Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Old Haunts and Remains of a Cornish Genius.

385

they should have created and earnestly believed in a cosmical theory with such small means of observation as they possessed, is an illustration of the impatience of the human understanding under imperfect knowledge. The swift conception fills the gap of thë uñinvestigated or unascertainable fact; and a splendid temple of science is raised, where men worship the work of their own hands. And better so than no worship at all. od Aristotle approaches nearer to Plato in his Physics than in any other part of his philosophy. He felt the vortex of dialectic drawing him into it. As Plato diverted attention from nature itself to the ideas of his intellectual world, so Aristotle, looking into the human mind for the primary: principles of the sciences, rather than into the phenomena of each, overlooked their real difference in this mode of treating them. It is "curious to find how widely these great thinkers" departed in physics from aseertained facts. Visi H.,

On the other hand, Bacon raised no theory. · He sharpened instruments, and threw out hits. He did not build a house upon sand; he only laid a foundation, but it' was upon the rock. The edifice is still building, will always be building; and there are more labourers peacefully engaged in raising it than ever wrangled over the ashes of the ancient masters.

ART. IV. 1. Antiquities, historical and monumental, of the

County of Cornwall, 8c., 8c. Second Edition. By WILLIAM BORLÁSE, LL.D., F.R.S., Rector of Ludgvan, Cornwall.

London. 1769. 2. The Natural History of Cornwall, 8c., 8c. By WILLIAM

BORLASE, A.M., F.R.S. Oxford: 1758. 3. Observations on the ancient and present State of the Islands of Scilly, and their Importance to the Trade of Great Britain. By: WILLIAM BORLASE, A.M., F.R.S. Oxford. 1756.

til I CANNOT find words,' says'å master of both pencil and pen,

I cannot find words to express the intense pleasure I have always in first finding: myself, after some prolonged stay in England, at the foot of the old tower of Calais church, -of which the largenes and age are opposed exactly to the chief appearances of modern England, as one feels them on first returning to it tbát márvellous smallnėss both of houses and scenery, then that spirit of trimness. The smooth paving stones; the scraped and hard, even, rutless, roads; the neat gates and plates, and essence of border and order, and spikeness

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

and-spruceness: This is outspoken land-/well meantigbut whatever any lover of largeness may say in its behalf, the old Calais tower must not be allowed to spend that news existence which it us to the champion of modern painters'! in teashing English people to fall out with the houses and scenery of their native island. We very well remember a man, crazed by sellconceit, who, under the ruling notion that he was grown too big for the place of his birth, used to seek for more room by periodically jumping over the garder wall. It is to be feared that many such cases, may yet be found; and, for the sake of the afflicted, every kind heart must have been gladdened ato the news that the way was to be clear for them to leap their matiite hedges' at any time, without the danger: of being verg-unpleasantly looked itito or measured on tlie other side, thatslin fact, for the future, they might spring over to the foot of the favourite old tower, and stand unquestionedj even without a passport, to enjoy their enlargement beneath the sbátlow Deltg brick work, full of bolts, and holes, and ugly fissdres; and yet 'strong;' having, as its friend expresses "it; an sinfinite tof symbolism in it;'-symbolizing, indeed, it may be, that policyi'or power which would fain-make: England and every Ithing librat look small. If, however, this sense of English smallness should

nout to be an epidemic, like one of those in Hecker's gossiping stories about the Epitetnics of the Middle Ages, and the bulk of our population should manifest the jumping symptoms, We would guard those who are as yet happy and healthy against becoming blinded to the true state of things, and assure thém that if the uneasy crowds take to leaping over their garden pales, and spurning the old green fences of their patrimony, it is not because their houses are really smaller than their neighbours', or their fields narrower than in their forefathers? time, but simply because their fancy has become runnaturally swollen and flighty. Littleness, while in a large dwelling, or in the presence of great mountains' or broad deseats, may have feelings which it mistakes for a consciousness of its own grandeur; and, like that wonderful spire on the other side of the Channel, may be if soornful of the marvellous: smallness with which much nobler spirits have been contenta" But a great house is not necessary to true greatness. A mind of lofty rank makes room for itself wherever Providence gives it birth. It keeps up to the height of its being any where' and every where.What lessons of modesty may be gathered during a ramble among the old dwelling-places and favourite haunts of English genius! Our greatest men have chosen to nestle in little houses. The noblest creations of English genius have

[graphic]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

isprung from amidst our tiniest meadows and garden plots...A quiet witness to this still lingers on the banks of the Avon, He who gave immortal blessing to the world by singing of Paradise Lost and Regained, loved his narrow lodging in, St. Brides Churchyard, or his garden home?:behind Aldersgate Street, or his simple Buckinghamshire cottage. And who can look at the modest home of that retiring poet at Weston, or visit the

dove's nest of Felicia Hemans, or linger at Stowey in front of that homely abode in which Coleridge used to think yor approach the plain walls, which once held Southey and his books, or go with De Quincey into the white cottage where the first imet the author of the Excursions without feeling that, our most marvellous, smallness both of houses and iscenery has claims on bur heart which can never be rivalled by any height of brickwork, though it were Babel itself, or by any magnitudes of mere landscape, were they even those of the western prairies, or the all-commanding Himalayas ? b. It is true that the dwelling of one English genius might have afforded an illustration of what has been called 'the spirit of trimriess, the essence of border and order.' Pope's home was much like his Homer; and his grounds and grotto were perhaps fair speoimens of spikeness and spruceness' in the arrangement of-their: temple work of shells and pebbles, and spas, and minerals, and perpetual rills' and little dripping murmurs; and yet this exception is-strangely associated with some of the most open and free, the wildest and most rudely natural haunts of human genius that ever inspired us with alternations of awe materials for the band delicious peacefulness. Many of the

