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I lay me down beneath the palm; the cup
My hands still vainly keep;
Like sudden sleep.
The desert was not in my dreams, nor heat,
Nor weariness, nor thirst;
The fountain burst.
I laughed to see the joyous streams all round
Run purling through the plain;
Of falling rain.
I woke. The cup was brimming in my hand,
The drops of Heaven still fell;
The bubbling well.
The building which we secured for our performances was a large empty house, in its arrangements very like the hotels of the Spanish noblesse. A large stable occupied the lower portion of it: this part was dedicated to the audience. A way was broken above into the house, where our stage was formed, not very extensive, as may be imagined, but still sufficiently large to answer the purpose. Behind the scenes it was almost impossible to pass, in consequence of the room being very limited in its dimensions. I had, like all young actors who have the means of procuring it, a splendid wardrobe. In the play of Pizarro my Rolla's dress was superb, and quite worthy the court of the Incas. My royal master, Ataliba, was contented with a simple shirt, and a little drapery formed of glazed calico. My ambition prompted me to lose no time in producing that gaudy and attractive play. The Welch looked upon me with primitive wonder. I died like a hero, amidst deafening shouts of applause, and the ill-concealed tears and sobs of many a Welch beauty. Those tears however were quickly changed, first to gentle titterings, and finally to obstreperous bursts of laughter. The company of actors was limited, and the principals were compelled to do the work of supernumeraries. Our gallant army was in nubibus, and I presume that the representative of Rolla was never treated with so much respect before. It was of course essential to remove my body previous to interment, and thus commenced the funeral procession : Alonzo and Ataliba had each a leg, Cora and the blind man, who by the way had played four or five parts, had an arm. In the first place, one leg
was put up; down went that; and then they tried the other; one arm touched the floor, one leg was flying in the air, while strong expressions were hovering about my lips, longing to have vent, for I was full of indignation at my beautiful tragedy.acting being destroyed by their awkardness. At length they succeeded in getting half my body off at one of the wings, and there I stuck fast, for there was literally no room to carry me farther; but fortunately the delicate, tender Cora recollected that at the next entrance there was a fair chance of putting an end to my torture and the amusement of the audience. I was instantly removed, and every obstacle was vanquished. A fire-place was in that position, and they literally crammed me, finery and all, half-up the chimney! The curtain was obliged to be lowered immediately, to relieve me from my agonizing situation; and I came down amidst the convulsive laughter of the whole company, and afterward to my own great amusement, the picture of one of the celebrated Mrs. Montague's protegées on the first of May. The retrospect is infinitely more agreeable than was the fact itself; although I very soon got over my chagrin. For a few days, in my walks, I produced nearly as much amusement as my friend Liston in his palmy days; and many a black and blue eye was turned upon me with something more than a simper, as I reminded the gazer of the absurd situation in which I had been placed. My performance of the Stranger was considered very touching, but I am afraid it is a play that does not much improve the morals of any place, as there are many fair ones who may be tempted to commit the sin for the sake of the reconciliation.
EXCURSION TO CHEPSTOW AND TINTERN ABBEY.
To return to Bristol. I started on a pedestrian excursion with a friend, highly educated and accomplished, for the purpose of visiting Berkeley Castle, with all its historical recollections, Chepstow Castle, the prison of some of the regicides of CHARLES the Martyr, and that most magnificent of ruins, Tintern Abbey. Of Berkeley Castle, where I had the honor afterward of being a guest, I will speak hereafter. Chepstow is a ruin, of great beauty, and its position is most romantic. One of the towers is built on the edge of a rock, overhanging the lovely river of the Wye: the ivy clinging to and combining with both, conveys the idea that one is coeval with the other. The gate was nearly perfect, and a deep dry moat was on the land side : there were rooms in sufficient preservation to be let during the summer months; and oh ! how I longed to be one of its occupants, and to be enabled to wander at night through its baronial halls and tenantless apartments; to hear the whispers of the autumnal breeze, and to watch the fitful changes of the moon, throwing her silvery light upon the waters; to hear the moanings of Martin and of his brother regicides, whose prison was in the keep, as if in deep repentence of their guilt ; for surely the errors and even the crimes of Charles were greatly obliterated by his gallant bearing from the moment he became a prisoner, and through the brutal treatment he experienced from his fanatical persecutors.
After having been delighted, not sated, with the interest attached to this castle, we bent our steps back to the town, of which we took a survey ; a town which has by no means excited the great interest it is worthy to produce in the mind of a lover of the picturesque. For ages the truly ancient British chieftains of Chepstow preserved that region from the iron tyranny of the Northerns. Patriotic were their motives, glorious their deeds: to their bravery it was owing that the people of the ancient city of Caerleon to the west, and of many other opulent towns, dwelt in peace, security and independence. The walls of Chepstow extend full a mile and a half below the present town. They are of solid masonry, very thick, and at least from twelve to sixteen feet in height; proving that in the olden time the city must have been consid. erably larger and of great importance. The tide at Chepstow has been known to rise some sixty feet, and is only equalled in height by that of the Bay of Fundy, North-America.
We now started for Tintern Abbey, a distance of not more than five miles. The day was gloomy, with an occasional shower, but not suffi. cient to damp our ardor. On our arrival we took up our quarters at a little public house, where we found simple fare, with that extreme cleanliness and homely comfort so often to be met with by the road-side in England; but we were obliged to check our enthusiasm with respect to the object of our visit, for the landlord, who was the guardian of the Abbey, was not expected home till late in the evening; and, by way of preventing any encroachments upon his domain during his absence, he had taken the keys with him. We sat down however with very respectable appetites to an excellent chicken, together with eggs and bacon and some home-brewed ale, and did as much justice to our repast as the abbots of old (who were now sleeping in their cold monuments in our immediate vicinity) did to more sumptuous fare. Toward evening the weather assumed a more dreary character, and heavy gusts of wind broke upon our ears, conveying an indistinct but pleasurable feeling of solemnity, while it recalled all the deep and powerful interest of the past. At length, between nine and ten, our host returned, and we prevailed upon him, though not without considerable difficulty, and the gentle insinuation of an additional fee, to conduct us into the interior of the sacred edifice. The door of the great entrance was opened, and the lamp of our conductor sent forth a dim unearthly light that at every step seemed to lead us like a will-o'-the-wisp to some point of danger. It was a place and an hour when Superstition walked in all her terrors; and it required no exaggerated feeling to imagine that this was the place where
Descending spirits have conversed with man,
And told the secrets of the world unknown.'
The moaning blasts through the trees every moment checked our footsteps, with an undefined sensation of fear; the broken monuments impeded our path, and it was only by the uncertain and precarious light of the half-clouded moon, that we could occasionally trace the outline of this superb abbey ; its massive broken arches, with here and there one entirely perfect, which had defied the hand of time somewhat
longer than those in its vicinity. In a momentary struggle, the moon would shake off the dark and mountainous clouds that fitfully enve. loped her; and burst forth in all her glorious majesty, and for a few minutes literally bewilder the mind with the superb magnificence of days gone by. Here the imposing ceremonies of the Roman Church had weaned the mind from the cares and anxieties of the world; had brought the haughty feudal lord to humble prayer by the side of his humble vassal; and had sent up the song of praise, in adoration of the Deity. The eastern window has so often excited the admiration of the painter, by its rich and varied tracery, that I should only weaken the force of its beauty by an attempt at its description here. If my me. mory however be not faithless, it is universally considered as one of the most gorgeous specimens of Gothic taste. The following morning we again visited this holy ground; and notwithstanding the glaring light of the sun which now shone forth in all its brilliancy, very little it any of its interest had diminished. The surrounding cells, and the minor details of the building, were more freely exposed to our view. The Abbey at the period of our visit belonged to the late Duke of Beaufort. The extreme care and watchfulness bestowed upon it, proved how sensible his Grace was of the value of this relic, and that he considered it as a bright jewel in his ducal coronet. The well known taste and elegance of mind which so fully belong to his noble successor have doubtless secured for it the same care and attention.
How pleasing is the contrast so frequently afforded between the con. duct of these lords of the domain and that of corporate bodies who have become the possessors of some of the most valuable remains in the country, of relics where history loves to dwell; where ancient lore unfolds its pages, and with graceful step leads us to martial hall and to lady's bower! But modern • Improvement,' with its accursed hand, willingly destroys what ought to be imperishable. Look at the daring and vulgar efforts which have so frequently been made to remove the ancient gates of York, and thus to deprive that Roman city of at least one of its most hallowed recollections. But, thank heaven! such barbarism has not yet entirely struck at the foundation of all that has hitherto been held most sacred; nor has the day yet arrived, on which the son can look back with cold and chilling indifference upon the noble deeds of his progenitors. But hold! I hear the prompter's bell give warning that I must exchange the reality for the fiction of life, and dress for a new part.
THEATRICAL ESPRIT DE-CORPS: AN UNEXPECTED HONOR: BOWERBY.
A most absurd circumstance occurred to me on my return to Bristol from this excursion. It was in the month of September, at which time the annual fair is held. This fair is a great mart for the sale of horses, woollens, and other sweet-meats,' as my friend Caleb Quotem says. I accompanied Mr. Brunton, the father of Mrs. Yates of the Adelphi Theatre, 10 one of the celebrated shows exhibited there. And here I must offer an apology to the gentleman presiding over one of those in. VOL IV.