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poor fellow, whose home was in a remote part of Cornwall, and who, fancying himself the last, if not the best, of the Cornubian or Cymrian bards, invoked his Muse, not of Parnassus, but rather of the venerable druidical hill, of Carn Bréh, or Penringhuaed, --in Celtic, the Promontory of Blood,—to compose a long Elegy on the lamented death of the Princess Charlotte, and an epistle of condolence to bis Royal Highness Prince Leopold. With this bardish, or rather barbarous effusion, he set out on foot from his 'native village, and walked the whole way to London to obtain an audience, and present it to the prince. On his arrival in town, he was taken ill and confined for several days to his miserable lodgings. When he recovered, to his great disappointment, he found that the prince had quitted London, and was gone to reside at Came House, near Dorchester. He found, too, that all his money was spent, and that he must part with his watch, the purchase of his early youth, to defray the expenses incurred by his sickness and protracted stay in London, and to enable him to return to his distapt home.
But the poor old bard journeyed not in despair. Dorchester lay in his road back, and he felt assured that wben he got access to present his
exquisite verses to Prince Leopold, bis Highness would amply repay him for all his toils on the way, and enable him to return with overflowing pockets to his anxious wife and family. In good time, the wandering minstrel reached the capital of Dorsetshire; but be was now pennyless, and had nothing left to pledge, save the garments with which he was poorly clad. I chanced to be at the same inn where this Celtic Cornubian had put up, was informed by the landlord of his Quixotic journey, and entreated to read his Elegy. The tale of his toilsome wanderings had something wild and romantic in it, and I felt eager to see and converse with him. On introduction, I found him to be a plain countryman, rude and unlettered, and totally dissimilar in every respect to those ideas we conceive of the ancient minstrels, the attendants and companions of kings and renowned warriors; yet so confident of the ultimate success of bis poetry, as to leave no room for sympathetic sorrow at his disappointments. He soon produced a large sheet of paper, divided in several places by frequent folding and much soiled by repeated use, and placing it in my hands with an air of proud satisfaction, bade me read the very best verses yet composed on the melancholy occasion. I found
the lines to be as far beneath those of Sternhold and Hopkins, as theirs are below the inimitable fire of the divine bard of Palestine.
The next day, the landlord first detaining the poor man's bat for his night's lodging, &c. he sat out early with uncovered brows to obtain an audience of Prince Leopold, two miles distant. It was now that he might be said to have appeared more like the ancient bards of his venerable nation, than he ever did before, as his full gray locks streamed on the morning winds. Need I tell you that he totally failed in his mission. But obtaining about five shillings from the domestics of the Prince, he returned to the inn, redeemed his hat, and went his way, disconsolate and sad, towards his native wilds in Cornwall. Long ere he reached the beautiful banks of the Tamar, he must have been totally dependant on the generosity of strangers for a wretched existence, and the means of beholding once more his sadly-anxious wife and family. Poor minstrel! thou didst set out on tby journey in the proud expectation of royal favour, emolument, and applause ; but returnedst to thy miserable cottage a bankrupt in hope, and a very beggar! Alas! how many bards of high deservings have, like thee, commenced their gay career with the smiling sun of
Hope full upon them, and the fair path which led to the bill of Fame appearing showered with blossoms of every hue: but ere they reached half up the steep, the tempests of Calamity arose and swept them down the precipice, miserably to perish in the gulphs of Despair !
But to return to myself. Shortly after my arrival at home, I was seized with typhus fever, from which I am now but very slowly recovering. My finances would not admit of my procuring medical aid, beyond that afforded by a common soldier, who had acted as assistant to an army surgeon and now resided in the village: yet to this poor fellow, I gratefully acknowledge, under God, do I owe my life. Poor Maria, with the fatigue of nigbtly watchings by my bedside, joined to her nervous debility, is herself in a very weak state. Excuse this imperfect epistle: when I am more recovered, you shall hear from me again.
Here I am agaiu in the West of England ! Surely I am doomed for ever to be a rover! Soon after my recovery, I found it necessary to set off with fresh copies of my work, towards a part of the country directly opposite to my last peregrination, while Maria took charge of my little school.
I now visited Somersetshire, where I obtained many subscribers. On reaching Chard, I secured a place on the coach for Honiton. Shortly after we left that town, a tremendous burricane* began to pour forth its fury upon us. The torrents of rain, the irresistible gusts of wind, aud towards evening the “deep dread-bolted” thunder and terrific lightning mingled together with such an overwhelming impetuosity and dreadful effect, as I dever before witnessed.
* The memorable tempest in the month of March, 1818.