lady —my young lady; if ye ever hope to prosper in true love yourself—spare me but one half hour with this harmless kind lad.—He has come seven long miles to see my fair face, he says;–and, oh, myolady, he has a handsome face of his own.—Oh, never let it be said that Dora Vernon sundered true lovers l—but I see consent written in your own lovely face—so I shall run—and, oh, my lady, take care of your own sweet handsome self, when your faithful Nan's away.” And the maiden retired with her lover. “It was half an hour after midnight, when one of the keepers of the chase, as he lay beneath a holly bush listening, with a prolonged groan, to the audible voice of revelry in the hall, from which his duty had lately excluded him, happened to observe two forms approaching ; one of low stature, a light step, and muffled in a common mantle:—the other with the air, and in the dress, of a forester —a sword at his side, and pistols in his belt. The ale and the wine had invaded the keeper's brain, and im
paired his sight; yet he roused himself up with a hiccup and a ‘hilloah,” and ‘where go ye, my masters?'— The lesser form whispered to the other - who immediately said, ‘Jasper Jugg, is this you? Heaven be praised I have found you so soon;—here's that north country pedlar, with his beads and blue ribbon—he has come and whistled out pretty Nan Malkin, the lady's favourite, and the lord's trusty maid.—I left them under the terrace, and came to tell you.’ “The enraged keeper scarce heard this account of the faithlessness of his love to an end,-he started off with the swiftness of one of the deer which he watched, making the boughs crash, as he forced his way through bush and glade direct for the i. vowing desertion to the girl, and destruction to the pedlar. ‘Let us hasten our steps, my love,' said the lesser figure, in a sweet voice; and unmantling as she spoke, turned back to the towers of Haddon the fairest face that ever left them—the face of Dora Vernon herself. “My men and my horses are migh, my love,’ said the taller figure ; and taking a silver call from his pocket, he imitated the sharp shrill cry of the plover; then turning round he stood and gazed towards Haddon, scarcely darkened by the setting of the moon, for the festal lights flashed from turret and casement, and the sound of mirth and revelry rang with augmenting din. “Ah, fair and stately Haddon,’ said Lord John Manners, “ little dost thou know, thou hast lost thy jewel from . thy brow—else thy lights would be dimmed, thy mirth would turn to wailing, and swords would be flashing from thy portals in all the haste of hot pursuit. Farewell, for a while, fair tower, farewell for a while.—I shall return, and bless the time I harped among thy menials and sang. of my love—and charmed her out of thy little chamber window. Several armed men now came suddenly down from the hill of Haddon, horses richly caparisoned were brought from among the trees of the chase, and the ancestors of the present family of Rutland sought shelter, for a time, in a distant land, from the wrath of the King of the Peak.”
BEAUTIES OF THE LIVING DRAMATISTS,
or the criyson HERMITs;
A Melo-Drama, in Turo Acts.
That this evil wants a remedy is
not to be contested; nor can it be
denied that the theatre is as capable of being preserved by a reformation,
ther it were necessary to let it totally fall, or effectually sup
The melo-drama is of recent origin ; its birth-place is France; it burst into being at an early period of the revolution. The severity of the French Theatre* refusing admission to all except the legitimate offspring of the Muses, this noisy, ranting, squeaking, squalling, strutting, swaggering, turbulent brat, was forced to seek a home on one of the minor stages. The melo-dramatic family is now, however, so numerous, and in so prosperous a way, that, in the French capital, no fewer than four theatres are devoted to its support. It speedily found its way into England; and there is scarcely a piece acted on the Boulevards, to the great astonishment and delight of the Paris rabble,t but has been presented at the London THEATREs Roy AL–the PATENT METROPOLITAN THEATRES
* I speak here of the Théâtre Français,
—the LEGITIMATE-DRAMA THEAtREs—the GREAT NATIONAL THEATREs, which SHAKs PEARE and ConGREve have illuminated; where GARRick, and KEMBLE, and SIDDoNs have trod, before, what have been understood to be, the politest audiences of one of the most enlightened nations of the world ! We have few, very few original melo-dramas on the English stage; but French melo-dramas now form so essential a portion of the British Theatre, that the series of the BEAUTIEs of THE Living DRAMATIST's would be incomplete without a specimen of a work of that nature. The piece to be submitted to the judgment, and, we will venture to say, the admiration of the reader, is partly original, and in part taken out of the French.t The characters, or rather agents, in
the theatre justly distinguished as the NA
TIonAL THEATRE, because it is there the honour of the national drama is preserved inviolate. A Frenchman may, without blushing, lead a foreigner to its gates, and exclaim, “See here ! this is the sanctuary of my great countrymen,”—(and he grows an inch taller in saying so)—the sanctuary, “pure and undefiled, of Moll ERE, ConNEILLE, and VoI.TAIRE | Here may you contemplate the living glories of our scene— a TALMA and a MARs 1” If I happen to find myself along with an intelligent foreigner in the neighbourhood of Brydges-street, I sneak away with him ; for it is a hundred to one but the play-bills announce one French melo-drama at one of our national theatres, and two at the other. + Ask the first water-carrier you may chance to meet in the streets of Paris, who was Mo1.1ERE, and he will answer you—the author of Tartuffe. Every name that adds to the glory of France is dear to a Frenchman, and Molie RE, TALMA, and NApoleon, are names equally familiar to him. Talk to a London hackney coachman about CoNGREve or KEMBLE | The very rabble of Paris, who flock nightly to see a blustering melo-drama at the Ambigu-Comique, would set fire to the Théâtre Français, if such an exhibition were attempted there. But of such an innovation there is no danger. Its directors consider themselves the appointed guardians of the public taste, and of the literary honour of the nation. Such as it is, they endeavour to maintain it, and are restrained from any attempts to improve it through the help of melo-dramas, monkeys, horses, dogs, and ropedancers, by a foolish respect for the public—and themselves. # This phrase is used, as being more accurate in its application than the word translated; for though these pieces are taken out of the French, they are seldom put into English, but left dangling between the two languages, in a sort of melo-dramatic jargon, . is neither one nor the other—like Mahomet's coffin, swinging between floor and ceiling. Vol. V. U