Page images

“ To penury extreme, and grief,

A shriek from all the damsels burst, The chieftain fell a lingering prey;

That pierced the vaulted roofs below; I heard his last few faultering words,

While horror-struck the lady stoord, Such as with pain I now convey.

A living form of sculptured woe. "" To Sele's sad widow bear the tale

With stupid stare, and vacant gaze, Nor let our horrid secret rest;

Full on his face her eyes were cast, Give but his corse to sacred earth,

Absorbed !-she lost her present grief, Then may my parting soul be blest.' — And faintly thought of things long past. “ Dim waxed the eye that fiercely shone,

Like wild-fire o'er the mossy heath, And faint the tongue that proudly spoke The rumour through the hamlet ran : And weak that arm, still raised to me, The peasants crowd at morning dawn, Which oft had dealt the mortal stroke.

To hear the tale,-behold the man.. “ How could I then his mandate bear

He led them near the blasted oak, Or how his last behest obey ?

Then, conscious, from the scene withdrew: A rebel deemed, with him I Hed;

The peasant's work with trembling haste, With him I shunned the light of day.

And lay the whitened bones to view ! “ Proscribed by Henry's hostile rage, Back they recoiled !-the right hand still, My country lost, despoiled my land,

Contracted, grasped a rusty sword ; Desperate, I fed my native soil,

Which erst in many a battle gleamed, And fought on Syria's distant strand.

And proudly decked their slaughtered loru. “ O, had thy long lamented lord

They bore the corse to Vener's shrine, The holy cross and banner viewed,

With holy rites, and prayers addressed ; Died in the sacred cause! who fell

Nine white-robed monks the last dirge sang, Sad victim of a private feud !

And gave the angry spirit rest. “ Led, by the ardour of the chace, Far distant from his own domain ;

It must be remembered that the real From where Garthmaelan spreads her shades, history of Howel Sele's death is to be The Glyndwr sought the opening plain.

collected from Mr. Pennant's account of

their sudden feud already related; though “ With head aloft, and antlers wide,

he by no means distinctly states whether A red buck roused, then crossed in view, Glyndwr caused him to be placed in the Stung with the sight, and wild with rage, oak after he had been slain, or “imSwift from the wood fierce Howel fiew.

mured” him alive and left him to perish. “ With bitter taunt, ard keen reproach,

It is rather to be inferred that he was He, all impetuous, poured his rage,

condemned by his kinsmen to the latter Reviled the chief as weak in arms,

fate. According to Pennant he perished And bade him loud the battle wage. in the year 1402, and we see that his living

burial place survived him, pierced and “ Glyndwr for once restrained his sword,

hallowed by the hand of time, upwards And, still averse, the fight delays;

of four centuries. But softened words, like oil to fire, Made anger more intensely blaze.

SIR Philip SIDNEY'S OAK. • They fought; and doubtful long the fray ! The Glyndwr gave the fatal wound !

In an elegant volume called “ Sylvan Still mournful must my tale proceed,

Sketches, a companion to the park and And its last act all dreadful sound.

the shrubbery, with illustrations from the

works of the poets by the author of the " How could we hope for wished retreat Flora Domestica,” there is a delightful His eager vassals ranging wide ?

'assemblage of poetical passages on the His bloodhounds' keen sagacious scent, oak, with this memorial of a very celeO'er many a trackless mountain tried ?

brated one: « I marked a broad and blasted oak,

“ An oak was planted at Penshurst on Scorched by the lightning's livid glare the day of sir Philip Sidney's birth, of Hollow its stem from branch to root,

which Martyn speaks as standing in his And all its shrivelled arms were bare. time, and measuring twenty-two feet “ Be this, I cried, his proper grave !

round. This tree has since been felled, (The thought in me was deadly sin.)

it is said by mistake ; would it be imAloft we raised the hapless chief,

possible to make a similar mistake with And dr pped his bleeding corpse within." regard to the mistaker?

“ Several of our poets have celebrated At the dispersion of the Jews ander this tree: Ben Jonson in his lines to Adrian, about the year 134,

an incre Penshurst, says,–

dible number of all ages and sexes . Thou hast thy walks for health as well as

were sold at the same price as horses, in sport;

a very famous fair called the fair of the Thy mount to which thy Dryads do resort,

turpentine tree : whereupon the Jews

St. Where Pan and Bacchus their high seats have had an abhorrence for that fair.” made,

Jerome mentions the place at which the Beneath the troad beech and the chesnut shade, Jews were sold under the name of “ AbraThat taller tree which of a nut was set, ham's tent;" where, he says, “is kept an At his great birth where all the muses met. annual fair very much frequented." This There in the writhed bark are cut the names place on Mamre's fertile plains," is Of many a sylvan taken with his flames.' alleged to have been the spot where “ It is mentioned by Waller :

Abraham entertained the angels.*
Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark
Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark

Of noble Sidney's birth.'

