« PreviousContinue »
they will quite have perished. Even now they fall to dust when touched. And thus, Alethes, end my rough notes.
I thank you heartily for your details.
Were every thing set down in like manner throughout the several parishes in this land, a most invaluable history might be drawn up.
I admit it--if after the fashion of White Kennett's “ Parochial Antiquities." Much that he wrote of Ambrosden, Burcester, and other adjacent parts would with difficulty be obtained now.
“ 'Tis merry in greenwood,—thus runs the old lay,
In the gladsome month of lively May,
Invites to forest bower ;
Like a chieftain's frowning tower ;
With brighter tints the flower;
Harold the Dauntless.-Canto ii. 1.
&c. &c. &c.
“Fools gaze at painted courts; to th' country let me go
To climb the easy hill, then walk the valley low;
Drayton's Poly-Olbion.—Song xix. It was a lovely day in June, and the sun shone brightly. There had been a soft shower to water the earth; the dust was laid, and the fields and the hedges smelt sweet, as they are used to do, when after a period of warmer weather, with the wind east and north-east, the rain descends and gladdens the face of nature. So altogether delightful was it that I determined to lay by the morning work that I had cut out; and I went to summon Alethes for walk. I knew he was to be found in the garden, and on the sunny side of the house, -his usual place of recreation, when not at high romps with the children. He spied me coming, and guessed at the cause. His favourite Chaucer was by his side on the grass; and I observed that it was the neat and new edition of “Sir Harris Nicholas,” who deserves the thanks of all the lovers of old Geoffrey for the nice come-atible form in which he has thrown together the scattered works of that great genius,—to use the words of Spenser, —
“ In whose gentle spright The
pure well-head of poesie did dwell'." Starting up from the old seat on which he was sitting, he
1 The Faerie Queene, c. vii. 9.
exclaimed, “Such days as these, Eubulus, are all enjoyment ! I see even you cannot complete your routine of work, but must needs
pay court to the air and sun before your time. I have just been reading old “Dan Geoffrey's ” Prologue to the Legend of Good Women. Hear what he says—confess to the truth of his lines—and then I am ready:
“And as for me, though that I can but lite,
On bookes for to rede I me delight,
comen, and that I heare the foules sing,
There was no gainsaying the natural truth and simple beauty both of the lines and of the recitation. It was at once admitted ; and, staff in hand, we started for the walk we had on a previous