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THE HE first view is not very striking; grey oruamented walls, among green wood. The interior, however, is extremely interesting, especially one long roofless hall, with a large window at each end. A high and spacious building is thrown off from one side of this, like one of the arms of a cross, and is surrounded by two ranges of tall arches one above the other. This is the most perfect and beautiful part of the edifice. Trees, that appear the growth of a century, are towering up among the ruins, and replace with their foliage, the roof which formerly shaded the building. These green and stately plants, and the thick creepers
Who'd fondly kneel at Slavery's shrine And hug control.
Oh then, ye sons of Earth, whene'er The voice of Freedom calls, Hasten with deepest love, but spare The wretch that crawls.
Hark! hark! methinks I hear a cry
While near yon lightsome beaming cloud
""Tis he, 'tis he," a burst of light Unveils Heaven's majesty,
And earths hurras one name unite"Lepeletier!"*
A MEDITATION AT NETLEY ABBEY.
(From the unpublished Travels of Theodore Elbert, a young Swede.)
which enwreath and robe every pointed arch and slender column, and wrap the rough grey fragments of the walls now scattered over the whole area, have taken away all the rawness and soreness of recent desolation, and that nature which manifests itself with so much glory in the heavens above, and the landscape around them, seems to press with her soft embrace, and hallow with her fresh beauty, these mouldering remains of art.
Yet the prevailing aspect of antiquity completely prevents us from thinking of the fabric, as of anything but the relic of an elder age and this is well, for everything is in itself
"Salus populi, suprema lex esto," was his polar star. He sealed his last vote with his blood, and died happy in the cause of Liberty.-See his Works, collected by his Brother.
salutary which connects us with the past, and teaches us to feel that we do not stand isolated in the waste of time. It is good for us to contemplate our kind as connected through all its epochs, and knit into unity; and there is no better state of mind than that which revives and cherishes within us those generous and charitable, or serene, meditative strains of sentiment, which carry, through all the centuries of history, as it were, one golden thread, one fresh rivulet, a single beam of happy light. I would not willingly persuade myself that there is no touch of natural affection in the kindly reverence with which we survey the handy work or muse among the sepulchres, of preceding generations; and I have far more charity for Jew, Turk, or Pagan, than for him who would make me an enemy to the past, by proving that it is inimical to me. The person who would really destroy our veneration for the annals and legacies of our fathers, is he who attempts to make their wisdom a warrant for our folly; and who turns our respect and sympathy for the monuments of buried ages into gall and bitterness, by forcing us to dwell, like the maniacs, in the tombs. Such men bring the ancient days from the natural distance at which mankind are willing to worship them, and mix them up with the business and interests of the present. Our ancestors thought, planned, struggled, and conquered for themselves, and with reference to the circumstances of their era; and oftentimes they did so nobly and wisely. But would that there were none of us who make the insignia of their free and sublime spirits to be collars of iron round our necks, and chains upon our hands. We are ready to honour their trophies, but why should we bear them like burthens on our backs; or wherefore should the crowns they won be turned into foolscaps for their children?
tude of its pinnacles. I would understand it, feel it, gaze upon it, even as I do now. The abbey, I believe, belonged to the Cistercians, and the horses of Cromwell's dragoons were afterwards stabled in its cloisters. These skeleton windows were probably once filled with gorgeous tints, with grotesque fiends, and hoary martyrs. These aisles resounded with the pealings of white-robed choirs. Here was the solemn and burly abbot, and the dark files of cowled monks; and a vassal peasantry crowded together, at awful distance from their holy superiors; and here too, perhaps, some neighbouring baron would resort, to atone, by occasional ten-fold devotion, for habitual contempt of friars, and violation of ecclesiastical canons. On some high festival, how would all these be lighted up and harmonised by a blaze of tapers, under the shadow of lofty and gloomy arches, into a rich perspective of brilliant and solemn colours, venerable forms and awful symbols; while the deep tones of spiritual exhortation, and the exulting or imploring melodies of devotion gave a purport, and meaning, and heaven-ward application to the whole. Then came the age when children loitered and clambered among the ruins of the monastery, and sheep fed quietly round broken images, and the defaced carved work of the sanctuary; and so generations passed. And again, with what a confident joy must the decay of this noble fabric have been surveyed by the stern soldiers of the Commonwealth, while some highly-gifted and many-scarred trooper placed himself on a mass of the ruin, and holding the Bible on one hand, while he leaned with the other on his dinted broad-sword, expounded the advantages of those mansions of the heavenly Jerusalem which the elect were destined to inherit over these eartbly tabernacles of antichrist; till, warming with the beloved theme, amid the shattered buttresses and roofless aisles, he would lead the voices of the grim enthusiasts in a hymn of
I love a ruin wisely, but not too well. There are those who manifest the excess of their affection by measuring its area, and taking the alti
thanksgiving and triumph, for the fall of Babylon the great, and the overthrow of the high places of idolatry; and, perhaps, at last, fling off cloak, belt, and cuirass, and toil at the lever and the mine to promote the work of desolation.
