Page images
PDF
EPUB

TOUR IN SOUTH WALES.

Dear Sir, . Pembroke, Aug.8th 180S

You will probably say I am always tracing resemblances, but last night, in passing over the Towey, the village of Llanstephan, brought to my mind the celebrated town of Clarens, so enthusiastically described by the great Rosseau; whether there is any characteristic resemblance, I know not, but the general picture, from the opposite shore, is truly enchanting. It is impossible to tell you the delight I feel in surveying the beauties of this charming country: the pleasure we experience from picturesque scenery, springs from the titillation of the same nerve as that which excites such rapture in beholding beauty and grace, blended in a female form; in listening to the melancholy chauntings of the nightingale, or the modulations of a well organized instrument; in contemplating a painting, and in reading the more vivid passages of our favourite poets.

We rose with the lark, and after enjoying a fine retrospect of the Castle of Llanstephan, soon arrived at the ferry of Laugharne; the castle stands in the garden of Captain Starke, and is certainly more beautiful than the blending of antique buildings with modern decorations generally are; it was held by Sir John Perrot against the Protector, who discovering the spring which supplied it with water, Cut the pipes, and it consequently fell into his hands, and was immediately destroyed. Its architecture is light and elegant, the rooms appear to have been well lighted, and the west gate and window display a most excellent taste.

Five miles from hence we arrived at Greenbridge, and were directed to an excavated rock, under the road, about twelve yards in circumference, into which a rivulet girgles down, and rolls unseen for at least two miles into the sea; this naturally recalled the tale of Alpheus,

. who by secret sluice, Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse.* The country, for a few miles, continued dull and uninteresting, and the roads miserable, with now and then a good sea view, till one of the most beautiful scenes that nature ever painted, burst full upon our sight; as the road descended to the beach, the prospect widened, and displayed one of those landscapes which nature only can produce, and which the most lively fancy can alone conceive.— The town of Tenby rose over the waters, jutting on a promontory with a milder beauty than the immediate objects before us; our horses' feet were washed by the waves, as we approached a long chain of rocks, which hung over and rebellowed to the ocean's sound: • Areata. /

the wind was rising, the sea ran high and rough, but as we approached the awful and impending rocks, shuddering at the prospect before us, the magic winding of a mountain soon shut out this grand view, and the roar of the waves soon ceased to fill the ear with its solemn sound.

The town of Tenby is finely situated on a promontory commanding an entire view of the Bay of Carmarthen; the castle has little but its shell, which, however, from the neighbouring itles of Caldy, St. Margarets, and Lundy, assumes an interesting appearance; a perforated rock upon the beach is singularly wild. Every object near Tenby partakes that gloomy, solemn, yet tender and pathetic beauty which animates the poet's pen, or captivates the painter's pencil.

There are some scenes in nature, the contemplation of which makes us wiser and better; they ameliorate the rougher features of the soul, soften the heart, and diffuse that enchanting melancholy, the excitement of which is so seldom forgotten—of such a nature are those near this enchanting spot. We left Tenby thronged with visitors, and proceeded reluctantly on the road to Pembroke. The castle of Llantphy, once the seat of the bishop of St. David's, and now making part of the paternal estate of Sir Hugh Owen, has been once considerable, but affords now but little of picturesque beauty.

Memorandum. Some quantity of Rye was discovered here about fifty-five years since, supposed, and with probability, to have been secreted in the times of Cromwell.

In Monmouth and Glamorganshire the beauties are incessant, arising from the variety of hills, dales, woods, and cottages; the latter possessed a peculiar character: the exterior appearance is an emblem of neatness and comfort, and the gardens that surround them, give an animated and pleasing idea of property; all this is for the most part lost in the maritime parts of Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire; little is there seen, but squalid filthiness, and apparent poverty,with uncouth and unamiable manners. The features of the women are tolerably well proportioned, their eyes and teeth brilliant and white, but the effect of this assemblage is lost by the miserable filthiness of themselves, and raggedness of their attire.

The road from Llantphy improves, but nothing of particular effect opened upon us, till we hailed the grand towers of Pembroke. I am yours most sincerely,

Mortimfr.

ORIGINAL LETTER

FROM

THE LATE WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.

TO MR. PARK.

Weston-Underwood, Dec. 17, 1792.

My Dear Sir,

You are very kind in thinking it worth while to enquire after so irregular a correspondent. When I had read your last, I persuaded myself that I had answered your obliging letter received while I was at Eartham, and seemed clearly to remember it; but upon better recollection, am inclined to think myself mistaken, and that I have many pardons to ask for neglecting to do it so long.

While I was at Mr. Hayley's I could hardly find opportunity to write to any body. He is an early riser, and breakfasts early, and unless I could rise early enough myself to dispatch a letter before breakfast, I had no leisure to do it at all. For immediately after breakfast we repaired to the library, where we studied in concert till noon, and the rest of my time was so occupied by necessary attention to my poor invalide, Mrs. Unwin, and by various other engagements, that to write was impossible.