Mean Temperature . 63. 50. “Southey says, speaking of Penshurst

Sidney here was born.
Sidney than whom no greater, braver man,

July 28.
His own delightful genius ever feigned,
Illustrating the vales of Arcady

With courteous courage, and with loyal lovcs.
Upou his natal day the acorn here

The festival of this saint, who was the Was planted; it grew up a stately oak,

first bishop of Ardmore, in the county of And in the beauty of its strength it stood Waterford, is held on the twenty-fourth And flourished, when its perishable part

of the month. The brief memoir of St. Had mouldered dust to dust. That stately oak Declan, by Alban Butler, did not seem Itself hath mouldered now, but Sidney's name to require notice of him on that day; but Endureth in his own immortal works."

the manner wherein the feast was cele“ This tree was frequently called the larized in an Irish paper, as to claim

brated in 1826, is so remarkably particu“bare oak,' by the people of the neigh

attention, bourhood, from a resemblance it was supposed to bear to the oak which gave

Ardmore and its Patron. name to the county of Berkshire. Tra

St. Declan is represented to have been dition says, that when the tenants went

the friend and companion of St. Patrick, to the park gates as it was their custom and, according to tradition, Ardmore was to do to meet the earl of Leicester, when they visited that castle, they used to adorn century by St. Declan, who was born in

an episcopal see, established in the fifth their hats with boughs from this tree. Within the hollow of its trunk was a seat

this county, and was of the family of the

Desii. He travelled for education to which contained five or six persons with Rome, resided there for some years, was ease and convenience."

afterwards ordained by the pope, returned to his own country about the year 402,

and about that time founded the abbey THE OAK OF MAMRE.

and was made bishop of Ardmore. He We are told that this oak was standing lived to a great age; and his successor, in the fourth century. Isidore affirms St. Ulthan, was alive in the year 550. that when he was a child in the reign of A stone, a holy well, and a dormitory, in the emperor Constantius, he was shown the churchyard, still bear the name of St. a turpentine tree very old, which declared Declan. « St. Declan's stone" is on the its age by its bulk, as the tree under beach; it is a large rock, resting on two which Abraham dwelt; that the heathens others, which elevate it a little above the had a surprising veneration for it, and ground. On the twenty-fourth of July, distinguished it by an honourable appel- the festival of the saint, numbers of the lation.* Some affirm that it existed lowest class do penance on their bare within the last four centuries.

knees around the stone, and some, with

• Bayle, art. Abraham.

* Bayle, art. Barcochebas.

great pain and difficulty, creep under it, miraculous powers. It is said to have in expectation thereby of curing or pre- been wafted from Rome upon the surface venting, what it is much more likely to of the ocean, at the period of St. Declan's create, rheumatic affections of the back. founding his church at Ardmore, and to In the churchyard is the “ dormitory of have borne on its top a large bell for the St. Declan,” a small low building, held in church tower, and vestments for the saint. great veneration by the people in the At a short distance from this sacred neighbourhood, who frequently visit it in memorial, on a cliff overhanging the sea, order to procure some of the earth, which is the well of the saint. Thither the is supposed to cover the relics of the crowds repair after the devotions at the saint.*

rock are ended. Having drank plentifully On the twenty-fourth of July, 1826, of its water, they wash their legs and feet several thousand persons of all ages and in the stream which issues from it, and, both sexes assembled at Ardmore. The telling their beads, sprinkle themselves greater part of the extensive strand, which and their neighbours with the fluid. forms the western side of the bay, was These performances over, the grave of the literally covered by a dense mass of peo- patron saint is then resorted to. Hunple. Tents and stands for the sale of dreds at a time crowded around it, and whiskey, &c. were placed in parallel crush each other in their eagerness to rows along the shore; the whole at a dis- obtain a handful of the earth which is tance bore the appearance of a vast en believed to cover the mortal remains of campment. Each tent had its green ensign Declan. A woman stood breast high in waving upon high, bearing some patriotic the grave, and served out a small portion motto. One of large dimensions, which of its clay to each person requiring it, floated in the breeze far above the others, from whom in return she received a penny exhibited the words “ Villiers Stuart for or halfpenny for the love of the saint. The ever."

