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of rent. Scarcely a chase, a forest, or a wood, but the produce of the sale of its timber found its way into its treasury. A hundred water-mills paid it tribute; and the wine, and corn, and barley of its countless acres, helped alike to feast the monarch and to nourish the poor. Its proximity to London rendered it of necessity, at times, a scene of great and critical interest: but of an interest of a very varying description. If, occasionally, our Henries and Edwards were banqueted here, so was many a civil contention settled, and many a desperate battle fought, on the same spot. Scarcely a sod but what had been saturated with some of the richest blood of our ancient nobility.
The infuriated depredations of Wat Tyler and Jack Cade, which, at the end of the fourteenth century, caused fire to be set to all the papers and written records of the Abbey, were succeeded, in the middle of the following century, by the accumulated horrors of the civil wars. The fate of the kingdom— at all events, the fortunes of the houses of York and Lancaster—were twice decided upon the plains of St. Alban. The two roses alternately reddened and grew pale upon this soil. The pavement of "our Ladye's Chapel" (built by Hugh de Eversdon, the twentyseventh Abbot, about the year 1320) rests upon the bones of the Warwicks, the Somersets, de Clifford, de Rooses and other illustrious chieftains, who perished in the above fearful conflicts. Even the effects of the battle of Barnet, which placed Edward the Fourth upon his throne, were deeply felt at the Abbey of St. Alban. The wounded were brought in by hundreds, to receive bodily aid and ghostly consolation. The tower-bell was incessantly tolling the parting knell, and the piles of dead rendered interment necessary beyond the precincts of the monastery. At length came the Reformation,- and, with it, the dissolution of the Abbey: an event, hastened by the possession of this very Abbey in commendam by Cardinal Wolsey. That rapacious churchman could not be sufficiently gorged, without the enjoyment of the revenues of the headship of St. Alban. But there is a reaction from repletion: and, with Him, it was a reaction which levelled all his honours with the dust. It is painful to pursue even an outline of the history of this once farfamed monastic institution.
Between the years 1530-10, Henry the Eighth disposed of the Abbey to Sir Richard Lee; of whom it was purchased, in the reign of Edward the Sixth, by the corporation, for £400: and by this same corporation, under the charter of Edward, it was made a parish church; the right of rectorial presentation vesting in the borough. Whether the entire demolition of the Abbot's house and garden, cloisters, refectory, dormitory, and all its spacious and commodious accessories, be attributable to the commissioners and agents of Henry, or to the cupidity of Sir Richard, is a point, which may still be considered unsatisfactorily determined. Too certain it is, that, as was intimated at the outset of these remarks, nearly the -whole monastic part of the edifice was razed to the ground. All that remains, are fragments of a small low cloister, on the outside of the south transept, constructed by Robert de Gorcham the eighteenth Abbot, about 1165, as a private entrance into the choir. "We are mistaken if this be not the oldest cloister in the kingdom: and conjure Mr. Cottingham not to overlook its preservation in his meditated reparations. We may now say a few words upon the celebrity of this Abbey, arising from the eminence of its ancient inmates; a celebrity, which we think scarcely eclipsed by that m any contemporaneous institution.
It is to the celebrated Lanfranc, the countryman and friend of William the Conqueror, and placed by him in the archbishopic of Canterbury, that we owe the erection of this Abbey in its present form. The first Abbot, appointed by him, proceeded upon the building about the year 1075. There had been, according to ancient tradition, thirteen abbots under the regime established by Offa. But the literary glory of every Abbot is eclipsed by that of Matthew Paris, one of the monks, of the thirteenth century, who wrote the lives of the twenty-three preceding abbots; and whose work, under the well-known title of Historia Major, places its author in the first rank of British Historians of the middle-age. Of the Abbots themselves, we must content ourselves only with the bare mention of the names of a few of the more distinguished: premising, that several of them appear to have been characters suited for emergencies of a more stirring description than those which usually occur within the quiet precincts of a cloister. Quickness of conception, promptitude of action, determination of spirit, and comprehensiveness of views, seem to have marked the careers of Robert de Goreham (1150 h) William de Trumpington (1215 h) William of Wallingford (1326 A) Thomas de la Ware (1350h) and, aboveany, John of Wheathamsted, twice elected Abbot; 1420-1460. It is difficult to say whether the civil talents or architectural taste of this last Abbot were held in the greater estimation. We have no space to amplify; but recommend the reader not only to pay a visit to J. de Wheathamsted's shrine, but to gaze upon the embellishments introduced by him, of which the interior of the Abbey bears such undisputed and splendid evidence. On the subject of shrines, within this Abbey are to be seen two; of which the intrinsic interest of the one is great, as marking the spot where the bones of the good Duke Humphrey* lie—and of the other, the external beauty and brilliancy are hardly eclipsed by any throughout the kingdom. We allude to that of Thomas llamrygc, the thirty-seventh Abbot, who died towards the close of the fifteenth century. Of the "acts and deeds" of the man, whose mouldered frame is canopied by such a structure t, scarcely any thing is known; and the recent historian of the county seems to sigh as his memory is consigned to such an unworthy oblivion.
