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river by the refreshing coolness of the breeze, and the gentle rippling of the slow current; while, sometimes, a sudden opening would give to view some rude landing-place where the boats were laden with chalk; or a vista accidentally formed by the felling of some large tree would show us an old mill across the stream framed in by meeting branches like a picture.

The Taplow spring, with its pretty cottage for picnics, often proved the end of our evening walks. I loved to see the gushing of that cool clear sparkling spring, plashing over the huge stones that seemed meant to restrain it, sporting in pools and eddies, and lost almost as soon as it wells from the earth amid the waters of the silver Thames.

Steep as it seems and is, the chalky cliff is not inaccessible. Here and there it recedes from the river, sometimes hollowed into deep caves, and then again it advances with a more gradual slope, so as to admit of zig-zag walks practised to the summit. These walks, almost buried amongst the rich foliage, have a singular attraction in their steepness and their difficulty. Long branches of ivy trail from the cliff in every direction, mingled at this season with a gorgeous profusion of the clinging woodbine, the yellow St. John's-wort, and the large purple flowers of the Canterbury bell. Our steps were literally impeded by these long garlands. Our feet were perpetually entangled in them. We crushed them as we passed.

The view from the Hermit's hut, on the height, is amongst those that can never be forgotten. We looked over the tons of the tall trees, down a sheer descent of I know not how many hundred feet, to a weir upon the Thames, foaming and brawling under our very eyes. Just beyond was one of the loveliest reaches of the river, with Cookham bridge and the fine old church forming a picture in itself. Then came a wido extent of field and meadow, mansion and village, tower and spire, the rich woods of Berkshire interspersed aniongst all, the noble river winding away into the distance, and the faroff hills mingling with the clouds, until we knew not which was earth or which was sky.

Very pleasant was that sojourn by the Thames side ; and amongst the pleasures that I most value, one of those which I brought home with me, and trust never to lose, must be reckoned the becoming acquainted with Mr. Noel's “Rhymes and Roundelayes," and forming, not an acquaintance, for we have never met, but a friendship with the author.

Mr. Noel resides in a beautiful place in that beautiful neighbourhood, leading the life of an accomplished but somewhat secluded country gentleman ;-a most enviable life, and one well adapted to the observation of nature and to the production of poetry, but by no means so well calculated to wake a volume of poems extensively known. Hence it is that the elegant and graphic description of Thames scenery which 1 subjoin, although it has been published nearly ten years, will probably have the charm of novelty to many of my readers :

A THAMES VOYAGE.

Gracefully, gracefully glides our bark

On the bosom of Father Thames,
And before her hows the wavelets dark

Break into a thousand gems.
The kingfisher not straighter darts

Down the stream to his sweet mate's nest,
Than our arrowy pinnace shoots and parts

The river's yielding breast.
We have passed the chalk-cliff on whose crown

The hermit's hut doth cling,
And the bank, whose hanging woods look down

On the smile of Cliefden spring.
We are come where Hedsor's crested fount

Pours forth its babbling rill,
And where the charmed eye loves to mount

To the small church on the hill.
On, like a hawk upon the wing,

Our little wherry flies ;
Against her bows the ripples sing,

And the wavelets round her rise.
In view is Cookham's ivied tower;

And, up yon willowy reach,
Enfolding many a fairy bower,

Wave Bisham's woods of beech.
O'er Marlow's loveliest vale they look,

And its spire that seeks the skies ;
And afar, to where in its meadow-nook

Medmenham's Abbey lies.
Still on, still on, as we smoothly glide,

There are charms that woo the eye,--
Boughs waving green in the pictured tide,

And the blue reflected sky.

Swift dragon-flies, with their gauzy wings,

Flit glistening to and fro,
And murmuring hosts of moving things

O'er the waters glance and glow.
There are spots where nestle wild flowers small

With many a mingling gleam; Where the broad flag waves, and the bulrush tall

Nods still to the thrusting stream.
The Forget-me-not on the water's edge

Reveals her lovely hue,
Where the broken bank, between the sedge,

Is embroiderer with her blue
And in bays where matted foliage weaves

A shadowy arch on high,
Serene on broad and bronze-like leaves,

The virgin lilies lie.
Fair fall those bonny Alowers ! O how

I love their petals bright!
Smoother than Ariel's moonlit brow!

