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the medium upon which it is inscribed, namely, the “ mural tablet” itself. For some unreasonable persons, not understanding this, have objected to the usage of the words “ read” and “ repeated.” We advise young contributors to attend to this example. But to our author.
“ Provost Goodall's monument is now removed to a space opposite the font. In preparing the foundation for its unwieldy dimensions, they unfortunately disturbed the remains of an Eton boy, who died here 100 years ago, aged 11.”
The principal beauty of this sentence lies in the last clause, it strikes us at the very outset,—“ They unfortunately.” With what a charming delicacy does this remove from our mind all low ideas concerning workmen and hammers, noise and rubbish. For we are not so blind as to fail in at once discovering, that the “ they” must refer to the “unwieldy dimensions” before mentioned.
But what eye does not fill with tears at the thoughts of the object which “ they” disturbed ? Does not this suggest more than the “funus acerbum” of Virgil, or the “ θανε δε ξάνθος Μελέαγρος” of Honer. And how much is our interest heightened by the mention of the age and date. Who, on perusing them, does not, after a few minutes calculation, exclaim,-“ If that boy were alive now, he would be an hundred and eleven years of age ?”
But what says he next?
“ And now we exclaim, “Where is the organ loft ? For ever gone! And with it that most odious custom of going up into the gallery on Election Sunday afternoon, after having taken leave. As we pass under the arch which separates the choir from the ante-chapel, we
observe that formerly an arch of greater span than the present one originally existed. Let us hope that it will be restored !”
How grandly abrupt is this commencement! Yet who does not in a humbler strain immediately feel himself mentally making the same exclamation ? Does not the remembrance of the “ odious custom” immediately flash across our minds; and do not we, with the same heartfelt thankfulness, give vent to the “ for ever gone!” Besides, how beautifully true, and how intelligible to all readers is the expression “after having taken leave ?” No unnecessary mention is made of persons or things, of whom leave is taken. No commonplace allusion to the transition from white to rainbowcoloured neckcloths, and such-like. All this is left to the imagination; and what imagination does it not awaken?
We are assured that the contrast between the lighter language of the acute observer of surrounding objects displayed in the next sentence, and the dignified aspirations of the last, will not be lost upon our readers. What versatility of style is here, and at the same time how easily and imperceptibly does this peaceful change steal upon our ears! In this place our author appears for a moment to have lost sight of his usual terseness; when we see the words “formerly” and “originally” both applied to the same subject. This however in our eyes is a beauty. Leave out either one of these words, and how insipid is the sentence! the vague antiquity of the one being balanced by the pleasing certainty and definitiveness with regard to the origin of the arch conveyed by the other. But our readers are burning to see more of this great work.
“And now for the frescoes ; which are for the most part Popish legends of the Virgin Mary, selected chiefly from Vincentius and the Legenda Aurea; (we may here remark, that the chapel is dedicated in honour of St. Marie.) The most curious legend is as follows: A soldier had agreed to sell his wife to Satan, when, as he was leading her to fulfil his agreement, the Virgin assumes the form of the wife, and on reaching the appointed spot the Devil flies away from the Virgin, at the same time reproaching the soldier for having broken his contract. Under each compartment is the reference to Vincentius, by which means the stories have now been made out. Let us hope that the authorities will allow some account, as also copies, of these most interesting and curious relics of mediæval art to be published.”
Ill-minded persons have accused our author of a more familiar expression than beseems his dignity in the “ Now for the frescoes.” As if he considered “these most curious and interesting relics of mediæval art” in the light of some feast or ordinary show. For our part, it seems only to prove his eagerness to enter, with naïveté, on this part of his work, and prepares us for the extraordinary descriptions which follow.
We could here wish that his native modesty had not prevented him from fully displaying that knowledge, of which he gives us so tantalizing a glimpse. He has done enough, however, to betray the deeply-read scholar and the antiquarian. We are also struck with admiration at his novel use of the brackets; for parenthesis we can hardly call that which occurs at the end of a sentence. We have seen clauses of this sort added on, with simply the interposition of a colon ; but we need scarcely point out to the intelligent reader, the advantages of this excellent innovation. As to the Legend, we will not mar this clear and concise little tale by any commentary, beyond pointing out another instance of the effective manner in which our author, Homer-like, leaves it to the imagination to fill up
the void as to the whereabouts of the wife during the transaction, as well as to her ultimate destiny.
The admirable use of the spirited particles “ and now” at the commencement of two successive paragraphs, and the conclusion of the same paragraphs by the reiterated professions of firm yet modest hope, cannot be passed by in silence :— Although some miserable persons have raised an objection against them on the plea of monotony and needless repetition. For our part, we would rather be the author of those few words, than gain the Newcastle Scholarship.
We have now only to regret that space precludes the possibility of our admitting a larger portion of the blaze of this stupendous luminary to the eyes of our dazzled readers at present. Let them prepare their smoked glasses against our next number.
[It is but fair to say that the following piece is from the pen of a former school-fellow, who has left about a year and a half. Henceforth we intend devoting a certain portion-not a very large one-to foreign contributions. The letter which accompanied the following was too complimentary to be passed over in silence.]
THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY A SCENE IN
THE VALE OF LLANGOLLEN.
The moon was up, and o'er Llangollen's vale,
And softly smiled, as from an opening cloud
It is a sight of passing loveliness
So sleeping Nature pleased—so silent all —
I gazed, and could not tear myself away
Still fierce, and fiercer still, the frenzy grew