Slike strani


St. Asaph.


JULY 31. We went to church at St. Asaph. The Cathedral, though not large, has something of dignity and grandeur. The cross aisle is very short. It has scarcely any monuments. The Quire has, I think, thirty-two stalls of antique workmanship. On the backs were CANONICUS, PREBEND, CANCELLARIUS, THESAURARIUS, PRÆCENTOR. The constitution I do not know, but it has all the usual titles and dignities. The service was sung only in the Psalms and Hymns.

The Bishop was very civil'. We went to his palace, which is but mean. They have a library, and design a room. There lived Lloyd' and Dodwello.


North Wales in 1780 :Not far from Dymerchion, lies half buried in woods the singular house of Bâch y Graig. It consists of a mansion of three sides, enclosing a square court. The first consists of a vast hall and parlour: the rest of it rises into six wonderful stories, including the cupola ; and forms from the second floor the figure of a pyramid: the rooms are small and inconvenient. The bricks are admirable, and appear to have been made in Holland; and the model of the house was probably brought from Flanders, where this kind of building is not unfrequent. It was built by Sir Richard Clough, an eminent merchant, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The initials of his name are in iron on the front, with the date 1567, and on the gateway 1569.' DUPPA.

* Bishop Shipley, whom Johnson described as knowing and conversible. Ante, iv. 284. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says that 'conversable is sometimes written conversible, but improperly.'

• William Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph and afterwards of Worcester. He was one of the seven Bishops who were sent to the Tower in 1688. His character is drawn by Burnet, History of His Own Time, ed. 1818, i. 210. It was he of whom Bishop Wilkins said that 'Lloyd had the most learning in ready cash of any he ever knew.' Ante, ii. 294, note 2.

• A curious account of Dodwell and 'the paradoxes after which he seemed to hunt is given in Burnet, iv. 303. He was Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford. “It was about him that William III uttered those memorable words: “He has set his heart on being a martyr; and I have set mine on disappointing him.”' Macaulay's England, ed. 1874, iv. 226. See Hearne in Leland's Itin., 3rd ed. v. 136.


[ocr errors]





We visited Denbigh, and the remains of its Castle.

The town consists of one main street, and some that cross it, which I have not seen. The chief street ascends with a quick rise for a great length: the houses are built, some with rough stone, some with brick, and a few are of timber.

The Castle, with its whole enclosure, has been a prodigious pile; it is now so ruined, that the form of the inhabited part cannot easily be traced.

There are, as in all old buildings, said to be extensive vaults, which the ruins of the upper works cover and conceal, but into which boys sometimes find a way. To clear all

passages, and trace the whole of what remains, would require much labour and expense. We saw a Church, which was once the Chapel of the Castle, but is used by the town: it is dedicated to St. Hilary, and has an income of about

At a small distance is the ruin of a Church said to have been begun by the great Earl of Leicester', and left unfinished at his death. One side, and I think the east end, are yet standing. There was a stone in the wall, over the doorway,

which it was said would fall and crush the best scholar in the diocese. One Price would not pass under it'. They have taken it down.

We then saw the Chapel of Lleweney, founded by one of the Salusburies; it is very compleat: the monumental stones lie in the ground. A chimney has been added to it, but it is otherwise not much injured, and might be easily repaired.

We went to the parish Church of Denbigh, which, being near a mile from the town, is only used when the parish officers are chosen.

In the Chapel, on Sundays, the service is read thrice, the second time only in English, the first and third in Welsh.

[ocr errors]

| By Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in 1579. DUPPA.
· See ante, iii. 407, and v. 47.





The Bishop came to survey the Castle, and visited likewise St. Hilary's Chapel, which is that which the town uses. The hay-barn, built with brick pillars from space to space. . and covered with a roof. A more' elegant and lofty Hovel,

The rivers here, are mere torrents which are suddenly swelled by the rain to great breadth and great violence, but have very little constant stream ; such are the Clwyd and the Elwy. There are yet no mountains. The ground is beautifully embellished with woods, and diversified by inequalities.

In the parish church of Denbigh is a bas relief of Lloyd the antiquary, who was before Camden. He is kneeling at his prayers'.

AUGUST 2. We rode to a summer-house of Mr. Cotton, which has a very extensive prospect ; it is meanly built, and unskilfully disposed.

We went to Dymerchion Church, where the old clerk acknowledged his Mistress. It is the parish church of Bâch y Graig. A mean fabrick: Mr. Salusbury' was buried in it. Bâch y Graig has fourteen seats in it.

As we rode by, I looked at the house again. We saw Llannerch, a house not mean, with a small park very well watered. There was an avenue of oaks, which, in a foolish compliance with the present mode, has been cut down'. A few are yet standing. The owner's name is Davies.


· Perhaps Johnson wrote mere.

