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Southey accepted it, and Scott wrote him a letter of warmest congratulation on getting this piece of court plaster clapped on his back, and putting himself into a position to be “ well quizzed;" but was quite confounded to learn that the honorarium for the “horrible! thrice horrible!” was not £400 a-year, but only £100 and a butt of wine. I wonder whether poor Southey lived to read Scott's life!
The present illustrious holder of this post accepted it with a dignity worthy of his character and fame, declining it till it was stripped of all its disgusting duties. The next step, it is to be hoped, will be to abolish an office equally derogatory to monarch and subject. No poet of reputation should feel himself in a position to pay mercenary praise; no monarch of this country need purchase praise; to a worthy occupier of the throne it will be freely accorded from the universal heart of the nation.
Crosthwaite Church, in whose grave-yard Robert Southey's remains lie, is about a quarter of a mile from the house, on the Bassenthwaite water-road. It is a very simple and lowly village church with a low square tower, but stands finely in the wide open valley, surrounded at a considerable distance, by the scenery I have described. I suppose it is nearly a mile from the foot of Skiddaw. From Southey's house the walks to it, and again from it along the winding lanes, and over the quiet fields toward Skiddaw, are particularly pleasant. Southey in his Colloquies speaks of the church and church-yard with much affection. Ho quotes the account of an old man who more than fifty years ago spoke of the oldest and finest yew-trees in the country standing in this church-yard, and of having seen all the boys of the school-house near, forty in number, perched at once on the boughs of one of them.
At the northwest corner of the church-yard, stands Southey's tomb. It is a plain altar-tomb of reddish freestone, covered with a slab of blue slate, with this inscription, — "Here lies the body of Robert Southey, LL.D. Poet Laureate; Born August 12, 1774. Died March 26, 1843. Also of Edith his wife, Born May 20, 1774; Died Nov. 16, 1837. I am the resurrection and the life, saith
Close in front of the tomb lies the grave of Mrs. Southey ; and behind, and close to the hedge, stands a stone bearing this inscription,—“ The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Sacred to the memory of Emma Southey, who departed in May 1809, aged 14 months. And of Herbert Southey, who de. parted April 17th, 1816, in the tenth year of his age. Also of George Fricker, their uncle, aged 26, 1814. Also, Isabel Southey, their sister, who departed on the 16th of July, 1826, aged 13 years. Also of Edith Southey, their mother, who departed May, 1837, aged 63. Requiescat in pace."
. I recollected that there was something peculiar connected with the death of the son, Herbert. The old clerk said that his disorder could not be discovered till after his death, but that on opening him, a human hair was found fast round his heart!
I wished to see the pew where the Southeys used to sit, but I found the interior of the church, as well as of his house, undergoing the revolution of repair, or rather of renewal. It seemed as if people had only waited for Southey's death, to begin and clear off all traces of his existence here. The church is fine and capacious within, but all the old pews, all the old seats, pulpit, and every thing belonging to them, have been cleared away, and the whole replaced by fittings in the ancient style. There are nothing but open benches, with a single exception. The benches are of solid oak, with heavy, handsome carving, and have a very goodly and substantial look. The windows are also renewed with handsome painted glass, and the tables of the Decalogue, etc. placed behind the altar, are all painted in
the old missal style. The church will be very handsome, at the same time that it is a sign of the times. Of course Southey's pew is gone. In the church is an ancient monu ment of the Radcliffes, ancestors to the Earl of Derwentwater; and two of the Brownrigs of Armathwaite, immediate maternal relations of my wife.
The close of Southey's life was melancholy. His mind gave way, probably from having been overtasked, and he sunk into a condition of utter imbecility. Shortly before this event he had married, as his second wife, his friend of many years' standing, Caroline Bowles, one of the sweetest and most genuine poetesses of the age. In her early widowhood she has the satisfaction of reflecting, that, as one of the tenderest nurses and most assiduous companions, she did all that mortal power could do to render his last gloomy stage on earth easy and comfortable. She wrote for him when he could no longer write, read to him for days, weeks, months, when he was not allowed to read himself, and watched over him with untiring affection when he was no longer sensible of the value and devotion of these services. What is to be deeply regretted is, that we believe her pecuniary sacrifices by this marriage were as serious as those demanded in the shape of anxiety, vigilance, and physical exertion, from a mind of the quickest feeling and a frame never strong; her own personal income being contingent on such a circumstance. Such a woman, who has adorned the literature of her country with some of its most exquisite contributions, and sacrificed every thing to render the last days of one of its finest writers as serene as possible, ought not to be left to wear away the remainder of her life in the res augustæ domi, stripped of those simple elegances and enjoyments to which, as a gentlewoman, she has always been accustomed. Even they who differ most in opinion from that writer, and most regret the direction which his mind took on many great questions, still admit most cheerfully the brilliant services rendered by him to the
national literature and fame, and would desire that the wife of Robert Southey should enjoy that ease and consideration which his merits, independent of her own, ought to secure her. i .
JOANNA BAILLIE. The powerful dramatic writer, the graceful and witty lyrist, and the sweet and gentle woman, who has for so many years, in her quiet retreat at Hampstead, let the world flow past her as if she had nothing to do with it, nor cared to be mentioned by it, was born in one of the most lovely and historical districts of Scotland. She was born in a Scottish manse, in the upper dale of the Clyde, which has, for its mild character and lavish production of fruit, been termed “Fruitland.” As you pass along the streets of Scotch towns, you see on fruit-stalls in the summer, piles of plums, pears, and other fruits, labeled " Clydesdale Fruit.” One of the finest specimens of the fruit of this luxuriant and genial dale, is Joanna Baillie, a name never pronounced by Scot or Briton of any part of the empire, but with the veneration due to the truest genius, and the affection which is the birthright of the truest specimens of womanhood. The sister of the late amiable and excellent Dr. Baillie, the friend of Walter Scott, the woman whose masculine muse every great poet has for nearly half-a-century delighted to honor, Joanna Baillie, wrote because she could not help pouring out the fullness of her heart and mind, and the natural consequence was fame; otherwise, whoever sees that quiet, amiable, and unassuming lady, easy and cheerful as when she played beneath the fruitladen boughs of her native garden, sees that, though not scorning the fair reputation of well exercised intellect, she is at home in the bosom of home, and lets no restless desire for mere fame disturb the pure happiness of a serene life, and the honor and love of those nearest and dearest to her. Had the lambent flame of genius not burned in the