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site of the preceptory, for canons of the Augustine order, and endowed it with a revenue of 300/. a year. At the suppression of the smaller religious houses Bisham had a revenue of 357/. 4s. 6d.; but the monastery, instead of being suppressed, was refounded for the Benedictines, and its income greatly increased. Three years afterwards, however, it was suppressed along with all similar establishments. The abbot, unlike his brother of Heading, was " conformable," and his fate was as singularly lucky as that of the other was unhappy. He received a mitre, afterwards married, and had, it is said, five daughters, each of whom became the wife of a bishop—which was rather wonderful, if true. In the old conventual church many celebrated men were interred. The body of the founder of the priory, which was originally buried at Cirencester, was removed here by Maud his widow. His son William, Earl of Salisbury, one of the warriors of Poitiers, was laid beside him. The catalogue of famous men buried at Bisham in the fifteenth century is a remarkable one, and gives a startling idea of the state of the nobility of England then, when a little retired place like this was the depository of so many men of rank, all of whom came to a violent end. The list is as follows:— Thomas, Earl of Salisbury, who died at the siege of Orleans in 1428; Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and Warwick, beheaded at York in 1460; Richard Neville, "the King-maker,"— killed at the battle of Barnet, 1470; his brother John, Marquis of Montague, killed at the same battle; and Edward Plantagenet, son of the Duke of Clarence, beheaded in 1499, for attempting to escape from confinement. Here was a lesson on worldly greatness upon which the monks might well moralize. Over their remains magnificent monuments were erected; but they were destroyed at the dissolution of the monastery. Of the old abbey itself all that is left is a gateway, which serves as the entrance to the present mansion. The modern "abbey " is of the Tudor period, and was erected by Sir Edward Hoby; it is a stately-looking specimen of the manor-house of that time, but neither of the grandest nor most beautiful kind. There is a tradition that Elizabeth made it h«r temporary residence. The church is a venerable looking ivy-covered edifice: in a chantry chapel attached to it are some rather splendid monuments of members of the Hoby family. Two of them have effigies in complete armour.
Till we arrive at Marlow there is nothing eise to notice. The river is beautiful; and both banks afford pleasant scenes for the eye to rest upon, but the Berkshire side is much the finer. The famed groves of Bisham descend close to the water, and their sombreness is relieved by the glimpses which at every bend in the river are caught of the gables of the abbey, and the old church tower; while the ridge of Cookham Hills rising above them, breaks the uniformity of outline and agreeably varies the picture. On the Buckingham side there is a wide meadow, but as the path is along it, the other side is what most engages and most repays attention. As we approach Marlow its suspension bridge has an exceedingly light and graceful appearance, standing out as it does from a background of dark trees and round-topped hills.
SOME CHAT BI THE WAY.
Great Marlow is a market-town, a borough sending two members to Parliament, and contains above six thousand inhabitants. Its principal street, which is a very broad one, slopes up from the river, and is crossed at the top by another long street, giving the town somewhat the shape of a capital T. From these streets several smaller ones branch out. About the look of the town there is nothing remarkable. It has a good many shops, but they are mostly small and of a common-place kind. It has several inns, and one a very tolerable one. It has some large houses, but none that I remember of a very noticeable order. The handsome suspension bridge was erected in 1835, and is a great ornament to the river. The church stands at the foot of the bridge, and was built about the same time. It is of the style fitly named "modern Gothic," and is, with infinite good nature, greatly admired by the inhabitants,—who do not, however, so much admire the tax laid upon them for bridge and church, which together they complain of as a serious affair, and pressing hardly upon their not very flourishing trade. I know of hardly anything connected with the history of the town that deserves repetition: and as little about its present appearance and circumstances, which are just those of an every-day sort of second-rate agricultural town. There is an annual cattle-fair, at which there is generally a great show of horses, and usually some of large size and excellent form are exhibited. To the cattle-fair succeeds a pleasure-fair, at which, beside the usual shows and sports, there is generally a great variety of goods and housekeeping stores—almost enough to remind one of the times when even abbots and lords used to purchase their household matters at these annual fairs. The pleasure-fair seems a dull one. The countrymen hereabout are not of a mirthful cast, and their liveliness is of a very laborious character.
Marlow has not produced many celebrated men; and has few associations of a rememberable kind connected with it. One, however, must not be unmentioned. Shelley dwelt here for awhile, and whilst here wrote his remarkable poem of the 'Revolt of Islam;' to which, in the late edition of his poems, Mrs. Shelley has appended a note stating the circumstances connected with his residence in this place, which should be read by all who think harshly of him, as well as by his admirers :—
"During the year 1817, we were established at Marlow, in Buckinghamshire. Shelley's choice of abode was fixed chiefly by this town being at no great distance from London, and its neighbourhood to the Thames. The poem was written in his boat, as it floated under the beech-groves of Bisham, or during wanderings in the neighbouring country, which is distinguished for beauty." But from the pleasure he derived from the beauty of the scenery he found a great drawback. The town was surrounded by the mansions of the wealthy, but was itself inhabited by a miserably poor population, and whose ordinary poverty was then aggravated by the circumstances of the times. "The changes produced by peace following a long war, and a bad harvest, brought with them the most heart-rending evils to the poor. Shelley afforded what alleviation he could. In the winter, while bringing out his poem, he had a severe attack of ophthalmia, caught while visiting the poor cottages.* I mention these things,—for this minute and active sympathy with his fellow-creatures gives a thousand-fold interest to his speculations, and stamps with reality his pleadings for the human race." And it is for these reasons that I quote this passage. Shelley was a man of lofty aspirations and of true genius, and strongly averse as I feel to the tenour of many of his speculations, I cannot but reverence the noble philanthropy of the man, and his earnest sincerity of purpose, as well as admire the splendour of his genius. Remembering too his youth, and the exasperating circumstances of his life,—brought on though they were generally by his own reckless defiance of other men's opinions, and his angry attacks on what they held most sacred,—and remembering also the growing sobriety of his views, one cannot but believe that had he lived longer, and further observation and reflection had shed their mellowing influence over
* It is said that he was so moved by the sickness he saw about him, that he actually studied medicine, and walked the London hospitals, in order to fit himself to alleviate the misery by his personal attendance; but I do not see that Mrs. Shelley mentions it: it was, however, quite in accordance with his general unselfish benevolence.