图书图片
PDF
ePub

some of the fine alluvial lands about the lakes, nominally his tenant, while my land is, to all and lived in settlements where there were natural practical purposes, freehold. The tenure is facilities for defence; but they needed all these called Customary Freehold, and the nominal facilities, for the Britons had learned from the lord has no power when I have once acknowRomans how to arm themselves better, and to ledged his old feudal claim by being “made a fight; and for those six hundred years they tenant,” and paying my ninepence a year. held their ravines, and forests, and even their The holders of the crofts on the mountain villages and hamlets, so that the Saxons could sides, and in the vales (the inclosures built of never feel secure. After those six centuries, stones, for the protection of the flocks from more and more Saxons crowded to these West wild beasts, and for promoting the growth of Moorlands, now called Westmoreland ; but they the coppice on which they browsed), these came not to conquer territory, but to seek tenants gradually becoming owners, were the shelter from the Normans, who were upon their original of the Dalesmen of our time. Since heels. The Saxon men of substance, who were the union of Scotland with England, and the driven out from their estates in the south by consequent extinction of border warfare, these the Norman invaders,-robbed, oppressed, out- dalesmen have become some of the quietest raged in every way,-came up among the Fells people in the world. No more summoned to to nourish vengeance, and form themselves into war, nothing calls them out of their retreats, bands of outlaws, for the torment of as many except an occasional market, or a sale of houseNorman usurpers as they could reach. The hold furniture in some neighbouring valley. Britons had long ceased to appear elsewhere; | They go on practising their old-fashioned and from this time we hear no more of them methods of tillage and herding, living in their among the Fells, and, as before, the Saxons primitive abodes, and keeping up customs, and were to be heard of as holding the Fells, long even a manner of speech, which are elsewhere after their race had mingled with the Norman almost obsolete. It will not be so for long. everywhere to the south. The Normans came Their agriculture cannot hold its ground against as near as they could, but they never so far modern improvements. Their homespun linen penetrated the West Moorlands as to build and cloth do not answer now in comparison with castles in the midst, and settle down there as Manchester cottons and Yorkshire woollens. inhabitants. They obtained grants of land, Their sons part off to the manufacturing disbut they never practically took possession of tricts, to get a better maintenance than they them. They built monasteries and castles in can find at home; and the daughters must go the level country which stretches out around out to service. Still, the old croft will not the cluster of mountains; but they only sent support those who remain: the land is mortout their herdsmen with their flocks to encroach gaged more deeply. The interest cannot be gradually up the mountain slopes, and over the raised; and, under this pressure, the temptation Dearer vales; or drew the inhabitants towards to the sinking dalesman to drown his cares in them by the temptations and privileges of the drink, becomes too strong for many a one who abbeys and the castles. First, these Normans has no resources of education to fall back upon. built Furness Abbey, on a plain to the south of Then comes the end,—the land and furniture the mountain group; and then between the are sold, the family disperse, and a stranger mountains and the sea, Calder Abbey, to the comes in who can make the land answer under west. Afterwards, they restored the religious modern methods of tillage. Some of these house of St. Bees, on the coast, and then a strangers have a sufficient love of what is congreat Norman noble founded Lanercost Priory, secrated by time, to retain as much as they can to the northeast. Thus they invested this noble of the ancient character of the region, in the fortress of nature,--this mountain cluster, aspect of their dwellings, and the arrangement but they never took it. Their race at last of their estates, but all cannot be expected to mingled with the Saxon, and dwelt here as do this, and the antique air of the region must everywhere else, but it was by gradual pene- melt away. I have myself built a house of the tration, and not by force or stratagem. The gray stone of the district, in the style of three feudal retainers, sent to do service in tillage centuries ago; but I see flaring white houses, and herding, became more and more free and square and modern, springing up in many a independent of their lords, and as they became valley; and I feel that from this time forward more free, they found easier access to the heart our West Moorlands will not lag behind the of the region, till, in course of time, they were world—two or three centuries in the rear of in fact owners of portions of land, under a mere adjoining counties,--80 charmingly as they Dominal subservience to the great men at a have done from the dawn of British history distance. This state of things is kept in mind till now.