Scarcely a trace now remains, even to the gaze of fancy, by which we may guess at the details of those means which gradually destroyed the fabric. All is now softened and made beautiful, and inspired with one consistent character and soul, by the overgrowth of luxuriant creepers. The green foliage of many soaring trees waves its dappled shadow over the walls and the weed-matted area; and the abbey, with its broken columns and crumbled ornaments, seems to have become a portion of universal nature, a graceful feature of a glorious countenance, an original member of the landscape in which it stands; born of the same mother and by the same generation, as the ivy which crowns the trees which overshadow, and the blue bright sky and eternal sun which illuminate and smile upon it. The grey massy stones look as if they had grown up, like the hills and woods, by some internal energy, from the centre, and expanded themselves, amid the co operating elements, into a pile of silent loveliness, a place of solemn and lonely meditation, fit for the quiet reveries of the idly active, or the high and various fancies of a poet.
This it may be to any one whose mind is capable of seeing more in a beautiful ruin than in a curious machine, or a pretty toy,-anything more than an object to be looked at for half an hour, thought of for a minute, and talked about for a day. But, to those whose conceptions and feelings mount higher even than poetry or speculation, Netley Abbey is a still more happy retreat ; one abounding in wealthier secrets, and instinct with more grateful and healthy contemplations. To him who thinks that there is a peculiar religion in temples, and that where
is the carved work of the temple, there must necessarily dwell the glo ry of the Shechinah, Netley was long ago desecrated by the silencing of its choir, the rending of its arches, the overthrow of its altar. But, if we know and feel that there are places of worship besides the church and the closet, and other perches for meditation than the cushion of a pulpit, then we shall find, among these bro ken remains, a soul still living under the ribs of death, perhaps as power ful and as religious as that which once inhabited their full-blown pomp. What finer moral breathes among the discourses spoken so often to careless ears, and the prayers that so many millions of times have been ut tered by mechanical lips, than those thoughts which meet and detain us, and make around us a voiceless me. lody, in these dim and breezy courts? What more exquisite harmony be tween the deeds of God and of man than those graceful and almost invi sible blendings of art and nature, where the architecture, said to have been originally copied from the forest paths, is now again assimilated to them, and mingled with and raised to the fresh and living beauty of its prototype? What more just and easy gradation from man to God, than in the cemented lump of stone on which we sit, the wild flower which springs from it, the bush by which it is clasped and shaded, and the tall ash which, rising above the columned buttresses, upswells to and waves amid the skies? These walls, methinks, are as the incomplete and perishable circuit of those peculiar forms and sectarian modes of religion which we are all placed in during childhood, and to which we com monly cling through life with a foud, and unreasoning, and, sometimes, a jealous and angry affection. The verdure, and foliage, and clinging fibres, and lofty stems, image out that universal and inward faith, which gives to these their purport and beauty, life, power, and saving spirit. Sown by no human hand, springing up by the law of their own being,
watered and fostered only by the skies, they clothe and crown these dead and mouldering works of man's contrivance, surround them with all loveliness, and fill them with strength - and vitality, make them a shrine, not aloue for Benedictine or Cistercian, for Roman Catholic or Protestant, but for the unselfish and pious, heart =of all races, ages, sects, and circumstances; and show that, let artificial fanes and marble altars remain or perish as they will, that influence of the creative son, that energy of the Logos, which made, and moves, and blesses the universe and the soul of
man, will always open in the wilderness a fountain whereat we may quench our thirst, and rear up, amid the ruins, a temple holier than that made with hands. Is it not, indeed, possible, that these relics are an emblem of that fallen nature which built the structure? May it not be, that, Like it, man once was an upright and goodly being, applied only to those aims for which he was framed and consecrated, admitting to his heart
no employment but the offices of prayer and praise; and yet that, when this perfection was overthrown and decayed, there remained the seeds of feeling, so pure, and aspiring, and spiritual, as may enable us to rise higher and nearer towards the source and centre of love, than the point at which we stood in the freshness of our race? The work of purification may leave the gold more precious than if it never had been debased by the worthless alloys of its ore. But, Now dewy twilight o'er these shattered walls Breathes from the closing eyelids of the skies,
The blessed night, with starry influence, falls O'er carv'd remains and boughs, that heavenward rise;
THERE are several thousand Chiffoniers in Paris of all ages and both sexes; but in order to be thoroughly understood, I must first
scribe what sort of being a Chiffonier really is. Do you see that very old decrepit person in the distance, with a wicker basket on his back, and a long stick with a crook at the end of it in his hand? That is a Chiffonier. At all hours and at all seasons he plies his avocations. At the dead of night, you may behold him with the aid of a Lampion rak ing amidst heaps of congenial filth at the corners, and in the middle of streets, lanes, and allies. Nor does the morning close his labours. Behold him at "peep o' dawn," gliding along with furtive glance, now direct ed to the coté gauche, now averted to the coté droit. Observe how his eye glistens, and how his quickened pace
The healing gentleness of evening sighs
From arch to arch, and thrills the slumbering
And, like the memory of dead centuries, The shadows stride before the lingering breeze. The pinions of the heavens, with flechered gloom,
Infold the world, and the adoring earth
To all religion: here there is no tomb,
But holy promise of that second birth When o'er man's ruin beauty shall return, And perfect Love shall light his funeral urn.
