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he was seized with a dropsical complaint, and in a few months Words. worth had sung:
The mighty minstrel breathes no longer ;
Mid mouldering ruins low he lies,
Has closed the shepherd-poet's eyes.
Hogg's perpetual losses, as already indicated, led to much "potboiling” literary work, which has now passed into oblivion, as work of that kind should be allowed to do. But no shades of oblivion are ever likely to close round his “Bird of the Wilderness,” or “ Cam'ye by Athole?" or "Flora Macdonald's Lament,” or “ Come o'er the Stream, Charlie,” or “When the Kye comes Hame," to mention only a few songs the production of which must always give a glory to the Vale of Ettrick, already consecrated by the memory of the old balladsingers. These songs, it is safe to predict, will keep the Shepherd's memory green as long as there are Scottish men and maidens to sing them. Apart from his songs, Hogg's real strength lay in the realm of the supernatural. “I'm king o' the mountain and fairy school ” he said to Scott, and he was right. No other poet has ever described Fairyland so well. It is his genius in this direction that makes “The Queen's Wake” his best poem, and “The Brownie of Bodsbeck” his best prose fiction. The rest of his works might very well be forgotten, and the world of literature would be none the poorer ; but these must live.
J. CUTHBERT HADDEN
ENGRAVEN IN THE STONES:
A RECORD OF WORCESTER CATHEDRAL.
I JISTORY is of two kinds. In the more restricted sense it 11 implies the narrative of events contained in written documents; but in the widest application of the term is comprehended all knowledge of facts derived from external sources, written or otherwise ; the almost synonymous Latin and Greek words mean strictly "a matter of record.” It is with this broader definition that I am tempted to notice some of the fragments of history enshrined within the fabric of Worcester Cathedral, which are more ancient than the Bible itself, or than any manuscript that the world has ever known, for they are inscribed in the very stones.
Approaching the cathedral from the river-side, we are at once impressed with the varying tints of the sandstone, the material used throughout in the main structure of the building. Excavated in the neighbourhood of Ombersley, in Worcestershire, this New Red sandstone, as distinguished from the Devonian, or Old Red, is from a substratum of the Triassic system of rocks; it lies beneath the saliferous marls of Droitwich, and a capital section is exposed in a cutting of the Midland Railway at Bromsgrove station. The stone being warm in tone, compact in texture, and fairly durable, is eminently suited for the building of the early English church; and the varying shades of colour render the effect peculiarly attractive from an artistic point of view when the newness of the surface has somewhat worn away, or been mellowed in the lapse of time.
In order to appreciate more fully the teaching of the stones it is necessary to travel far afield beyond the portals of the peaceful shrine on the banks of the placid Severn.
Vast ages back in geological time, before the Tertiary sediment, the chalk, the Cotswold Oolites, or the Lias clays were deposited, the interstratified beds of the Worcestershire Trias were formed in lakes or lagoons, communicating, perhaps, with the ocean, from the disintegration of still more ancient gneiss and micaceous schist. In the rocks of Trias age, thus gradually accumulated in the marshy wastes, were embedded the bones of the first mammal which is known to have existed on the earth, the fossil remains possessing the characters of the surviving marsupials of Australia. Ripple marks preserved in some of the hardened sands of the Trias strata prove the existence in those periods, incalculably remote, of tidal action; every day you may see the same ridge and furrow produced by the ebb of the tide in the lower estuary of the Severn. In the Trias flagstones also are found the impressions caused by the feet of birds and quadrupeds, even as the imprints are left to-day on the sand or mud of the seashore. The Trias stones of the cathedral simply tell of an epoch when the heart of England was a series of saline lagoons and islets more or less in connection with a tidal ocean, with a flora and fauna widely divergent from those of our present temperate zone, but linked to them by innumerable gradations in successive epochs—necessarily imperfect in the lapse of ages, but sufficiently clear to teach us that life comes only from life, since the remote period when incipient matter was first endowed with animation by the Giver of all life. The fossil plants from strata associated with the quarries from which the cathedral stones are derived indicate a semi-tropical climate, where the shallow waters of the inland lagoons slowly evaporated beneath a torrid sun; where wingless, or nearly wingless, birds, such as the New Zealand apteryx, the wood-hen of Lord Howe's Island, or the emu of the antipodean plains, flourished by reed-clad shores; and where marsupial animals bounded across the arid wastes of sand. The deposits of solid rock salt in both the Cheshire and Worcestershire marls are the product of this epoch, whilst the same process can be studied amid the plains of Central Asia or in the diminishing lake system of South Australia. Indeed, it is in the Trias period that we find the commencement of the typical flora and fauna which slowly develop through the Purbeck ages of geologists into the geological and botanical horizon now prevailing in certain portions of the Australian island continent. Within the portals of the cathedral we may discover another link in the chain of development. Let us proceed direct to the Gothic choir, which is so thoroughly