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sound of the wind and surge conveyed. Nothing sudden, nothing laboured; all a continuance of sure power without effort.'
Passing with reluctance some beautiful sketches of Kenilworth (a spot which, by the by, so deeply impressed the mind of Mrs Radcliffe, that its recollections gave rise to her latest romance of Gaston de Blondeville), of Penshurst and Blenheim, we would request the reader to compare the following nightscene on the terrace at Windsor, with some of her pictures of Italian fortresses. How closely, for instance, does it recall to recollection those scenes where Emily is represented as watching the veiled figure which paces nightly the terraces of Udolpho! In how many points had the romance which appeared in 1794, anticipated the realities of 1802 !
We stood in the shade on the north terrace, where a platform projects over the precipice, and beheld a picture perfect in its kind. The massy tower at the end of the east terrace stood up high in shade; but immediately from behind it the moonlight spread, and showed the flat line of wall at the end of that terrace, with the figure of a sentinel moving against the light, as well as a profile of the dark precipice below. Beyond it was the park, and a vast distance in the faint light, which spread over the turf, touched the avenues, and gave fine contrast to the deep shades of the wooded precipice on which we stood, and to the whole line of buildings which rise on the north terrace. Above this high dark line, the stars appeared with a very sublime effect. No sound but the faint clinking of the soldier's accoutrements as he paced on watch, and the remote voices of people turning the end of the east terrace, appearing for a moment in the light there, and vanishing. In a high window of the tower, a light. Why is it so sublime to stand at the foot of a dark tower, and look up its height to the sky and the stars?
• What particularly strikes at Windsor is the length of terrace in the east thus seen by moonlight; the massy towers, four in perspective, the lights and shades of the park below, the obscure distance behind them, the low and wide horizon, which you seem to look upon, the grandeur of the heavenly arch which seems to spring from it, and the multitude of stars which are visible in so vast and uninterrupted a view. Then the north terrace stretching and finally turning away from them towards the west, where high dark towers crown it. It was on this terrace surely that Shakspeare received the first hint of the time for the appearance of his ghost.
Last night of all,
When yon same sun that westward from the Pole
The bell then beating one'
One other quotation from these Journals, and we have done. Independently of its beauty-and it seems to us to possess all the stir and motion, the breezy and sparkling freshness, of one
of Callcott's sea pieces-it is interesting as the last description of the kind which flowed from the author's pen. It was the last entry in her Journal. For twelve years, she had been suffering from occasional spasmodic attacks of asthma, during which period, the public had been told, and devoutly believed, that the authoress of the Romance of the Forest, the Mysteries of Udolpho, and the Italian, a victim to the terrors she had raised, was the melancholy inmate of a lunatic asylum. Not only was the story not true, but, a priori, nothing could be conceived more improbable or unphilosophical, since, if these tales of hers have any particular fault, it is precisely, that she all along has her own imagination too completely at command, calculates her effects too calmly and elaborately, and insists after all, to the manifest detriment of her own spells, upon explaining, by natural causes, what we would rather leave enveloped in the vague obscurity of conjecture.
Ramsgate, Saturday Morning, October 19, 1822.-Stormy day; rain, without sun, except that early a narrow line of palest silver fell on the horizon, shining here and there. Distant vessels on their course: ships riding in the Downs, exactly on the sea-line over the entrance into the harbour, opposite to our windows, were but dim, and almost shapeless hints of what they were. Many vessels, with sails set, making for the port; pilot-boats rowed out of the harbour to meet them; the tide rolling in, leaving the foaming waves at its entrance, where vessels of all kinds, from ships to fishing-boats, appeared in succession at short intervals, dashing down among the foam, and rushing into the harbour. The little black boats around them often sunk so low in the surge as to be invisible for a moment. This expansive harbour, encircled by noble piers, might be considered as a grand theatre, of which the entrance and the sea beyond were the stage, the two pier-heads the portals, the plain of the harbour the pit, and the houses at the end of it the front boxes. This harbour was not now, as some hours since, flooded with a silver light, but grey and dull, in quiet contrast with the foaming waves at its entrance. The horizon thickened, and the scene around seemed to close in, but the vessels, as they approached, though darker, became more visible and distinct, the sails half set, some nearly wholly set. They all kept away a little to the westward of the west pier, the wind southwest, then changed their course, and dashed round the lighthouse pier-head, tossing the foam high about them, some pitching head-foremost, as if going to the bottom, and then rolling helplessly and reeling in, settled
in still waters.'
