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places of burial those spots which would give pleasure to that body which so soon ceases to exist after it is placed there.

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"I found the grave of the old clergyman in the spot which I have described. It was marked only by a single headstone, now become moss-green, and fallen awry, from one side of it having sunken somewhat into the earth. There was on it this plain inscription- Sacred to the memory of the Reverend ***** ***** forty years minister of this Parish.' Í could not help feeling a sensation of mingled sorrow and anger that the tomb of one who had been forty years' the minister-the pious, kind, benevolent, truly Christian minister-of the village, should bear such evident tokens of indifference and neglect. Was there none among the many whom he had loved, whom he had obliged, whom he had served, to preserve the memorial of his useful and beneficent life from this forlorn and desecrated aspect? Had a few short years so totally wiped out gratitude and affection from the hearts of those who had loved him, that his very existence should now seem to be forgotten? The droppings from the branching yew had discoloured the stone, and the unsound and frequently stirred earth in which it stood, had caused it to fall from its upright position. Was there no friendly hand to prevent or cleanse away its stains?

-to preserve or restore its stability? But it is always thus in English churchyards. The rank grass and unsightly weeds are suffered to spring unchecked, giving token of that which the mind always strives to hide from its consciousness the foulness and corruption below. The tombstones, which perhaps recent affliction, or scrupulous decorum, has embellished and made shapely, become, like that of my poor old friend, worn and time-stained, untended, unregarded, utterly forgotten. It is very possible, and I believe it is the fact, that the English do not grieve less or more shortly for friends who die than any other nation; but it is certain that the neglected, deserted look of our places of burial shows more strongly than anything else that speedy passing away of affection and remembrance which it is vain to deny, and yet is so chillingly painful to admit.

"I passed on from this humble and deserted tomb with a swelling and saddened heart, and I sought out one, which, just before my leaving England, I had seen receive its tenant. I knew the spot, and therefore easily discovered it-but had I not known where to seek it, I scarcely should have been able to find it otherwise. It was sunken deeply into the ground, which hid part of the inscription, the rest of which was almost equally obliterated by time. It differed scarcely at all in colour from the grass among which it lay rather than stood, and might, anywhere else, have been taken for an unhewn stone. This was all that remained to tell of one of the most interesting and gifted beings which it was ever my lot to meet-of almost the deepest affliction that I ever witnessed. It stands over the grave of a young man of the name of Lyal, with whom I was at school; he was one of most promising brilliancy of talent, and had died at nineteen. I could just trace out, among the short green and yellow moss which grows, like a second surface, over an unheeded stone, the words, aged nineteen years.' There never was a more simple, touching elegy, than these few words, aged nineteen years.' What a tale do they tell of crushed hope and blasted expectation— of the broken-heartedness of parents and family, and, it may be, of a still more vivid affection! And yet my sorrow over the grave of a young person, more especially one of high talent and warm feeling like this, is never unmixed; I always call to mind the touching and true epitaph quoted, or more probably composed, by Madame de Staël-'Ne me plaignez pas-si vous saviez combien de peines ce tombeau m'a épargné !'-How few, indeed, are the chances such a person possesses of happiness here; how many of misfortune!

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"I was in the country when Lyal died; and, having been a schoolfellow and a youthful friend, I was asked to attend the funeral. It was an office indeed of pain, but I did not hesitate to go.

A young man of such distinguished promise was naturally the idol of his parents; in dreadful addition, he was their only child! Of the mother's grief at the time I cannot speak, for, of course,

I saw it not; but to use a homely but most forceful phrase, 'She never held up her head afterwards.' The father's sorrow I did see, for he would not be dissuaded from being himself the chief mourner: he said he was so in heart, and he would be in form.