expressive of a devotional spirit, and so perfect in every detail, that it might well be compared with the far-famed “Angel Choir” of Lincoln Minster, the finest in the land. A good deal of the elegance displayed at Worcester is derived from the free use of the Purbeck shafts throughout, a material which the early English architects employed to advantage in most of our cathedrals and abbey churches. The blue-grey of the polished surfaces lends an agreeable contrast to the carved stone work ; the sombre marble, together with the foliated capitals and richly carved bosses, give sufficient decoration without additional colour being applied to the stone. Effective as they are for architectural purposes, there is something more in connection with these slender columns which suggest material for deep reflection, even if it be not on lines precisely ecclesiastical. An examination of a single shaft at once shows many sections of fossil shells belonging rather to a series of land testacea than to marine genera of mollusca. There are fragments of Paludinae, Planorbi, and Limnaea, often enough exhibiting the internal divisions or segment walls of the different shells. If I might take a hammer to chip the marble pillar, I could obtain a whole collection of shells, with the remains of microscopic Cypridae always found in the upper Purbeck rocks. At Swanage or Lulworth, in Dorset, the strata may be studied in situ. These freshwater limestones constitute the upper series of the Oolitic system, rocks relatively newer than the Trias strata. The Purbeck shafts in Worcester Cathedral are, consequently, almost as old as the Cotswold hills. The abundance of fossil remains in corresponding beds prove very clearly that a semi-tropical climate existed in England at the period, as in the Trias days; the vegetation and terrestrial fauna have also a most curious affinity with that of Australia. In the Trias period we found evidences of the dawn of the marsupial era in the palaeontological remains, such as Microlestes antiquus. Now, in the Oolitic epoch this becomes the typical order, some twenty-five genera of marsupials having been discovered in the middle Purbeck rocks, embedded together with the remains of tropical plants. All the animals of that age had the progression of the kangaroo, and apparently carried the young in the characteristic pouch, and they lived amid cycadaceous plants, palms, araucarias ; great tree ferns flourished then, as they now do in Australia. Standing in the recesses of one of those glorious gullies in the great mountain range of New South Wales, we might actually imagine ourselves thrown suddenly back into the remote Purbeck days. The rock wallaby bounding through the scrub; the strange proteaceous plants and luxuriant tree ferns are all links of the great Secondary age. Mr. Wallace has shown us how this vast island continent has been severed by a deep sea channel from the Asian archipelago and main ever since the Secondary period. Progress has been arrested, so to speak, in Australia, where, with the single exception of the opossum, the marsupial order—once predominant—alone survives. Standing by moonlight amongst the weird white gum trees, I have watched a queer bat hanging head downwards from the boughs, the piercing dark eyes gleaming in the half light from the sharp-featured face. It was but a harmless flying fox, yet suggestive enough of some blood-sucking vampire or winged reptile of pterodactyle kind, whose fossil bones had risen again in the flesh. What an old-world creature, again, is the duck-billed platypus, gliding silently into some flowing stream. In this anomalous animal Nature has surely been trying her hand at halfa-dozen orders in one. The flat bill is that of a bird, the fur is that of a burrowing mole, the feet and poison glands are reptilian in character. Although the creature lays eggs, the young are suckled after the manner of marsupial mammals. The shells in the brackish lakes are allied to those embedded in the Purbeck limestones, and the primate fronds of the living Macrozamia are almost identical with cone-bearing cycads of Oolitic times. Amongst the fishes of North Australia lingers the Ceratodus, the survival of ancient orders with the primitive structure of the Devonian period Everything. we see is the survival of an ancient fauna and flora, amid which mankind seems out of place. There is a slab of stone in the Chapel of Prince Arthur, at Worcester, which speaks eloquently of these past ages. Supporting the canopies of the arcade, dividing the choir from the north aisle, the slender columns are of polished Carboniferous limestone, either from the Derbyshire or North Wales hills, Primary rocks dating from the formation of the Coal-measures. This stone, or marble I ought rather to call it (any limestone which takes a high polish is called marble), is crowded with an extraordinary wealth of organic remains, such as now exist in the depths of the far-off Pacific Ocean of another hemisphere ; these clear waters and torrid climes favour the growth of corals at suitable depths : encrinites, polyzoa, and a wealth of marine life luxuriate. On the shores of Ceylon, for example, the clear tidal pools teem with an exuberance of life, even as did the Carboniferous and Wenlock seas, in which the fossils of the polished limestones had their origin. A glimpse into one of those rocky pools on the shores of the Indian Ocean surely affords us a picture of what the Carboniferous seas were like. I have gazed from some small promontory into a realm of brilliant colour, where bright algae, madrepores of violet and green, corals and sponges, or crimson gorgonia are mingled in lavish profusion. Jewelled fishes flash in and out like fire opals, and spiny echinoderms revel in the transVOL. CCLXxiii. No. 1941. X