These beautiful sketches have somewhat seduced us, however, from our subject; and, indeed, we have dwelt longer on them, and on our recollections of the impressions produced by Mrs Radcliffe's early Tales, because we really feel that, with all our admiration of her powers, we can say little that is favourable of her Metrical Romance. Even the Tale which originally accom
panied these Poems, Gaston de Blondeville, was quite unworthy of its predecessors. It might have been an improvement on the Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, or the Sicilian Romance, but it was felt as a sad sinking after the grand and impressive pictures of Udolpho and the Italian. The truth was, that the plot admitted of no developement-no progressive or complex interest. The discovery of a murder, by the repeated appearances of the murdered man, might have afforded materials for one of those episodical fragments which Mrs Radcliffe has occasionally introduced with such success, as related by some of her personages;-it might have been very effective, for instance, if condensed into the same space as that admirable ghost-story of Sir Bevys of Lancaster, which Ludovico is represented as perusing during his midnight watch in the chateau of Le Blanc ;-but expanded into three volumes, narrated in the obsolete style of a chronicle, and filled with antiquarian descriptions (in which, by the by, we greatly doubt the accuracy of the chronology), the story drags most heavily. If any thing, too, could reconcile us to Mrs Radcliffe's system of explaining every thing by natural causes in her former romances, it would be to see how completely in this she has failed in the management of a true spirit, for here all her early tact seems to have deserted her; her spectre appears so often, with so little reason, and in situations so little calculated to set off his spiritual dignity,—such as the dinner-table and the tilt-yard,-that the reader at last gets perfectly reconciled to his exits and his entrances, and is prepared to receive him with the cool remark with which Hamlet greets the fellow i' the cellarage,' Art thou there, old Truepenny!' Though any one might have naturally inferred, from the character of Mrs Radcliffe's mind, as exhibited in her romances, that she had little turn for the more meditative and reflective kinds of poetry, we should hardly have anticipated her total failure in a metrical romance. For this species of poetry, so purely objective, as our German neighbours call it,―requiring little beyond a picturesque eye, and graphic hand, or perhaps some ingenuity of plot, and exacting no study of character, and but little strictness of versification, one would have thought her powers extremely well suited. There seem, however, to be some who are poets in prose, but whose poetry forsakes them the moment they attempt to embody their ideas in verse; and one of these undoubtedly was Mrs Radcliffe. In her St Alban's Abbey, she has strung together a few incidents, which are supposed to be connected with, or to follow the defeat of, the Lancastrians by Richard of York in 1455; but so miserably told, so broken and confused by tedious descriptions, that though we have toiled
through the ten cantos which compose the story, we have the most indistinct notion what the whole is about. We have some visions of battles in the streets of St Alban's,-monks gazing on the fight from the Abbey walls, alarms, retreats, dirges for the dead, processions and banquets-but the whole blended in such a hazy mass, as absolutely to defy all attempts at decomposing it into its particulars. With the exception of some of the architectural sketches of the Abbey, we can scarcely lay our hand on a passage approaching to poetry, save the following. It is not very striking, certainly, but naturally and unaffectedly told. A father is searching for the body of his son among the different biers in which the dead are placed, when a dog is seen, with a mute and forlorn look, to draw near, from one of the coffins, and then to gaze up in the stranger's face.
A little Spaniel dog was he,
All silver white his hair,
Save some few spots of red tawney,
His lively eyes were hazel bright,
And full of sympathy's quick light,
Full often gaily had he run
With his dear lord round Alban's town,
Now crimson'd with his blood!
And all for sport had sought this day
His master's step afar,
Till coming where he bleeding lay
Upon his bed of war,
He knew him through his dead disguise,
Faithful the utmost to abide.
And sprang as if to give relief
And even strove those tears to dry,
Stronger no human tongue could speak,
Than his who dried the mourner's cheek
Of the other pieces in these volumes, we are compelled to say, that their merits are inversely as their length. The longer pieces, Stonehenge, and Edwy, are very tiresome, though some pleasing moonlight scenes in Windsor Park, in some measure relieve the tedium of the latter. But in the shorter pieces which are scattered through the book, there is frequently a fine power of description, a pleasing though vague melancholy, and occasionally considerable happiness of expression. The following lines on A Second View of the Seven Mountains,' written during her tour on the Rhine, are full of truth, picturesque, and pleasing. She had last seen them under the splendid effect of a thunder
• Mountains, when next I saw ye, it was noon,
And pale your many-spiring tops appear'd,
Or long-lived precipice its brow uprear'd.
Beyond your tapering pinnacles, a show
Thus on the long and level plains ye rose
For of a grander world ye seem'd the dawn,
There is much melody, and a fine twilight solemnity, in the stanzas to the river Dove.