« PreviousContinue »
should have transcribed his " Elegie,"
An Epitaph on Master Vincent Corbet *.
A life that knew nor noise nor strife,
I feel I'm rather dead than he! [come
* Whalley's Ben Jonson, vol. VI. p. 358. +Supplementary Volume to the first edition of the " Environs of London," 1811, 4to, p. 318.
nursery on the spot where the Bishop's house stood, the inference is most probably erroneous; as the register of the interment of Vincent Corbet, and of Rose, his mother, proves that the former resided in the hamlet of Whitton. Editor of Corbet's Poems. Mr. URBAN,
O prevent others making the
first visit to London, from not understanding on cards of invitation the fashionable mode of making one hour pass for another, and the epithet of small to mean quite the reverse of its usual acceptation; I beg to communicate that an invitation to dinner at six o'clock must be understood at the soonest to be meant for seven, as till that hour the ladies cannot have finished their toilets.
Soon after my arrival in town, I was asked to make one of a small select party, which, from the limited number, promised to be most agreeable; but, finding the apartment for receiving the company, which by the bye was spacious, crowded in every part, I began to think I had mistaken the day, and had obtruded myself to make one of a great assembly to which I had not the honour of being invited. The lady of the house, however, soon set my mind at ease by welcoming me to her house, and hoping that, small as the party was, it might prove agreeable.
At another time I was asked by a lady at whose house the best company in town are to be scen, to partake of a public breakfast. No hour being mentioned on the card, and judging that late London hours might naturally make breakfast-time rather later than with us in the Country, I delayed my setting out till mid-day. When I arrived, a servant informed me that if I wished to see the Lady of the house, he believed she was not yet stirring-"That," said I, "is impossible; for I am invited this very day to breakfast with her"" Lord, Sir!" "the breakfast-hour says the porter, is from 4 to 5." I was more astonished than ever at this distribution of time; which not suiting the craving of my appetite, I found it necessary at a neighbouring hotel to make a hearty dinner previous to my partaking of her Ladyship's splendid Breakfast. A CONSTANT READER.,
Mr. URBAN, SEND you a view of the Church of Stoney Stanton in Leicestershire (See Plate 11.) For the following particulars relating to that parish I am indebted to Mr. Nichols's History of that County, very recently published.
The Marmions, a family of great note in the feudal times, were possessed' of this Lordship. It afterwards progressively belonged to the Bassets, Motons, Palmers, and Vincents; and the lands and tenements in the parish now belong to John Frewen Turner, esq. M. P. besides no less than 42 other proprietors.
The Wake is kept the first Sunday after Old Michaelmas day.
The parish contains 1470 acres, of which 30 are in bad roads. The soil consists of clay and iron stone, in due proportion for dairy, tillage, and sheep pasture.
Before the inclosure, which took place in 1764, the inhabitants were generally little freeholders, when there was much tillage, little grazing, and no poor-rates, and very few, perhaps not half a dozen, manufac turers; seven cottagers kept cows, and sold milk. Now the rates are nearly 3001, a year; there is less tillage, more fat sheep, more dairies, more manufacturers, and more poor; the number in 1809 being 222. The parish does not grow corn enough for its own consumption.
But, obscure as this place is, and barren of whatever may amuse curiosity, it had to boast of a singular character the Rev. John Bold*, a curate, learned, pious, exemplary
who had the care of this parish during the former half of the last century; whose beneficence from his small fund was almost a miracle, like that of the augmentation of the widow's cruse of oil by the Prophet of old.
In 1801 Stoney Stanton contained 87 houses, 90 families, and 355 inhabitants; 100 of them were employed in agriculture, and the rest in trade, &c. In 1811, it contained 95 houses, 97 families, and 446 inhabitants; of
Of whom some interesting particulats, drawn up by Dean Nickolls, are given in the "History of Leicestershire," vol. IV. p. 975.
GENT. MAG. January, 1812.
whom 44 families were employed in agriculture, and 40 in trade, &c.
Stoney Stanton is one of the fifteen parishes, belonging to the house of industry at Sapcote. The old landtax in the assessment for 1810 amounted to 901. 38. 10d.; of this 327.13s.10d. had been redeemed. The valuation under the property tax in 1810 was 22787. 12s. 6d.
The present highly-respected rector is the Rev. Dr. Robert Boucher Nickolls, Dean of Middleham. Yours, &c. "Naturam intueamur, kane sequamur." "Follow Nature." QUINT. viii. 3.