The Abbey of St. Alban has another distinctive mark, which gives it a species of celebrity, to which no other monastic establishment in the fifteenth century, in this country, ever attained. We mean, the establishment of a Press, as early as the year 14801: and it is not a little curious, that the prioress of the neighbouring nunnery of Sopwell, (also dependent upon the Abbey!) should have been the author of a work, printed in the monastery, in 1486, of which we believe only one perfect copy is known to exist §.
Such is our brief, and therefore, necessarily im221
• Many a penny, and many a two-penny, history has been published about the discovery and preservation of these "bones." The Verger still conducts the visiter to the coffin in which they lie: still expatiates upon the singular conformation of the skull, and, now and then, ventures upon a flourish with the thigh bone!
t The shrine or tomb of Abbot Hamryge, is upwards of thirtysix feet high ; executed in the exuberant style of the early part of the reign of Henry the Seventh. The arms of the Abbey, supported by rams, intersect its multitudinous compartments. The whole has the effect of filagree work. The lower canopy, or roof, is to hue, as to resemble petrified threads.
t In this year was printed Laurentius Gulielmus de Sauona, lthetorica Norn. In the year 1483, the Chronicles of England were printed at St. Alban's. See Dr. Dibdin's liibl. Spenctriana, vol. iv., p. 367—373.
f A very full account of this volume, from a copy in Lord Spencer's collection, will be found in the work just referred to. There Was a time, when that copy might have been soberly valued at £500.
perfect account, of the Abbey in question. If this venerable pile has been unfortunate from the vandalism of the first half of the sixteenth century, it has been lucky in the existence of two historians, the Rev. P. Newcome, and R. Clutterbuck, Esq', whose performances are of too intrinsically solid a description, to suffer its history to perish from the knowledge of future generations. It has also been fortunate in the revival of a spirit, which has placed other props beneath its tottering walls. We mean, the Subscription now on foot, under the architectural guidance of Mr. Cottingham, to preserve it from premature decay; and it is to the character, and probable progress of this subscription, that we shall call the attention of our readers, in a future number of the Saturday Magazine.
[To be concluded.]
• The History of the Abbey of St. Alban, by the Rev. Peter Newcome, Rector of Shcnley, Herts, 1795, quarto, is chiefly a literal and laborious version of the text of Matthew Paris. It occupied the rural leisure of a bachelor-life; and for detail, is inestimable to the antiquary.
Good Husbandry.—Fuller, in describing a good yeoman, says, " He improveth his land to a double value by his good husbandry. Some grounds, that wept with water, or frowned with thorns, by draining the one and clearing the
other, he makes both to laugh and sing with corn
Solomon saith, the King himself is maintained by htisbandry. Pythis, a king, having discovered rich mines in his kingdom, employed all his people in digging of them; whence tilling was wholly neglected, insomuch that a great famine ensued. His queen, sensible of the calamities of the country, invited the king, her husband, to dinner, as he came home hungry from overseeing his workmen in the mines. She so contrived it, that the bread and meat were most artificially made of gold. And the king was much delighted with the conceit thereof; till at last he called for real meat, to satisfy his hunger. 'Nay,' said the queen, * if you employ all your subjects in your mines, you must expect to feed upon gold, for nothing else can your kingdom afford.""
ANNIVERSARIES IN DECEMBER. MONDAY, 9th. 1608 The Poet Milton was born on this day in Bread-street, Cheapside. He died in 1674, and is interred in Cripplegate Church, where an elgant monument has been erected to his memory. 1799 The American general, George Washington, died, aged sixty-four.
TUESDAY, 10th. 1508 The league of Cambray signed, by which the Pope, with the Emperor of Germany, and the Kings of France and Spain- united their forces for the destruction of the Republic of Venice.
THURSDAY, 12th. . ,
1611 Thomas Sutton, founder of the Charter-house School and Asylum for Decayed Gentlemen, died at Hackney FRIDAY, 13th. The Festival of St. Lucy preserves its place in the reformed calendars, because from it the Winter Ember-Days are reckoned. Her history contains nothing to entitle it to this distinction on any other; grounds. She was a native of Syracuse, and educated in Uk Christian faith, for which she suffered persecution, and died is
prison, A.D. 304.' ,.
