صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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WREXHAM is a considerable town of Denbighshire, situated at the junction of the Shrewsbury, Welshpool, and Chester roads, and consequently a place of much traffic. It is the centre of the mining and manufacturing districts of the eastern part of the county of Denbigh, and hence is sometimes called the metropolis of North Wales. No particular trade or manufacture is carried on in the town itself, though the parish, which is extensive, being 12 miles long, abounds in mineral wealth, and important works have been established in various parts of it. The markets of Wrexham are well attended; and the Welsh language is generally heard among the country people who frequent them. A handsome market-hall, it may be added, was built a few years ago; and cheese fairs have been established.

Wrexham unites with three other places, Denbigh, Holt, and Ruthin, in returning a representative to the imperial parliament.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Giles, is a spacious and noble gothic structure, deservedly considered one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in the principality. The friable red sandstone, however, of the neighbourhood was used in its erection; and, in consequence, the sharpness of the sculpture has been lost, and the church looks as if in a crumbling condition. It appears to have been built at the latter end of the fifteenth century: the tower, which is its principal boast, was finished, according to a date upon it, in 1506.

The exterior of Wrexham church is elaborately embellished with sculpture. The lofty tower consists of several successive stages, panelled through


out, and decorated with numerous statues of saints in canopied niches. It is crowned at the angles with light openwork turrets, adding much to the richness of its character. From its massiveness and elevation, this tower forms a conspicuous object in the landscape, from whatever point of view it is beheld.

This church has a remarkably fine carved roof. The altar-piece is worked in stone by a Chester artist; and the east window is filled with modern painted glass.

There are here some interesting monuments. In the chancel is an altar-tomb, on which is a recumbent figure of Dr. Bellot, bishop of Bangor and of Chester, who died in 1596. But that which will chiefly attract the attention of the visitor is one by Roubilliac, representing a young female rising fresh and beautiful from the sepulchre, and inspiring an idea of that awful hour when the dry bones shall live and the grave shall give forth its tenants-some with incorruptible bodies, vigorous for happy immortality; others, alas! fitted for destruction. This monument is to the memory of Mrs. Mary Myddleton, of Chirk castle. There are others by the same sculptor, to commemorate other members of the same family.

In the neighbourhood of Wrexham, about one mile distant, is Acton park, the birth-place of the notorious judge Jeffries, who prostituted his great legal talents to the maintenance of despotic power, and perished in the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty.

The population of Wrexham at the census of 1841 was 12,921; but this did not include certain hamlets and dependencies, which contained 3,500 persons more.


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OCTOBER is the poet's month: its freshness and health-inspiring feeling has ever been accounted favourable to poetic inspiration. The painter's too; for hues of autumn are gently stealing on: all trees forego their greenness; and where, but a few days past, the woods presented that dark, dense green of summer, into which the tints of spring had insensibly deepened, a change becomes perceptible: the winds and night dews impress an exquisite variety of hues, varying and mingling, yet widely differing, and presenting every gradation, from deep brown to the brightest orpiment. Who can look over the glorious landscape, without experiencing somewhat of that flowing forth of thankfulness, that joyous consciousness of existence, which seems as the spirit's memory of an

unfallen state?

Few among the most striking characteristics of October are found on level and open countries. Noble groups of ancestral trees, and woodlands sweeping in their pride over hill and dale, present, on the contrary, all the richness and fulness of autumnal scenery, such especially as the finely-timbered and hilly parts of Gloucestershire, where some old wood has waved perchance for ages, at one period filling the vale country, at another crossing a wide common, and climbing, by aid of huge stones, the rugged side of a contiguous acclivity; till, having gained the highest elevation, that old wood looks down over stubblefields and wastes skirted with underwood, where the leaves of the wild cherry assume a scarlet hue, those of the marsh elder a beautiful red, or rather pink, and the birch and chesnut that golden tint which is often mellowed by the lingering greenness of the ash.

This change of colour, which impart so much of richness and variety to an autumnal landscape, is occasioned by the oxygen of the atmosphere, when acting on leaves from which the vital principle has been gradually withdrawn. And most curious is the fact that the colour extracted by dyers from different woods accords with their dissimilar tints. The sawdust of the common British oak (quercus robur) is the chief indigenous substance used in dying fustian, whilst others of the tribe yield a liver, fawn, or sanguine colour, in accordance with their change of leaf; thus also the hickory, and that species of foreign quercus which affords quercitron bark, impart a brilliant yellow dye, and are everywhere distinguished for the vividness of their tints.