The Water-Nymph's delight !
Those milk-white cups with a golden core,

Like marble lamps, that throw
So soft a light on the bordering shore,

And the waves that round them flow!
Steadily, steadily, speeds our bark,

O'er the silvery whirls she springs;
While merry as lay of morning lark

The watery carol rings.
Lo ! a sailing swan, with a little fleet

Of cygnets by her side,
Pushing her snowy bosom sweet

Against the bubbling tide!
And see—was ever a lovelier sight?

One little bird afloat
On its mother's back, 'neath her wing so white ---

A beauteous living boat !
The threatful male, as he sails ahead,

Like a champion proud and brave,
Makes, with his rufiling wings outspread,

Fierce jerks along the wave.
He tramples the stream, as we pass him hy.

In wrath from its surface springs,
And after our boat begins to fly,

With loudly-flapping wings.
Gracefully, gracefully glides our bark,

And the curling current stems,
Where the willows cast their shadows dark,

And the ripples gleam like gems;
Oh, there's many a charming scene to mark

From the bosom of Father Thames !

The following powerful lines are better known, and serve to show the variety of Mr. Noel's talent :

THE PAUPER'S DRIVE.
There's a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly round trot;
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
The road it is rough, and the hearse has no springs,
And hark to the dirge that the sad driver sings :-

Rattle his bones over the stones ;

He's only a pauper who nobody owns.
Oh, where are the mourners ? Alas! there are none;
He has left not a gap in the world now he's gone;
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman or man :-
To the grave with his carcase as fast as you can.

Rattle his bones over the stones;

He's only a pauper who nobody owns.
What a jolting and creaking and splashing and din !
The whip how it cracks, and the wheels how they spin !
How the dirt right and left o'er the hedges is hurled !
The pauper at length makes a noise in the world.

Rattle his bones over the stones;

He's only a pauper who nobody owns.
Poor pauper defunct! he has made some approach
To gentility now that he's stretched in a coach;
He's taking a drive in his carriage at last,
But it will not be long if he goes on so fast !

Rattle his bones over the stones ;

He's only a pauper who nobody owne.
But a truce to this strain ! for my soul it is sad
To think that a heart in humanity clad
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end.
And depart from the light without leaving a friend.

Bear softly his bones over the stones.

Though a pauper, he's one whom his Maker yet owns The author tells me that this incident was taken from the life. He witnessed such a funeral—a coffin in a parish hearse driven at full speed.

IV.

OLD AUTHORS.

ABRAHAM COWLEY.

As, in the case of Ben Jonson, posterity values his writings for very different qualities from those which obtained his high reputation amongst his contemporaries, so it has happened to Cowley.

Praised in his day as a great poet, the head of the school of poets called metaphysical, he is now chiefly known by those prose essays, all too short and all too few, which, whether for thought or for expression, have rarely been excelled by any writer in any language. They are eminently distinguished for the grace, the finish, and the clearness which his verse too often wants. That there is one cry which pervades themvanity of vanities ! all is vanity !—that there is an almost ostentatious longing for obscurity and retirement, may be accounted for by the fact that at an early age Cowley was thrown among the cavaliers of the civil wars, sharing the exile and the return of the Stuarts, and doubtless disgusted, as so pure a writer was pretty sure to be, by a dissolute Court, with whom he would find it easier to sympathise in its misery than in its triumph. Buckingham, with the fellowfeeling of talent for talent, appears to have been kind to him ; and when he fled from the world (not very far—he found his beloved solitude at Chertsey), it is satisfactory to know that he so far escaped the proverbial ingratitude of the Restoration, as to carry with him an income sufficient for his moderate wants. He did not long survive a retirement which, Sprat says, in a curious life prefixed to the edition of his works in 1719, “ agreed better with his mind than his body."

It is difficult to select from a volume so abundant in riches, but I will begin by his opinion of theatrical audiences coutained in “ The Preface to the Cutter of Coleman Street:”.

“ There is no writer but may fail sometimes in point of wit ; and it is no less frequent for the auditors to fail in point of judgment. I perceive plainly by daily experience that Fortune is mistress of the theatre, as Tully says it is of all popular assemblies. No man can tell sometimes from whence the invisible winds rise that move them. There are a multitude of people who are truly and only spectators of a play without any use of their understanding ; and these carry it sometimes by the strength of their numbers. There are others who use their understandings too much ; who think it a sign of weakness and stupidity to let anything pass by them unattacked, and that the honour of their judgment (as some brutals imagine of their courage) consists in quarrelling with everything. We are, therefore, wonderful wise men, and have a fine business of it, we who spend our time in

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