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June 4th

Born: George III, of Great Britain, 1738, London; John Scott, Earl of Eldon, Chancellor of England, 1751, Newcastle; James Pennethorne, architect, 1801, Worcester.

Died: M. A. Muret (Muretus), commentator on the ancient classics, 1585, Route; Archbishop Juxon, 1663, St. John's, Oxford; Admiral Sir Charles Wager, 1743; Marshal Davoust, I823; Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, novelist, Sm., 1849, Paris.

Feast Day: St. Quirinus, Bishop of Siscia, martyr, 304; St. Optatus, Bishop of Milevum, confessor, 4th century; St. Bream, or Breague, virgin, of Ireland; St. Nenooc, or Nennoca, virgin, of Britain, 467; St. Burian, of Ireland. St. Petroc, abbot and confessor, about 564; St. Walter, abbot of Fontanelle, or St. Vandrilles, 1150; St. Walter, abbot in San-Serviliano, 13th century.

KING GEORGE THE THIRD'S BIRTHDAY

At page 275 of the volume of the Gentleman's Magazine for 1738, under a subtitle, 'Wednesday, 24,' meaning the 24th of May, occurs the following little paragraph:

'This morning, between six and seven, the Princess of Wales was happily delivered of a prince at Norfolk House, St. James's Square, the Archbishop or Canterbury being present.'

This prince was he who afterwards reigned sixty years over England as George III.

The 4th of June, which was assumed as the prince's birthday on the change of style, must yet for many years be remembered on account of the affectionate and constantly growing interest felt in it during the old king's reign. A royal birthday in the present time, notwithstanding the respect and love cherished for the occupant of the throne, is nothing to what it was '______ When George the Third was king.'

The reverence felt for this sovereign by the generality of his subjects was most remarkable. It was a kind of religion with many of them. He was spoken of as 'the best of characters,' 'the good old king;' no phrase of veneration or love seemed to be thought inapplicable to him. And surely, though he had his faults as a ruler, and they were of a not very innocuous character, it is something, as showing the power of personal or private goodness and worth, that King George was thus held in general regard.

The esteem for the personal virtues of the king, joined to a feeling of political duty which the circumstances of the country made appear necessary, caused the 4th of June to be observed as a holiday—not a formal and ostensible, but a sincere holiday—over the whole empire. Every municipality met with its best citizens to drink the king's health. There were bonfires in many streets. The boys kept up from morning to night an incessant fusillade with their mimic artillery. Rioting often arose from the very joyousness of the occasion. It is a curious proof of the intense feeling connected with the day, that in Edinburgh a Fourth, of June Club continued for many years after King George's death to meet and dine, and drink to his amiable memory.

The feelings of the people regarding the king were brought to an unusually high pitch in the year 1809, when he entered on the fiftieth year of his reign. Passing over the formal celebrations of the day, let us revive, from a contemporary periodical, a poem written on that occasion, as by Norman Nicholson, a shepherd among the Grampian Hills, who professed to have then just entered upon the fiftieth year of his own professional life. It is entitled,

Jubilee for Jubilee

Frae the Grampian Hills will the Royal ear hear it,
    And listen to Norman the Shepherd's plain tale!
The north wind is blawing, and gently will bear it,
    Unvarnish'd and honest, o'er hill and o'er dale.
When London it reaches, at court, Sire, receive it,
    Like a tale you may read it, or like a sang sing,
Poor Norman. is easy—but you may believe it,
    I'm fifty years shepherd—you're fifty a king!

Your jubilee, then, wi' my ain I will mingle,
    For you and mysel' twa fat lambkins I'll slay;
Fresh turf I will lay in a heap on my ingle,
    An' wi' my auld neebours I'll rant out the day.
My pipes that I played on lang sync, I will blaw them,
    My chanter I'll teach to lilt over the spring;
My drones to the tune I will round an' round thraw them,
    0' fifty years shepherd, and fifty a king!

The flock o' Great Britain ye've lang wool attended,
    The flock o' Great Britain demanded your care;
Frae the tod and the wolf they've been snugly defended,
    And led to fresh pasture, fresh water, and air.
My flocks I ha'e led day by day o'er the heather,
    At night they around use ha'e danced in a ring;
I've been their protector thro' foul and fair weather—
    I'm fifty years shepherd—you're fifty a king!

