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PNPJSK THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
ROLANDSECK, THE DRACHENFELS, AND NoNNENWERTlIKR.
All travellers agree in admiring the Rhine; and, however highly the expectations of visiters may have been raised by the reports of others, we venture to believe, that no one who has seen that remarkable river in fair weather, can have quitted its banks with a feeling of disappointment.
To form an adequate idea, however, of the beauties of the Rhine, the tourist must view it in its course between the cities of Cologne and Mayence, that he may meet with that varied and romantic scenery for which it is so justly celebrated. Slopes planted with rich vineyards, or covered with corn-fields; neat looking villages coming down almost to the water's edge; mountains, whose rugged and irregular shapes present a striking contrast with the soft and cultivated vales below; bare and black rocks, surmounted by ruins of ancient castles, or convents; and not a few large and populous towns; appear at intervals, and keep the attention engaged. Among the latter, may be mentioned Cologne, with its gigantic and unfinished cathedral; the pleasant little town of Bonn; Andernach, famed for its mill-stones and factories; Coblentz, as its Roman name Confluentia imports, marking the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Moselle; Ehrenbreitstein, with its strong fortifications; Baccharach (from Bacchi ara, or Bacchus' Altar), renowned of old for its vines; Bingen, where the Rhine pursues its course between ranges of wild and majestic mountains; J ohannisbcrg, noted for its Hock; and Mayence, or Mentz, for its antiquity, and magnificent buildings. In touching upon some of the leading features of this river, it will be observed, that we are alluding to that most picturesque and interesting portion of it called the Middle Rhine. To make such an excursion more easy, and to give greater certainty as to time, than, in former periods, in this age of improvement, steam affords its aid; and during a great part of the year, a large and convenient steam-packet proceeds daily each way between Cologne and Mayence.
The Rhine takes its rise among the heights of Mount St. Gothard in Switzerland, and, being enlarged by various torrents, rushes through the Lake of Constance, thence flowing by Schaffhausen, near which place it has a grand fall from a height of between seventy and eighty feet. After two more falls at considerable intervals, the river keeps on its rapid course to Basil, or Bale, between which town and Strasburg, it becomes navigable, but not for large vessels. At Strasburg, it takes the name of the Upper Rhine, and is so called as far as Mayence: there, until it reaches Cologne, it is known as the Middle Rhine; and from Cologne to its outlets in Holland, it is called the Lower Rhine.
In the Netherlands and Holland, the character of the Rhine scenery is no longer attractive. The river, after passing some flourishing towns and villages, divides into two streams near Emmerick in the Duchy of Clevcs: one branch forfeits its name, and, taking that of Waal, proceeds to Dort; but again changes its name on uniting with the Meuse at Goreum, and at last enters the German Ocean. The other stream that had branched off near Emmerick, is again disjoined, one of its channels hastening to lose itself in the Zuider Zee. The remaining portion, however, though it is again separated, goes under the title of the Old Rhine to Leyden, where it divides into several branches. These formerly became lost among the sand; but they have been reunited into a canal which has three sluices, the last of which, at the village of Catwyck, is kept shut by the sea at high tide; but when it falls, this
remnant of the noble Old Rhine forces the sluice open, and rushes out into the ocean.
The most charming prospects will be found between Bonn and Bingen, a distance of nearly a hundred miles. It is no wonder that amidst scenes so wild and beautiful, the poetical genius of a chivalrous and superstitious age should have found ample materials for legends and tales. In the greater number, indeed, of the Legends of the Rhine, it is difficult to find much that can be called probably true, while the bright fiction woven into them must be clear to every observer.
The very names of many of the places on its banks are expressive, and bespeak some tradition belonging to them. Such are the Treuenfels, (Rock of Fidelity) Drachenfels, (Dragon's Rock,) Wolkenburg, (Castle of Clouds,) Loewenberg, (Lions' Rock,) Ehrcabreitstei^ (Broad Stone of Honour.) One of the most simple and pleasing of the titles of this kind has been given by the boatmen to a part of the river, where, in consequence of its rapid but not dangerous course, they are not obliged to ply their oars. It is called Gottahiil/e, (God's Help.) Near to this passage, is a point of uncommon beauty and interest, as well on account of the scenery, as of the pathetic story connected with it.
