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watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the

beautiful bills and valleys which lie between Sheffield ' and the pleasant town of Doncaster.--Here haunted of yore the fabulous dragon of Wantley; here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the civil wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws, whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song.



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• The sun was setting upon one of the rich grassy glades of' this “forest:-hundreds of broad short-stemmed oaks, which had witnessed perhaps the stately march of the Roman soldiery, flung their broad gnarled arms over a thick carpet of the most delicious green sward; ' in some places they were intermingled with beeches,

hollies, and copsewood of various descriptions, so closely as totally to intercept the level beams of the sinking sun; in others they receded from each other, forming those long sweeping vistas, in the intricacy of which the eye delights to lose itself, while imagination considers them as the paths to yet wilder scenes of sylvan solitude. Here the red rays of the sun shot a broken ' and discoloured light, that partially hung upon the shattered boughs and mossy trunks of the trees, and

there they illuminated in brilliant patches the portions • of turf to which they made their way. A considerable open space, in the midst of this glade, seemed formerly to have been dedicated to the rites of Druidical superstition; for, on the summit of a hillock, so regular as to seem artificial, there still remained part of a circle of 'rough unhewn stones, of large dimensions. Seven stood upright; the rest had been dislodged from their places,

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probably by the zeal of some convert to Christianity, ' and lay, some prostrate near their former site, and others on the side of the hill. One large stone only had found its way to the bottom, and in stopping the course of a 'small brook, which glided smoothly round the foo: of 'the eminence, gave, by its opposition, a feeble voice of murmur to the placid and elsewhere silent streamlet.

• The human figures which completed this landscape 'were in number two, partaking, in their dress and appearance, of that wild and rustic character which belonged to the woodlands of the West Riding of Yorkshire at this early period,' &c.Ivanhoe, Vol. I. ch. 1.

In attempting to draw the poetical character of the author of Marmion, I have dwelt particularly on his judgment in selecting, enthusiasm in feeling, and energy

in painting. From the union of these qualities arises that particular excellence in which, rivalled only by the author of Waverley, he far surpasses all other contemporary poets and descriptive writers, and is little inferior, if inferior, to the greatest of any age. I mean that realizing power which brings the imagined scene so forcibly to our minds, that we almost seem to behold it with our eyes. If there is any single perfection which, beyond all the rest, distinguishes either the author of Marmion, or the novelist, considered as a poet, it is the freshness, the living truth, the źrópyela of his narrative and description. Both seem to transport themselves at pleasure, by a strong effort of fancy, into the midst of the objects they propose to represent; and hence the composition of their stories, in every important part, is either picturesque or dramatic, or partakes of both qualities; and the circumstances are so well chosen and aptly combined, and the incidents follow one another so naturally, that we cannot but suppose the entire scene to have existed at once, or the whole action to have passed uninterruptedly, in the author's imagination, and to have been transferred thence to his paper, like a minute of actual observations, or an abstract of real occurrences.

The picturesque mode of narrative, which impresses an event or situation on the fancy by a vivid representation of all the outward circumstances as they unitedly offer themselves to the sense, is brilliantly exemplified in the following passage of Kenilworth:

• The door was unlocked and thrown open, and Janet " and her father rushed in, anxious to learn the cause of " these reiterated exclamations.

When they entered the apartment, Varney stood by 'the door grinding his teeth, with an expression in which

rage, and shame, and fear, had each their share. The • Countess stood in the midst of her apartment, like a juve

nile Pythoness, under theinfluence of the prophetic fury. "The veins in her beautiful forehead started into swoln • blue lines through the hurried impulse of her articula

tion--her cheek and neck glowed like scarlet-her eyes were like those of an imprisoned eagle, flashing red • lightning on the foes whom it cannot reach with its • talons. Were it possible for one of the Graces to have 'been animated by a Fury, the countenance could not ' have united such beauty with so much hatred, scorn, defiance, and resentment. The gesture and attitude ? corresponded with the voice and looks, and altogether

presented a spectacle which was at once beautiful and • fearful; so much of the sublime had the energy of passion united with the Countess Amy's, natural loveliness. Janet, as soon as the door was open, ran to her mistress; and more slowly, yet with more haste than he was wont,


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Anthony Foster went to Richard Varney.'--Kenilworth, vol. ii. ch. 10.

I do not know a scene more elaborately picturesque than that in Marmion, where the Abbess of St. Hilda's, the haughty prioress of Tynemouth, and the blind old Abbot of St. Cuthbert's, are described sitting in judgment on Constance Beverley, at Holy Island. But the whole passage would require too much space, and to omit any circumstance would leave the picture incomplete. I will therefore turn to a shorter specimen, and of a milder character.

“ They closed beside the chimney's blaze,
And talked, and hoped for happier days,
And lent their spirits' rising glow
Awhile to gild impending woe;-
High privilege of youthful time,
Worth all the pleasures of our prime!
The bickering faggot sparkled bright,

the scene of love to sight,
Bade Wilfrid's cheek more lively glow,
Played on Matilda's neck of snow,
Her nut-brown curls and forehead high,
And laughed in Redmond's azure eye.
Two lovers by the maiden sate,
Without a glance of jealous hate;
The maid her lovers sate between,
With open brow and equal mien;
It is a sight but rarely spied,
Thanks to man's wrath and woman's pride*,

Rokeby, Canto V. St. 6.

* To these examples may be added the beautiful lines already quoted (in Letter II.), from the Lady of the Lake.--"Delightful praise," &c.


The dramatic and picturesque are sometimes united with admirable effect-for instance

Of Allan himself it is said, that, in a wonderfully short space after the deed * was commited, he burst into a room in the castle of Inverara, where Argyle was sitting in council, and Aung on the table his bloody dirk.

Is it the blood of James Graham?' said Argyle, a ghastly expression of hope mixing with the terror which 'the sudden apparition naturally excited.

“ It is the blood of his minion,' answered M'Aulay" It is blood which I was predestined to shed, though I 'would rather have spilt my own.' Having thus spoken,

he turned and left the castle.'-Legend of Montrose, last chapter.

The despair of Rhoderick Dhu, on Douglas's rejection of his suit to Ellen, displays in a striking manner the united skill of painter and dramatist.

“Twice through the hall the Chieftain str ode;
The waving of his tartans broad,
And darkened brow, where wounded pride
With ire and disappointment vied,
Seemed, by the torch's goomy light,
Like the ill Dæmon of the night
Stooping his pinions' shadowy sway
Upon the nighted pilgrim's way:
But, unrequited love ! thy dart
Plunged deepest its envenomed smart,
And Roderick with thine anguish stung,
At length the hand of Douglas wrung,

* The assassination of Lord Menteith.

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