Their fleeces I've shorn, frae the cauld to protect me,
    Their fleeces they gave, when a burden they grew;
When escaped frae the sheers, their looks did respect me,
    Sae the flock o' Great Britain still looks upon you.
They grudge not their monarch a mite o' their riches,
    Their active industry is ay on the wing;
Then you and me, Sire, I think are twa matches—
    I'm fifty years shepherd—you're fifty a king!

Me wi' my sheep, Sire, and you wi' your subjects,
    On that festive day will baith gladly rejoice;
Our twa hoary heads will be fou' o' new projects,
    To please our leal vassals that made us their choice.
Wi' sweet rips o' hay I will treat a' my wethers,
    The juice o' the vine to your lords you will bring;
The respect they ha'e for us is better than brithers'
    I'm fifty years shepherd—you're fifty a king!

I live in the cottage where Norval was bred in,
    You live in the palace your ancestors reared;
Nae guest uninvited dare come to your weddin',
    Or ruthless invader pluck us by the beard.
Then thanks to the island we live, whar our shipping
    Swim round us abreast, or like geese in a string;
For safe, I can say, as my brose I am sipping,
    I'm fifty years shepherd—you're fifty a king!

But ah! Royal George, and ah! humble Norman,
    Life to us baith draws near to a close;
The year's far awa that has our natal hour, man,
    The time's at our elbow that brings us repose!
Then e'en let it come, Sire, if conscience acquit us,
    A sigh frae our bosoms Death never shall wring;
And may the next jub'lee amang angels meet us,
    To hail the auld shepherd, and worthy auld king!

DAVOUST APPARENT INCONSISTENCIES OF HUMAN NATURE

The name of Davoust is held in greater horror than that of any other of Napoleon's generals, on account of the frightful oppression he exercised upon the citizens of Hamburg, when occupying that city for his master in 1813. His rapacity is described as unbounded. It is at the same time true that he was faithful beyond example to Napoleon through all the proceedings of the two subsequent years; and after Waterloo, when a Bourbon decree prescribed several of his brother marshals, he wrote to the minister St. Cyr, demanding that his name should be substituted for theirs, as they had only acted under his orders as the late war minister—a piece of generosity reminding us of chivalrous times. It is another curious and unexpected trait of Davoust, that he was a bibliophilist, and possessed a fine vellum library.

One is continually surprised by incongruities in human character, although there is perhaps no peculiarity of human nature more conspicuous than what are called its inconsistencies. It would at first sight appear impossible that a noted murderer could be tender-hearted; yet it is recorded of Eugene Aram, that he had been observed to walk aside to avoid treading on a worm. Archbishop Whately, in his annotations to Bacon, has the following paragraph:

'When Thurtell the murderer was executed, there was a shout of derision raised against the phrenologists for saying that his organ of benevolence was large. But they replied that there was also large destructiveness, and a moral deficiency, which would account for a man goaded to rage (by being cheated of almost all he had by the man he killed) committing that act. It is a remarkable confirmation of their view, that a gentleman who visited the prison where Thurtell was confined (shortly after the execution), found the jailors, full of pity and affection for him. They said he was a kind, good-hearted fellow, so obliging and friendly, that they had never had a prisoner whom they so much regretted. And such seems to have been his general character, when not influenced at once by the desire of revenge and of gain.'

The gentle benevolence and piety of Izaak Walton shine through all his writings. The amiable sentimentalism of Mackenzie's novels (now unduly neglected) was forty years ago deeply impressed on the public mind. Yet both of these men were keen pursuers of sports which infer the destruction, and, what is worse, the torture of the humbler animals. It is related that Mr. Mackenzie's wife, hearing him one day tell how many brace of grouse he had bagged in a late visit to the Highlands, and what a nice set of flies he had bought to take to Gala Water next week, exclaimed, 'Harry, Harry, you keep all your feeling for your books! 'The writer knew this fine-toned author when he was eighty-five years of age, and retains a vivid recollection of the hearty, world-like, life-enjoying style of the man, so incongruous with all that one would imagine regarding him who wrote the story of La Roche.

