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The contents of this volume display occasionally acuteness, some knowledge of the world, and great facility of style; but there is one predominant fault in it-the author is always mistaking his own feelings for those of the generality of mankind, from whom he seems to differ in no ordinary degree.
Illustrations, Historical, Biographical,
and Miscellaneous, of the By the Rev. RICHARD
A volume bearing this title has just fallen into our hands. author is well known to the public by some useful and amusing works. This volume is only a part, as we understand, of a much larger work which he means to publish on the subject, and is merely in illustration of Ivanhoe. We cannot say much for the taste with which the selection is made, nor for the rarity of the materials. The Gentleman's Magazine and the Antiquarian Repository, and other equally humble sources, are those from which Mr. Warner has drawn his knowledge.
We select the illustration of the character of Robin Hood, which will give the reader a fair specimen of the style and quality of the whole volume:
'The character of Locksley, or Robin Hood, in the novel we are considering, is drawn so admirably, and with so much picturesque effect, that we should be sorry to consider it as a mere fanciful sketch, and are anxious to find in recorded history the archetype of so interesting a personage. The slight foundation for it, however, which history affords, serves only to manifest the creative power of our author's genius, who, from a few detached and almost shadowy materials, could produce a form of such complete and palpable beauty. The utmost diligence of some of our most patient antiquaries has collected for us only the following particulars of this celebrated outlaw.
"The legend of Robin Hood," says Sir John Hawkins, "is of great antiquity; for in the Vision of Pierce Plowman, written by Robert Langland, or Longland, a secular priest, and a fellow of Oriel college, and who flourished in the reign of Edward III. is this passage:
"I cannot perfitly my Pater-noster as the prist it singeth;
But of our Lord or our Lady, I lerne nothing at all."
Yet Ames takes no notice of any early impression of his songs. He mentions one only, intitled 'King Edward, Robin Hood, and Little John,' printed by Caxton, or at least in his house, about the year 1500; the last edition of his Garland of any worth is that of 1719.
"The history of this popular hero is but little known; and all the scattered fragments concerning him, could they be brought together, would fall short of satisfying such an inquirer as none but real and well-authenticated facts will content. We must take his story as we find it. Stow in his Annals gives the following account of him.
"In this time (about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.), were many robbers and outlawes, among which Robin Hood
and little John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them; or by resistance for their own defence.
"The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men, and good archers, with such spoiles and thefts as he got; upon whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested: poore men's goods he spared, abundantlie relieuing them with that which by theft he gat from abbies, and the houses of rich earles: whom Maior (the historian) blameth for his rapine and theft; but of all theeves he affirmeth him to be the prince, and the most gentle theefe." Annals, p. 159.
Bishop Latimer, in his Sermons, tells the following story relating to him.
"I came once myselfe to a place, riding on a journey homeward from London, and I sent word ouer night into the town that I would preach there in the morning, because it was holyday, and methought it was on holidaye's work. The church stoode in my way, and Į took my horse and my company and went thither, (I thought I should have found a great companye in the church ;) and when I came there the church-doore was fast locked. I taryed there halfe an houre and more; and at last the key was found, and one of the parish comes to me, and sayes, Syr, this is a busie day with us. We cannot heare you, it is Robinhoode's day. The parish are gone abroad to gather for Robinhoode; I pray you let them not. I was fayne there to giue place to Robinhoode. I thought my rochet would have been regarded, though I were not; but it would not serue, it was fain to giue place to Roinhoode's men."- Sermon VI. before King Edward VI. fol. 75, b.
There is one other passage relating to the favorite sport of hunting, which having extracted, we shall forbear to give any more:
'The melioration of forest law afforded to all the privileged classes of our ancestors an opportunity of enjoying a sport for which all felt a strong propensity; and hunting and hawking (for they were frequently associated together) became at once the most popular as well as fashionable of all amusements. They had already availed themselves of every occasional relaxation in the laws against hunting, or of any period in which they were not rigidly enforced, to indulge their ardour for the chase; but relieved, as they now were, from cruel restrictions and dangerous consequences, not only the higher classes of laymen, but ecclesiastics and ladies, also, sought and formed their chief delight in the "mad tumult and discordant joy" of this favorite sport. That the fair sex pursued it with frequency and ardour is manifest from many descriptions of, and allusions to, the subject, in our early writers; and, especially, from delineations which remain to this day of hunting matches in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. From the latter we find that the ladies were sometimes accustomed to go to the field in the most independent way; with no male attendant, armed with bows and arrows; provided with dogs and horns; and we must add (though loth) mounted on horsebrck, in the manner of the rougher sex. This masculine practice, however, was not general or VOL. 1. Aug. 1823. Br. Mag.
long continued. They appear usually as companions of the rougher sex; riding in a litter or chair, which was either borne by men, or carried on a horse; and as being rather spectators of the sport, than actually engaged in pursuing the objects of it. Not such, however, was the hunting practised by the clerical Nimrods. Bishops, and abbots, and priors, and deans, mingled in the chase; and carried, if we may credit their contemporaries, a far greater activity in its occupations, than in the exercise of the functions of their profession. A few examples will justify the assertion.
