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SCENES ILLUSTRATIVE OF STRIKING PASSAGES IN ENGLISH HISTORY AND POETRY.
BY WILLIAM HOWITT, AUTHOR OF "THE RURAL LIFE OF ENGLAND," "BOY'S COUNTRY-BOOK," ETC
LONDON: LONGMAN, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS.
THERE is a passage in De Lamartine's "Pilgrimage to the Holy Land," which expresses very clearly the nature and object of this work. "I have always loved to wander over the physical scenes inhabited by men I have known, admired, loved, or revered, as well amongst the living as the dead. The country which a great man has inhabited and preferred, during his passage on the earth, has always appeared to me the surest and most speaking relic of himself: a kind of material manifestation of his genius-a mute revelation of a portion of his soula living and sensible commentary on his life, actions, and thoughts. When young, I passed many solitary and contemplative hours, reclined under olive trees which shade the gardens of Horace, in sight of the delightful cascades of the Tiber; and often have I dropped to sleep in the evening, lulled by the noise of the beautiful sea of Naples, under the hanging branches of the vines, near the spot where Virgil wished his ashes to repose, because it was the most delicious site his eyes had ever beheld. How often, at a later period, have I passed mornings and evenings seated at the foot of the beautiful chestnut trees in the little valley of Charmettes, to which the remembrance of Jean Jaques Rousseau attracted me, and where I was retained by sympathy with his impressions, his reveries, his misfortunes, and his genius. And I have been thus attracted with respect to several other authors and great men, whose names and writings were deeply engraven on my memory. I wished to study them; to become acquainted with them on the spot that had given them birth, or that had inspired them; and almost always a scrutinizing glance might discover a secret and profound analogy between the country and the individual who had graced it; between the scene and the actor; between nature and the genius which derived its inspirations therefrom.”
These were exactly my feelings and ideas long before De Lamartine had thus penned them down; and who, indeed, has not experienced, more or less, the same impressions? We need not visit the distant East to make the discovery; there is no country where the soil is more thickly sown with noble memories than our own, and those of the deeds, the sufferings and the triumphs of our own progenitors. It has long been my opinion that to visit the most remarkable scenes of old English history and manners, and to record the impressions thence derived in their immediate vividness; to restore, as it were, each place and its inhabitants to freshness, and to present them freed from the dust of ages and heaviness of antiquarian rubbish piled upon them, would be a labour responded to with emphasis by readers of the present day. The general approval of the experiment made in "The Rural Life," by introducing visits to Newstead, Annesley, and Hardwicke, and the intimations of great interest in the announcement of this work, received from all quarters, convinced me that I was not mistaken. The field is a wide and a rich one. The present volume may be considered but as a precursor of others on this subject, in which I have long been engaged; and the plan of which will shortly be announced.
I have to present my warmest acknowledgments, not only to many private individuals for valuable hints and information, but also to the possessors of places visited, for the very cordial and liberal manner in which they endeavoured to promote my object.
The illustrations of this volume are all designed and executed by Samuel Williams, except the Title-page Vignette, which was designed by my daughter. The portrait of the Young Shakspeare, it should also be stated, is from an admirable sketch by Mr. Williams, but has been rendered hard, and unequal to the original, in the cutting.
Esher, Dec. 18th, 1839.
VISIT TO PENSHURST IN KENT; THE ANCIENT SEAT OF THE SIDNEYS-Charac-
ter of the Sidney Family-of Sir Philip-of his Father Sir Henry--of
Algernon Shelley the Poet, a Sidney-present aspect of Penshurst—
Sir Philip's Oak-Saccharissa's Walk-Gamage's Bower-Ben Jonson's
Description of Penshurst—the Old Banqueting Hall-a Suite of Ancient
Rooms, with all their Antique Furniture and Paintings-Portraits of
Sir Philip, Algernon, and the Countess of Pembroke, Saccharissa,
Countesses of Leicester and Carlisle-the Gallery full of Historical
Portraits-Sir Philip and his Brother Robert-Family MSS.-House-
hold Book-Locks of Hair of Sir Philip and Algernon-Church and
VISIT TO THE FIELD OF CULLODEN-Peculiar Interest of Battle Fields-
Review of Events leading to the Battle of Culloden-Inverness, and
walk to Culloden-present aspect of the Field-Tradition of the
valiant Blacksmith-the Graves of the Slain-Burns's Visit to them,
and his Feelings-Traditions of the Field-strange Adventures of the
Chevalier Johnstone-his Account of the Atrocities of the Duke of
Cumberland-Visit to a Cottage on the Field-Belief of the Cottagers
that another Battle will be fought, founded on Visions of Second-sight-
VISIT TO STRATFORD-ON-AVON, AND THE HAUNTS OF SHAKSPEARE
Aspect of the Country-visible signs of Shakspeare's Fame in Stratford
-vindication of his Domestic Character-Ann Hathaway's Cottage—
its Garden and Plants-Dewberries-Danger of the Cottage being
pulled down-PRESENT CONDITION OF THE SHAKSPEARE FAMILY -
William Shakspeare Smith, a School-boy, descendant of Shakspeare's
Sister Joan RELICS OF SHAKSPEARE IN STRATFORD-Mr. Reason's
Collection-Mary Humby's attempt to obliterate all the Names of
Visiters to the Room of his Birth-THE SHAKSPEARE ALBUMS-a
sample of Inscriptions from them-Shakspeare's Tomb-CHARLECOTE
PARK-odd local notion of Shakspeare, derived from a Statue of Diana
--present State and Appearance of the Park and House-Bust of Sir
Thomas Lucy-local estimation of the present Family of the Lucys—
Paintings-Monuments in the Church--Sir Thomas the Patron of Fox
the Martyrologist-Character of Lady Lucy-misrepresented by Shak-
speare-CLOPTON HALL-the Cloptons of Clopton, the great Family of
Stratford-Sir Hugh Clopton an admirer of Shakspeare-Lord Carew
of Elizabeth's reign, married the Heiress of the Cloptons-splendid
Tomb of himself and Countess-state of Clopton Hall some years ago
-Traditions of the Tragic ends of Charlotte and Margaret Clopton-
decay of the Family and sale of the Estate-Margaret's Well-Ireland's