Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[ocr errors]

TAVISTOCK AND ITS WICINITY. 95

“O Harewood, throned upon yon sunny hill,
The most romantic restless foot might stop
Awhile on thy bright eminence:
The horizon wild is thine,
Far seen, where Cornwall mingles with the sky,
And thine the enchanting views that spread around
Of mellowing harvests, the all-cheering green
Of fields inclosed, the golden orchards, vales
With flowers and fruitage blessed, the interchange
Of graceful hill and dale; while far below,
Disclosed in all his wanderings, Tamar leads
By rock and crag, by woods and flowery meads,
Smoothly and silently, his wanton course.

On the opposite shore is Rumleigh (the property of
Mrs. Bayley, now of Willeston Hall Cheshire,) whose
hospitable precincts have been the scene of many a
Christmas frolic and summer ramble. Near it Tamar
Cottage peeps from amongst its shrubberies and cherry
orchards. In an opposite direction, near Newbridge, is
Sandhill, a commodious dwelling of modern architecture.
The small but romantic Heath cottage is hidden amongst
its trees. Descending as far as the turnpike on the down
we turn off through a field, towards the ancient hunting
seat of the Abbots of Tavistock, Morwel-House. * This
place on a smaller scale reminds us much of Cothele on
the Cornish side of the Tamar. There is the same style
of architecture around a square court, the same entrance
tower, and a similar hall only of smaller dimensions, and
of somewhat different construction, it having been used
for the performance of divine service. The hall now
serves the purpose of a farm kitchen. The organ loft

is still remaining, and a trophy of former field sports, in

the shape of a large fox, (now whitewashed over to suit

* A friend suggests that Morwel may by the change of a letter be made Warwel, the spot in which (according to Malmsbury,) Ethelwold, favourite of king Edgar, and first husband of the faithless Elfrida, was murdered.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

96 HOME SCENES, OR

the colour of the walls!!) stands above what was once we may suppose, a huge fire-place. There is a feeling of desolation in the lofty and blackened roof, the bare walls, and the earthen floor, which we cannot overcome. The Abbot is no longer there with his rubicond visage, to bid us good morrow. The monks no longer sound their hunting-horn as a call to their venison repast. The deer and their pursuers have alike disappeared, and we gladly turn from the festive hall, to the scene of their out-of-door sports. Sending our carriage round to meet us by the Callington road, at Newbridge; we cross some fields by a foot path, and entering a small wood, stand upon Morwel-rock, enjoying one of the loveliest prospects our native land can afford. Exclamations of delight involuntarily burst from the spectator as the scene opens before him. I feel how inadequately the pen, or the pencil, can do justice to the landscape. Rocks, and woods, and rich meadows, and smiling orchards, and mountain scenery, in the distance; all that imagination can paint as most beautiful, is there collected: while the lordly river flows gracefully through the picture, now in a deep channel, visiting the recesses of the wood; now spreading itself over the flowery banks of the verdant pastures. A boat is gliding beneath us, sometimes lost amidst the fringing foliage of the trees; at others, emerging into bright sunshine as it rounds the leafy promontory. An orchard in full bloom lies at our feet on the opposite side of the stream. A picturesque farm house is near-backed by the groves of Harewood. The sound of distant bells comes upon our ear, chiming plaintively to the soft music of the stream. Calstock church crowns a neighbouring height; and its pretty parsonage appears surrounded by its shrubberies below. We leave our elevated quarters, and follow the path through the wood, which conducts us towards Morwellham. This pleasant way was cut by the orders of the late Duke of Bedford;

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

it may be pursued on foot or on horseback, as far as the precincts of Endsleigh. The banks are profuse with the gayest wild flowers; amongst them, the wood anemone, and the finely pencilled sorrel, are conspicuous. Primroses, violets, wild garlick, and every variety of the orchis tribe also enamel the rich mossy carpet, which is spread beneath the shadowy copse. There is the sound of a hundred songsters around, raising their notes in tuneful harmony, while building their nests in the thick covert. Mirth and beauty are abroad: and shall not our hearts receive an impression from the world around? We go on our way rejoicing, loving all things. But lo! a cloud has obscured the brightness of the scene: its dark shadow rests on the smiling landscape; a mist rolls along the valley, and hides from our view the serpentine river. The rain comes pattering down on the budding leaves and knotted branches. “A change comes o'er the spirit of the dream,” and the birds mourn with low wailing in the hollow trees. But “what beautiful rain!” we exclaim with a friend who saw nothing else in Tavistock during the six weeks she staid there. See how the fleecy moisture glides along the banks of the river; one long wreath following another in bright succession, like the spirits of the blest in the “silent land.” And now a rainbow is thrown across the stream, over which the angel-spirits seem still to pass in radiant procession, gilded for a moment with the struggling rays of the sun, and then lost for ever to the admiring gaze. And the rainbow itself—saw you ever such beautiful colors? Now it is fading away, and another appears at a distance, the reflection of departed glory. In a few moments more the whole has passed away. It was but April's legacy to smiling May, which refreshes the landscape, and leaves it more beautiful than it found it.

But why should May,
With smiles so gay,

[graphic][graphic]
[graphic]

98 HOME SCENES, OR

The tears of April borrow 2
Her garments bright
Should beam with light,
And not look dark with sorrow.

These sudden rain-clouds, are frequent in the valleys of the Tamar. I have seen the brightest day overcast by a storm of mist passing on from the sea, to the distant Cornish hills. We may yet admire the evanescent beauty of the shower, and look around with wonder and delight; while

“Every shivering bent and blade
“Stoops bowing with a diamond drop.”

But our most poetical enjoyments must yield to the dictates of prudence and necessity; and we pass on to Morwelham, to seek a drying fire and all requisite refresh: ment in the snug parlor of a country inn. We cannot say much for the picturesque aspect of our resting place. Morwelham is only a quay for the landing of the goods of a Company who have them conveyed to Tavistock by means of the before-mentioned canal. But it presents a scene of busy industry, with its unloading barges, and shouting sailors, and hammering workmen, and train of waggons ascending or descending an inclined plane, which conducts to the canal in the wood above. A quantity of ore is here shipped off to distant smeltinghouses. It is curious to enter the well swept yard, and observe the different wooden shafts down which distinct ores from various mines are poured. Then it is to be collected, and placed on board the vessels bound for distant quarters. These ships in return bring coals, and lime-stone, and many other commodities, for the use of the neighborhood. The climate of Morwelham is particularly mild and soft; which has often made it the resort of invalids. A delightful walkthrough a wood leads us to New-quay

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

TAVISTOCK AND ITS WICINITY. 99

where the same business of loading and unloading is continuing. Lime-kilns near, send up their visibly heated air, so dazzling to the eyes that gaze on it; and we gladly again avail ourselves of the wooded shades, to seek the prettily situated eminence to which Mrs. Bray has given celebrity under the name of Lady Stanning's rock. From New-Quay or Morwelham, we may procure a boat to proceed, if the tide serve, along the river to the Weirhead. We gladly trust ourselves to the smooth element, to be borne along under the bending groves of Harewood, and through the mimic forest of water lilies, whose gay flags and yellow flowers wave in the evening breeze. Morwel-rock rises crowned by its cluster of stunted oaks. * Nearer is the cleft summit of another eminence. Farther off, Chimney rock raises its spiral form wreathed with the leaves of the shining ivy. A winding path through the woods tells us of the delightful ramble which might be taken if we trusted to our feet instead of the lulling motion of our little bark. There is a delicious and balmy feeling in thus floating beneath an unclouded sky along the peaceful river. If we could so smooth down the ruffled waters of life, and glide with conscious pleasure over its small eddies, how should we all hasten to launch our freighted vessels on the tempting stream, and with prosperous gales sail onward to the vast ocean of etermity. But there are quicksands in our way, and storms and cataracts and the rush of a mighty

whirlwind, that scatters the flowers of the soul in its

• A curious anecdote is related of a certain fox which was hunted to the very edge of this precipice. The huntsmen were following close at its heels;–the dogs were opening their mouths to snatch the tempting prey; when behold,—Mr. Renard spreading his large brush as a parachute, took an aerial flight, and leapt into the soft waves of the Tamar—below.

7.49510 A

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« ZurückWeiter »