Since my return, I have been almost constantly afflicted with weak and inflamed eyes, and indeed have wanted spirits as well as leisure. If you can, therefore, you must pardon me; and you will do it perhaps the rather, when I assure you that not you alone, but every person and every thing that had demands upon me has been equally neglected. A strange weariness* has long had dominion over me that has indisposed and indeed disqualified me for all employment, and my hindrances beside have been such that I am sadly in arrear in all quarters. A thousand times I have been sorry and ashamed that your MSS. are yet unrevised, and if you knew the compunction that it has cost me, you would pity me; for I feel as if I were guilty in that particular, though my conscience tells me that it could not be otherwise.

* This weariness, or rather dejection of spirits, seems to have been attended with a nervous fever, which prevailed throughout the months of October and November, and is pathetically described in his correspondence with Mr. Hayley and others. To the Rev. Mr. Johnson (Nov. 20) he represents his time as "chiefly spent in moping and musing, ' forecasting the fashion of uncertain evils "and to his biographer (Dec. 26) he declares, "that although toujours triste, the year 92, shall stand chronicled in his remembrance as tha moat melancholy he had ever known."

See Hayley's Life, Vol. ii. pp. 98,103. Before I received your letter written from Margate, I had formed a resolution never to be engraven, and was confirmed in it by my friend Hayley's example. But learning since, though I have not learned it from himself, that my bookseller has an intention to prefix a copy of Abbott's picture of me to the next edition of my poems, at his own expence, if I can be prevailed upon to consent to it; in consideration of the liberality of his behaviour, I have felt my determination shaken.* This intelligence however comes to me from a third person, and till it reaches me in a direct line from Johnson, I can say nothing to him about it. When he shall open to me his intentions himself, I will not be backward to mention to him your obliging offer,.). and shall be particularly gratified, if I must be engraved at last, to have that service performed for me by a friend. ,

I thank you for the anecdote,! which could not fail to be very pleasant, and remain, my dear Sir,

With gratitude and affection,
Yours,

Wm. Cowper.

CHATTERTON'S WORKS.

Mr. Editor.

Subjoined to Mr. Southey's valuable edition of the works of the Bristol bard, is given a copious list of publications incidental to the subjects of Rowley and Chatterton. That list was drawn up, in the way of a catalogue raisonni, by the aiding hand of Mr. Haslewood, whose zeal in collecting whatever related to those subjects, has long been known. The closing article on that list I beg to transcribe,

* Cowper had written to Mr. Rose, a month before :—" Johnsoo"s plan of prefixing my phiz to the new edition of my poems, is by no means a pleasant one to me: and so I told him in a letter I sent him from Eartham, in which I assured him that my objections to it would not be easily surmounted. But if you judge that it may really have an effect in advancing the sale, I would not be so squeamish as to suffer the spirit of prudery to prevail in me to his disadvantage." Life o/* Ctmper, vol. ii. p. Q&

t This offer was—to present the poet with an engraving, for gratuitous circulation among his admirers and friends, as an acknowledgment for the critical labour he had undertaken.

X The anecdote is believed to have taken its rise from a conversation with the Hon. Mrs. Boscawen, who regretted that Cowpeif should be employed upon translation instead of original composition, and expressed a wish that he would rather produce another " Task," adverting to what Tope had made his friend exclaim—* Do write nest winter more " Essays on Man." . for the sake of an explanation, which (with your permission) shall succeed it.

"The Revenge, a burletta, acted at Marybonc Gardens, Mdcclxx. with additional songs. By Thomas Chatterton. London: printed by C. Roworth; for King, Chapman, and Egerton. 1795.

"Advertisement. This burletta and the songs which follow it, were printed from an original manuscript in the hand-writing of the celebrated Chatterton, who received five guineas for the composition from the proprietors of Marybone Garden, July 6, 1770. The MS. is now in the possession of Mr. Luffman Atterbury."

NB. "This advertisement (adds Mr. H.) was written by T. Park, Esq. some time after the work was printed, who seems to have been misinformed on the subject of the MS. It was purchased by Mr. L. A. and given by him, for the purpose of printing, to the late Mr. Egerton, who undertook the superintendance of the press, and which MS. is supposed by Mr. K. to have been lost at the printing house. i

J. H."

The MS. here spoken of, I had inspected when it was offered for sale at King's auction-room in March 1794, and I was satisfied as to its authenticity: but, as the publishers had omitted to convey any information on this point; in order to serve Waight, the bookseller, who had purchased a considerable number of the printed copies, and to prevent any misapprehension about the matter; I applied to Dr. Arnold for such intelligence as his recollection might enable him to give, respecting the proprietor of the MS. the sum paid for it, and the certainty of its having been acted. In a few days I received the following reply.

"Dr. Arnold presents his compliments to Mr. Park, and begs leave to acquaint him, in answer to his letter, that he remembers Mr. Atterbury's giving five guineas to the late Mr. Chatterton, for some verses or poems, and that he saw the book which contained them at Teddington about five years ago. If the book contained a burletta called *The Revenge,' it never was performed at Marybone Gardens; but Mr. A. had a joint share in the gardens at that time; namely, when he purchased the poems of Chatterton. "Sunday, 24 Feb. 99. Duke-Street, Westminster."

Mr. H. will observe, from this respectable testimony, that the assertion in the printed title-page was not quite correct, though the work was undoubtedly genuine. He will also observe that Mr. Atterbury must have been the original proprietor of the MS. as, indeed,

« PreviousContinue »