But

"Alas! what a morning was that! Young and happy as I then was, the scene made an impression upon me, which long subsequent time, and deep personal suffering, have been insufficient to efface. When I arrived at the house, I was admitted by a servant, whom I recognised as having been the tutor and associate of poor Lyal in his field-sports. The man said nothing, but the unspeakable look which he gave me as he showed me to the room where the company was assembled, was the very epitome and essence of speechless sorrow and affection. on occasions like these, circumstances of contrast add pain as much as those of parallel; at least, it was so in this case. When I entered the room where the mourners were, I could not but be forcibly struck with the strong difference of expression on the countenance of the servant and the friends (friends!) of the deceased. There were about a dozen persons present, who stood in detached groups, talking, as I found, of the gossip of the county, and the general news of the day. A young man, who had been at school with Lyal and me, came up to me as I entered, and, after saying, 'Poor fellow, who would have thought it !'—in a tone as if he considered it necessary to say something on the subject which occasioned our meeting,-began to discuss the merits of a new horse which I had seen him on a few days before. wretched father was, I need scarcely say, not present; his feelings would, I think, have imposed some restraint upon these heartless profaners of the name of friend. My heart sickened to see the hollowness of what is called friendship. Splendour of genius, warmth of feeling, beauty of person-all these, joined in one for whom they professed interest, and cut off in the bloom of years, could not for one short hour suspend the thoughts of their shallow and frivolous pursuits-even when they were gathered, as I may say, around his corpse! Refreshments and wine, I

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recollect, were handed round. This revolted me in an especial manner. It is, I believe, usual at funerals, yet it is to me something even repugnant to have thus the usual means of sustaining life brought into such startling contrast with the emblems, the very presence, of death.

"These feelings were more strengthened than interrupted by the entrance of the undertaker to furnish us with scarfs and hat-bands. He was a busy, bustling animal, whose desouci look, and mercenary simper, showed plainly that all he did was in the way of business.' We have no right to expect grief from a hireling; but there is something revolting in seeing the trappings of woe borne by a being whose mind is engrossed by the paltry pounds which he can make by their display.

"Wilverham Cross is about five miles from the house of Lyal's father; and thither we proceeded in mourning coaches, and, of course, at a foot's pace. I never remember to have seen a day of greater gloom. The earth was bound in one of the severest frosts I have ever witnessed, one of that kind and degree which casts a shade of blackness over the whole atmosphere. Even in our sorrow we are physical beings; and the slowness of our pace, and the intense cold which I suffered, added, I confess, to my sadness and depression. They, perhaps, contributed, also to make me feel still more indignant at the indifference of my companions. There were three others in the coach with me, who, like myself, had been early friends of him whom we were attending to the grave. From their conversation and manners who would have thought that coach to be a mourning one! One of these young men was fond of hunting, and hoped the frost might break up; another preferred skating, and wished it to continue. The third was an Oxonian, and occupied three miles of our foot-pace journey with the detail of a plan which a stage-coachman had communicated to him of a new way of roughshoeing horses in a frost-And these were the mourners at the burial of the young, the feeling, and the gifted!

"We quitted the carriages at the church-gate; and here, for the first time, I saw the father. He was leaning on

the arm of a relation, and tottered up the pathway, next after the coffin, into the church. He held his handkerchief to his face, and the hood of his mourning cloak was drawn over his eyes; yet I could distinguish the marble whiteness of the cheek, and the quivering of the muscles, which showed but too plainly what was passing within. A portion of the service was performed in the church; and this, perhaps, was the most mournful part of the whole. It was on a weekday, so that the church, which was large, was empty with the exception of ourselves. The piercing cold struck to the very bones, from the effect of the stone pavement of the church, and its vast uninhabited space. The measured and sonorous tones of the clergyman echoed through the void of the large building with a sadness and solemnity which went to the soul; and, at every pause of his voice, was heard the father's deep sob of half-suppressed agony. At a certain period in the service, we went out to the grave. A few stragglers of the village had gathered round it, to gaze on the finery of the funeral show. Some few appeared to look on it with feeling and compassion, but the greater part seemed to regard it merely as a sight; while others, with gaping mouths and staring eyes, gave no clue by which to trace, on their wooden countenances, what ideas the solemnity might cause. There was one with a wailing infant, which she was striving to hush. Its cries attracted my notice and the commencement and the close of life being thus brought into such immediate opposition, caused, perhaps, the deepest feeling which I experienced during that melancholy day.

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"The sinking the coffin into the grave is the most impressive part of the ceremony of burial. It is then that the dead seem finally cut off from all connexion with the world; it is then that we lose sight of them for ever! At the moment that the coffin sounded on the bottom of the grave, I looked towards the father. His face at that moment is indelibly graven on my memory; but I cannot embody its expression in words. It made me right well understand why the painter of old evaded the picturing of parental agony. Such visitations, indeed, are far

beyond all painting, whether of the pencil or the pen.

"These recollections crowded upon my mind as I lingered over Lyal's grave; but, after a time, I remembered what was my chief purpose in thus exploring the churchyard, and passed on to gather from its records the memorials of the humble friends of my boyhood and early youth. Alas! they were nearly all here:-one by one I lighted upon almost all their names. I paused for a brief space over that of an old farmer, who, in the sturdy independence of an English yeoman, had once beaten me when I was a boy, for thrashing, with the petulance and oppression of a schoolboy, one of his sons who had in some way given me offence. I recollected going, brimming with indignation, to complain to my mother of the insolence of him, one of our tenants, in striking me, who was a gentleman!-but the only redress I got from her was being made to learn by heart the speech of Henry V. to the Lord Chief Justice-I know it to this hour. The old man who had beaten me had done it in fatherly wrath and complete justice; but he did not in the least bear malice, or fail in respect to his landlord, whom he loved, for he came the next day up to the Court to apologise-when I was made to beg his pardon,-and we shook hands together. I question if any one of the villagers bade me a more cordial farewell, or regretted my departure more. Poor fellow, here he lay now!

"I found also the grave of one whose age had been nearer my own, being a young man when I was a boy-who, as he was the son of the gardener, had been a good deal about the house, and had initiated me into the mysteries of batfowling, climbing the tall elms for rooks' nests, and many other accomplishments of a similar sort. He was one of the most active and bold fellows I ever saw. I recollect his climbing a stupendous ashtree, which stands near the centre of the village-a sort of trysting-tree, round which the villagers were used to assemble on Sundays and on summer evenings. This tree was accounted impossible to climb, and there was a tradition in the village of a lad having been killed in making the attempt. Its bole shot up, round and smooth,

and far too bulky to be clasped, to the height of about forty feet, and there was a huge wart-like excrescence which it was considered impracticable to get beyond. As I stood beside the grave in which mouldered the dust of this man, whom I had left so vigorous in limb, and so instinct with animal life, I called to mind this scene of his prowess, which, from emulation, had nearly caused me to break my neck half a dozen times. It was on an evening in spring-just after the leaves had budded, and before they were fully blown. There had been rain in the day, and the surface of the tree was consequently slippery, and therefore even more difficult and dangerous than usual. Some of the men, assembled on the bench which surrounded its base, were remarking upon this, and said to the man of whom I speak, that, climber as he was, he could not climb that tree. I'll try, at least,' he said, and immediately pulled off his coat, and, to the astonishment, almost horror of us all, began to ascend the tree. Some endeavoured to dissuade him, but he paid no attention to their prudent counsels. On he went, swarming, as the phrase is for clambering up a tree where there are no branches, by griping it with the arms and legs. The length of bough less stem made the strength and exertion of muscle necessary for the achievement prodigious. He surmounted the hump of the tree much more easily than we expected, and he got without accident to the highest bough which could support his weight—but, as he began to descend, his foot slipped on the wet bark, and he fell. My heartand I am sure that of all the crowd, which by this time was great-leaped to my throat; I expected he would be dashed to pieces. But to our infinite relief as well as surprise, he had not fallen ten feet-which, as the top of the tree was spreading, was among boughs,- when he caught hold of one of them, and swung himself actively and lightly again upright. I now looked upon his tomb, and I thought of the lines in that most powerful, but neglected poem, 'The Grave,' which are suggested by that of the strong

man:

