« ПредишнаНапред »
Craven after all is an unpleasing country when seen from a height; its valleys are chiefly wide, and either marshy or inclosed pasture, with a few trees. Numbers of black cattle are fatted here, both of the Scotch breed, and a larger sort of oxen with great horns. There is little cultivated ground, except a few oats.
Skipton, to which I went through Long-Preston and Gargrave, is a pretty large market-town, in a valley, with one very broad street gently sloping downwards from the castle, which stands at the head of it. This is one of our good Countess's building, * but on old foundations; it is not very large, but of a handsome antique appearance, with round towers, a grand gateway, bridge, and moat, surrounded by many old trees. It is in good repair, and kept up as a habitation of the Earl of Thanet, though he rarely comes thither: what with the fleet, and a foolish dispute about chaises, that delayed me, I did not see the inside of it, but went on, fifteen miles, to Otley; first
up Shode-bank, the steepest hill I ever saw a road carried over in England, for it mounts in a straight line (without any other repose for the horses than by placing stones every now and then behind the wheels) for a full mile; then the road goes on a level along the brow of this high hill over Rumbald-moor, till it gently descends into Wharldale, so they call the vale of the Wharf, and a beautiful vale it is, well-wooded, well cultivated, well inhabited, but with high crags at a distance, that border the green country on either hand; through the midst of it, deep, clear, full to the brink, and of no inconsiderable breadth, runs in long windings the river. How it comes to pass that it should be so fine and copious a stream here, and at Tadcaster (so script to every purpose of picturesque beauty, in the description of which a correct eye, a practised pencil, and an eloquent pen could assist him. He bas, consequently, produced a work unique in its kind. But I have said it is in manuscript, and, I am afraid, likely to continue so; for would his modesty permit him to print it, the great expense of plates would make its publication almost impracticable.
· Anne Countess of Pembroke and Montgomery.
much lower) should have nothing but a wide stony channel without water, I cannot tell you. through Long-Addingham, Ilkeley (pronounced Eecly) distinguished by a lofty brow of loose rocks to the right; Burley, a neat and pretty village, among trees; on the opposite side of the river lay Middleton Lodge, belonging to a catholic gentleman of that name; Weston, a venerable stone fabric, with large offices, of Mr. Vavasour, the meadows in front gently descending to the water, and behind a great and shady wood; Farnley (Mr. Fawkes's), a place like the last, but larger, and rising higher on the side of the hill. Otley is a large airy town, with clean but low rustic buildings, and a bridge over the Wharf; I went into its spacious gothic church, which has been new-roofed, with a flat stuccoceiling; in a corner of it is the monument of Thomas Lord Fairfax, and Helen Aske, his lady, descended from the Cliffords and Latimers, as her epitaph says; the figures, not ill-cut (particularly his in armour, but bareheaded) lie on the tomb. I take them to be the parents of the famous Sir Thomas Fairfax.
April 18, 1770. I HAVE utterly forgot where my journal left off, but I think it was after the account of Gordale, near Settle; if so, there was little more worth your notice: the principal things were Wharldale, in the way from Skipton to Otley, and Kirkstall Abbey, three miles from Leeds ****.Kirkstall is a noble ruin in the semi-saxon style of building, as old as King Stephen, towards the end of his reign, 1152. The whole church is still standing, the roof excepted, seated in a delicious quiet valley,
+ Here a paragraph, describing Whardale in the foregoing journal, was repeated.
on the banks of the river Aire, and preserved with religious reverence by the Duke of Montagu. Adjoining to the church, between that and the river, are variety of chapels and remnants of the abbey, shattered by the encroachments of the ivy, and surrounded by many a sturdy tree, whose twisted roots break through the fret of the vaulting, and hang streaming from the roofs. The gloom of these ancient cells, the shade and verdure of the landscape, the glittering and murmur of the stream, the lofty towers and long perspectives of the church, in the midst of a clear bright day, detained me for many hours; and were the truest objects for my glass I have met with
where. As I lay at that smoky, ugly, busy town of Leeds, I dropped all further thoughts of my journal; and after passing two days at Mason's (though he was absent) pursued my way by Nottingham, Leicester, Harborough, Kettering, Thrapston, and Huntingdon to Cambridge, where I arrived on the 22d of October, having met with no rain to signify till this last day of my journey. There's luck for you!