: wrought into the decorations of the shados capital letters was crystals sent from the copper mines of the west. The name was that of William Borlase; and among the many letters addressed to him by Pope is one in which the contributions to the grotte are acknowledged in the great versifier's own way. "I am much obliged to you for your valuable collection of Cornish diamonds. i I have placed them, where they may best represent yourself, in a shade, but shining. The man whose chosen style of life was expressed in the adornments of Twickenham, was not likely to disturb his shining friend by visiting the shade? in which he solaced himself for life, far away on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic; but for our part we always preferred the wild and breezy nest of Dr. Borlase to the gingerbread paradise of the little man who felt himself to be another Horace, amidst his small porticoes and pilasters, Away, then,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

!

[ocr errors]

مدیے۔

to the old haupt of that queer, but true genius, I William Borlase, antiquary and parson. He stuck to the house in which he was born, a beautiful example of contentment with the home of his fathers. It was a lone house, on a lone promontory, inhabited; as the gay world would think, by a lone man. The old dwelling is still there, overlooking the sea but thię genius who nestled in it during Pope's day, has left nothing

but the embodiment of his lifethoughts in two folios and one thin quarto. Avvery little time ago this was far away from all. rails, whether imain line or branch, on the utmost coast of Cornwall, in a district which is a little better known now than it was in our younger days, but itsas

Deserte to know it. Of these, too many are still in danger of putting ocą knowing look at the mention of Cornwall, and of showing their knowledge of the world after the manner of a gentleman citixen in the metropolis, who, when a friend of ours was, introduced as a visitor from Cornwall, said, Ah, I thought so, one can't mistake the dialect of the north !! Bradshaw' now shows rats that the line is open to Penzance, and those, therefore, who wish to be carried by steam, as near as may be to the Land's End, may cross the old western border of early Saxondom, the Tamar over Brunel?s masterpiece of a bridge, and find themselvesiiby and by, within walking distance of the scenes which are still haunted by the spirit-like traditions of Dr. Borlase's life. Nor need the most delicately strung neryous system fear the.ordiŋary railway dirt and drive when they get below the Cornish frontier. Every thing is then simple and clean. Even trains creer or glide genteelly; so that should there be more than one who has learnt to harmonize love for modern painters with perfect hatred of railway travel, they may dismiss, all apprehension of being transmuted into a living parcel,' as, while they are on the Cornish line at least, they are quite safe from any call to part with the nobler characteristics of their humanity for the sake of a planetary power of locomotion. As the train, runs along the beach towards Penzance, +after leaving the old town of Marazion, or Market-Jew, at some time in the dim past, a favourite tin mart with the Beni Israel, the traveller, calling off his eye a moment from the storied and graceful Mount St: Michael, around which the waters of the bay so cheerfully and lovingly gather, may see a tower far up on the hill on the land side. That is Ludgvan 'Church, town.

There, for more than half a century, William Borlase liyed as rector, and there, in the parish sanctuary, his dust reposes under a plain memorial stone. That old tower has served as a ļand-mark to fishermen for many generations, and in our

[blocks in formation]

younger days we have looked at the marshes which theri guarded the slopes of the old i doctor's parish, and shuddered to hear stories of poor nien led astray by: Will-o'-the-visp;!and smothered in the bog, while trying to gain their cottage hearth of a win: ter's night. The scene is changed nowili the ancient bog: has given place to garden plots and potatoer grounds, supplying luxuries to the London markets, But we are not inclined to linger by the doctor's sépulchre: We shall prefer the scene of his birth, and his favourite parish. For it must be understood that he had two parishies ; he was rector of Ludgvan-Lees, and for forty years was honoured as the vicar of St. Just. He was a pluralist; therefore, and how he managed to perform spiritual cares on a double scale we cannot tell: He must have worked hard ; and fett a little more could have been borne, it seems judging from the plaintive way in which a respectable biographer says, that two chivings were all the preferments he ever hado Nobody who knows Dr. Borlase's books will think that his bur: den of honour was more than he deserved; but we cannot help thinking of the many good parsons to whom the preferment tofa single living would be salvation from daily distress. But how away to St. Just. The western St. Just, we mean, not that quiet little village, whose church, dedicated to the same saint or another of the same name, looks down upon the beautiful land-locked bar. bour of Falmouth, on the other edast of the Cornish peninsulaisk " It was before railway times that we first mounted the hills which shelter Penzance, and smile with such calm'jboyfühless upon Mount's Bay. The western'heights were imáktered'!; and then there came a rush of new life giving springinebbiko body and soul as the wide sea burst on our sight, and we found

t open and seemingly tenantless: mdors; med fantastic cairns, and heathy swells, and hills crowned with cromlech stones for 'giants quoits, áll seemingly overkanging tié swelling wilderness of waters, whicly here was bright with sunt beams, and there dark bereath a pássing rain-cloud! There, at length, was old 8t. Just in her glory. And now we monteala gig; and were driven off toward the north, along by the sea, tidla style which would have brought the nervous system ofà LincolnsWire farmer to illustrate Hartley's "pretty theory of infinitesimal vibrations, or have made the spiral chord of openia London cabman quiver and ring out a nopei set of diseords. It was indeed a style somewhat peculiar to 'our-st: Just friend and driver ; a strange combination of daring, skill, and power. Off romé places baře rock bottoned road, into à reeless" valley, which bore here and there unmistakeable tokens of the last

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »