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Stephen, it became the possession of Geoffrey de Mandeville, who built the castle, and whose son, William, obtained leave of Henry the Second to increase its military strength. William here
'Solemnized his marriage with Hawisia, daughter and heir of William le Gros, earl of Albemarle, 1180. By her he had the earldom of Albemarle. From this time we must probably date the Norman fortification of this place. A simple vallum and ditch had rendered THIS STATION tenable against the savage natives in the Roman times, when it probably made a part of a chain of stations through the heart of this county from the sea. But the No...an vassalage and the Norman magnificence required a lofty keep and additional works. Mandeville was in high favour at court, and one of the richest barons of his day. He had increased his paternal wealth by marriage, and his residence here was to be improved with buildings, whose strength as well as beauty might be answerable to his rank and circumstances. His youth had been spent in the court of Philip earl of Flanders, who conferred on him the honour of knighthood, and after he returned home to take possession of his title and inheritance, he divided his time between his estates here and in Normandy. He was sent on several embassies by Henry II. and Richard I. and is represented by the author of the Chronicle of Walden-abbey, founded by his ancestors, as a person of lively parts, consummate prudence, great personal bravery, and like his brother in person, stature, and address. He departed this life on his estate in Normandy, 1198.'
At this period the estate of Pleshy passed by an heiress to the family of Fitz-Piers; in the middle of the thirteenth century we find it in the Bohuns; and, in 1372, it became the property by marriage of Thomas of Woodstock, the sixth son of king Edward the Third.
With him Pleshy begins to be a scene of fancy, and to bear a distinguished part in the history of Richard II.; and from his fall we date the ruin of this place.'
It is in the tenth page that the history of Thomas of Woodstock commences: Pleshy is forsaken; and the reign of Richard the Second, interspersed with a variety of pictures of our ancient manners, detailed from the most authentic evidence. This last subject occupies above a hundred and forty pages; and though the reader is not a loser by this extraordinary digression, we cannot help expressing our wish that it had given a more appropriate title to the work. The real history of the place occupies but a fourth part.
The pages, however, which are appropriated to the reign of Richard are both interesting and instructive. Froissart and Bourchier are the leading authorities; but in adding to, or examining, their evidence, neither time nor pains appear to have been spared. In the preface we are told that
• Froissart was a favourite book of Mr. Gray, who thought it strange that people who would give thousands for a dozen portraits (originals of that time) to furnish a gallery, should never cast an eye on so many moving pictures of the life, actions, manners, and thoughts, of their ancestors, done on the spot in strong though simple colours. He considered him as the Herodotus of a barbarous age; had he but had the luck of writing in as good a language, he might have been immortal. His loco-motive disposition (for then there were no other ways of learning things), his simple curiosity, his religious credulity, were much like those of the old Grecian.'
In short, his history has transmitted to us the real feelings of the time he lived in.
But, with such good authorities before us, we cannot acquiesce in the general character of the duke of Gloucester Mr. Gough has drawn; 'that he was a rough, haughty, honest man, of manners and sentiments so entirely different from those of the king and court, that it is no wonder if his advice and counsel, though proper, were little attended to.'
'Our ancient historians, he says (p. 134) concur in representing the duke of Gloucester as a disinterested, but inexorable, patriot. The virtus intonsi Catonis was by no means calculated for the court of Richard II. The piping time of peace, and the "rash fierce blaze of riot, and report of fashions in proud Italy," ill suited "his plain wellmeaning soul."
We prefer, however, the character Dr. Henry has drawn; and, as it is short, we shall transcribe it.
Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, the youngest of king Richard's three uncles, was a prince of a covetous, ambitious, proud, and turbulent disposition. Though he had received grants of immense value from his nephew, he was constantly engaged in factious machinations to disturb his government. He seldom came to court, but to insult bis sovereign, or to council, but to thwart his measures.' Even from Froissart we learn expressly, that all his views were desperate; all his projects destructive. He cultivated his popularity with the nation, only to revenge himself on those who eclipsed him in favour and authority. He had once usurped the royal power. And Richard, it appears, did not think danger too distant to render a desperate remedy unnecessary for the security of the government.
Yet, though we conceive the character here offered of Gloucester not sufficiently coincident with the particulars transcribed from Froissart, we do not mean to depreciate the labour Mr. Gough has undergone. He has entered into the detail of one of the most striking parts of English history; he has marked both the public and the private manners of the time with an agreeable variety; and has occasionally exhibited
those curious and diversified annals of the human mind which are ever most pleasing to the philosophic reader.
In the 156th page we return to the history of Pleshy. the reign of Henry the Fifth the castle, manor, and park, then valued at £106. 8s. fell to the crown, and from that period became parcel of the duchy of Lancaster.
Edward the Sixth granted the manor to sir John Gates; who, though enriched by Henry the Eighth with the accumulated favours of religious spoil, was not attached to the family of his patron. He followed the fortunes of the lady Jane, and on August 22, 1553, lost his head.
The subsequent descent of the Pleshy property is uninteresting. In 1767, the lodge, which had long been decayed and uninhabited, was pulled down:
'It was a brick building, and had, agreeable to the style of the 16th century, a spacious hall with other large apartments, and may be considered as the last civil building of any consequence in this once considerable village.
The earth works may defy the injuries of time and cultivation; but of the buildings that once adorned them, remains only the magnificent bridge leading across the moat to the keep. This bridge is of brick, of one pointed arch, strongly cramped together with iron, 18 feet high and 18 wide, and remarkable for the singular circumstance of contracting as it approaches the foundations. On this bridge was, till very lately, a brick gate mantled with ivy, the tottering condition of which rendered it dangerous to attempt to clear the brick work of the ivy in order to see if any arms or inscriptions over the arch might be concealed under it. Foundations of brick run from the end of this bridge to the left round the keep, and on each side of the way to it are foundations of large rooms and angles of stone buildings. The site of the castle has been a warren, and four ragged yews occupy the keep, in planting which some foundations were laid open.'