And then that tremulous effect, which is produced by the oblique direction of the sunbeams, how indescribably beautiful! lighting them with a vividness peculiar to this month; yet not stationary, as the hues of evening on mountain-tops, forming, so to speak, a oneness with each jutting

cliff; but quivering, glistening, changing to the eye of the beholder. The effect of this tremulousness on foreground objects imparts a deep feeling of the beautiful, whether manifested in the sparkle of running waters, in the early dew on herbage, or the quivering of reeds when shaken by the wind. It has nought to do with motion, though impressed on moving things, whether of waters running swiftly, or such plants as rustle in the breeze. It is an effect, or rather optical illusion, sought for in vain throughout all other months, and seeming to endue as with a soft, unearthly, gentle motion, every natural object, however stable. In the early spring and summer, when the loveliness of the one, and the matron beauty of the other, are obvious in all their gracefulness and richness, the landscape hath its own deep glory, and requires nought beside. It is otherwise in autumn: decay has begun its work; but that process is so softened and embellished, such exquisite mingling of hues are obvious in woodland scenery, such a bright and tremulous light is shed abroad, and such magnificent masses of rolling clouds, and such gorgeous sunsets fling their shadows or bright hues on the meek and matron face of nature, that he who looks upon them may readily forego the consciousness that all this is but a prelude to the falling of the leaf, and the drawing in of winter.

Beautiful, too, are shadows in this month-not peculiar it may be, for their effect is obvious throughout the year, yet marked with a deeper character. Observe the grassy slope of some gentle declivity, with groups of trees, and here and there those noble, wide-spreading, umbrageous elms, which are the pride of an English landscape. How dark, and well-defined, and stationary are their shadows on the sward; but suddenly, when the wind is high, and clouds move rapidly, a different modification becomes obvious; not well defined, nor fixed for a while, but hurrying, evanescent, vanishing, re-appearing, and seeming to chequer the grassy slope with light and shade. These are cloud shadows, flung from embodied vapours, floating through the heavens. Who may trace their progress, or describe the shadowing and the brightening which they alternate in passing? I have watched them in the early mornings of May and June, when groups of deer came forth from their shelter for the night, and sheep began to browze on the damp and sparkling herbage; when the voice of one bird, and then another, was heard from out the adjacent coppices, and squirrels bounded from bough to bough; but never do they possess such fulness of beauty as when October clouds and sunshine contend for mastery, and shadows, now called into being, and again as suddenly vanishing, chequer the varied landscape.

Flowers still linger in the hedges, and the lover of nature rejoices in them, though somewhat with a sad and sober feeling, because the time of their departing is at hand. The bugloss and small stitchwort, the gentian and white behen, the pansy, hawkweed, and black nonsuch vary their dissimilar localities. The mallow and the feverfew are seen on hedge-banks and heaps of rubbish. They look pleasant to the passer-by, though little of poetry or history is associated with their names: flowers are they of every-day's


"Now wear thou this, she solemn said,
And placed the holly on my head:

O, reader! hast thou ever stood to see
The holly-tree?

The eye that contemplates it well perceives
Its glossy leaves

Ordered by an intelligence so wise,

As might confound the atheist's sophistries.
Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen,
Wrinkled and green:

No grazing cattle through their prickly round
Can reach to wound;