• Humphry Llwyd was a native of Denbigh, and practised there as a physician, and also represented the town in Parliament. He died 1568, aged 41. DUPPA.

Mrs. Thrale's father. DUPPA.

Cowper wrote a few years later in the first book of The Task, in his description of the grounds at Weston Underwood :

• Not distant far a length of colonnade
Invites us. Monument of ancient taste,
Now scorned, but worthy of a better fate.
Our fathers knew the value of a screen
From sultry suns, and in their shaded walks



Johnson's regard for nature.


The way lay through pleasant lancs, and overlooked a region beautifully diversified with trees and grass'.

At Dymerchion Church there is English service only once a month. This is about twenty miles from the English border.


And long-protracted bowers enjoyed at noon
The gloom and coolness of declining day.
We bear our shades about us: self-deprived
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And range an Indian waste without a tree.
Thanks to Benevolus he spares me yet
These chestnuts ranged in corresponding lines,
And though himself so polished still reprieves

The obsolete prolixity of shade.' Such a passage as this shews that Johnson was not so insensible to nature as is often asserted. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 99) says : Mr. Thrale loved prospects, and was mortified that his friend could not enjoy the sight of those different dispositions of wood and water, hill and valley, that travelling through England and France affords a man. But when he wished to point them out to his companion: “ Never heed such nonsense,” would he reply; "a blade of grass is always a blade of grass, whether in one country or another. Let us, if we do talk, talk about something: men and women are my subjects of enquiry; let us see how these differ from those we have left behind.”. She adds (p. 265) :—- Walking in a wood when it rained was, I think, the only rural image he pleased his fancy with ; “for," says he, “after one has gathered the apples in an orchard, one wishes them well baked, and removed to a London eating-house for enjoyment." See ante, pp. 150, note 2, 161, note 1, 379, note 1, and 394, note 1, for Johnson's descriptions of scenery. Passages in his letters shew that he had some enjoyment of country life. Thus he writes :—-I hope to see standing corn in some part of the earth this summer, but I shall hardly smell hay or suck clover flowers.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 140. •What I shall do next I know not; all my schemes of rural pleasure have been some way or other disappointed.' Ib. p. 372. “I hope Mrs. — when

-she came to her favourite place found her house dry, and her woods growing, and the breeze whistling, and the birds singing, and her own heart dancing. Ib. p. 401. In this very trip to Wales, after describing the high bank of a river, ‘shaded by gradual rows of trees,' he writes:

- The gloom, the stream, and the silence generate thoughtfulness.' Post, p. 517

· Mr. Throckmorton the owner.



A talk about fattery.


The old clerk had great appearance of joy at the sight of his Mistress, and foolishly said, that he was now willing to die. He had only a crown given him by my Mistress'.

At Dymerchion Church the texts on the walls are in Welsh.

AUGUST 3. We went in the coach to Holywell. Taik with Mistress about flattery'.

In the MS. in Dr. Johnson's handwriting, he has first entered in his diary, ‘The old Clerk had great appearance of joy at seeing his Mistress, and foolishly said that he was now willing to die: he afterwards wrote in a separate column, on the same leaf, under the head of notes and omissions, He had a crown;' and then he appears to have read over his diary at a future time, and interlined the paragraph with the words 'only'-'given him by my Mistress,' which is written in ink of a different colour. DUPPA. “If Mr. Duppa,' wrote Mrs. Piozzi, does not send me a copy of Johnson's Diary, he is as shabby as it seems our Doctor thought me, when I gave but a crown to the old clerk. The poor clerk had probably never seen a crown in his possession before. Things were very distant A.D. 1774 from what they are 1816. Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 178. Mrs. Piozzi writes as if Johnson's censure had been passed in 1816 and not in 1774.

• Mrs. Piozzi has the following MS. note on this :— He said I flattered the people to whose houses we went. I was saucy, and said I was obliged to be civil for two, meaning himself and me. He replied nobody would thank me for compliments they did not understand. At Gwaynynog he was flattered, and was happy of course.' Hayward's Piozzi, i. 75. Sept. 21, 1778. Mrs. Thrale. I remember, Sir, when we were travelling in Wales, how you called me to account for my civility to the people. “Madam," you said, “let me have no more of this idle commendation of nothing. Why is it that whatever you see, and whoever you see, you are to be so indiscriminately lavish of praise?" Why I'll tell you, Sir,” said I, “when I am with you, and Mr. Thrale, and Queeny (Miss Thrale), I am obliged to be civil for four."' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 132. On June 11, 1775, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield : Everybody remembers you all: you left a good impression behind you. I hope you will do the same at

Do not make them speeches. Unusual compliments, to which there is no stated and prescriptive answer, embarrass the feeble, who know not what to say, and disgust the wise, who knowing them to be false suspect them to be hypocritical,' Piozzi Letters, i. 232. She



« PrejšnjaNaprej »