old customs at this day. I pay ninepence As in many other mountain districts, the a year to Lord Lonsdale for my field, and am highest of our peaks are in the middle. Scawfell is the highest, and Bowfell next, and they | with dwellings throughout its circuit. In are nearly in the centre of the cluster. From going round this valley, a walk of about five this centre, not only do the ridges decline in miles from my friend's house, it was pretty height, but the valleys decrease in depth; so certain that we should meet the majority of that on the outskirts, we have only gently our acquaintances, on any fine winter aftersloping, green hills, and shallow vales, whence, noon. in clear weather, we look up to the lofty cen- On going forth, the first thing that strikes tral crags. In approaching from the south, the stranger's eye is probably the great abunthrough Lancashire, Windermere is the first of dance of evergreens. To me, the wintry aspect the lakes that is encountered. Gentle hills of the country is almost annihilated in the surround its southern end; and these rise and neighbourhood of dwellings, by the clustering swell through the whole ten miles of its length, and shining of the evergreens. The hollies in till, about its head, the diverging valleys are the hedges are tall and tree-like; and near the closed in by the heights of Fairfield, and the breakfast-room windows of their houses, the remarkable summits called the Langdale Pikes. inhabitants plant a holly, to be an aviary in Bowfell appears beyond them; and from some winter, when birds come flitting about for the points on the lake, Scawfell itself is seen peep- sake of the berries. Then, the approaches are ing over a nearer ridge. It was night when I hedged in with laurels; the laurestina is in full arrived at the house of my host; and all that I flower on the lawns; the houses and walls are knew of the road, for some miles, was that it half covered with ivy; and wherever, along the was bordered by tufted walls, and overhung road, a garden wall stretches away, it runs with trees which on the left hand separated it over with evergreens, which shake off the snow from the lake. In the morning, what a scene as the breeze passes over them. Well, we go it was! The road was hidden, and the lawn down the road to the toll-bar, where the good before the windows seemed to slope down to woman lives who likes her calling so well that the fringe of trees, and the graceful little she has no wish to leave her gate to see the wooded promontory which jutted out into the world. She saw the world one afternoon for lake. The gray waters spread out here about four hours, when her employer sent her to a mile in breath. To the south they were lost Bowness for a frolic; and she got so tired and among a group of wooded islands, while the dull that she was glad to see her toll-house head of the lake rounded off among green mea- again, and declared she would never more go dows, with here and there a rocky projection pleasuring. I was in the boat with her that crested with black pines, which were reflected day—a packet-boat steered by Professor Wilin the waters below. A hamlet of white houses son, who had his friend Dr. Blair with him. appeared in and out among the trees, at the The contrast of the three faces was curious, foot of the rugged mountain, called Loughrigg, the forlorn dulness of the woman, who looks which separates the two diverging valleys at the picture of content when taking toll,—the the head of Windermere. From my host's porch abstraction of the philological Dr. Blair, and the we looked up the quiet valley of the Brathay, keen, observing, and enjoying countenance of where a beautiful little church, built by a mer- Christopher North! Just through the toll-bar, cer from Bond Street, crowns a wooded rock, lies Waterhead, a cluster of houses on the and overlooks the rattling river Brathay, to the northern margin of the lake, the prettiest of glorious cluster of summits and ridges which which is the low cottage under the massy sycathe winter morning sun clothes with orange, mores, with its grass-plat spreading into the crimson, and purple lines below where the waters—the cottage where I lived while my snow cuts out a sharp outline against the sky. house was building. Passing behind this cotWhen I came to live here, I soon learned that tage, the road winds somewhat inland, leaving if I wished for a calm, meditative walk after space for a meadow between it and the lake, my morning's work, I had better go up this till it passes the Roman Camp before menvalley of the Brathay, where I was sure never tioned. Then on the right we see, across a field to meet anybody. I could look out from its and almost hidden among evergreens, the cothigh churchyard upon its unsurpassed view, tage of poor Hartley Coleridge's tutor, the sinand then go down and skirt Loughrigg, and gular old clergyman who died at upwards of lean upon a gate, or rest upon a heathery perch eighty, without a will, as if summoned untimely! of rock, without much probability of seeing a Then we pass the beautiful house and most face for three hours together. Whereas, if I flowery garden of a Quaker friend of mine,-& was tired of thinking, and sociably inclined, I place which seems in all weathers to look as had better take my way up the other valley- cheerful as its benevolent master. In my early that of the Rotha, where the little town of walk, before it is light in the winter morning, Ambleside nestles under the shelter of the I choose this direction in February, because in swelling Wansfell, and which is scattered over a copse of my Quaker friend's which overhangs