HEN we consider Nature in all her various operations, we shall find her plain, simple, and uniform. She never appears in gaudy and fantastic ornaments; never embellished with frivolous or meretricious decorations; her air and attitude are graceful and majestic; her mien is sober, grave, and venerable ; her language is easy, familiar, and unaffected; her works are distinguished by their grace, harmony, and proportion; and she never displays any of those fantastic or extravagant images, which frequently characterize the productions of Art.
If we cast our eye over those numerous and extensive objects which constitute the great theatre of Nature, we shall find in every one of them a beautiful order and symmetry.
The heavens display inimitable examples of magnificence and grandeur, in exact proportion to their real utility. The earth is adorned with an infinite variety of delightful landscapes, and pleasing objects, which' charm the eye, and entertain the imagination by that simplicity, which always gratifies a sensible spectator; yet by ten thousand repetitions never creates the least satiety or disgust. We rise from a philosophical view of Nature with perfect satisfaction; and we return to it again with new delight and improvement. We may conclude, therefore, that the best and the noblest pattern of imitation in every department of human life, in every art and science, is Nature.
If the author, who writes for the benefit of the present and succeeding generations, would follow this unerring guide, his works would not sink,
into oblivion with the frivolous productions of the day, but would remain as the standards of taste and elegance, to succeeding ages. Homer, the plainest and the simplest writer of antiquity, has been admired by every judicious reader, for almost 3000 years, because his characters and descriptions are natural; or, as Dryden says of Chaucer, "because he followed Nature every where, and never went beyond her." It is observed by an eminent poet, that Nature and Homer are the same. Modern writers in the epopea have never equalled this admirable poet, because they have never been content to describe the great events, which they have selected for their subjects, with the same plain and majestic simplicity. They have at tempted to embellish their poems by extravagant descriptions, incredible wonders, characters which never existed, in language composed of turgid expressions, and an endless variety of inconsistent epithets, and discordant metaphors. These poetical images have no uniform appearance, no natural features; but are monsters, decorated with all the colours of the rainbow. It is no wonder, therefore, that a reader of taste should be fatigued and disgusted with such a profusion of glaring and fantastic portraits. Let any one compare the Jerusalem of Tasso, the Heuriade of Voltaire, and the most elaborate productions of some of our English poets, who have attempted the epic poem, with the works of Homer and Virgil; and while he is dazzled with the false brilliancy of the former, he will admire the inimitable ease and simplicity of the latter.
If the Dramatic Writer would follow Nature, he would never introduce his speakers declaiming in a wild, turgid, and poetic language, in their conversation on the stage. should think it extremely unnatural, if a person, in the deepest affliction, should express the anguish of his mind in measured periods, florid similes, and splendid metaphors; and we can see no reason why these things should be thought allowable in scenes of tragical distress. The simile at the end of every act, which was usual with some of our best poets of the last age, has been justly exploded. For the same reason, tragedies in rhime have been condemned as fantastic, grotesque, and affected compositions.
If the Historian would follow the plain and simple track which he is directed to pursue by Nature and the order of things, his narrative would be read with more pleasure and advantage. The reader would be equally delighted and instructed. Instead of which, we have Historians, who have embarrassed their narrative by perplexing digressions, flowery descrip tions, and an elaborate, formal, and pedantic diction. Never content with a familiar and easy representation of facts in their proper order, they con found the reader's imagination by an impertinent display of rhetorical ́embellishments.
Would the speaker on the Stage altentively consider the character he represents, and the passions he wishes to express, he would never Overstep," as Shakspeare expresses it," the modesty of Nature;" he would never vociferate in scenes, where the pathos is delineated; he would never rant in the depth of sorrow and affliction,
ever declaim in a soliloquy, where the hero in a tragedy must be supposed to be in a sedate and contemplative attitude. Nothing can be more shocking to a judicious auditor, than to hear a person, who represeuted the grave, philosophic Cato, speaking his famous soliloquy, with Plato on the Immortality of the Soul before him, in a loud, fantastic, oratorical tone, pointing at the heavens, while he says,
"The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age."
If we should hear an Actor, per
sonating Henry VI. on the stage, addressing Cardinal Beaufort in his dying moments, in these words of Shakspeare,
"Lord Cardinal, if thou think'st on heaven's bliss,
Hold up thy hand; make signal of that hope"
and pronouncing them with a violent and rhetorical accent, we should be shocked at his absurdity. Nature tells us, that he should address the dying man in a calm, soft, and sympathizing tone; and that he should wait some time, before he starts back with concern and affliction, and pronounces this awful sentence
"He dies, and makes no sign!" Would the speaker in the House condescend to follow the dictates of