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miles below the head of the Red Sea, at the place of the miraculous passage.
I will sing to JEHovAn, for he hath triumphed gloriously;
CHORUS OF MEN.
Jehovah is mighty in battle!
CHORDS Or WOMEN WITH TIMBRELS AND DANCES, LED BY
Oh, sing ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously 1 The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Pharaoh's chariots and bis hosts hath he cast Into the sea;
CHORDS OF WOMEN.
Oh, sing ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously 1 The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The enemy said, "I will pursue, I will overtake;
I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them!"
CHORDS OF WOMEN.
Oh, sing ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously! The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The nations have heard, and are afraid;
Till thy people, Jehovah, pass over (Jordan);
Till the people pass over whom thou hast redeemed.
Oraxd Chords Bt All, with flourish of munc, and until dances.
JEHOVAn FOR EVER AND EVER SHALL REIGN!
A DAY AT STRATFORD-ON-AVON.
BY TIIE REV. THOMAS BRAINERD.
We read travelling sketches as our children play with their kaleidoscopes. Nothing new can be exhibited—but as each revolution of the instrument developes new combinations, so every traveller has his own mode of shadowing forth his recollections. If ambitious of novelty, I should select scenes of minor interest; but sufficient reasons move me to lead the reader to the most familiar spots in Old England—to ground made classic ages ago—to scenes illustrated by the pens of biographers, poets, and philosophers—for the same causes which have consecrated these shrines still exist to create excitement and stimulate curiosity. As the very announcement of the subject stirs a responsive chord in the hearts of all, my task is as easy as that of the Arab who is guiding the caravan towards well-known springs of pure water.
I love Old England! Two hundred years ago my ancestors left her shores, because they there found, according to their convictions, no "Freedom to worship God." But if England finally exiled, she first made the Puritan stock —and where else in Europe could a race of such intelligence and manly virtues have found an origin? The intolerance which exiled the Pilgrims, was an heirloom of ages, which even the fathers of New England were slow to surrender.
England is Old America—and America, Young England. The national antipathy between the two is a family rivalship. Each is very proud of the other, except when their paths cross; and then is heard a right oldfashioned family scolding—more unrestrained and clamorous from the near relationship of the parties.
During the war of words on "Oregon boundary," I saw stuck up in the windows of London, a caricature of John Bull and Jonathan. John was, as usual, a stout, burly, ruby-cheeked old fellow, whose glorious "British Constitution" had been enlarged and invigorated by free indulgence in roast beef and plum pudding. His hat was set on proudly. His watch-chain dangled ostentatiously from his portly chest. His boots were double-soled, (or, as Mrs. Kirkland pertinently says, "hoof-like,") implying not alone the solid foundation beneath him, but that the impulsive force of his lower extremities was admonitory! He stood bolt upright,
did my heart good to see even in this caricature, that the parental and filial relation was still recognised by British satirists, in those days when the madness of politicians came near involving us in war.
England, yet covetous of dominion, anticipates the growing decline of age, and is querulous. Young America looks forward to her own rising power and final supremacy, and is impertinent and reckless. This is the position of the two nations. I am happy to believe, however, that in both countries, the ties of blood, language, commerce, and religion, absorb and annihilate among thousands, the jealousy and alienation which the peculiar condition of the two nations is likely to engender. This is certainly the case with the middle class in England, who have nothing to fear, but much to hope from the example and tendency of our free institutions. I had the honour to address crowded assemblies, and know that no sentiment could enkindle so sudden and rapturous enthusiasm—an enthusiasm which British audiences are not slow to indicate by clapping and shouts—as allusion to the common origin, and the perpetual harmony of England and America—the Anglo-Saxon race of the East and of the West. As an American, my eyes often moistened while crowds before me acknowledged their paternal relation to my countrymen, and their desire for perpetuated good-fellowship. As Americans, we need feel no envy in view of what England, by the growth of a thousand years, now w, and we hope that our British brethren will rejoice and not repine at the anticipation of what America is yet to be. Her noble achievements in the past are our common heritage; and in the final elevation which our national youth and opportunities promise, our triumphs will be her victories— our expansion over the continent of the West, the diffusion of her race, her literature, her language, and her religion.