To the left of the engraving, at the head of our present number, on the top of a mountain, are seen the mouldering ruins of a castle; this is Rolandseck, or Roland's Corner. In the river, on an island, aad imbosomed in trees, is the Convent of NonnekvuTiikr; and lower down the river, on the right, in descending from Mayence to Cologne, is one of the seven mountains, the Rock called Drachenfels, crowned by a gray old crust of a wall which was once part of a large castle.
Some of our readers will probably be pleased with the following specimen of a Rhenish Legend.
Roland, or Orlando, was the heroic nephew of the Emperor Charlemagne. Deeply attached to the fair and excellent Hildegund, the young soldier, having pledged his troth, was summoned to a crusade against the pagan host. In his lamented absence, she heard that he was dead in battle. All her hopes of happiness in life appearing to be buried with him, she determined to renounce the world, and to take the veil. Scarcely was the solemn service at an end, when a trumpet announced the return of Roland, who had been wounded and restored to health, but it was too late: Hildegund lived a nun, in the convent of Nonnenwerther; and he, in order to be near her melancholy dwelling, built a hermitage for h-s residence, on the spot where Rolandseek now standsAt her death, which happened soon after, the heartbroken Roland sought for fate in the dangers of w field, and was killed at the battle of RonccsvaDf
Schiller's German poem on this subject varies from the above account, in some particulars, especial1!' the difference of name and place, he having to the latter in Switzerland, and styled Roland, (far ><* poetically,) "Toggenburg!"
Mr. Campbell, in his version of the legend, v> introduced with good effect the principal objects, se« at one view in the engraving:
The brave Roland! the brave Roland!
That he had fallen in fight:
For the loss of thine own true Knight.
Woe! woe! each heart shall bleed, shall break ;
Had he come but yester-even!
Nor meet him, but in Heaven.
Yet Roland the brave, Roland the true,
Twas dear still midst his woes .
When the Hallelujah rose!
She died. He sought the battle-plain!
When he fell and wished to fall.
Expired at Roneesvalles.
Draehenfcls is the highest of the Sicbcngeburgc, or Seven Mountains. Its castle formerly belonged to the Counts of Draehenfels, who became extinct in 1580.
However pleasing to the eye may be the ruins of these castellated mansions, which in various parts adorn the banks of the Rhine, it cannot be doubted, that in former days, they were often the strong-holds of violence and cruelty, and that within those now crumbling walls, was perpetrated many a deed of vice. So oppressive was the tyranny of most of the nobles who occupied them, and who, under the name of Lords of the Castles, exacted enormous tolls, of those who happened to fall within their reach, that sixty of the towns on the Rhine combined in a league to put them down. Several sieges were the result; and many of the castles which were then destroyed by fire, have for centuries presented little more of the signs of habitation than we now see.
Nonncnwerther, an island of about one hundred English acres, contains a large building, on the site of which was the ancient convent of Frauenworth, founded for nuns in 1122. In 1773, the convent was burnt down, and rebuilt on a larger and better scale. Napoleon, onbecoming master of that country, opposed the establishment, and prevented any addition to the number of its inmates. After the war, in 1815, it became, as it still remains, a part of the Prussian dominions. On the death of the few nuns, who had been allowed by Napoleon, at the Empress Josephine's request, to continue, the house was sold, and converted into an excellent Hotel. For the geologist, the island and its neighbourhood have some attractions, as quantities of basaltic columns are to be found there, and groups of the same curious production lie, scarcely concealed, beneath the water, opposite to the village of Unkel, near at hand, making the navigation of the Rhine at that spot extremely dangerous to the careless and inexperienced.