abode of the saint's earthly remains has At an early hour, those whom a reli- sunk to the depth of nearly four feet, its gious feeling had drawn to the spot, com- clay having been scooped away by the menced their devotional exercises by finger nails of the pious. A human skull passing under the holy rock of St. Declan. of large dimensions was placed at the The male part of the assemblage were

head of the tomb, before which the people clad in trowsers and shirts, or in shirts bowed, believing it to be the identical alone ; the females, in petticoats pinned skull of the tutelar saint. above the knees, and some of the more

This visit to St. Declan's grave comdevout in chemises only. Two hundred pleted the devotional exercises of a day, and ninety persons of both sexes thus pre- held in greater honour than the sabbath, pared, knelt at one time indiscriminately by those who venerate the saint's name, around the stone, and passed separately and worship at his shrine. The tents under it to the other side. This was not which throughout the day, from the duties effected without considerable pain and paid to the “patron," had been thronged difficulty, owing to the narrowness of the with the devotionalists of the morning, passage, and the sharpness of the rocks. resounded from evening till daybreak, Stretched at full length on the ground on with sounds inspired by potations of the face and stomach, each devotee moved whiskey; and the scene is so characterforward, as if in the act of swimming, and ised by its reporter as to seem exaggethus squeezed or dragged themselves rated.* through. Upwards of eleven hundred persons of both sexes, in a state of half

NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. nudity, were observed to undergo the Mean Temperature ... 63. 35. ceremony in the course of the day. A reverend gentleman, who stood by part of the time, was heard to exclaim,“ O, great

July 29. is their faith.” Several of their reverences passed and re-passed to and from the

ST. MARTHA. chapel close by the “ holy rock," during On the festival of this saint of the Rothe day. The “ holy rock,” of so great mish church, a greai fair is held at Beauveneration, is believed to be endued with caire, in Languedoe, to which merchants

• Hyland'o History of Watertord.

* Waterford Mail.

and company resort from a great distance would have done had there been any good round. It is a great mart for smugglers ground for believing in its existence. and contraband traders, and is the harvest Be this as it may, the fabulous story of of the year both to Beaucaire and Taras- the dragon was the occasion of establishcon; for, as the former is not large enough ing an annual festival at Tarascon, the to accommodate the influx of people, reputed origin of which seems no less faTarascon, in Provence, which is separated bulous than the story itself. According from it by the Rhone, is generally equally to the tradition, the queen, consort to the full.

reigning sovereign of the country, unaccountably fell into a deep and settled me

lancholy, from which she could not be Tarascon, according to a popular tra


She kept herself shut up in her dition, has its name from a terrible beast, chamber, and would not see or be seen a sort of dragon, known by the name of by any one; medicines and amusements the tarasque, which, in ancient days, in

were in vain, till the ladies of Tarascon fested the neighbourhood, ravaging the thought of celebrating a festival, which country, and killing every thing that came they hoped, from its novelty might imin its way, both man and beast, and elud, press the mind of their afficted sovereign. ing every endeavour made to take and

A figure was made to represent the destroy it, till St. Martha arrived in the

"tarasque,” with a terrible head, a territown, and taking compassion on the ge- ble mouth, with two terrible rows of teeth, neral distress, went out against the mon- wings on its back, and a terrible long tail. ster, and brought him into the town in At the festival of St. Martha, by whom chains, when the people fell upon him the “ tarasque" was chained, this figure and slew him.

was led about for eight days successively, St. Martha, according to the chronicles by eight of the pripcipal' ladies in the of Provence, had fled from her own coun

town, elegantly dressed, and accompanied try in company with her sister Mary by a band of music. The procession was Magdalen, her brother Lazarus, and se- followed by an immense concourse of veral other saints both male and female. people, in their holyday clothes; and duThey landed at Marseilles, and imme- ring the progress, alms were collected for diately spread themselves about the coun

the poor. All sorts of gaieties were exhitry to preach to the people. It fell to the bited; balls, concerts, and shows of every lot of St. Martha to bend her steps to- kind—nothing, in short, was omitted to wards Tarascon, where she arrived at the fortunate inoment above mentioned. She tival was instituted.

accomplish the for which the fes

purpose continued to her dying day particularly

And her majesty condescended to be to patronise the place, and was at her own

amused: that hour her melancholy ceased, request interred there. Her tomb is shown and never after returned. Whether the in a subterranean chapel belonging to the honour of this happy change was wholly principal church.

