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Enough if thou approve the lay,
A tenderness like thine!
For thee my fervent heart shall glow;
Through every change of weal or woe.
1 Oh! heed not then the false world's smile!
Tbine is one fond and steadfast friend,
THE MAIDEN'S FUNERAL.
SOUTHEY's Madoc. WIENEVER I arrive at any town. I had arrived late one evening i or village, my first visit is usually | July 18 , at the little town of B-, to the church-yard; and as it has in Denbighshire, on my accustomed been my lot to lead a very unsettled idle pilgrimage; and early the next and wandering sort of life, there are morning. I strolled into the churchfew cemeteries in the kingdom that yard, which is here situated at the are not known to me. This may ap- foot of a small hillock, northward of pear a strange fancy; but I am a the hamlet. There is something pestrange man, and consequently this culiarly interesting to me in this desepulchral predilection is perfectly in lightful spot, placed as it is amidst unison with my customary habits and so many will and frowning mounfeelings. A poignant disappointment tains. It is impossible to convey an in early life has tinctured my mind adequate idea of its sweet and calm with melancholy, and it may be with seclusion; but the poet shall describe moroseness; and I love to wander some of its lonely beauty: among the green graves of the re “ A scene sequester'd from the baunts of tired village burial-place, pondering
The loveliest nook in all that lonely glen, upon the instability and vanity of all
Where weary pilgrims found their last repose. earthly desires, as I read in the rude The little heaps were ranged in comely rows, ily sculptured tombstones“ the short | With walks between, where frievds and kisand simple annals of the poor.”
Who dress'si with duteous hand each ballow'd : If there be any particular district
sod. in the kingdom which I delight most No sculptur'd mopuinent was wrought to to visit, it is: North Wales; for in
breathe. many of the secluded parts of that || His praises, whom the worm destroy'd be.
neath. beautiful country the peasants are ex
* The high, the low, the mighty, and the fair, tremely sedulous in decorating the Equal in death, were indistinguish'd there. graves of their departed friends and || Yet nota hillock moulder'd near that spot kindred with turf and wild flowers.
By one dishonour'd, or by all forgot:
To some warm heart the poorest dust was This has been called an inconsistent
dear, . No and unnatural custom. I cannot think | From some kind eye the meapest claimed a it so, and I sbould be sorry to see it
And oft the living, by affectiou led,
Where no dark cypress cast a doleful gloom, , the boards were removed to a dis. No blighting yew shed poison o'er the tomb, !
tance, and the old men, with another But white and red, with intermingling flowers, The grare look'd beautiful in sun and show
clownish congé, left me to my mediers.
tations. I do not know how long. I 'Twas not a scene for grief tu nourish care
should have remained thus buried in It breath'd of bope, and mov'd the heart to
thought, " deep, soothing, and de, pray'r!” It was a most lovely morning. The
lightful," if the dull and melancholy
tolling of the church-bell had not summer-sun was shining with all its
roused me from my reverie, and glory, and the dew-drops still glit
turned my thoughts into another chantered in lucid brilliancy on the leaves
nel. The sun shione forth in all its of the grave-flowers. I had more than once before visited this enchant
unapproachable and splendid majes.
ty, and numberless birds caroled in ing spot, for, as I have already inti
gladness their song of praise and mated, it is a favourite of mine; but
gratitude ; but the bell sent forth its I never saw it as I saw it then, glow
sullen knell at intervals, and cast a ing so brightly in the beams of a
gloom over my mind, which all the inbrilliant morning. I was leaning
spiriting influence of that beautiful against the plain unsculptured tomb
morning could not counteract. But of one who, although a wealthy man,
I felt no inclination to leave the spot. had chosen to repose under the green
An irresistible curiosity impelled me sod of the church-yard, rather than beneath the stony floor of the tem
to remain, that I might witness the
last sad solemn ceremony due to the ple, when two old men, entering the
remains of poor mortality; and I had burying-ground, approached the spot
not long to tarry. A soft and murwhere I stood, and proceeded to re
muring melody, "borne up the valmove the planks from a half-exca
ley by the morning breeze," reached vated grave, which I now perceived
me at intervals, like the fitful and was close to a mound of earth, pret
melancholy cadence of the Æolian tily adorned with turf and flowers:
harp; and bending my steps in the « Around the grave a beauteous fence Of wild flowers shed their breath,
direction whence the sound proceedSmiling like infant-innocence
ed, I descried a funeral procession Within the gloom of death."