I do think of seeing Wales this summer, having never found my spirits lower than at present, and feeling that motion and change of the scene is absolutely necessary
I will make Aston in my way to Chester, and shall rejoice to meet you there the last week in May. Mason writes me word that he wishes it; and though his old house is down, and his new one not up, proposes to receive us like princes in grain.
MR. GRAY TO MR. NICHOLLS. * I RECEIVED your letter at Southampton; and as I would wish to treat every body, according to their own
* This letter was written the 19th of November, 1764; but as it delineates another abbey, in a different manner, it seems to make no improper companion to that which precedes it.
rule and measure of good breeding, have, against my inclination, waited till now before I answered it, purely out of fear and respect, and an ingenuous diffidence of my own abilities. If you will not take this as an excuse, accept it at least as a well-turned period, which is always my principal concern.
So I proceed to tell you that my health is much improved by the sea, not that I drank it, or bathed in it, as the common people do: no! I only walked by it and looked upon it. The climate is remarkably mild, even in October and November; no snow has been seen to lie there for these thirty years past; the myrtles grow in the ground against the houses, and Guernsey lilies bloom in every window: the town, clean and well-built, surrounded by its old stone walls, with their towers and gateways, stands at the point of a peninsula, and opens full south to an arm of the sea, which, having formed two beautiful bays on each hand of it, stretches away in direct view, till it joins the British Channel; it is skirted on either side with gently-rising grounds, clothed with thick wood, and directly cross its mouth rise the high lands of the Isle of Wight at distance, but distinctly seen in the bosom of the woods (concealed from profane eyes) lie hid the ruins of Netteley Abbey; there may be richer and greater houses of religion, but the abbot is content with his situation. See there, at the top of that hanging meadow, under the shade of those old trees that bend into a half circle about it, he is walking slowly (good man !) and bidding his beads for the souls of his benefactors, interred in that venerable pile that lies beneath him. Beyond it (the meadow still descending) nods a thicket of oaks that mask the building, and have excluded a view too garish and luxuriant for a holy eye; only on either hand they leave an opening to the blue glittering sea. Did you not observe how, as that white sail shot by and was lost, he turned and crossed himself to drive
the tempter from him that had thrown that distraction in his way? I should tell you that the ferryman who rowed me, a lusty young fellow, told me that he would not for all the world pass a night at the Abbey (there were such things seen near it) though there was a power of money hid there. From thence I went to Salisbury, Wilton, and Stonehenge: but of these things I say no more, they will be published at the University press.
P.S. I must not close my letter without giving you one principal event of my history; which was, that in the course of my late tour) I set out one morning before five o'clock, the moon shiņing through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea-coast time enough to be at the sun's levee. I saw the clouds and dark
vapours open gradually to right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreathes, and the tide (as it flowed gently in upon the sands) first whitening, then slightly tinged with gold and blue; and all at once a little line of insufferable brightness that (before I can write these five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen.* It is very odd it makes no figure on paper; yet I shall remember it as long as the sun, or at least as long as I endure. I wonder whether any body ever saw it before; I hardly believe it.
* This puts me in mind of a similar description written by Dr. Jeremy Taylor, which I shall here beg leave to present to the reader, who will find by it that the old divine had occasionally as much power of description as even our modern Poet. As when the sun approaches towards the gates of the morning, he first opens a little eye of heaven, and sends away the spirits of darkness; gives light to the cock, and calls up the lark to matins; and by and by gilds the fringes of a cloud, and peeps over the eastern hills, thrusting out his golden borns *** still (while a man tells the story) the sun gets up higher till he shews a fair face and a full light.”—J. Taylor's Holy Dying, p. 17.