« AnkstesnisTęsti »
GUIDE-BOOK AT FAULT.
inscription, which may be read either backwards or forwards: Νιψον ανομημα μη μοναν οψιν, Wash my sin, and not my face only.' So I requested the clerk to show us this, but he said it did not exist now, having disappeared fourteen or fifteen years ago. It is a pity that this curious conceit in words was not preserved, but why did my guide-book of recent date say that it was there?
The clerk told us the curfew was rung in Hadleigh till thirteen years ago. It was sounded at eight o'clock every night from the Sunday following October 10 to the Sunday nearest to March 10.
Glancing again into our guide-book we read 'The churchyard contains no very curious epitaphs, unless it be the following, which has been often printed, in memory of John Turner :—
My sledge and hammer lie declined,
My coal is spent, my iron gone,
My nails are drove, my work is done :
My fire-dried corpse lies here at rest,
My soul, smoke-like, is soaring to be blest.'
So we asked to be conducted to the tombstone upon which this famous epitaph was inscribed, but alas! the clerk was unable to grant our request for the excellent reason (our guide-book notwithstanding) that the epitaph is not to be found in the churchyard now; it was not there fifty years ago, our guide said, and for how much longer time it had disappeared he could not say. Thereupon we closed our guide-book and carefully put it out of sight for the rest of our
journey. During a tour we took a few years ago through Wales, we also took a handbook with us which described a beautiful drive amongst the mountains in the central portion of the Principality. On arriving at the spot we discovered to our regret that it was impossible to take this, because the road had ceased to exist half a century ago, a new and more level one having been made through another part of the country, more convenient and level though vastly less picturesque. When you get well away from the hackneyed line of tourist travel, guide-books are not always implicitly to be relied upon-nor their illustrations. We once saw in a certain work an engraving of Penshurst (a stately and inhabited mansion as is well known, standing in a pleasantly wooded park in the fair land of Kent). This was actually represented as a ruined castle with a weed-grown moat surrounding it! It is well before drawing from the imagination, or describing places in words, to see the originals first-it saves mistakes. I saw only the other day an illustration of Conway Castle with the sun shown as setting in the east; but as the drawing was otherwise fairly correct, perchance the artist considered this a mere trifle.
But to return to the subject of epitaphs, from which I have wandered, it is a pity that so many of these, some most curious, should have become effaced or their lettering entirely weathered away, and no care taken to preserve them, save in a desultory way by a few antiquaries. Besides the clever epitaph to the blacksmith already quoted there used to exist in Hadleigh churchyard another curious pro
duction of the same kind which I think is worthy of being saved from oblivion, and so have given it a place here.
To free me from domestic strife
Death call'd at my house, but he spake with my wife.
Susan wife of David Patison lies here.
October 19, 1706.
Stop, reader, and if not in a hurry drop a tear.
During our drive we came upon many quaint and some clever epitaphs. Here is one from a Norfolk churchyard above the average, to a certain John Strange :—
In Heaven at last. Oh! happy change,
And here is another specimen of tombstone versification :
Waking, sleeping, eating, drinking,
Chattering, lying, life went by,
While of dying little thinking,
Down I dropped, and here I lie.
And still another that is a notable exception to the general rule in leaving the many virtues of the underlying dead to the reader's imagination, instead of proclaiming them in fulsome words believed by
She lived respected, and died lamented.
She was--but words are wanting to say what—
Whilst on the matter of epitaphs I may perhaps be allowed to quote still another one, which I do solely on account of its unique combination of memorial inscription and worldly advertisement, for
this existed in quite another portion of England, and was copied many years ago from a moss-grown stone in the churchyard of Upton-on-Severn. This then is it :
Here, in hopes of reaching Zion,
With this extraordinary and suggestive example of churchyard literature of past times, I may well conclude my remarks on epitaphs-and my chapter.
A Wayside Memorial-Hintlesham-Tombstone Inscriptions-A Hilly Road-Ipswich-A Famous Inn-An interesting Old House-An Old-time Interior-An Ancient Hostel-Rushmere Heath-A Sea of Gorse-Kesgrave Church-The Burial-place of the Queen of the Gipsies The Red Lion of Martlesham-A Toy River--Woodbridge -A curious Relic-The Pleasant Deben-Tidal Mills-Seckford Hall-A Home of the Past.
As we were leaving Hadleigh, just on the outskirts of the town we came upon a curious brick tower house with a walled enclosure. Apparently this edifice had originally been intended for the entrance gateway to some grand mansion à la Layer Marney. Whether the mansion was ever built or whether it had been destroyed we could not learn; history is silent as to this structure, and even tradition, generally so ready to take its place, on this occasion is silent too. It is just one of those old-time buildings that look as though they ought to be haunted or have some legend attached to them, and we felt almost aggrieved that we could discover nothing of the kind; but then Hadleigh is not a place which tourists frequent, otherwise perhaps a ready-made history might have been invented to suit the demand for show places, for I have known such an instance to occur. About half a mile out of Hadleigh we observed
a stone set in the midst of a field to the left of the