acquaintance, yet calling up no images of bygone times, nor pleasant memories of spring-tide hours, Its polished leaves and berries red did rustling play; when young feet went forth by stream side and And, like a passing thought, she fled in light away." in meadow paths, or through the good green wood to gather posies. And yet, as I have often The holly is all-important to small birds which had occasion to observe, each plant hath its own remain stationary through the winter: it affords use and history; and those of the stitchwort and a ready shelter, and yields abundance of red bermarsh gentian, the mouse-ear hawkweed, and red-ries: it serves, too, as a screen to innumerable crane's-bill, are well deserving of brief notice. The grasses and flowers, that might otherwise perish, first (stellaria holostia) is particularly attractive or be destroyed by sheep and cattle; and many a to a small yellow underwinged moth, which is timid quadruped creeps beneath the branches, often seen hovering among the flowers: the second when pursued by its enemies. This friendly ever(gentiana pneumonanthe) was named after green is a vegetable citadel, bristling with sharp Gentius, a king of Illyria, who, if we rightly points; and every leaf is so well guarded that neiunderstand Dioscorides and Pliny, first discovered ther the wild cat nor weasel can molest such birds its virtues as an antidote, and of which the gal- as take shelter in the upper portions of the tree. lant flowers, as wrote old Gerard, "be in their But, though the under branches are covered with braverie, by spring side, or in marshy places, prickly leaves, those leaves become smooth toabout the end of August, and of so beautiful a wards the top. Birds, therefore, nestle securely colour that it passeth the very bluwe itselfe." among them during the wintry months, or build Next in order among these wayside lingerers is their nests in spring. the mouse-ear hawkweed (hieracium pilosella), growing with her sisters, in dry meadows, sheepwalks, and pastures, on rocks and ruins, and wherever winds may visit, or a wandering sunbeam find its way; contributing to the horologium Floræ, or botanical clock, as originally described by Linnæus, and since exhibited in the Garden of Plants, at Paris, and often noting to the weary labourer his time for leaving work. And, lastly, the red crane's-bill (geranium sanBut, as they grow where nothing is to fear, Smooth and unarmed the pointed leaves appear. guineum), with its relatives of wood and field, is found in the most dissimilar localities, growing at Observe, too, the ivy (hedera helix), that one time in the fissures of old ruins, at another on climbing and glossy evergreen, which classic stony banks, by fountains, and in marshy places; poets sung, and blended with the rose, in festibut, in all and each, the bright red of its deeply-vals; mantling many a ruin and neglected wall, indented leaves, changed, like those of forest trees, covering the cottage chimney and stunted pollard, by oxygen, renders this small plant an object of pe- and often giving to an aged tree, sapless and culiar beauty. Thus is the lover of natural without leaves, the luxuriance of its own rich verscenery indebted to the oxygen of the atmosphere dure, offering in each a shelter to wayfaring birds, for the beauty of an autumnal walk or landscape. and presenting its tiny cups, filled with juice, to The humble crane's-bill confesses its secret power in many of the insect tribes. Butterflies, too, are the change of leaf, equally with the forest there, late visitants, which might otherwise have brotherhood of trees; these, as already noticed, to wander far in quest of food. I have often present an exquisite variety of mingling hues, seen crowds of large flies rise with an angry hum, with the exception of the northern, or smooth- if disturbed in their feast, and, after buzzing leaved wych-elm (ulmus montana), that widely-round the bush, settle again when all was quiet. spreading tree, than which no other of indigenous growth suffers so severely from the stealing on of shortening days and early frosts. Others manifest a change from the action of oxygen, when their vital energy declines; but then their splendour is rather augmented than decreased. Not so the tree of which we speak its leaves curl up, become suddenly brown, and flutter from their sprays. Every passing wind sends down a torrent of untimely leaves, till its skeleton-looking branches are seen waving amid the gorgeous foliage of the woods.

The delicate white cabbage-butterfly (papilio brassica) is one of the ivy's frequent guests, and presents a pleasing contrast to the admiralbutterfly (vanissa atalanta), with its richly-tinted pinions: the peacock-butterfly (io vanissa) hastens also to the ready banquet, with its wings now opened, and again closed, as the sun breaks forth or retires behind a cloud. Other purposes, in the economy of nature, are also assigned to the ivy. When clinging round large trees, in high and windy places, it often acts as a protection from the cold and wet; and, though injurious to young timber, rather by its mechanical pressure than the extraction of nutriment, it operates as a preservinative to trees of full growth; and some of the largest and soundest have been entwined with its branches for many years. Persons who are unacquainted with its natural history would proscribe the ivy. This obtrusive plant, say they, insinuates its fibres into the bark of trees, and consequently destroys them. But the case is otherwise the fibres are too short to occasion injury: they serve chiefly as claspers to support the

And yet this atmospheric agency, which produces such an admirable effect, is powerless as regards the ivy and the holly, with evergreens general. And why is this? Because, whether standing singly or in groups, they afford a welcome shelter to small birds, when woods are leafless, and the winds and storms of winter are The holly especially, that classic shrub which Burns immortalized in those unrivalled lines, wherein the genius of Scotland thus addressed her favoured son when driving the plough:


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