proclaims some discovery redolent of soiled paper, or the discarded rags which peradventure covered "looped and windowed poverty." Now he reaches the goal with "hope elate,” and plies his forked wand which elevates those waifs and estrays" into his basket; the refuse of all the world, but which are dear to him from their very worthlessness. See how he scrutinises the heap before that Epicier's shop, how he shifts and shoots the rubbish from one side to the other and extracts " some soul of goodness from things evil." He is your true philosopher, and has found the long-sought stone; for his wand turns all it touches, if not to gold, at least to paper, and what more than paper is a billet de banque? Yet a moment, and he is gone. Unlike the bee who flies from flower to flower, the Chiffonier only flies from
filth to filth: but with the industry of the native of the hive, he extracts from that on which he works all that is valuable to him. Old rags, old paper, white, brown, yellow, or blue, are all the same to him, so as it be paper-no matter how soiled, no matter how torn, he drags it from the heap and commits it to the basket behind his back. No matter of what importance the paper may be : though it contain a song or a sermon, a letter of love, or a letter of state, it is all the same to him, to the basket it goes; and after having entered there all hope is abandoned, for out of that receptacle, there is no redemption till it be full.
When this fulness is achieved, off the Chiffonier posts to the depot, and there deposits his burden, for which he has an acknowledgment; and then to work again with what appetite he may." Thus his life passes on, from "night to morn, from morn to dewy eve," midst filth, and offal, and rubbish, the "cankers of a calm world," and "the rankest compound of villainous smells," that ever assaulted the organs of a Christian. But it is a life, notwithstanding, full of rivalry, and strangely mixed with the web of a mingled yarn, containing good and ill together. To-day midst his peregrinations he may find a gold brooch, or a diamond ring, while tomorrow he may ply his "weary way" and not be rewarded by a moth-eaten cheeseparing or a withered crust; yet is it the rivalry that sustains the Chiffonier in his or her strange occupation. Go into what street he may, he is sure to find one of his own craft, and he who extracts most from the loathings and leavings of all other men, comes off victor, and pricks up his ear, and wags his tail, like a dog who has choused his fellow of the tit-bit of the shambles.
A history of this strange set of beings, and of the noble purposes to which their labours are turned by chemical process, would be one of the most interesting works ever writ
ten; but then it would require almost the observation of a life to understand their habits and peculiarities. Mr. Underwood, a gentleman who has long resided in the French capi tal, and who is already advantageously known by several articles in the "Edinburgh Review," had such a work in contemplation, and it is to be hoped he has not abandoned the idea of it. It would be one of the greatest literary and moral curiosities ever presented to the public.
I have spoken of the depot, where the Chiffonier deposits his store. Here are the accumulated gatherings of the tribe, which are sorted out and parcelled, before they undergo the process necessary to the making of new paper. This depot is kept by one of the richest men in Paris, who in early life had been himself a Chiffonier, then a Cantonnier, or worker on the roads, theu a strolling player, then a keeper of a gambling house, and lastly a manufacturer and ope rator in the funds. This man has acquired immense wealth; his house is a perfect palace, stored with ob jects of art and vertu ; but midst all the curiosities which he can present to" a wondering world," there are none to vie with the thousands of Chiffoniers, old, young, and middleaged, whom he has under his control, and in his employ, and who, from the "wreck of matter," and the sweepings of household life, bring forth the germ and seminal principle of new matter-of papier coleur de rose, pa pier doré, et papiero doré, on which pretty fingers pour forth the inspira tion of feeling and loving hearts.
It is to be observed, that the filth of Paris, the narrowness of its streets, and the inadequate supply of water, are all favourable to the trade of the Chiffonier. In London "the occupation" of such a being would be
gone;" for its admirable sewers and mighty river bear away the mounds of refuse matter midst which the Chiffonier revels and wallows in all the luxuriancy of blissful being,