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

the road, there is always a more glorious tumult, and flourish, his house is almost covered with of singing-birds than in any other spot I know. roses and climbing plants, his younger children To hear these birds on the one hand, and the are growing up there, and his friends assemble gush of the rapid Rotha on the other, when the in his home; but he has long been gone. Perday is breaking over the waters, is enough to haps there is not one of us that ever passes enliven the whole succeeding winter day. The through that birch copse without vivid thoughts Rotha is here spanned by a bridge, which we of him. As for me, I usually take my way must cross if we mean to go round the valley. through the garden, even if I have not time for We leave the highway now, and pass through more than a word at the window, or even for a gate which makes the winding road half pri- that. We now see the recess of Fairfield, its vate for the whole time that we are skirting whole cul-de-sac, finely, unless mists are filling Loughrigg. Under wooded steeps and through the basin, and curling about the ridges; and copses we go, looking over the flat valley to the Rydal Forest stretches boldly up to the snow green swelling mountains on the other side, line. Lady Le Fleming's large, staring, yelwhose woods run down the ravines, and hang low mansion is a blemish in the glorious view; on the slopes, and peep out where the vales but a little way back, we saw near it what puts hide between. When I first came, there was a all great mansions out of our heads,-Wordsgreen knoll swelling up out of the meadows, worth's cottage, a little way up the lower slope under the opposite hills, with a chapel roof of Nab Scar—the blunt end of the Fairfield rising behind it, and a row of lowly gray stone horseshoe. Of that cottage we must see more cottages near. When I first marked that knoll, hereafter; it does not lie in our road now. I little thought that on it I should build my After passing four or five dwellings, more or house, and that it would afford that terrace less prettily set down in their gardens, we come view which would be the daily delight of my to Pelter Bridge, where we cross the Rotha life. But there now stands my graystone old again, and join the mail road. The river still English house, with climbing plants already sweeps beside us, among stones and under half covering it, and a terrace wall below, bending trees, joined here and there by a beck inviting my fruit trees to spread themselves (brook) which has been making waterfalls in over it.

| the ravines above. When we part company Our road now skirts the Rotha, a stream too with it, we pass by more and more dwellings, clear to fish in, except after heavy rains. There one of the most striking of which, from its is no beguiling the trout in water as translucent exquisite position on a hill-side, is the large as the air. We do not now cross the little gray house built by the brother of Sir Humphry Millar Bridge, by which I am wont to go almost Davy. That gate is near my own. After passdaily to Fox How; but we walk on to Fox How, ing both, and skirting the wall of Mr. Harthrough whose birch copse we have to pass. rison's grounds, we come to the little town of Every one knows that Fox How is the abode Ambleside. We had better pause at the foot so beloved by Dr. Arnold—the house he built, of the hill leading up to the church; for we and the garden he laid out to be the retreat of have more to say of Ambleside than we have his old age. The trees that he planted spread room for here.

[graphic]

BY FRANCES S. OSGOOD.

(See Engraving.) Waex silent Noon hung o'er the Syrian land,

A softer glory--warm with Mercy's ray-The haughty zealot of Cilicia rode

The smile of God!--and melted, thrilled, subdued. Unto Damascus, with a burning heart,

Awake to all the madness of the Past, Exulting in Oppression's evil strength.

To all the Future's glorious reparation

“Who art thou, Lord ?" he cried-and—“I am he, "To Heaven be honour,” said he--"while I crush

Whom thou dost persecute,"--once more that voice These wretched followers of the Nazarene!”

With love, melodious, answered.
And to that pure, blue Heaven he raised his eyes,
With a fanatic faith. Then suddenly

So he learned ; “There shone a great light round about his way!”

Serves best the Father, he who most serves man; And from his fiery steed th' affrighted Saul

And who would wrong humanity wrongs Heaven. Was stricken blind to earth;-while a deep voice,

He learned, at last, the lowliest life he crushed Grand, clear, and sweet-as if all stars in Heaven

Was dearer to the holy heart of God, In choral music spake,-rang through his soul,

Than he in all his arrogant bigotry! With wo and love and pity in its tones-

He learned while he had thought to honour Hoaven, " Why persecutest thou me, Saul?" it said

Each blow he dealt its children in his wrath, And while that light his outward vision blinded,

Reaching to Him who came to save all men,
Lol to his soul, no longer blind, there came

Had wounded the celestial soul of Love!
VOL. VI.

« 上一页继续 »