페이지 이미지
PDF

Mr. Baines takes great care of the archives of his school. In one of the upper rooms there is a library of old and wellbound books. The school was founded by Edwyne Sandys, Archbishop of York, in 1585. The large and elaborate charter issued by Queen Elizabeth is still perfect. The parchment is decorated with a contemporary full-length portrait of Elizabeth on her throne, and with the symbols of her kingdom, as described in her title —“Elizabeth Regina, Anglie, Francie, et Hiberne.” The lion and unicorn, harp and shamrock, are there, but instead of the Scotch thistle there is the French lily. All these illuminations, including the portrait, were made by the hand. The ancient “Rules” of the school are in Archbishop Sandys's handwriting ; they prescribe, among other queer things, that . the master must not enter public-houses on the days of fairs, nor participate in cock-fights, nor wear a dagger. Hawkeshead was a markettown, with four fairs a year, and such regulations were very important. The archbishop's Bible, metal-bound (1572), containing his family register, is also kept here. Among the sponsors for his grandchildren I observed the name of Washington recurring: Sir John Washington, 1621; Lady Washington, 1629; Mrs. Margaret Washington, 1632 and 1636. It was pleasant to see this name associated with that of the brave chancellor who preferred going to the Tower rather than proclaim Mary queen, and helped to translate the “Bishop's Bible.” Edwyne Sandys was born at Hawkeshead, and his devotion to the culture of the young was rewarded in his son George, called by Dryden “the ingenious and learned Sandys, the best versifier of the former age.” George was also an accomplished traveller, and wrote a good book about the East. The ancient seal of the “Gram

mar School” represented a master with a boy before him ; the master's left hand points upward, his right grasps a bundle of birch rods. The motto is, Docendo discimus. Mr. Baines has learned enough by teaching to allow the birch to remain an antiquarian feature of the school on its seal. Altogether this school-house, with its surrounding larches, and the swallows flitting around it, and the clustering memories, was a very pleasant object. As we looked, a tall and aged gentle

wordsworth's desk.

man passed its door, supporting himself by a cane, whom one could almost imagine to be Wordsworth himself revisiting the scenes of his boyhood. He was presently followed by a quaintly dressed old lady. They were on their way to the church, which is on the hill in a field near by. I was eager to see the Hawkeshead church, remembering the little picture of it in the “Prelude”: “The snow-white church upon the hill Sits like a thronèd lady, sending out A gracious look all over her domain.” A “restoration” has changed this snowwhite to stone-gray, but it has also added a very sweet chime of bells, which ring out solemnly on the clear air. Around this church sheep and lambs are grazing, even up to its doors. Its Norman character is preserved. The decorations inside

[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

- “mid a throng Of maids and youths, old men and matrons staid, A medley of all tempers, he had passed A night in dancing, gayety and mirth.”

Wordsworth began writing poetry while at Hawkeshead school, and here partly composed the poem entitled “Lines left upon a seat on a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the Shore, commanding a beautiful Prospect.” This yew has been cut down because of a popular belief that its leaves were poisonous, and injured the cattle. One might pass a long time in this peaceful vale and village, with the “Prelude” for guide; but we must part. Our last thought may well be upon kindly William Taylor, Wordsworth's schoolmaster, buried in Cartwell church-yard, where the poet wrote: “He loved the Poets, and, if now alive, Would have loved me, as one not destitute Of promise, nor belying the kind hope That he had formed, when I, at his command, Began to spin, with toil, my earliest songs.”

Our next visit is to Fox How, long the residence of Dr. Arnold, and still occupied by his daughter. The name may seem curious, but it was given the place in ancient times. “How” is a frequent name in the Lake district; it is from O. N. haugr, a sepulchral mound. Sometimes the remains of a warrior have been found in the hills so called, but the word seems to have been applied to any moundlike hill. The home of the Arnolds is a beautiful place in itself, but made more so by the remembrance of the good work that has been done here. Here the History of Rome was written. Here also Arnold used to gather around him the young scholars who were children of his nurture. Since his death it has remained a hallowed spot for the sons of old Rugby. John Keble little knew what he was doing when he persuaded Arnold to take orders in the Church: he was laying the corner-stone of the Broad-Church. Along these walks, and from these far away over hill and dale, two friends used to walk whose lives and works are the filtrated expression of Dr. Arnold's real aim and work. These two were Matthew Arnold and Arthur Clough. Together they studied, thought, succeeded. Fellows of Oriel when there the reigning spirits were Newman, Pusey, and the other Tractarian leaders, they were brothers amid these

scenes of nature, and sat together at the feet of the great poet of Rydal, who loved them. Sometimes, with other friends, they would form a reading party in some charming nook among the lakes. “I came to Fox How about three weeks ago

DR. ARNOLD.

