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another has an epitaph by Pope. There are, also, a couple of small brasses near the altar.
A marble slab fixed on the outside of the south chancel bears an inscription, written by Pope, to the memory of the couple whose death by lightning, while engaged with many others at harvest-work, is described in the well-known letter written by Gay a few days after the event. Both the letter and inscription are too well known to require quotation. They have had more than their share of praise, and we have already been lingering over-long here.
The church, of which the exterior is very picturesque, the ancient tower, and kitchen, form together a striking group from the churchyard. Recently the church has undergone a complete restoration and all the churchwardens' improvements and decorations have been obliterated. The appearance both externally and internally is now very beautiful, indeed of its kind it would be difficult elsewhere to find so beautiful a little structure. The restorations were conducted under the auspices of the Oxford Architectural Society, to whose publications I have been indebted, in my notices of this and several other of the architectural remains in this neighbourhood.
On the Berkshire side, about a mile and threequarters from the river, is Cumnor, a place that has been rendered in our day far better known by the pen of Sir Walter Scott, than Stanton-Harcourt ever was by that of Pope or Gay. It has, however, little to reward the visitor. Mickle tells us that—
"Full many a traveller oft hath sigh'd,
But there are no haunted towers to stimulate their tears now—the very walls are gone, and he who will weep had better take care to carry 'Kenilworth' in his pocket. All that is left of the mansion is a portion of the foundation, which you have to pass through a rickyard to get at. Somewhat of the order of the building and grounds may yet be made out. That the countess of Leicester was murdered here is not doubted by the villagers, and some of them can tell some of the particulars—out of Scott. But though Cumnor Hall be gone, there still swings the sign of "the bonny Black Bear," with Giles Gosling written under it, in front of the village inn,—of which inn we may now surely say that " so great is its fame, that to have been in Cumnor without wetting a cup at the bonny Black Bear, would have been to avouch one's-self utterly indifferent to reputation as a traveller." (Scott's' Kenilworth.') Some zealous novelists discover in the inn indubitable evidence of its being the veritable Bear; but honest Charles Capel, the host who now "conducts, or rather rules it," is, they complain, but a degenerate successor of portly Giles; and they miss pretty Cicely. Cumnor church, which is a neat building, and of some architectural interest, contains the monument of Antony Foster, whom the inscription describes in very laudatory strains. The village has nothing else noticeable.
The rambler who turns aside to visit Cumnor, will probably proceed from thence direct to Oxford, which is about three miles by the road: we must retrace our steps to the river.
We rejoin it at Swinford bridge, a plain structure of several arches, erected about sixty years ago. On the Oxfordshire side of the bridge is Ensham, a large village pleasantly situated on rising
ground. It was a place of some importance in Saxon times; and until the dissolution contained a Benedictine abbey, of which some fragments are left. The church is a large and very handsome one, and near it stands an ancient cross of graceful proportions."
A mile below Ensham the Evenlode, a considerable rivulet, falls into the Thames. It rises on the edge of Worcestershire, beyond Moreton-in-the-Marsh, and passes by Charbury and Combe. It has a course of about thirty-one miles, receiving in its way several tributaries, the principal of which is the Glyme, about nine miles long, which flows past Woodstock, and through Blenheim park, and forms the fine sheet of water in front of the mansion. Woodstock will of course be visited by the stranger. There is a pleasant walk to it of about four miles from Ensham, but it can be most conveniently reached from Oxford. A stroll through the park, in which is " Rosamund's Well," and an examination of the magnificent edifice, which caused poor Vanbrugh so much trouble, and brought him so much obloquy from the scoffers, will amply repay the journey; to say nothing of the pictures, and the memorials of our greatest captain, save one. The town of Woodstock has nothing to show but its glove-shops; but Old Woodstock has some old houses. Chaucer dwelt at Woodstock, and wrote many of his poems there,
"Within a lodge out of the way,
Elizabeth was imprisoned at Woodstock Palace, when, as Holinshed tells, " she hearing upon a time out of her garden a certain milkmaid singing pleasantly, wished herself to be a milkmaid as she was, saying, that her case was better, and her life merrier;" and "no marvel was it," as the old gossip says; but she was of sterner stuff than to wish so long. While she knew not that her head sat safe upon her shoulders, she might well envy a merry milkmaid; but our glorious Bess did not use to indulge in idle sentimentalisms—except in love-matters. Every trace of the palace has long disappeared.
Proceeding onwards, our river leads us by a very pleasant course round the foot of "Wytham Hill and wood to Godstow bridge, where the eye is caught by some ruins. They are not large, nor very picturesque; but they will be looked at with interest from their being the first that have been seen by the river side, and from their connexion with the name of Fair Kosamund. It is well known how,
"When as King Henry rnlde this land,
Most peerless was her beautye founde,
Her favour, and her face;
Did never prince embrace.
Her crisped lockes like threades of golde
Appear'd to all men's sight,—
Did cast a heavenly light." *
And it is equally well known how, as the ballad goes on to tell, the king provided for her a secret bower
* Rosamund was a great favourite with our older poets. The beautiful ballad, of which these are the opening verses, was written by Thomas Deloney; there is a still more beautiful poem, though not so well known, called' The Complaint of Rosamund,' by Daniel; and Drayton has two or three of his ' England's Heroical Epistles' dedicated to her memory, and frequent allusion is made to her by Chaucer and others.