THE BURNING OF AN INDIAN WIDOW. Before we quitted this neighbourhood wo had an opportunity of witnessing a suttee', one of the mostrevolting customs of a besotted superstition to be found in the records of ages. The widow was young and interesting, rather stout, but finely shaped, and scarcely darker than a woman of Italy. We had no difficulty in approaching the pile, sufficiently near to see all that passed with a most appalling distinctness. She had an infant a few months old, at which she gazed with a vacant indifference, as if the mental absorption of a higher duty left her no thoughts for earthly objects;—she seemed scarcely conscious of its presence. There was, indeed, a sort of sublime tranquillity in the expression of her features, amid the frightful preparations that were making around her, which could not but excite my admiration at the firm tone of her mind, and her resolved energy of purpose; yet this was almost neutralized in my breast by a feeling between pity and disgust, and
* The suttee is an Indian widow who burns herself upon the body of her dead husband.
though I could have wept at the contemplation of what she was about to suffer, I could also have railed on her for the brutal apathy with which she seemed prepared to meet her dreadful trial. A considerable interval elapsed before all things were ready for the one great act of immolation, and by this time some change had clearly taken place in her sensations. There was now a manifest confusion and nervous anxiety in her clear, dark eye, which gradually became more expressive, but more wild. Her senses had been evidently "steeped in forgetfulness," or, at all events, paralyzed by the too free use of that drug (opium) which is so often employed, and with such fatal efficacy, upon these and similar melancholy occasions, in order to disarm the terrors, and confirm the fortitude, of those miserable victims who are doomed, by the ferocious sanctity of Hindoo superstition, to a premature death, and that too the most horrible. She was rapidly recovering from the partial stupor in which her mental faculties had been involved, and in proportion as her perception cleared, her terrors visibly multiplied. Her actions, which had at first appeared merely mecha nical, now seemed directed by her returning impulses, which every moment grew stronger and more distressing. Still, though there was manifestly a fierce struggle within, it was plain to be seen that her efforts to obtain the mastery over her wavering resolution were those of no common mind, and of no common energy; she was, however, so assailed by the tide of emotions which now seemed to rush like a torrent upon her soul, that her actions were often incohe rent. She divided among her friends the different ornaments of her dress, with the look and bearing of one who, from the distraction of her thoughts, scarcely knew what she was doing; but, suddenly, hearing the cry of her babe, all the feelings of the mother returned; her eye dilated with a sudden gleam of tender recognition, her lip quivered, her bosom heaved, her breath escaped in short, hard gaspings; she sprang forward, tore it from the arms of an attendant, and clasped it passionately to her bosom. Her convulsive sobs struck upon my ear with a most thrilling potency of appeal, but there was no possibility of rescuing her from the doom to which she had chosen to submit. It was now clear to all the bystanders, that she was inwardly shrinking from the last act of this most horrible sacrifice, she stood before us an image of mute but agonized despair.
The officiating Bramins, seeing that it was time to urge the consummation of this detestable oblation, and fearing lest she should relent, commanded all her relatives, friends, and attendants, to retire. In a few moments a large area was left around the pile, within which stood no one, save the unhappy victim and her sanctified executioners. Before the area was cleared, one of these smooth-browed monsters had forcibly taken the child from the mother's arms, and given it to an attendant, unheedful of the cries of the one, or the agonies of the other. The widow—and now she did indeed appear beautiful—knowing what was to succeed, gave way to the struggles of nature, fell on her knees, raised her eyes towards heaven, and clasped her hands in a transport of speechless anguish. One of the Bramins approached her with an air of calm but stern authority, raised her from her recumbent position, then, with the assistance of a companion equally stern and unfeeling, violently urged her towards the pile. She struggled, and the energy with which despair had armed her, enabled her successfully to resist the united efforts of those sleek high-priests of the altar of a most infernal superstition. Upon seeing this, several of these cruel functionaries rushed forward and dragged her towards the faggots, which were well smeared with gheet, in order to accelerate their combustion—a contingent mercy arising out of the policy of securing a speedy termination to the suttee's sufferings, as, the quicker the process, the less the chance of rescue or escape. The moment her voice was raised, it was drowned in the mingled clamour of tom-toms, pipes, and the shouts of hundreds of half-mad fanatics, who had assembled to see the horrid issue of a devoted fanaticism. Her struggles were now unavailing; she was soon dragged to the pile and forced upon it; at this time she appeared exhausted by her continued exertions. When seated on the faggots, her husband's head was placed upon her lap, the straw, which had been plentifully strewed underneath the wood, was fired, when the flames instantly ascending, enwrapt the beautiful Hindoo, at once shutting her out for ever from human sight and from human sympathy. Lest in her agonies.she should leap from the pile, she was kept down upon it by long bamboos ; the ends being placed upon
* Clarified butter, made from the milk of the buffalo.
