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pondent the following verses, which are not to be found in the common editions of Pope, though I understand that they have been since in print:
"EPIGRAM BY MR. POPE,
"Who had cut down three walnut trees belonging to Lady Ferrers (whom he makes a Lord). These trees hindered his prospect of the garden.
My Lord complains, that Pope stark mad with gardens
Has cut three trees the value of three farthings.
But he's my neighbour, cries the Peer polite,
What on compulsion, and against my will
To this I may add another copy of verses by the same poet, which does not appear to have been inserted in any edition of his works. Lady Hertford goes on to say: :
"The severity of the weather has occasioned greater sums of money to be given in charity than was heard of before. Mr. Pope has written two stanzas on the occasion, which I must send you because they are his, for they have no other merit to entitle them to be conveyed so far.
Yes; 'tis the time (I cried) impose the chain
Destin'd and due to wretches self enslaved.
But when I saw such charity remain
I half could wish this people should be saved.
Faith lost, and Hope, our Charity begins,
And 'tis a wise design in pitying Heaven-
To take the only way to be forgiven.
"Here the same spirit of his religion burst out, that made the poet express himself a little too coarsely and passionately, when it had been wrongfully called in question, and when he repelled the calumny (for such it was) by saying that the monument with its inscription,
Like a tall bully lifts its head and lies."
Pope, as has been already mentioned, was a visitor at Ritchings, together with Addison, Prior, Congreve, and Gay. Thomson's name has, however, been omitted amongst the names specified by Lady Hertford, and probably from the following circumstance, for which we have the authority of Dr. Johnson. In his life of Thomson he says:
"Spring was published next year, with a dedication to the Countess of Hertford; whose practice it was to invite every summer some poet into the country, to hear her verses, and assist her studies. This honour was one summer conferred on Thomson, who took more delight in carousing with Lord Hertford and his friends than assisting her ladyship's poetical operations, and therefore never received another summons." I also recollect having
met with a passage, although I forget where, stating that when Thomson was at Ritchings, he preferred my lord's claret to my lady's conversation. However this may be, it is certain that he was not included in that list of men of genius and learning, whose visits added so much to the celebrity and interest which must be attached to Ritchings.
Having now given Lady Hertford's account of this place, I will attempt to describe it as I saw it this summer (1846); and I should add, that I went there with the extracts I have already given from Lady Hertford's letters in my hand, in order that I might compare them with the present actual appearance of the former extravagante bergerie.
Passing through the town or village of Colnbrook, so great a thoroughfare a few years ago for mail and other coaches, but now, alas! impoverished and deserted, a lodge is seen at the extreme end of it as it is approached from Datchet. From this lodge the road winds through a shrubbery for about half a mile, until another lodge is passed, and then the house and park are at once seen, and they certainly give the idea of quietude and retirement. The original house, which Lady Hertford describes as old, but convenient, was burnt down about the year 1788, and the present house was erected near the former site. By the kindness of the present amiable occupier of it, we were shewn a portion of the house, which appeared
to be replete with comfort and elegance, and the pleasure-garden was gay with flowers, and remarkably well kept. Our business, however, was with the reliquiæ Hertfordienses, and on quitting the garden we fortunately fell in with Mr. Trumper, who farms the park, and who was superintending a host of his mowers and hay-makers, who certainly made a pleasing variety in the scene. Mr. Trumper kindly quitted his employment, in order to shew us Lady Hertford's dairy and green-house, which adjoin a pretty farm-yard, probably much in the same state now as it was a hundred years ago. On crossing a bridge near, we came to the canal of 555 yards in length, with its green walk along the banks.* There were also the woods and lawns, and a short walk over one of the fields, brought us to the abbey walk. The "prodigiously high beech trees” had either died, or been cut down, although some smaller ones remained, but the whole walk was clearly defined. Some of the seats remained, and it was pleasing to think that here Prior and Pope had sung, and Addison written, and Gay cheered
* Lord Bathurst informed Daines Barrington that he was the first who deviated from the straight line in making pieces of water by following the natural lines of a valley in widening a brook at Ryskins, near Colnbrook; and that Lord Strafford, thinking that it was done from poverty or economy, asked him to own fairly how little more it would have cost him to have made it straight. The water at Ritchins was probably, therefore, the first attempt at a serpentine form,
the solitude. Here also Thomson might have composed his well-known address to Lady Hertford :—
O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own season paints, when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.
Or might he not have here witnessed such a scene as we had just quitted of hay-makers, who
Spread the breathing harvest to the sun,
In order gay.
We wandered about enjoying these recollections, and fancying we had arrived at the thorny wood, where the blackbirds and nightingales sang, and the wood-pigeons cooed their thorough-bass. We could not, however, discover the gravel-pit which had been turned into a kind of dry basin, or the fine hawthorn hedge which fenced the lane, but we found ourselves at last at the second lodge, which was occupied by an aged female, who had been its occupant for upwards of sixty years. Her recollection was still perfect, although her age must have been very great. We discoursed with her about Lady Hertford, and the various localities of her Arcadia, but we had little to learn beyond what