to meet Matt,” writes Clough from Patterdale, July 31, 1844, and goes on to describe their ways. “We began with— breakfast, 8; work, 9.30 to 2.30; bathe, dinner, walk, and tea, 2.30 to 9.30; work, 9.30 to 11. We now have revolutionized to the following constitution, as yet hard: ly advanced beyond paper: Breakfast, 8: work, 9.30 to 1.30; bathe, dinner, 1.30 to 3; work, 3 to 6; walk, ad infinitum ; tea, ditto. M. has gone out fishing, when he ought properly to be working, it being nearly four o'clock, and to-day proceeding in theory according to Constitution No. 2. It has, however, come on to rain furiously; so Walrond, who is working sedulously at Herodotus, and I, who am writing to you, rejoice to think that he will get a good wetting.” The following year Clough writes: “First of all, you will be glad to hear that Matt Arnold is elected Fellow of Oriel. This was done on Friday last, March 28, just thirty years after his father's election. Mrs. Arnold rambling with Tennyson in the Pyrenees —he seeking health, Tennyson revisiting the spots where he had wandered with Arthur Hallam thirty-one years before. In less than a month from the time they parted, this second of the Arthurs Tennyson loved was dead, and a quatrain from “In Memoriam” is inscribed on the Grasmere cenotaph: “Now thy brows are cold, We see thee as thou art, and know Thy likeness to the wise below, Thy kindred with the great of old.”

[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

Having an introduction to the family now occupying Rydal Mount, we were in no danger of making the mistake of Hawthorne, who passed some time peering about, admiring, and perhaps pilfering ivy leaves from a fictitious Rydal Mount. He discovered next day that his enthusiasm had been lavished on the abode of a respectable Quaker. The affluence of flowers and foliage, which made it seem to Hawthorne as if Wordsworth's poetry had manifested itself in flowers, shrubbery, and ivy, still makes the better part of Rydal Mount. As we passed from room to room, they were filled with the fragrance of flowers. The old walk along the grounds, where the poet had chanted every line of his works, reverently as if at his breviary in nature's cathedral, is still here. We moved beneath the same archway of trees, and sat in the bower at its end, which reminded me of those which Mr. Alcott used to build in the grounds of his friends at Concord. Here the young Emerson sat, and listened to the poet reciting his poems. And here, indeed, or on his beat between this and the house door, was the real study and library of Wordsworth. The bower is made of the branches of trees, and its only ornament is such as has climbed from the earth or been deposited from the air. He must have sat here gazing upon Rydal Water with its islets, and the hills with their shining raiment of cloud and cascade, until he was in a state of absorption, like a holy Hindoo yogi in his sacred grove, on whose lap the serpent unnoted casts its skin.

A lady who in her youth passed some time at Rydal Mount, the families being intimate, told me that when she saw the old man out in this or some other haunt of his, silent, motionless, gazing, he appeared like some natural object. The very homeliness of his face was its attrac

tion, and in its furrows there were tanned patches that looked somewhat like lichens. But it was not only in external habit and look that Wordsworth was a true Brahmin: he had strangely repeated in spiritual history the mystical development of his far Aryan ancestors. There was much discussion, soon after the “Ode to Immortality” appeared, as to what the poet meant by his thanksgivings for “fallings from us, vanishings, blank misgivings of a creature moving about in worlds not realized.” A professor at Oxford related to me that, being on a walk with Wordsworth, he asked him what he meant by those phrases. Whereupon the poet grasped the rail of a gate with both hands, and said: “I have again and again in my life been driven to grasp the nearest object, like this, in order to convince myself that the world is not an illusion. It has seemed falling away, vanishing, leaving me, as it were, in a world not realized.” We went by the way of Radical Reform to Grasmere. Dr. Arnold gave the three roads between Rydal and Grasmere their names: the highest, “Old Corruption”; the middle, “Bit-by-bit Reform”; the lowest and most level, “Radical Reform.” Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy also added to these new Pilgrim's-Progress names, having called a spot ‘‘ Point Rash Judgment.” Wordsworth never liked “Radical Reform,” whereby a fine carriage-road had been carried over a country he had known when it was wild (to him another word for picturesque). But this is a region where one could by no effort escape the picturesque. When first the eye rests upon Grasmere Water, and upon the hills and dales everywhere, it really stills conversation; one lapses into a hushed feeling, as if it were dream-land, and a loud word might break the spell. The Grasmere cottages, too, were so charming that I could understand the absoluteness with which Hawthorne said, “This little town of Grasmere seems to me as pretty a place as ever I met with in my life.” And among these none is more charming than Dove Cottage. Here, at the close of the last century (December 21, 1799), Wordsworth and his sister came to dwell, in what had formerly been a public-house—The Dove and Olive-Bough. There, in 1807, De Quincey visited him. “I was,” he wrote, “ushered up a little flight of stairs, fourteen in all, to a little

« 이전계속 »