her body by the officiating Bramins, who leaned their whole weight upon the centre of the pole with which each was furnished, and which each zealously applied to this holy purpose, so that she could not rise. Her sufferings were soon terminated, as the wood burned with extreme rapidity and fury. Thus ended this infernal holocaust! [From the Oriental Annual.]
THE VILLAGE OF MESSINGHAM,
The Village of Messingham is situated on the road from Gainsborough to Winterton. It stands on a gentle declivity of cultivated ground, overlooking that large tract of low land, through which "the smug and silver Trent" pours its waters to the Humber. This low land was • formerly an immense forest, which having entirely decayed away, became
a swampy tract of peat and peat-earth, interspersed with barren sand-bills and large pits of water, and, when in a state of open common, presented an appearance singularly wretched and dreary. It was observed by an old lady, who had travelled over a great part of Europe, that the most miserable place she " had ever seen, was a village called Messingham, in Lincolnshire." The truth of this remark every one will readily admit, who knew the place previous to the enclosure, in 1800
After that time, a great and rapid improvement took, place. The land was better cultivated, new houses were built, roads made, and a general air of comfort and cleanliness superseded the former squalid WTetchcdness of the place. But the house of God, the spire of which had fallen down, remained in its old ruinous condition.
In the year 1818, Dr. Bayley, the vicar, resolved to have the fabric put into a state of repair, and rendered, at least, a comfortable and decent place of worship. He agreed with the parishioners, on the payment by them of three hundred pounds, in four annual instalments, to defray the whole expense of rebuilding the nave and aisles; this be accomplished, at the cost to himself of sixteen hundred pounds. The tower was in good condition, having been erected after the fall of the spire, and Mr. Walker, the present lessee of the great tithes, liberally undertook to rebuild the chancel at his own cost, upon which he expended two hundred pounds.
A very neat church, in the old style of architecture, was erected, under the direction of Mr. Wilson, F.A.S., of Lincoln, an eminent ecclesiastical architect and antiquarian. The inside of the roof was finished with Gothic rafters, and panelled between with deal boards. The chancel roof has a peculiarly neat appearance, not only from the beautiful design of the principal supporters, but from its being panelled
with narrow boards, made of English larck"" pulpit, the reading-pews, and the stained gh» ,U:J dows, are the objects to which I would C*1 attention of those to whom matters of thisl»dar interesting; as they show, very forcibly, what «tiful things an ingenious and intelligent artist ro;j. construct out of materials which many persMS*0": consider of no value, and which, in this MR, "3'J actually been thrown aside as so much oldlHr'' The pulpit was made out of an old cancpf'; Lincoln Minster, where it formerly stood on*lr" figures, which used to strike the hours and qp' the carving upon.it is in the first style of workman- and a similar one could not now be g< t up** [ than two hundred pounds. The minister's aM*
reading-pews were constructed out of att
which had been thrown aside, and was dec*,?1;, damp, in a vacant part of Althorpe Churefi carved work on the door of the minister's pf"the back of his seat, was taken from an ancient*^ which stood in the south aisle of the old church.
The east window in the chancel, and the east window in the south aisle, are composed of fragments of stained glass given by several friends to Dr. Bayley. These materials were arranged and put together by Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Bayley, and Mr. Stonehouse, the Curate, assisted by a glazier from the neighbouring village of Scotton.
