« IndietroContinua »
is the grand oriel—the square tower? birds, blackbirds, thrushes, and robins, what have we in their stead ? a common which is very early for the latter. Pacing granary casement, and a shapeless spire. slowly up a quiet lane to the left of the I again move onward rather tired, and canal, I arrive at a few delightful cotturning to the left, after a short up- tages on the brow of the hill; below them hill journey with a charming view on all to the southsides, arrive at “ the Woodman," where
A lovely prospect opens wide, the talisman I spoke of showed its power, Wave-like hills on every side, by instantly procuring me good eating By human bands diversified. and other refreshing solace. Here a man might sit for an hour unwearied, better in maker's hut, poor Dermody, the Irish
Somewhere near the canal, at a brick. head and heart from the loveliness of the scenery beneath him; and here I repose,—
poet, retired sick, and in poverty. Tum
ing to the left I view Forest Hill, the Inhaling as the news I read
sweetest haunt of my poetic hours, but The fragrance of the Indian weed.
here, as at every other desirable spot for You are, I have heard, no smoker ; yet meditation, frowns the warning board, there is “ a something” in a pipe which placed by the hand of envious mono produces that tranquillity of mind you so polymuch need; if alone it is a companion, “ The law will punish all who enter here." bringing quiet thoughts and pleasing
Nun Head Hill, the favourite resort of visions; it is a good friend if not abused, smoke-dried artisans, and other Lonand is, above all
, a promoter of digestion doners, is taken from them, and a -no bad quality. Below me, yet wearing its livery of brown, lies the wood, Sunday promenade. Ruminating on the
narrow path is all that remains for their the shadowy haunt of the
tribe ere magisterial authority drove them away. the hedge, enter a field, where, reclining
change I move on, and espying a gap in Many a pleasant hour have I spent in my younger days with its Cassandras, listen- shadowy kings in Macbeth, my cares
on the long grass, I muse, till, like the ing to their prophetic voices, and looking and sorrows pass before me. I listen! it at their dark eyes.
is the music of heaven-numerous sky0, the dusky hands are ne'er forgot, larks tower aloft, the best I have yet That my palm trac'd,
heard; ye that wish for good ones Of her I clasp’d, in that calm spot,
catch them here—which advice, if they Around the waist ; I feel the thrill
heard, would doubtless bring them down Of her fingers still,
on me with beak and claw. Hark! it is Her dark eyes on me beam,
the tit-lark, the harbinger of the nightin. 0, what joyous thoughts my bosom fill gale; he is just come over, and the
other Of that sweet dream,
will quickly follow: he drops from the But as the song says
tallest tree, and sings till earth receives him. His
song is short, but very sweet; « Farewell to Glenowen
nothing can equal his rising “Weet For I must be going.”
weet-weet-weet-weet-weet-weet," I proceed; Sydenham lies before me, and dying “ Feer-feer—feer—feer-feer beyond it in softened distance, Becken- –feer-feer," and his lengthened “ Snee ham and Bromley meet the eye, with -jug-jug-jug." It is from him Dulwich below—and half hidden, and that the best notes of your canaries are afar off, is smoky London, with the obtained; he will sing till July. About Abbey towers and St. Paul's dome look- the fifteenth, the fowler will go out, and ing gloomily grand. In the foreground the nightingale will sell his freedom for a lies a rich variety of upland and dale, meal-worm-how many of us mortals do studded with snow white dwellings. the same to gratify our appetites! The Leaving the wood on my left, I reach the bird now caught will be a good one, reservoir of the canal, and read no less which is more than I can say of the morthan three boards threatening with the tal. He will not yet have paired with severest penalties all intruders. Again I the hen, she not having made her apam surrounded with sky-larks; I watch pearance. The males arrive first, at one leave the grass, he is up nearly a least so say the catchers, but I doubt quarter of an hour, and here I meet a if they emigrate at all. The tame ones man with a dozen or more nests of young in cages when they leave off song get
extremely fat, and are half stupid till the If I have freedom in my love, season returns; perhaps the wild ones do And in my soule am free, the same, and retire into secrecy during
Angels alone, that soare above, the winter. I merely surmise that such Enjoy such libertie. may be the case.
Evening drawing on, and the wind NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. edging round to the northward, I bend Mean Temperature... 50 • 21. my course through Peckham, and again enter the busy haunts of man, where, reaching my home, I sit down and write this for your columns, hoping it may be
THE APRIL OF 1826. acceptable.
This month is remarkable for the enI am, Sir, &c.
durance of great suffering by many thouKent Road,
sands of English artisans. April 14, 1826.
In a “ Statement to the Right Hon.
Robert Peel, by the Hand-loom Weavers NATURALISTS' CALENDAR,
of Blackburn,” they say Mean Temperature ...50. 20.
“ Our dwellings are totally destitute of
every comfort. April 28.