1577 Drake sailed from Plymouth on his voyage round the world. 1784 Dr. Samuel Johnson died.
SUNDAY, 15th. third Sunday In Advent. 1582 The Gregorian, or New Style, adopted in France, nearly two
hundred years before it was admitted into England. 1683 Izaak Walton died. •
1810 Mrs. Trimmer, so well known by her works of juvenile instruction, died at Brentford.
Nothing can be more ungrateful than to pass over the works of God without consideration. To study them •.? among the highest gratifications the human mind cat enjoy, provided the study is conducted upon religious principles. The book of nature is open to all. "On every leaf 'Creator, God' is written." Let us, then, daily employ son* of those intervals of leisure which all may command, a examining those objects which fall under our immediiK observation, and we shall find cause to say, with the inspired Psalmist, from the conviction of our own minds "O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast th
made them all, the earth is full of thy riches!" Mrs.
LONDON: JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND. Published In Weekly Numbers, Price One Tinny, And In Uomu Fa*3 Price Sixpence, And Sold by all Booksellers and Newtvenden in the Kingdom.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
Germany may be considered the birth-place of that kind of engraving, which is performed with a view to its being printed on paper. It is difficult to fix upon the exact time of the discovery; but some of the first specimens of cuts were made on blocks of wood, and engraved on cards, as early as the year 1376. Others, consisting of rude outlines of saints, and of tales relating to the Roman Catholic church, were put forth, mostly without date, in the cities of ^Mentz, Strasburg, and Haerlem. One of the earliest that bears a date (1423), belongs to Earl Spencer, the subject of it being St. Christopher, so called from the story of his bearing the infant Jesus across the sea.
Here then was the germ of that art of printing which John Guttemberg of Mentz (in 1440), as well as Koster and Faust extended to far more important purposes. A great number of curious wood-cuts now exist, which are of an age evidently previous to what is generally called that of the invention of printing; and the circumstance of these being without a date or name of the artist, seems to imply, that they were not thought of sufficient consequence for such a distinction. By degrees, however, the style of engraving improved, and artists began to place their names, or more commonly monograms, being marks composed of their initials woven together. Among them, may be mentioned Michael Wolgemuth, who helped to embellish with prints a famous large folio work, entitled, The Chronicle of Nuremberg: this curious book, illustrated with more than two thousand wood-cuts, reckoning those that are given more than once over, came out in 1493. It professes to furnish figures from the beginning of the world, and contains views of Scripture histories, and of cities and scenery, the latter bearing scarcely any resemblance to the places mentioned. But the chief honour of Wolgemuth, is that of his having been tutor to Albert Durer, who may be called the father of the German School of painting, and the inventor of etching: he was also an excellent and indefatigable engraver, a writer on painting, perspective, geometry, and on civil and military architecture. But it is as an engraver that he is chiefly known to us; and we think we may venture to say, that there is no name so celebrated in the annals of engraving as that of the subject of this memoir.
Albert Durer was born in 1471, at Nuremberg, in Germany, a city famed at that time, as rich and free, prosperous in trade, and fond of the arts. Having made a slight beginning with his pencil in the shop of his father, who was a goldsmith, Albert rapidly advanced in painting and engraving, and at the age of twenty-six exhibited some of his works to the public. So highly was he thought of, that his prints found their way to Italy, where Marc Antonio Raimondi not only counterfeited on copper a whole set of beautifully-executed small wood-cuts of his, on subjects taken from the New Testament, but forged his well-known stamp*; a piece of roguery which at once carried Durer into Italy to get redress. On his reaching Venice, the Senate of that place so far did him justice, as to order M. Antonio to efface the mark: they also forbade any one but the right owner to use it in future. To this event in his life was owing his introduction to that wonderful genius Raphael, who sought his acquaintance: and, in the simple fashion of the times, the new friends mutually exchanged portraits. His works quickly became the
• See the Monogram (A. D.) in the Engraving, near the left foot of the figure.
rage: he received high praises from all quarters; and his style was copied by a first-rate Italian painter, Andrea del Sarto. The substantial rewards of merit kept pace with his fame. Having finished a picture of St. Bartholomew, for the Church dedicated to that saint at Venice, the work rose so high in public opinion, that Rodolph the Second, Emperor of Germany, sent orders to Venice, that it should be bought for him at any price, and brought to Prague, not by the common mode of carriage, but (to prevent its taking harm) on men's shoulders, by means of a pole. Durer's honours now flowed thick upon him; his fellow-citizens, proud of his talents, and equally so of his private virtues, chose him into the Council of Nuremberg; and the Emperor Maximilian sent him a pension, and a patent of nobility.