I find an entry in a blank leaf of the old Parish Register, stating from whence the different compartments and pieces of glass came. "The two large figures, in the upper part of the window, were the gift of Mrs. Henry Smith, of Gainsborough. They were originally in the windows of the old church at Kettlethorpe, as were also the representation of St. Thomas's Unbelief, and our Saviour's Descent into Hell, which were given by the same lady. Several pieces were brought from Scotton Church; and when these fragments were in their original situation, they were so covered with filth, that few people thought them worth notice. Among these were some beautiful vine-leaves, a figure of the Virgin and Child, several shields, &c. &c. The figure, except the head, with a globe in its hand, came from Snarford Church. The head was brought by Dr. Bayley some years before, with other fragments, from Great Malvern Church, in Worcestershire, when that beautiful fabric was undergoing repair. The mutilated figure of a horse came from Manchester, where the writer of this memoir procured all the beautiful pale bright yellow glass, placed in different parts of the window. It was taken out of the windows of the Collegiate Church, then under repair. The best specimens of scarlet-coloured glass were in the windows of the old church. The glass in the window on the south aisle, came from Manchester, except the shields
and other centre-pieces. The figure in the upper part was in one of the windows of the old church."
Every admirer of the fine arts who visits Messingham Church, will readily allow that the work amply repaid the time and patience bestowed upon it. A very beautiful and rich window, containing some exceedingly fine specimens of old stained glass, was made from fragments, many of them apparently worthless, and some of which had been buried in mortar and whitewash for a long series of years.
I beg leave to remind those amongst my readers, who take any interest in collecting and preserving fragments of ancient stained glass, that it is a very common practice to plaster up the heads and framework of the windows in old churches, instead of repairing them when broken. When this rubbish is removed, pieces of stained glass will frequently be found, such as heads of figures, crests, or parts ui shields, &c. A little spirit of salts will remove all impurities from the surface, and the colours, being imperishable, will then appear in their original brilliancy.
I cannot conclude tins short notice of the restoration of Messingham Church, without contributing a small tribute of respect to the worthy vicar, by whose liberality this good work was effected; nor without expressing deep regret, that any consideration whatever should have induced him to resign the living, and leave a place for the good of which he had done so much. Rebuilding the church was but one of the many liberal acts which Dr. Bayley performed for the village of Messingham. He found employment for the poor labourer; he provided the sick and infirm with food and medicine; and he instituted, and maintained at his own sole expense, a free day-school on the National plan.
But he laboured in a barren soil. Many of the inhabitants seemed to have no proper sense of his disinterestedness and public spirit. When he began to rebuild the church, some of them said "he would make a fine penny out of the parish!" When he had finished it, at so large an expenditure of his private fortune, there were those who said "Government gave him the money!" J. S.
Chari Es Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, married Mary Queen of France, widow of Louis the Twelfth. The following was his motto at a tournament, upon his marriage with the queen, (the trappings of his horse being, half cloth of gold, and the other half, frize)
Cloth of gold! Do not despise.
Though thou art match'd with cloth of friza
Cloth of frize! Be not too bold
Though thou art match'd with cloth of gold.
The Baron de Castelnau was accused ot being engaged in the conspiracy of Amboise. He had surrendered on the faith of a compact for personal security, attested by the signature of the Duke of Nemours. In spite of this solemn agreement he was subjected to an interrogatory, and threatened with the question. For a moment he hesitated and was silent, and the Duke of Guise taunted him with fear. "Pearl" was the noble answer, "I by no means deny it; what man is there among you,-unless he be destitute of all feeling, who could be wholly free from such an emotion, if he found himself bound hand and foot, and tossed to the mercy of his implacable enemies, thirsting to drink his blood! But give me back my sword, and then venture upon your taunt; or change places with me, and answer whether every limb in your body would not tremble; That natural feeling with which you reproach me, through God's aid, however, shall by no means impair the judgment and presence of mind which are necessary for my defence." And never, during a long and trying examination, was clearer self-possession or more tranquil courage manifested, than that which he continued to display,—Smedley's Reformation in France.