Every article of value has disappear
ed, either to satisfy the cravings of hunger, CHRONOLOGY.
or to appease the clamour of relentless In 1658, during this month, the ac- creditors. complished colonel Richard Lovelace died
“ Thousands who were once possessed in the Gatehouse at Westminster, whither of an honest independence gained by la. he had been committed for his devotion borious industry, are now sunk in the to the interests and fortunes of the Stuart lowest depths of poverty. family. His celebrity is preserved by
“ Were the humane man to visit the some elegant poems; one is especially dwellings of four-fifths of the weavers, remarkable for natural imagery, and and see the miserable pittance which sixbeautiful expression of noble thought :
teen hours' hard labour can procure, even
of those who are fully employed, divided When love with unconfined wings between the wretched parents and their Hovers within my gates,
starving little ones, he would sicken at the And my divine Althea brings
sight. To whisper at my grates;
« When we look upon our starving When I lye tangled in her haire, And fettered with her eye,
wives and children, and have no bread to The birds that wanton in the aire
give them, we should consider ourselves Know no such libertye.
still more degraded than we are, as unde
serving the name of Englishmen, were we When flowing cups ran swiftly round to withhold our complaint from his maWith no allaying Thames,
jesty's government, or to abstain from Our carelesse heads with roses crowned, speaking in proper terms of what we con
Our hearts with loyal flames ; sider the present unparalleled distress When thirsty griefe in wine we steepe,
which exists among the weavers; and we When healths and draughts goe free, Fishes, that tipple in the deepe,
implore you, sir, by all the ties which bind Know no such libertie.
the patriot to his country, by that anxiety
for the welfare of England which you When, linnet-like, confined I
have frequently evinced, to use that inWith shriller note shall sing
fluence which you possess with his maThe mercye, sweetness, majestye, jesty's government towards procuring an And glories of my king ;
amelioration of the condition of the most When I shall voyce xloud how good
injured and oppressed class of his maHe is, how great should be,
jesty's subjects. Th' enlarged winds, that curl the flood, Know no such Jibertie.
The rev. Joseph Fletcher of Mile-end
corroborates these statements by local Stone walls do not a prison make,
acquaintance with the districts, and affirmas Nor iron barrs a cage,
of his own knowledge, that “the recent Mindes, innocent and quiet, take causes of commercial distress have pro. That for an hermitage :
duced unparalleled misery."
“ In the town of Blackburn and its Tue Poor Man's HOME. vicinity, it has reached its highest point of “ Home is home, though it is never so aggravation. At the present crisis, up- homely.” Exceptions to this position are wards of seven thousand looms are un. taken by Elia, who, as regards the poor employed in Blackburn, and nearly four- man, deems it a “ fallacy,” to which teen thousand persons have been com “crowded places of cheap entertainment, pelled to depend on the bounty of the in- and the benches of alehouses, if they could habitants; and as, according to the late speak, would bear mournful testimony." census, Blackburn contains about twenty “To them the very poor man resorts for one thousand inhabitants, two-thirds of an image of the home, which he cannot the population are in a state of utter find at home. For a starved grate, and destitution.
a scanty firing, that is not enough to “ The remaining number of the middle keep alive the natural heat in the fingers and higher classes of society, bears a far of so many shivering children with their less proportion to the population than in mother, he finds in the depth of winter any part of the kingdom, while the same always a blazing hearth, and a hob to disproportion exists amidst a teeming and warm his pittance of beer by. Instead immense population in the villages and of the clamours of a wife, made gaunt by hamlets of the district.
famishing, he meets with a cheerful at“ Thus, the accessible sources of relief tendance beyond the merits of the trifle are diminished, and the means of allevia- which he can afford to spend. He bas tion are not in the power of those whose companions which his home denies him, very .pendence for their own supply rests for the very poor man can ask no visiters. on the destitute themselves.”
He can look into the goings on of the
world, and speak a little to politics. At The pleasure of the very poor man, home there are no politics stirring but while he endures the privations of his or
the domestic. All interests, real or ima. dinary condition, is the mere absence of ginary, all topics that should expand the bodily disease; and he patiently awaits mind of man, and connect him with a the time when his life shall depart, and sympathy to general existence, are crushed his body shall be buried at the parish in the absorbing consideration of food to expense, and his family shall walk from be obtained for the family. Beyond the his funeral into the workhouse. This is price of bread, news is senseless and imhis state in the best of times; but, in a pertinent. At home there is no larder. season of general calamity to his class, Here there is at least a show of plenty; when the barely sufficient sources of ex- and while he cooks his lean scrap of istence fail, his death is no provision for butcher's meat before the common bars, his wife and children; then the poor or munches his humble cold viands, his are rated for the maintenance of the poor; relishing bread and cheese with an onion, whole parishes became paupers ; and the in a corner, where no one reflects upon district must necessarily be supported by his poverty, he has sight of the substanvoluntary contributions throughout the tial joint providing for the landlord and country.