'Strength too! thou surly and less gentle boast

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With respect to the giant-like use' of this giant strength,' these fine lines are totally inapplicable; but, as regards its possession, they might have been written for him. Alas! how changed was he now!-yet I thought that I-I who lived, who still existed in the same being-was almost as totally dissimilar from what I then was, as this poor fellow, whose stalwart frame was wasted into its original dust. His death had been characteristic of his activity, his courage, and his generous heart; the legend on the head-stone (and I had before heard it from my sister) told that he lost his life in attempting to save some boys under whom the ice had broken on the village pond.

"At last I went to my mother's tomb. It stood in the church, which was now opened for evening service, but to which no one was yet come. The stone which. marks the spot where she is laid is, as I have before mentioned, opposite our pew. It is very simple, and bears only her maiden and married name, and the date of her birth, her marriage, and her death. Simple, indeed, is her epitaph, but never was there a human being who merited a higher elegy. But those who deserve it the most, need it the least. Her epitaph is engraven on the hearts of those who loved her, and they were all, lowly as well as high, by whom she was surrounded. My mother was indeed, a woman comme il y en a peu. Gifted with great powers of mind, and keen and ardent feelings, she at the same time possessed a gay playfulness of manner, and a considerate kindness for all around her, that made her the idol of the circle of which she was the centre point. She had also, I do in truth believe, the best heart that ever throbbed beneath a human bosom. The milk of human kindness existed in her with brimming and over

flowing fulness. Actively and personally benevolent, she was worshipped rather than beloved by the poor around. She was not content with almsgiving, but would seek out objects of pity, and console as well as relieve them. The rich are in general little aware how much one kind word from them, or even their mere presence, is felt by the suffering The sickness of a poor person is poor. indeed the most dreadful of all things. We know how wretched it is, even when we are surrounded with all the appliances and comforts which wealth confers; what must it then be without any of themwithout medicine or medical aid-without appropriate, perhaps without any, foodwithout sufficient covering or perfect shelter and (sad completion of wretchedness!) with the knowledge that every day of illness is an increase to poverty already biting and extreme. These

things my mother knew full well; and there was not a sick bed in the village into the wants of which she did not personally inquire-not one which she did not, in a greater or a less degree, personally tend, succour, and support.

Nor

was she indiscriminate in her charity ;— she was not indeed one of those scrupulously just persons who relieve suffering worth, but leave suffering error to perish; -No, she would relieve all in extremity, but deserving was an indispensable passport to her permanent favour. Her religion too was what is, alas! so rarewarm, practical, and ardent; but without the slightest tinge of intolerance or fanaticism-equally remote from indifference on the one hand, and bigotry on the other. I always--as indeed, well I might -adored my mother; and one of the chief

yearnings which my heart had felt towards home, was the hope of being reunited to her. In the period of my deepest distress, it was to her my heart turned, and, from her letters of pure piety and extreme and perfect affection, that it had found its chief relief. I had concealed from her, indeed-that I might not cause her the severest and unnecessary pain-the darker circumstances of my story. She knew only that my wife had been snatched from me in the fulness of her youth and of our mutual fondness, but she was ignorant of the events which preceded our union. To being once more restored to the society of such a mother, I had always looked as the highest solace which my heart could ever know-and as she died only a very few years before I left India, her disappearance from the scene of my dear home was almost as cruel a disappointinent as it was a deep

sorrow.

"Alas! how bitter was that sorrow now-now that I gazed on the emblem and record of her death!-now that her being lost to me for ever was told to my eyes in written characters, as well as to my heart by deprivation! I remained I know not how long on the spot;-my past sorrows and my present mingled in one flood of uncontrollable emotion, which would almost have burst my heart, had it not at length found vent in tears.

"I was awakened from my abstraction by the sound of feet-I looked round, and saw that it was produced by the clerk, who was come to prepare for service. I turned hastily away, and hurried out by the small door in the chancel, that I might shun his observation."

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