As Durer did not make so much use of the pencil as of the graver, his pictures are scarce, and seldom to be seen but in palaces or great men's houses. His engravings, on the contrary, are so numerous, as well as closely-laboured, that it would betoken a life of no common toil, directed to this one point, to have performed all those which are extant, and fairlyallowed as his. In the British Museum, and in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, as well as in many other collections, are various specimens of his skill. His design proves vast invention: his copies of nature are bold and powerful, full of expression, though often extravagant and grotesque: his exactness in the composition of parts is also very striking; and he has given a neatness of finish to small points, where most draughtsmen, probably, would have sacrificed correctness to the general effect. From his power and simplicity in copying nature, as well as from his attention to particulars, the admirers of Durer have called him, by analogy, the Homer of artists, while others, from the wild and romantic spirit of his works, have compared him to our English poet, Spenser, who, in his Faerie Queen, has conveyed so many dark and wondrous legends, and by the magical art of description, has dressed up fiction to look like truth.
One of Durer's best pieces, on wood, is that of St. Hubert at the Chase. The Saint is seen kneeling before a stag, which has a crucifix between its horns, while around him are hounds in various attitudes, surprisingly true to nature. Another is an armed knight on horseback, attended by Death (also on horseback), and followed by a frightful fiend, the group having almost as much of the ludicrous as the terrible; this is called by some Death's Horse, and by others The Worldly Man. But, perhaps, the most remarkable of all his prints is that of Melancholy, which conveys the idea of her being the parent of Invention; it is a female form, sitting on the ground, her features marked with the deepest and most solemn shades of thought, and her head resting pensively upon her hand; above, before, and around her, are a multitude of emblems of science, and instruments of study. This composition, it has been observed, is interesting on another account; namely, as a true picture of the times when it was engraved; for precisely thus was attention perplexed and distracted on most philosophical subjects, in the age of Albert Durer; and as he himself was author of seven treatises, most of which are on the metaphysics of Art, he had probably experienced much of that sort of melancholy, which proceeds from mental weariness and disgust—the usual end of such studies. In this view, the proverb might be true of him, " the painter paints himself!" But poor Durer had other sources of melancholy, which may help us in coming to this conclusion. Although amiable in conduct and manners; a lover of modest mirth, esteemed, and even beloved, by his brethren in art, respected by his fellow-citizens, and distinguished by his monarch, he had a private woe which imbittered all his cup of honour: he had a shrew for his wife. Yet, as another proof that beauty and a sweet temper are not necessarily united, we are informed that, in painting the Virgin Mary, he took her face for a model. His domestic trials he bore with calmness for a time, but at last he escaped, for rest from her .unkindness, to Flanders, finding an asylum in the house of a brother in profession and fame; but she discovered him in his quiet retreat, and prevailed upon him, by earnest promises of amendment, to return to his home. Unfortunately, however, for him and for the world, her ill disposition returned too, triumphed over the strength of his constitution, and hurried him to the grave before his time. He died in 1528, at his native city of Nuremberg, aged fifty-seven. A Latin inscription, to the following effect, was engraved on his sepulchre in the cemetery of St. John :—
TO THE MEMORY OF ALBERT DURER. ALL THAT WAS MORTAL OF ALBERT DURER IS PLACED IN THIS TOMB. MDXXVIII.
It is no wonder that the style of such a man was followed in Germany, and that his name has had its effect on the art which he professed, and we cannot conclude this memoir without observing that there is an engraver now living, who, although we do not mean to say that he copies Durer, often reminds us of that eminent artist. We allude to Moritz Retzsch, the spirited author of engraved illustrations of various popular works, the last and not the least beautiful being adapted to Schiller's poem, The Song of the Bell. It is true that these are merely outlines. The resemblance consists in his bold copying of nature in the figures; the grouping, the attitudes, and even costume of these; his minuteness in small parts, together with the whimsical freedom with which he throws in grotesque objects to assist in telling the story. In drawing any thing like a comparison between the two, we are glad of the opportunity of thus paying a tribute to the talents and industry of a living German artist.
ACCOUNT OF AN AVALANCHE
IN THE NOTCH OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINS, U. S.
