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That erer valiant and approved Scot,
The scene of this conflict was not many miles from Berwick. A knowledge of these localities was not necessary for Shakspere, to produce his magnificent creation of Hotspur. But in a journey through Northurnberland the recollections of Hotspur would be all around him. At Alnwick, he would ride by the gate which Hotspur built, and look upon the castle in which the Percies dwelt. Two centuries had passed since Hotspur fell at Shrewsbury; but his memory lived in the ballads of his land, and the dramatic poet had bestowed upon it a more lasting glory. The play of Henry IV. was written before the union of England and Scotland under one crown, and when the two countries had constant feuds which might easily have broken out into actual war. But Shakspere, at the very time when the angry passions of England were excited by the Raid of Carlisle, thus made his favourite hero teach the English to think honourably of their gallant neighbours :
“ P. Henry. The noble Scot, Lord Douglas, when he saw The fortune of the day quite turn'd from him, The noble Percy slain, and all his men Upon the foot of fear, fled with the rest; Aud, falling from a hill, he was so bruis’d That the pursuers took him. At my tent The Douglas is; and I beseech your grace I may dispose of him.
* Henry IV., Part I. Act i. Scene 1.
With all my heart.
John Taylor contrived to be eighteen days on the road riding from Edinburgh to London : he was fifteen days in his progress from Berwick to Islington. Lawrence Fletcher and his fellows would make greater speed, and linger not so recklessly over the good cheer of the inns and mansions that opened their gates to them. “ The way from Berwick to York and so to London ” is laid down very precisely in Harrison's 'Description of England;' and the several stages present a total of 260 miles. The route thus given makes a circuit of several miles at Tadcaster; and yet it is 82 miles shorter than the present distance from Berwick to London. Taylor says, “The Scots do allow almost as large measure of their miles as they do of their drink.” So it would appear they did also in England in the days of Shakspere.
* Henry IV., Part I., Act v. Scene 5.
ROBERT BURTON'S POETICAL COMMONWEALTH.
THE only book that took Samuel Johnson out of his bed two hours before he wished to rise, will scarcely do for a busy man to touch before breakfast. There is no leaving it, except by an effort. I have just taken it up to look for a quotation, as many better scholars than myself have done, and I cannot be satisfied to read on-with The Times' of the day, borrowed for an hour, lying unreadbut I must needs write a paper suggested by this same treasured · Anatomy of Melancholy.' I might do worse.
In the Introduction, 'Democritus to the Reader,' I am forcibly struck with the mode in which a student of Christchurch deals with many of the great social questions that are still under discussion after the lapse of two centuries and a quarter. How he satirizes, and how he would reform. Statesmen might have learned something from this “severe student, devourer of authors, melancholy and humourous," * Robert Burton, -as statesmen do contrive, unwilling as they may be, to pick up something of the great general wisdom of humanity from scholars and poets,—if they had looked into a few pages of this . Introduction,' and not stopped too readily at this sentence :-“Bocca
* Anthony à Wood.
linus may cite Commonwealths to come before Apollo, and seek to reform the world itself by Commissioners ; but there is no remedy.” The governors and the governed are opening their eyes; so some may perhaps hear what ‘Democritus Junior' has to say when he proposes an imaginary condition of improvement :-"I will, to satisfy and please myself, make an Utopia of my own, a new Atlantis, a poetical Commonwealth of my own, in which I will freely domineer, build cities, inake laws, statutes, as I list myself.” What sort of cities would he build ? He would have them, for the most part, “ situate upon navigable rivers or lakes, creeks or havens.” That is, he would have them situate where there are facilities for communication. How imperfectly the use of a river as a cheap highway was known in the days when canals and railroads were not, may be seen in a curious tract of our old friend John Taylor.* He tells the people of Salisbury that their city is so much overcharged with poor, as having in three parishes near three thousand ; that their river is not navigable to Christchurch; that it might be made as passable as the Thames from Brentford to Windsor; and that by means of such navigation the loiterers might be turned into labourers, and penury into plenty. Burton, writing exactly at the same time, bitterly attacks the ignorance and neglect out of which comes poverty :--"Amongst our towns, there is only one, London, that bears the
* A Discovery by Sea from London to Salisbury, 1623.
face of a city, Epitome Britanniæ, a famous Emporium, second to none beyond seas, a noble mart; and yet in my slender judgment defective in many things. The rest, some few excepted (York, Bristow, Norwich, Worcester), are in mean estate, ruinous most part, poor and full of beggars, by reason of their decayed trades, neglected and bad policy, idleness of their inhabitants, riot, which had rather beg or loiter, and be ready to starve, than work.” And so Democritus would build other cities, and encourage other sorts of people. “I will have fair and broad streets.” How long did we persevere in making our streets ugly and narrow! “I will have convenient churches.” Good.
“I will have convenient churches, and separate places to bury the dead in; not churchyards.” And so an Oxford scholar, in the year 1621, is telling the people of England what her rulers have just found out in this year 1853, and have at last given us a ‘Burial Act.' He would have, too, “opportune marketplaces of all sorts, for corn, meat, cattle.” Was Smithfield, the garden of delight for civic wisdom,
opportune ” — locally convenient ? He would send "trades, noisome or fulsome for bad smells, such as butchers' slaughter-houses, chandlers, curriers, to remote places.” In the city of London, in 1853, the slaughter houses and the book-warehouses are in pleasant allocation. He would have "commodious Courts of Justice.” He was not thinking of such Courts as Sir John Soane's at Westminster. He would have “public walks, and