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Yet this was new,---for formerly 'twas sweet
The Poem thus concludes Then fare-thee-well! though still to thee, sweet child ! Tby Father look'd, to feel thy spirit mild Come on his heart, perturbed thoughts to soothe, As oil
upon the water steals to smooth;
Farewell, on earth! I firmly say farewell!
The Country Ruined.--- An Epigram.
PERISH the country! yet my NAME
Shall ne'er in STORY be forgot,
The more the country GOES TO POT!
What is said of princes reaches to all persons
great fank, more or less, according to their station, and therefore it becomes them to consider that they, instead of having any privilege with regard to indiscretion, are doubly censurable for the mistakes they commit: mistakes which a little consideration might prevent. Many a great man, for want of a small quantity of discretion, is under the disagreeable necessity of making acknowledge ments the most repugnant to his character.
* The fortress of Porto Ferrajo, in the island of Elba, has been always reckoned the place in Europe which has the best title to be deemed impregnable. The Marshal DE LA MEILLERASE, a French officer of distinction, going to take a view of it, was shewn every part of it by Griffoni, governor of it, for the great duke of Tuscany. To this governor the marshal could not help saying, with more vanity than propriety, "Your place is a strong place, Sir; but if my master should give me orders to attack it, I should not at all doubt of giving him a good account of it in six weeks." " Your excellency,” replied Griffoni, "takes much too long a time, for my master is so much the king's humble servant, that if he had any occasion for it, he might command it in a moment.” The marshall blushed, and after taking a turn or two, answered, “You are a man of sense, governor, and I am a blockbead.” There was certainly good sense and spirit in this answer ; and the marshal atoned very well for the fault he had committed : but without doubt he would have discovered more sense if he had avoided the mistake.
Anecdote relating to Alexander the Great
Among other prodigies which preceded the march of Alexander's army towards Persia, the image of Orpbeus at Libetbra, made of Cypress-wood, was secn to sweat in great abundance, to the discouragement of many ; but Aristander told him, that far from presaging any ill to him, it signified he should perform things important and glorious, as should make the poets and musicians of future ages labour and sweat to describe and celebrate
THE NARRATOR, No. XIX.
SCATTERED THOUGHTS on the
ANTIQUITY of the HARP,
Concluded from page 132.
And thus it was, meeting one day with an old soldier who in his youth' had delighted much in minstrelsey, they proceeded to discourse of the excellency of the art, when the veteran assured Blondell, that there was at that moment a prisoner in the neighbouring fortress, a most skilful barper, and who often at the close of day, did entertain him while on his duty with the most de lightful symphonies; that he (the soldier) had often inclined to think the pe former a person of superior consequence, and far above the ordinary cast of prisoners. This was glad tidings to Blondell, who took bis harp, and hasted to the spot; it was about the setting sun when he arrived, and placed himself with his instru. ment before the great tower of the castle. If it be him, said the faithful Minstrel, Richard will reverberate the sounds I taught hin, they are only known to him and myself : and now Blondell began to play, and to articulate the well known stanza; the sounds and the words were instantly responded from within. Richard is there, exclaimed Blondell, I have found my king, and I will never cease till I have worked his deliverance. The Minstrel was faithful to his word, Richard was soon ransomed, and the Pope excommunicated the perfidious Leopold.
John, the brother of Richard, though in many other instances, an eccentric character, was highly attached to minstrelsey, but it was not of the rational kind ; his taste was levity, and the celebrated Bertram de Clare was both that king's Minstrel and his Buffoon, of this Antic, it is recorded, that as he was one day hastening to join his master at Clarendon, he was stopped in the woods by a banditti, who knowing the whimsical talent of
Bertrand, mounted him to the top of an old hollow Pollard, and demanded of him his song of the Cuckoo, too full of indelicacy for me to recapitulate; after which, they rewarded him with their approbation, and a safe conveyance,
*John Gower though a lawyer, was the Prince of Minstrels : his skill in music and poesy so endeared him to his too indulgent master, Richard the Second, that Richard covered the Minstrel with riches and honours, made him his own Laureat, and with his royal hand, placed the rosiet crown upon the head of Gower. But (a disgrace to minstrelsey and to the professors) ingratitude poisoned all the merit of this favourite, for upon the change of Court politics, Gower, like the summer swallows when they can feed no more, flew from bis master in the winter of his adversity; while Chaucer, the great father of English Minstrelsey, who had no such obligation, and who was closely connected with Richard's successor, retired modestly from the presence of that degraded sovereign,-scorning to wound the dying lion, he left him with pity.
From this time, Minstrelsey became less respected among the Barons, Chivalry or deeds in arms eclypsed the softer measures of the Muse, and chilled the spirits of the Bardic-train : and that the evil might not come alone, the predominating power of the Church, struck at the professors with its overwhelming axe. The Minstrels so well cherished of old, became turned adrift, and forced to seek an itinerant livelihood among such as had once been thought beneath their dignity; some few were indeed retained by the great Barons, but the gene
* His monument is at this moment finely preserved in the church of St. Saviour's, Southwark, to which he was a great be. nefactor ; he is pillowed by the books he wrote, and his head is wreathed by the rosiet crown of his office, as Minstrel to Richard the Second. It is recorded of Gower and Ponsonby, but I hope unjustly, for the honour of human nature, that these two, the one the King's Minstrel, and the other his Barber, men who were indebted for all they had in this world to his bounty, that when the unfortunate Richard entered the Tower of London, uncovered, with Harry of Lancaster, they both threw ashes from the battlement, on the anointed head of their master.
rality were only to be found at low festivals. Even this glimmering of substance was but of a short duration ; for the long struggle between the two Houses of York and Lancaster, nearly annihilated the band, for every being that coulil poize a lance was recruited, and the policy of the times was such, that every man must list under the banner of the White Rose or the Red, so that in the subseqnent reign, the true Minstrel was but as the fabled Phænix
the other birds. And now a more powerful enemy to ancient minstrelsey arose than any that had hitherto assailed it, which gave a turn to the public taste, that took so deep a root in the gardens of amusement, that no time but the return of ignorance shall ever eradicate : this powerful foe to minstrelsey embraced the dramatic writings of Massenger, John Ford, Johnson, Shakspeare, and others. Elizabeth indeed, (it is so recorded) once expressed a desire to see the Minstrel again in all his ancient glory; the Earl of Leicester, to gratify this wish of his beloved mistress, invited her Majesty to Kenelworth Castle, where after the banquet, a curtain was drawn up, and the Bard began to play most pleasant ditties, and greatly to the Queen's gratisication. This circumstance is still among the family records, and the habit and the Minstrel thus described.
His garb was that usually worn in carlier days by the professors of minstrelsey. A robe of dark green, gathered at the neck, with a small gorget of silver (embossed) beneath the snowy folds of his ruff. He was encircled round the waist with a crimson Cadis-girdle; the sleeves slashed off from the elbow, fell to the ground, and discovered those of his doublet, of black velvet, fastened at the wrists with silver clasps. A scarlet ribbon fell from his neck, from wbich was suspended his harp, scarcely larger than a lyre. From his girdle bung a chain, to which was fastened a splendid escutcheon, and bis curling, glossy black hair defined the form of a head, which was that of the youthful Alcibiades.
In the Court of Scotland, during the reign of their Queen Mary, the harp was in high esteem ; that Princess herself, played upon it most skilfully.
So great a favourite was this instrument, that whenever her Majesty followed the pleasures of the chace in the Highlands of Perthshire, she commanded in her suite, several of the