It bears her figure due to the procession, or whether the in white marble, as large as life, in a re

saint might not assist the efforts of the cumbent posture, and is a good piece of patriotic ladies of Tarascon, by working sculpture, uninjured by the revolution.

a miracle in favour of the restoration of In the church a series of paintings repre- the queen's health, is not on record; but sent the escape of St. Martha and her her malady never returned; and the companions from their persecutors, their

people of Tarascon were so much delightlanding in Provence, and some of their ed by the processsion of the “ tarasque,” subsequent adventures. She is the patron that it was determined to make the saint of Tarascon.

festival an annual one.

It is presumed that the story of a beast ravaging the neighbouring country had

This festival was observed till the revoits origin in fact; but that instead of a lution; but in “the reign of terror,” the dreadful dragon it was a hyena. Bouche, people of Arles, between whom and those ho er, in his Essai ir l'Histoire de of Tarascon great jealousy and rivalship Provence, while he mentions the popular had for many years subsisted, came in a tradition of the dragon, makes no mention body to the latter place, and, seizing the of the supposed hyena, which he probably tarasque,” burnt it in the market-place.

This piece of petty spite sadly chagrin- was afraid,” she said, “ that we should ed the Tarasconians. Their "tarasque

find things very uncomfortable, but it was endeared to them by its antiqni- was not in her power to receive ladies ty, as well as by the amusement it af- and gentlemen as she had been used to forded them. For four years the festival do before her misfortunes. A few years of the “tarasque” remained uncelebrated, hence, if Buonaparte should but live, she when an attempt was made to reestablish hoped, if we should happen to pass

that it; a new “ tarasque" was procured by way again, we should see things in a very subscription among the people; but this different state.” * also was seized by the Arletins, and carried over the river to Beaucaire, where it remained ever since.

THE SEASON. “ However," said a hostess of Tarascon “Now," we perceive in the “Mirror of to Miss Plumptre, “since Buonaparte the Months,” that, "now, on warm evenhas happily restored order in France, we ings after business hours, citizens of all are looking forward to better times, and ages grow romantic; the single, wearing hope before the next festival of St. Mar- away their souls in sighing to the tha, to be permitted to reclaim our 'ta breezes of Brixton-hill, and their soles in rasque,' and renew the procession." getting there; and the married, sipping

“Ah, ladies,” she added, “ you have no syllabub in the arbours of White Conduitidea how gay and how happy we all used house, or cooling themselves with hot to be at that time! The rich and the rolls and butter at the New River Head. poor, the old and the young, the men and “Now, too, moved by the same spirit the women, all the same ! all laughed, all of romance, young patricians, who have danced, all sung; there was not a sad face not yet been persuaded to banish themin the town. The ladies were all so emu selves to the beauty of their paternal lous of leading the "tarasque! They were groves, fling themselves into funnies, and all dressed alike; one was appointed to fatigue their ennui to death, by rowing up regulate the dress, and whatever she or- the river to Mrs. Grange's garden, to eat dered the rest were obliged to follow. a handful of strawberries in a eup-full of Sometimes the dresses were trimmed with gold or silver, sometimes with lace, so “Now, adventurous cockneys swim rich, so grand! God knows whether we from the Sestos of the Strand stairs to shall ever see such times again. Ah! it the Abydos of the coal-barge on the opwas only because we were so happy that posite shore, and believe that they have the people of Arles envied us, and had been rivalling Lord Byron and Leandersuch a spite against us; but they have no not without wondering, when they find reason to envy us now, we have had sorrow themselves in safety, why the lady for enough: ninety-three persons were guillo- whom the latter performed a similar feat tined here, and you may think what trou- is called the Hero of the story, instead of ble that has spread among a number of the Heroine. families. I myself, ladies, have had my “ Finally,—now pains-and-pleasureshare of sorrow. My husband was not taking citizens hire cozey cottages for six indeed guillotined, but he was obliged to weeks certain in the Curtain-road, and fly the town to avoid it: he never quitted ask their friends to come and see them France, but went about from place to 'in the where he was not known, working and picking up a livelihood as well as he could; and it is only since Buonaparte

The Feast of Cherries. has been first consul that he has ventured There is a feast celebrated at Hamburg, to return. Besides, every thing that I had called the “feast of cherries," in which of any value, my linen, my mattresses, troops of children parade the streets with my silver

spoons and forks, were all taken green boughs, ornamented with cherries, away by the requisition, and I can only to commemorate a victory, obtained in hope to have things comfortably about me the following manner :- In 1432, the again by degrees, if we are so lucky as to Hussites threatened the city of Hamburg get tolerable custom to our inn." And with an immediate destruction, when one then she entered upon a long string of apologies for the staie of her house. “She

Miss Plumptre's Travels in France



« PreviousContinue »