his family. He takes an interest in the The dwelling of the very poor man is dressing of it; and while he assists in always cheerless ; but the abode of indi- removing the trivet from the fire, he feels gence, reduced to starvation, is a cave that there is such a thing as beef and cab of despair. Thousands of families are bage, which he was beginning to forget perishing for lack of food at the moment at home. All this while he deserts his when this is written. From him who has a wife and children: But what wife, and little, a little is required—and from him what children? Prosperous men, who who has much, much is reqnired—that object to this desertion, image to themthe plague of famine be stayed. The selves some clean contented family case is beyond the reach of legislation, like that which they go home to. But but clearly within the power of associated look at the countenance of the poor benevolence to mitigate. A cry or wives who follow and persecute their hunger is gone forth—is the ear deaf, that good man to the door of the public-house, it cannot hear?-are the hands that have which he is about to enter, when some been often effectually stretched forth, thing like shame would restrain hid, if shortened that they cannot save ? stronger misery did not induce him to
pass the threshold. That face, ground by
want, in which every cheerful, every con- casual street-talk, between a poor woman versable lineament has been long effaced and her little girl, a woman of the better by misery,-is that a face to stay at home sort of poor, in a condition rather above with ? is it more a woman, or a wild cat? the squalid beings which we have been alas! it is the face of the wife of his contemplating. It is not of toys, of youth, that once smiled upon him. It nursery books, of summer holidays (fitcan smile no longer. What comforts ting that age); of the promised sight, or
it share? what burdens can it play; of praised sufficiency at school. lighten? Oh, it is a fine thing to talk of It is of mangling and clear starching, of the humble meal shared together. But the price of coals, or of potatoes. The what if there be no bread in the cupboard ? questions of the child, that should be the The innocent prattle of his children takes very outpourings of curiosity in idleness, out the sting of a man's poverty. But are marked with forecast and melancholy the children of the very poor do not providence. It has come to be a woman, prattle. It is none of the least frightful before it was a child. It has learned to features in that condition, that there is no go to market; it chaffers. It haggles, it childishness in its dwellings. Poor peo- envies, it murmurs; it is knowing, acute, ple, said a sensible old nurse to us once, sharpened; it never prattles. Had we do not bring up their children; they drag reason to say that the home of the them up. The little careless darling of very poor is no home ?"* the wealthier nursery, in their hovel is transformed betimes into a premature
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. reflecting person. No one has time to Mean Temperature ... 49 · 02. dandle it, no one thinks it worth while to coax it, to soothe it, to toss it up and down, to humour it. There is none to
April 30. kiss away its tears. If it cries, it can
CHRONOLOGY. only be beaten. It has been prettily said,
On the 30th of April, 1745, the battle that a babe is fed with milk and praise. of. Fontenoy was fought between the But the aliment of this poor babe was
allied armies of England, Holland, and thin, unnourishing ; the return to its little Austria, under the command of the duke baby-tricks, and efforts to engage atten- of Cumberland, and a superior French tion, bitter ceaseless objurgation. It never army, under marshal count De Saxe. had a toy, or knew what a coral meant. Here the advantage of the day was to It grew up without the lullaby of the French; the duke of Cumberland
urses; it was a stranger to the patient left his sick and wounded to the humanity
The battle was commenced with the the child ; the prattled nonsense, (best formal politeness of a court minuet. sense to it,) the wise impertinencies, the Captain Lord Charles Hay, of the English wholesome lies, the apt story interposed, guards, advanced from the ranks with his that puts a stop to present sufferings, and hat off; at the same moment, lieutenant awakens the passion of young wonder. count D'Auteroche, of the French guards, It was never sung to, no one ever told to advanced also, uncovered, to meet him. it a tale of the nursery. It was dragged Lord Charles bowed :-"Gentleman of up, to live or to die as it happened. It the French guards,” said he, “fire !” had no young dreams. It broke at once
The count bowed to lord Charles. “ No into the iron realities of real life. A my lord,” he answered, “we never fire child exists not for the very poor as any sumed his place in his own ranks; and
first!" They again bowed; each reobject of dalliance; it is only another mouth to be fed, a pair of little hands after these testimonies of high considerto be betimes inured to labour. It is the ation,” the bloody conflict commenced, rival, till it can be the co-operator, for and there was a carnage of twelve thoufood with the parent. It is never his sand men on each side. mirth, his diversion, his solace; it never makes him young again, with recall.
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. ing his young times. The children of the
Mean Temperature ...50 · 57. very poor have no young times. It makes the very heart to bleed to overhear the
* New Monthly Magazine, March, 1826.
In the old wood-cuts, in a forest green,
And there they talk unheard, and walk unseen,
To welcome such true lovers with the May.