I love to speak thus kindly of Old England— for I have many a debt of gratitude to discharge for the open-handed hospitality of her citizens. To estimate a cordial welcome in one's own language in a foreign land, one must know the solitude of a stranger. An agreeable incident of this kind occurred at Leamington, in Warwickshire, the geographical centre of
England. My friend, Mr. C of London, was
about to spend a week with his friend Mr. P ,
a merchant of Leamington, and invited me to share in the excursion. Common sympathies in the cause of temperance led to our acquaintance, and he persuaded me to believe that I might be useful as well as pleased by the jaunt. It was in August, 1846, when we visited Leamington—and were most hospitably received by his friend, who, with his family, spared no
pains for our entertainment. This family consisted of Mrs. P and some six children. In
systematic arrangement, tidiness, comfort, courtesy, and unobtrusive but sincere piety, it was a model household—such as may often be found in England. I felt at home, and yielded myself delighted to the benevolent plans adopted for making my visit agreeable.
As is my custom, I first explored Leamington itself. It was formerly only a small village, overshadowed by the pretensions of the more ambitious Warwick and Kenilworth. The modern tendency to congregate at wateringplaces, for recreation, has given it an impulse, so that it has the air of a modern, ruralized city of twenty thousand inhabitants. Its hot springs, celebrated for three centuries past, as well as its contiguity to places made classic by historical or poetic association, concentrate in winter a crowd of the aristocracy, whose taste is gratified by all the conveniences and embellishment deemed essential by the most fastidious class in Europe. But it is not of Leamington itself, that I desire to speak. When the reader is told, that at Leamington he is only three miles from Warwick, six from Kenilworth, and ten from Stratford-on-Avon, he will readily conclude that we found more pleasure in outside excursions, than in the town itself, beautiful and charming though it be.
Our excursion to Stratford-on-Avon was a day to be remembered. No sun ever rose more beautiful. And here I will vindicate English weather from scandal, by asserting that for all the month of August, 1846, we had but two
rains and no fogs. Mr. P had arranged that
we should travel post, if that term can be applied to a ten miles' journey. At an early hour our carriage made its appearance. Its solid, heavy aspect, contrasted strangely with the gaudy and monkey-like dress of our postilion. Imagine a fat, animalized man of thirty, with a close-fitted cloth cap, tasseled,—closely fitted and button-bedizened blue jacket—white cravat, and white short-clothes—long, tasseled boots, from which project enormous spurs— and whip in hand, which ever and anon he flourishes with a coachee air, and you have our redoubtable postilion. But to see him in his glory, you must let him mount—and casting a responsible look behind him, apply whip and spur, while he goes bobbing up and down in the saddle, according to the most approved transatlantic model of horsemanship.
Our company consisted of Mr. and Mrs. C ,
Mr. and Mrs. P , myself, and Miss P , a
sweet little maiden of ten summers, who was a pet of the party. Emerging from town, we entered the vale of the Avon, and near the old castle and town of Warwick we crossed that quiet, classic stream, on a massive and wide bridge. We entered and passed through the gates of Warwick—for that remarkable city has two gates of entrance and departure, but no tcalU. We must not detain the reader at Warwick, because we may make a special pilgrimage to it for his benefit—provided always, we ever fairly bring him to and from Stratfordon-Avon. Leaving Warwick, we had nothing to interrupt the full impression of the rural beauty around us. All along we luxuriated in the vision of the velvet, deep green lawn, peculiar to the British Isles; the well-trimmed hedges chequering the fields, and clustering with flowers and autumnal fruits; the elms, rich in drapery, so thickly planted as to seem forest-like, yet opening here and there to reveal rich pastures, on which cattle and sheep of unsurpassed beauty and thrift were grazing; the road, nicely graded and white with pulverized rock, making a line of silver over hill and dale, before and behind us; the Avon and its little tributaries, now hidden by hills, now indicated only by the livelier green and richer shrubbery fringing their border — and now glancing out, like mirrors, to reflect a summer sun; cottages frequent, always of stone, whitewashed and embowered with green; here and there an aristocratic mansion, like its owner, recluse and unapproachable, but sublime in its solitude and frowning magnificence;—this is English scenery, and it is found nowhere else but in Old England. In jaunting amid such scenes, our young dreams of the Fatherland are realized; and to an Anglo-American traveller, romance is made reality.
In England, it would seem that almost every road is a turnpike. While John Bull thus levels mountains and elevates valleys to make smooth paths for his subjects, it will readily be believed that he does not spare their pockets. But if turnpike gates occur with marvellous frequency in his dominions, they are not such outlandish bars and posts as we meet in the United States. The English enjoy the enduring public works of past centuries, and when they build, they build for centuries to come. An English turnpike gate is a graceful and massive structure, refreshing to the eye of taste, if not to the vision of avarice. Its neat cottage, too, around whose doors and windows ivy creeps and flowers nestle; its garden with its miniature subdivisions marked by clipped box; and, above all, its keeper, a little inflated, as all English, high or low, arc with office;—but not, like the servants of the nobility, having the arrogance of rank without its courtesy.
But I will now bring the reader through these turnpike gates, which have so impeded his progress. An hour and a half of pleasant travelling brought us to the sight of Stratfordon-Avon. It is a beautiful town in prospect, as
it quietly reposes on the margin of its classic river, with its noble church spire piercing the sky. Its four thousand inhabitants, like those of all towns thronged by genteel visiters, have more than an average share of civility of manners, and sharpness in a bargain. Its chief glory is its giving birth to Shakespeare;—its chief treasures, his natal mansion and his sepulchre. Though it rests beautifully in the vale of the Avon, and unites the venerableness of age with something of the neatness and briskness of a modern village,—yet separate the great name of Shakespeare from it, and no one would think it worth a paragraph. The citizens feel this. Boys meet you in advance with the inquiry, "Will you see the house?" "Shall I show you to the church ?"—assuming that all travellers are pilgrims to the shrine of Genius. For this impression they have abundant reason. While to them the birthplace and grave of Shakespeare are commonplace things, they see strangers, without distinction of nation, rank, or sex, possessed by a common enthusiasm on this classic ground. Kings, Queens, Princes, Nobles, Hierarchs, Statesmen, Philosophers, Poets, and Theologians, here bow with profound reverence before the majesty of the great creative intellect which has thrown its scintillations broadcast over the earth. Nor is their interest more intense, nor their devotion more sincere than that of tradesmen, mechanics, and rustic labourers, who mingle gratitude with their admiration of one who, rising from their own level, beat down all accidental distinctions in his way to greatness, and retained, in the eye of the world, the simple habits, the love of nature and of man, which he bore from his native village.
Milton, Pope, Dryden, Cowper, Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Moore, and Byron, have each roused an enthusiastic admiration, and had devoted worshippers. But world-wide and enduring as the influence of each has been and is, it has been limited to certain classes. It has given rise to poetic schools and cliques, and elicited literary affinities and antipathies. Each has been worshipped and hated—adored and despised, according to the mental structure, education, taste, and character of those who have sat in judgment. Not so with Shakespeare. Trained at the feet of no literary or poetic Oamaliel, he had no master to imitate; and writing with no ambition or expectation of fame, he stretched himself to the "iron bed" of no clique, class, or faction. His perception of "what was in man," seemed to be almost intuitive, and has never been surpassed on earth, save by Him, the Infinite—with whom to compare the finite, would be irreverent presumption. A poet by nature, and great by endowment rather than human instruction, he bowed to no earthly authority—but, like a spirit of another world, above human partialities, wrote not for a class, but a race. When the nature of the subject allowed it, he diverges from the strict claims of the matter in hand, to utter grand moral principles, which havo been made the proverbs of moralists and merchants, of statesmen and soldiers, of poets and ploughmen. The fact that his eye penetrated every strata of society—that he felt the universal pulse of human passion and enriched universal human nature, accounts for the common affection and enthusiasm with which he is regarded. He not only is not the property of a class, but no nation nor age can claim him. His memory is the treasure of his race. If it be suggested that his writings are exceptionable in reverence for sacred names, and often indelicate—it is only saying that he adapted himself to the object he had in view, and to the standard morality and taste of his age. In his period, a dramatist would feel himself justified in adopting for the stage expressions not then deemed improper for the lips of bishops and queens. We must hold him responsible for the taste of his own times, not ours—and may well marvel, that one who wrote professedly only for the amusement of mankind, strewed the path of pleasure with gems of sober and enduring truth.
But enough of digression. We have not yet reached Stratford-on-Avon. Indeed, we are in danger of imitating the New York Dutchman, so facetiously described by Washington Irving, who ran a long way to get an impulse to leap a wall, but when he reached it was out of breath, and crawled over it.
On arriving at Stratford, we were driven at once to the house where Shakespeare was born, and having alighted, and ordered the carriage to the "Red Horse Hotel," took a survey of the premises. It is the only ancient house in its block. All the others are modern erections, towering above it, and rendering its antique peculiarity more striking. It is two stories in height, and low at that. In its erection, like some ancient houses among our early Germans, a frame was first put up, and then filled in with stone and mortar—still leaving the timber visible, like a rough mosaic. Its windows are venerably small—but the panes of glass redeem in number what they lack in size, so that some light actually enters the interstices of the huge sash. The lower window, by the side of the door, is without sash or glass, but longitudinal in its position, and furnished with a trap-door opening outward, on which a butcher exhibits his meat on market days. If the expression be not Hibernian, I would say that the lower rooms are floored with stone—which is about as even and beautiful as the first stone paving
of a city in Iowa or Wisconsin; and though it may give a prosaic chill to the poetic admirers of the great Bard, the truth must out, that the house where Shakespeare was born is a meatshop t If any consolation is available for this, it may be found in rejoicing that it is no worse. I entered the house at Ayr, where Robert Burnt drew his first breath, and found it a dram-shop! —filled with those who resembled "Scotia's sweetest bard" only in the habit which injured his character and happiness, health and life. The only other room on the ground floor of the Shakespeare house, is used as a kitchen for the widow and daughter who claimed proprietorship of the mansion. The back chamber, on what we call the second floor, and Englishmen the first floor, was the dormitory. The front chamber of this story—the Shakespeare birthplace, specifically—is the family parlour. Since the Poet's time, it has passed through many hands. Of its original furniture nothing remains—though its place has been supplied with articles of like age. A visiter is amazed at the lowness of ceiling, which allows men of ordinary stature to reach and write their names on it. The room never had any paper; but this was fortunate—as it has given thousands an opportunity to aspire to immortality, by there inscribing their names. Above, around, all over, every inch is covered with autographs of visiters. You may be sure the Yankees are fairly represented. It is amusing to see, indicated by various tricks of chirography, an effort to make a name "stand out from the mass." Our cicerone seemed to regard the great majority as an incumbrance, but she took much pride in pointing to some royal signatures. This place must be a paradise to autograph hunters.
The Album is an old book, "tattered and torn," but still legible. It has many impromptu effusions, among which that of Washington Irving is regarded as the best, not only from its originality, but because it is richly spiced with the laudation so grateful to English ears. It is free from a vice most prominent in many of these effusions, an effort to magnify one's self while professing to laud Shakespeare.
It is said that the earthly immortality of those who have inscribed their autographs on these walls, was once put in fearful jeopardy. A female tenant who had long enjoyed the profits of this show-room, unwilling to pay an increased rent, was warned to leave the premises. She devised a right feminine but most Vandal scheme of vengeance. Having hired another house, to which she conveyed the Album, and all the Shakespeare relics, she next took a brush, and if not "atone fell swoop," by repeated appliances covered the whole with a