moving mournfully along the hillOne of these worthies I soon per side; and the newly made grave at ceived was the ancient grave-digger my feet indicating that this was the of the village, and the other appa- final resting place of the approaching rently his deputy; for they both set | corpse. In North Wales it is always about their work with that calm and customary to escort the body to the steady indifference which long habit grave with hymns adapted to the ocand frequent occasion for the prac-casion: these are generally exceedtice of such a mournful avocation had ingly plaintive and harmonious, and long since generated. They made always sung by females. Nothing their clumsy obeisance to me as they can be more impressive than the inpassed, and were speedily engaged | fluence of this simple and approin the trivial and garrulous gossip- priate minstrelsy; for its solemnity ing of old age.
strikes at once to the heart, and is inThe grave was speedily finished; |finitely more affecting than the more
muriy the morningike the fitful olan
Moje on whose was broughole relativ
elaborate pomp and splendour of a the Lord's Prayer. The procession metropolitan funeral. On the pre- then again moved onwards, and the sent occasion the affecting interest | customary service was performed preof the scene was considerably height- vious to the affecting ceremony of ened by the appearance of the pro- | interment*. As we moved along tocession itself, which presented a wards the church, two or three idle mournful contrast to the brilliancy of urchins, who were playing among the the morning and to the green hills tombstones, ran forward to meet us, along which it passed.
the foremost shouting in Welch as he I advanced a short way to meet it, ran, “ Come along, Shonen Roberts, and having joined it, turned back, and see at the burying of pretty Maand proceeded by the side of the ry Williams, here's the minister, and mournful train towards the church- old Megan, and the strange gentleyard. It was composed of nearly man!" and on they bounded in childthirty persons. First walked the * In former times, the funeral cereminister, from whom I received a monies of the Welch were more numerkind look of recognition, for well heous than they are now. Previous to a knew the wanderer, and on whose funeral, it was customary, when the corpse benignant features was expressed was brought out of the house, for the the deepest sorrow. Then came nearest female relative of the deceased to the twelve young singers; and after i give over the coffin a quantity of white them followed the coffin on a bier, | loaves, and sometimes a cheese, with a supported by four young men, and piece of money stuck in it, to divers poor covered with a white pall, borne by
persons. After that, they presented in four females, and intimating that the
the same manner a cup, and required the relics it contained were those of a
persons to drink a little of its contents
immediately: when this was done, they pure and spotless maiden. The first
knelt down, and the minister repeated of the mourners was an old and ve
the Lord's Prayer, after which they pronerable woman--the grandmother,
ceeded with the body; and at every crossas I afterwards learnt, of the depart
road between the house and the church, ed virgin--tottering under the weight
they laid down the bier, knelt, and again of age and sorrow, yet walking fear- | said the Lord's Prayer, repeating also the lessly onward, unsupported even in
ceremony when they first entered the her sad infirmity, and leading by the church-yard. It was customary in some hand a little girl, who had scarcely of the upland districts for the friends to o'erstepp'd the bounds of infancy, || say the Lord's Prayer over the grave for and who now, of all her kindred, several Sundays after the interment: this alone remained to solace her declin is now done on the first Sunday aftering years. After this aged woman wards. It was reckoned fortunate for came her weeping friends; and the deceased if it should rain while they “Wailing with funeral hymns,
were carrying him to church, that his cofThe long procession moved."
fin might be wet with the dew of heaven. - When we arrived at the Gothic
A similar notion seems to have been preporch of the church-yard, the bier
valent in several parts of England, as we was placed upon the ground, and the
may judge from the old distich:
“ Happy is the bride that the sun shines on, clergyman pronounced over it, in the
And blessed is the corpse that the rain rains emphatic language of his country,
ish glee to gaze at us, bowing, how- || sorrow in the death of the young ever, with due reverence to the good and the lovely. We look for the fall pastor as he passed them. I recol of the “ sere and yellow leaf” in auleet this well. There was to me some- tumn, as a common and natural octhing so terrific in the callous indif- currence; but we do not expect to ference of these youngsters, that it see the sweet flowers of the spring struck me at the time as a forcible wither and decay till they have deillustration of that powerful princi lighted us with their beauty and fraple of self-interest, which teaches us grance, and fulfilled the brief space to disregard the misfortunes of those allotted to them here. The parent to whom we are not bound by ties of who has sorrowed for a beloved child sympathy or friendship, and to care snatched away in the holiness and nought about the manifold miseries purity of youth, the lover who has which are happening daily around us. || lamented a tender mistress, and the “ When I reflect," observes an elo sister who has mourned over an inquent writer, “what an inconsider- fant brother, can tell how agonizing able atom every single man is with it is to be parted from such dear obrespect to the whole creation, me- ljects of solicitude and affection. But thinks it is a shame to be concerned there is a strengthening and upholdat the removal of such a trivial ani- ing consolation for us all in the mal as I am. The morning after my cheering consciousness, that the meexit, the sun will rise as bright as mory will never die; and that, in our ever, the flowers smell as sweet, the idle hours of meditation, the forms of plants spring up as green, the world those whom we have thus loved and will proceed in its old course, peo lost will vividly recur to us, bringing ple will laugh as heartily, aye, and with them all those soothing recolmarry too as fast as they were used lections, which constitute what has to do. Alas! the memory of man been emphatically denominated the passeth away as the remembrance of “joy of grief.” a guest that tarrieth but one day!"