The history of the church, and Pleshy college, which immediately follow, have little to engage the attention of the general reader. The appendix of records is copious, but for the most part useless and the large extracts from Gower's Historia tripartita will perhaps never meet a single reader: this, indeed, is literally re-interring the dead. Of the numerous plates, the greater part deserve but little commendation; they, however, have the praife of accuracy: and there is one, which almost every reader will observe with particular curiosity; it is a view of London taken on the water near the Tower, from an illuminated MS. of the time of Henry the Seventh.
On the whole, though we have pointed out several defects, and consigned one sentence to the silent criticism of Italics, we cannot but congratulate our readers on this additional publication from the pen of Mr. Gough. There is an occasional
stiffness in his style, which certainly fatigues attention: but he has not totally neglected the flowery paths with which the wilderness of obscurity is diversified.'
ART. VI.-The Life
and Posthumous Writings of William an Introductory Letter to the Right By William Hayley, Esq. Vol. III. 4to. 1. 1s. Boards. Johuson. 1804.
THE characteristic peculiarities of this poet animate his epistolary correspondence. Rarely have we pursued through the privacy of secluded life a spirit more versatile or more amiable. For the portraiture of Cowper, we shall prefer a copy from his own drawing to any sketch by coarser pencils. Our extracts will best represent his personal singularities, his religious ardor, the varied excellence of his talents, and the fascination of his domestic manners. The editor, however, claims preliminary attention. We examined his preceding volumes with cautious industry. He has again merited our applause; but we remark with regret that by the same sensibility and taste which he has evinced in selecting the letters of his friend, his own DESULTORY REMARKS' on epistolary writers are not distinguished: a composition of which the parts are disproportionate, the materials ill-combined, and the decorationst meretricious. The tendency of his random dissertation is to demonstrate by examples that the English are not inferior to foreigners of modern times in epistolary writing, and to vindicate our national honour in this article of taste and refinement.'
We shall avail ourselves of these desultory remarks merely to elucidate the present publication. Cowper has addressed the letters now collected principally to his young friend Mr. Unwin, and to his old and venerable associate Mr. Newton.'
"Many letters of this selection belong to the time in which he was employed on his greatest performance; and they prove the more welcome, as the former correspondence affords very few that relate to this interesting period.
The new letters may also attract attention in another point of view they contain the writer's critical opinions on several of his most celebrated contemporaries.' P. iv.
* Critical Review, Second Series, Vol. XXXVIII.
In our Review for May, 1803, we censured the affected phrases with which Mr. Hayley had deformed his Life of Cowper. We must still lament that a writer of elegant literary accomplishments, although he discovers that the two pedantic scholars! Bentley and Barnes, are deficient in delicacy of taste, should in his own style tolerate the FERVENT AND PROUD TENDERNESS of parental feeling! and many expressions of equally GRACEFUL affection.'
A polite and liberal scholar of France, deeply versed in our literature, has confessed, that he never thought the writers of this country equal to those of his own, in all the excellencies of epistolary writing, till he read the letters of Cowper.' P. iv.
The principle which Mr. Hayley has followed in admitting or rejecting letters he has candidly avowed:
The lovers of genius and virtue must peruse the correspondence of Cowper with the eyes of a friend; and in doing so, they will feel gratified in being enabled to read what was evidently written for the eyes of friendship alone. They will not think that he talks too much of himself; for what man, so worthy of being intimately known, could be thought to do so in talking to a friend without vanity or affectation?
In preparing the following selection for the press, I have endeayoured to recollect, on every doubtful occasion, the feelings of Cowper; and made it a rule to reject whatever my perfect intimacy with those feelings could lead me to suppose the spirit of the departed poet might wish me to lay aside, as unfit for publication. I consider an editor as guilty of the basest injury to the dead who admits into the posthumous volumes of an author, whom he professes to love and admire, any composition, which his own conscience informs him, that author, if he could speak from the tomb, would direct him to suppress.
On this principle, I have declined to print some letters, which entered more than I think the public ought to enter, into the history of a trifling feminine discord, that disturbed the perfect harmony of the happy trio at Olney, when lady Austen and Mrs. Unwin were the united inspirers of the poet; yet, as the brief and true account, which I gave of their separation, has been thought to cast a shade of censure on the temper of Mrs. Unwin, which I was far from intending, in justice to the memory of that exemplary and sublime female friend, I will here introduce a passage from a letter of Cowper to the reverend William Unwin, honourable to both the ladies in question, as it describes them in a moment of generous reconciliation :
"I inclose a letter from lady Austen, which I beg you to return to me in your next. We are reconciled: she seized the first opportunity to embrace your mother with tears of the tenderest affection, and Ï, of course, am satisfied. We were all a little awkward at first, but now are as easy as ever."
This letter happens to have no date, but the expressions I have cited from it, are sufficient to prove, that Mrs. Unwin, instead of having shewn an envious infirmity of temper on this occasion, must have conducted herself with a delicate liberality of mind.
If in selecting letters of my friend for the press, I should alarm the volatile reader by admitting several of a devotional spirit, I will ingenuously confess my reason for imparting them to the public. There is such tender simplicity, such attractive sweetness, in these serious letters, that I am confident few professed works of devotion can equal their efficacy in awakening and confirming sincere and simple piety in persons of various persuasions. His letters and his poetry will, in this respect, alternately extend, and strengthen the