Take in connexion with these remarks what Mr. Baker has set forth in his work, styled The Rifle and the Hound in Ceylon (1854):

'I would always encourage a love of sport in a lad; guided by its true spirit of fair play, it is a feeling that will make him above doing a mean thing in every station of life, and will give him real feelings of humanity. I have had great experience in the characters of thorough sportsmen, and I can safely say that I never saw one that was not a straightforward, honourable man, who would scorn to take a dirty advantage of man or animal. In fact, all real sportsmen that I have met have been really tender-hearted men; men who shun cruelty to an animal, and who are easily moved by a tale of distress.'

THE FATE OF AMY ROBSART

On the 4th of June 1550, Lord Robert Dudley, who subsequently was a great figure in English history, under the title of Earl of Leicester, was married to Amy, the daughter of Sir John Robsart, a gentleman of ancient family and large possessions in Cornwall. It was perhaps an imprudent marriage, for the bridegroom was only eighteen; but there was nothing clandestine or secret about it—on the contrary, it took place at the palace of Sheen, in the presence of the young king, Edward VI. The pair lived together ten years, but had no children. As this time elapsed, Dudley rose in the favour of his sovereign Elizabeth—even to such a degree that he might evidently, if unmarried, have aspired to her royal hand.

It is an odd consideration regarding Elizabeth and her high reputation as a sovereign, that one of her most famous ministers, and one who enjoyed her personal favour during a long course of years—whom, indeed, she loved, if she ever loved any—was a man proved to have been guilty of nearly every vice, a selfish adventurer, a treacherous hypocrite, and a murderer. We have now to speak of the first of a tolerably long series of wickednesses which have to be charged to the account of Leicester. He was still but Lord Robert Dudley when, in September 1560, he got quit of the wife of his youth, Amy Robsart. We know extremely little of this lady. There is one letter of hers preserved, and it only tells a Mr. Flowerden, probably a steward of her husband, to sell the wool of certain sheep 'for six shillings the stone, as you would sell for yourself.'

Cumnor Hall
Cumnor Hall

The lady came to her end at Cumnor Hall, a solitary manor-house in Berkshire, not far from Oxford. This house was the residence of a dependent of Dudley, one Anthony Forster, whose epitaph in the neighbouring church still proclaims him as a gentleman of birth and consideration, distinguished by skill in music and a taste for horticulture—a worthy, sagacious, and eloquent man, but whom we may surmise to have nevertheless been not incapable of serving Dudley in some of his worst ends.

The immediate instrument, however, appears to have been Sir Richard Varney, another dependent of the aspiring courtier. By this man and his servant, who alone were in the house, the chamber of the unfortunate lady was invaded by night, and after strangling her, and damaging her much about the head and neck, they threw her down a stair, to support their tale that she had died by an accidental fall. Dudley paid all proper external respect to her memory, by burying her magnificently in St. Mary's Church, Oxford, at an expense of two thousand pounds. He did not, however, escape suspicion. The neighbouring gentry were so fully assured of the evil treatment of the lady, that they sought to get an inquiry made into the circumstances. We also find. Burleigh afterwards presenting, among the reasons why it was inexpedient for the queen to marry Leicester, 'that he is infamed by the death of his wife.' Many actions of his subsequent life show how fully he was capable of ordering one woman out of the world to make way for another.

Mickle, a poet of the latter half of the eighteenth century, composed a ballad on the tragic death of Amy Robsart, whom he erroneously thought to have been a countess. Its smooth, euphonious strains, gave a charm to a composition which a critical taste would scarcely approve of.

'____ Sore and sad that lady grieved,
    In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear;
Full many a piercing scream was heard,
    And many a cry of mortal fear.
The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
    An aerial voice was heard to call;
And thrice the raven flapped its wing
    Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.

And in that manor now no more
    Is cheerful feast and sprightly ball:
For ever since that dreary hour
    Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.
The village maids, with fearful glance,
    Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall;
Nor ever lead the sprightly dance
    Among the groves of Cumnor Hall.'

The place, nevertheless, from its natural beauties, its antique church, and the romance connected with the ancient hall, has an attraction for strangers. The BEAR—the inn which forms the opening scene of the romance of Kenilworth—a very curious specimen of old homely architecture, still exists at Cumnor, with the Dudley arms (the bear and ragged staff) over the door, strangely realizing to us the dismal connexion of Leicester with the spot.

June 5th

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