“Ask the faithful youth, The interment of the dead is truly why the cold urn of her whom long he lov'd
"So often fills his arms, so often draws a sublime and awful ceremony. I
His lonely footsteps, silent and unseen, have seen the strongest frame shake | To pay the mournful tribute of his tears? like a reed, and the sturdiest heart Oh! he will tell thee, that the wealth of
worlds quail like a coward's, at this most sor
Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego rowful and affecting ceremony; and, Those sacred hours, when, stealing from as we all stood round the grave of the noise this village-maiden, I felt the full force | of care and enry, sweet remembrance
svoths, of the sublime service appropriated
With virtue's kindest looks, his aching by our Liturgy to the burial of the
breast, dead. It is melancholy enough to | And turns his tears to rapture!" mourn over the remains of the infirm 1 Deeply was every one affected as and the aged, whose life has lasted the ceremony proceeded, and many beyond the natural term of “three- a tear was shed over the unconscious score years and ten;" but there is a |remains of one whom all had loved. feeling of despondency as well as of The venerable chief-mourner, how• Vol. VI. No. XXXIV.
ever, at first maintained the most panied poor Margaret Williams, or placid composure, at least as far as | as she was usually called, “ Old Meall outward sign was concerned. | gan,” to her cottage, comforting her She shed no tear, she uttered no with such soothing means as their sasigh, and repeated the responses gacity and experience suggested, with a distinct and unfaltering voice. while I remained behind to shake But when the minister pronounced hands with my old friend the rector. the bitter words, “ Earth to earth! | He greeted me with his accustomashes to ashes! dust to dust!" and | ed urbanity; but his voice was trewhen the sexton scattered the mould | mulous, and the tear still glistened upon the coffin-lid, she was compos- in his eye. He invited me, however, ed no longer. Hitherto there had to spend the day with him at the recbeen a calm resignation in the aged || tory, and, readily accepting his invimourner, which betokened deep and tation, we walked arm in arm towards silent sorrow, and which seemed to his residence. . We soon arrived be the result of much internal con- | there; and after a glass of his excel flict. I could see from the begin- || lent gooseberry wine, our conversaning that hers was no common grief, || tion naturally adverted to the funealthough she had, by a strong and ral. The grief of my kind old friend extraordinary effort, subdued all induced me to suspect that the deboisterous indication of her anguish. ceased was something more to him But at this affecting climax of the than a parishioner, although, from ceremony, her emotions could no my knowledge of his family, I could longer be controuled. The acute- | not imagine who she might be. He ness of her feelings, old and bowed soon, however, afforded me the necesdown as she was, had gained addition- | sary explanation. No relationship al intensity from their suppression, had subsisted between him and the and in a tone of agony, which still vi- departed maiden; but in point of afbrates on my ear, she exclaimed, fection she was as a daughter to him. “ O Mary! Mary!, why did not ye“ Sad changes, my friend," he said wait for your poor old grandmother?” | to me,“ have taken place in this and then she “ lifted up her voice house since you were in it last. My' and wept," as, with her hands elasp- || poor wife is dead, and so is your old ed, and her head bent over the grave, playfellow, Edward ; but, thanks be she gazed for the last time upon the to God, I have had strength enough coffin of her beloved grandchild. to bear my affliction with, I trust, We all felt for the poor woman's af-Christian resignation. But if you Aliction, more especially the good are inclined to listen, I will relate a pastor, who wiped a tear from his few particulars of poor Mary's life, cheek as he paused till she had some- | as it will necessarily involve the narwhat recovered. The ceremony was ration of my own domestic misforthen conducted without any further tunes. incident, and the company wended | “Mary was born and nurtured in their way homewards, deeply impress- 1 affliction, for her mother was deluded ed with the sad solemnity of the by a villain, who deserted her in her scene they had witnessed. Two or | uttermost need, and left her to rear three of the elderly matrons accom- | her infant in shame and sorrow. It
What recovered. Til she had some