'Walter, Archdeacon of Canterbury, who was promoted to the see of Rochester in 1147, spent the whole of his time in hunting, to the utter neglect of all the high duties of his office. He lived to a very advanced age; and, when eighty years old, was as keen a sportsman
'Of the same character and habits was Reginald Brian, translated to the see of Worcester, in 1352. In an extant manuscript epistle of his, addressed to the Bishop of St. David's, Reginald reminds the holy father of a promise which he had made, to send him six brace of excellent hunting dogs: the best (as the sportsman confesses) that he had ever seen. Of these, Reginald says, he had been in daily anxious expectation; and he declares that his heart languished for their arrival. "Let them come then (he entreats), oh! reverend father, without delay let my woods re-echo with the music of their cry, and the cheerful notes of the horn; and let the walls of my palace be decorated with the trophies of the chase.”
William de Clowne, whom his biographer celebrates as the most amiable ecclesiastic that ever filled the abbot's throne of St. Mary's in Leicestershire, was a deep adept in all the mysteries of hunting. That his kennel might always be well supplied, he requested Richard JI. to grant him a market or fair, for the sale and purchase of sporting dogs; a request which the king complied with, seeing the abbot passionately desired it. He was, continued his eulogist, the most famous and knowing sportsman after a hare in the kingdom; insomuch that the king himself, Prince Edward his son, and most of the grandees in the realm, allowed him annual pensions, for his instructions in the art of hare hunting.
• Chaucer, the admirable and faithful painter of the manners of his age, has given us a very particular and amusing portrait of a sporting monastic of the fourteenth century; the original (probably) from which the abbot in Ivanhoe is copied.
‹ A monk there was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An outrider that loved venerie :
A manly man to ben and abbot able:
Ful meny a dainte hors hadde he in stable,
And when he rode, men might his bridle here
The reule of St. Maure and of St. Beneit,
He gave not of the text a pulled hen
Greihoundes he hadde, as swift as foul of flight:
The popularity of the amusement of hunting among our forefathers gave rise to a variety of treatises on the subject; in which the art was considered in all its branches, the most approved modes of pursuing it described, instructions given to the tyro, hints suggested to the more advanced sportsman, and rules laid down for the observ. ance of those who filled the various offices of the forest or park, the kennel or the stable. One of the most curious of these treatises extant is a MS. written at the beginning of the fourteenth century, in Norman French, by William Twici, grand huntsman to Edward II. An ancient translation of it into English is preserved among the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum.
، The treatise begins thus, for it is a motley composition, partly verse, partly prose:
، Alle such dysport as voydeth (prevents) ydilnesse,
It sytteth (suits) every gentilman to knowe,
Wherefore among alle other, as I trowe,
As this booke shall witnesse, is ove (of) the beste,
For it is holsium, pleasaunt, and honest.'
It then enumerates and describes the different beasts that were objects of the chase in England; and proceeds, in the manner of a dialogue, to inform the huntsman how he ought to blow his horn, at the different points of the hunt.'
This volume contains about three hundred and fifty pages, and is exclusively devoted to Ivanhoe. If the future Illustrations should be of the same extent, compared with the greater light which is thrown upon more recent histories, we shall have illustrations much larger than the novels themselves. If this is our inevitable doom, we shall only have to pray that they may be better than the present.
THE KING OF THE PEAK.
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE CAVALIER.
Mr. Lee Gibbons approaches nearer to the Great Unknown, in style as well as in the nature of his subjects, than any other living novelist. We hardly need say that he is vastly inferior to that popular author; but it is probable that some further practice in his metier will bring him to a respectable competition with his rival.
The story of the King of the Peak is founded upon one of the many plots which were begun and defeated against Queen Elizabeth. The chief personage in the novel is Edward Stanley, the youngest son of the Earl of Derby. This character is not only better drawn than any other in the novel, but it is also so well drawn that every other of the personages is thrown entirely in the shade, and plays a very subordinate part, He is a young soldier of a violent temper, courageous, and rash; and, to all the good qualities of a soldier, he adds the unrelenting sanguinary rage of a bravo. Ever ready to engage in quarrel, and to spill blood to obey the impulses of his own passions, he disregards all ties of humanity, loyalty, and religion.
At the opening of the novel he arrives at Liverpool, accompanied by a Jesuit priest and a German mercenary officer, who are his coadjutors in an attempt to raise a revolution in England. He first attempts his own father, the Earl of Derby, who, indignant at his proposal, orders him and his companions into close custody, and purposes to carry them to the Isle of Man, of which he is sovereign, in order to get them out of the kingdom. On the voyage he is attacked by a Spanish captain, who is also an agent in the plot; and, by the superior strength of his ship, rescues the German and the Jesuit, and carries them off. Both the ships are afterwards wrecked, and the Earl of Derby's life is saved by the exertions of his son. This young man falls in love with the Lady Margaret Vernon, who is betrothed to his elder brother Thomas, and is one of the two daughters of Sir George Vernon, commonly called the King of the Peak. He makes an attempt upon this lady, and she has every thing to fear from his violence, when she is rescued by a sort of maniac and fanatic who has lived upon her father's estate, and who, by his cries, brings persons to her rescue. Her fears lest she should be the cause of a deadly quarrel between the brothers induce her to keep this adventure a secret; and she contents herself with taking such precautions as shall in future protect her from Edward Stanley's violence. Her father is a Catholic, and not well inclined towards the government: on him Edward Stanley resolves to renew his attempts; and, visiting him in his castle, he succeeds in enlisting him in the plot, and in engaging the hand of his younger daughter, the Lady Dorothy. Some reports have got abroad respecting a person who haunts the forest in the neighbourhood, who is called the Outlaw, and who is said to be a lover of the Lady Dorothy's. To this mysterious personage Stanley is accidentally introduced on his road to Haddon, Sir George Vernon's seat, whither he repairs with a foolish knight, Sir Simon Degge. Calling at the