Thk Notch, as the term implies, is a narrow pass, six miles in length, at the southern end of the White Mountains, the loftiest of which, Mount Washington, is 6234 feet above the level of the sea: but on each side of the pass, they rise only from 1800 to 2000, at an angle of about 45°, forming a valley less than half a mile in width between their basis, and down which the roaring Saco takes its course. The whole extent of their front is furrowed and scarred by the tremendous storm of July, 1826; and the valley, choked up with trees uptom by the roots, remnants of bridges, buildings, and huge masses of rocks piled upon each other in the greatest disorder, presents what might be almost imagined as the wreck of nature.
A melancholy and interesting story is connected with this storm, which will, for years to come, be the cause of thousands making a pilgrimage to the White Mountains. I give it as related to me by one, who, though not an eye-witness, was in the immediate vicinity at the time it occurred: it was as follows. A farmer of the name of Willey, with his wife, five children, and two labourers, occupied a house with a small farm, at the upper end of the valley. They were much esteemed for their hospitable attentions to travellers, who, overtaken by night, sought shelter at their hearth, which was the only one in the Notch, their nearest neighbours being six miles distant. The hills, at that time, were thickly overgrown with forest trees and shrubs: nor had any thing ever occurred, to make them suspicious of the safety of their position, until
the descent of a small avalanche, or slide of earth, near the house, in the month of June, 1826, so terrified them by the havoc it caused, that they erected a small camp in what they deemed a more secure place, half a mile lower down the Saco. The summer had been unusually dry until the beginning of July, when the clouds collecting about the mountains, poured forth their waters, as though the floodgates of the heavens were opened, the wind blew in most terrific hurricanes, and continued with unabated violence for several days.
On the night of the twenty-sixth of the month, the tempest increased to a fearful extent; the lightning flashed so vividly, accompanied by such awful howling of wind and roaring of thunder, that the peasantry imagined the day of judgment was at hand. At break of day of the twenty-seventh, the lofty mountains were seamed with the numerous avalanches which had descended during the night. Every one felt anxious respecting the safety of the family in the valley, but some days elapsed before the waters subsided so far as to allow any inquiries to be made. A peasant swimming his horse across an eddy, was the first person who entered the Notch, when the terrible spectacle of the entire face of the hills having descended in a body, presented itself.
The Willeys' house, which remained untouched amidst the vast chaos, did not contain any portion of the family, whose bodies, with the exception of two children, were, after a search of some days, discovered, buried under some drift-wood, within 200 yards of the door, the hands of Miss Willey and a labourer grasping the same fragment. They had all evidently retired to rest, and most probably, alarmed by the sound of an avalanche, had rushed out of the house, when they were swept away by the overwhelming torrent of earth, trees and water. The most miraculous fact is, that the avalanche, descending with the vast impetuosity which an abrupt declivity of 1500 feet would give it, approached within four feet of the house, when suddenly dividing, it swept round, and carrying away an adjoining stable with some horses, it again formed a junction within a few yards of the front. A" flock of sheep, which had sought shelter under the lee of the house, were saved; but the family had fled from the only spot where any safety could have been found, every other part of the valley being buried to the depth of several feet, and their camp overwhelmed by the largest avalanche which fell. A person standing in rear of the house, can now with ease step upon the roof, the earth forming such a perpendicular and solid wall.
A small avalanche was seen descending from one of the mountains some days after the above occurrence. The thick fine forest, at first moved steadily along in its upright position, but soon began to totter in its descent, and fell headlong down with redoubled fury and violence, followed by rivers of floating earth and stones, which spread devastation far and wide. The long heat of summer had so dried and cracked the ground, that the subsequent rains found easy admission under the roots of trees, which, loosened by the violence of the wind, required but little to set the whole in motion. There was no tradition of a similar descent having ever taken place; but, upon a close examination, traces of one, which had evidently occurred more than a century before, could be discovered amongst the forest.
Avalanches have descended from all the summits of the White Mountains, and continued to a great distance along the level ground; the largest, which is from Mount Jackson, being upwards of four miles in length. [From A Subaltern's Furlough in the United States and the Cmadas.']
It is certain that no height of honour, nor affluence of fortune, can keep a man from being miserable, when an enraged conscience shall fly at him and take him by the throat: so it is certain, that no temporal adversities can . cut off those inward, secret, invincible supplies of comfort, which conscience shall pour in on distressed innocence in defiance of all worldly calamities. South.
The Sabbath. Heppy day for the body and soul of man I
The world's birthday! Sign of an everlasting covenant between God and his faithful worshippers; day of Jehovah and his creation: and more honourable still, our Christian Sabbath, the birthday of the spiritual world; earnest of perpetual rest; day of the Lord and the redemption com pleted.—Portraiture of a Christian Gentleman.