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MY DEAR MRs. Souther,

The original Edition of Warleigh was dedicated to your most beloved and lamented husband. Mr. Southey has himself said, when addressing a friend (Sir Robert Harry Inglis), that “if there is anything on which we may be allowed to pride ourselves, it is upon that from whence one of our greatest pleasures is derived the friendship of the wise and the good.”* How great then must be my satisfaction, and how pardonable, I trust, this allusion to it, when I recollect that I was honoured with the friendship and correspondence of the late Poet Laureate; whose genius I admired, whose virtues I revered, and whose kindness I so largely experienced during a period of so many years.

I venture, therefore, to hope that these considerations will induce you to accept the dedication of the present Edition of the same work. To whom could I so appropriately inscribe it as to yourself, who, kindred to your lamented husband in spirit and in feeling, have continued towards myself a friendship, similar in kindness and sincerity to his which I so highly prized, and of whose value I am no less sensible. With this assurance,

Allow me to remain,

My dear Mrs. Southey,
Your faithful and attached Friend,


September 24th, 1845.

* In the Dedication of the “Moral and Political Essays.”



I love, thus uncontroll’d, as in a dream,
To muse upon the course of human things;
Exploring sometimes the remotest springs,
Far as tradition lends one guiding gleam.

Souther's Tale of Paraguay.

There is no county, perhaps, in England that abounds more in the traditions of old times and families than that of Devon. These, however, are fast falling into oblivion.

The rising generation, who, commonly speaking, are eager to follow in the march of intellect, smile at the legends of their grandmothers; and the elders themselves, who are mostly the living depositories of this kind of lore, gradually sink into their graves; and, with them, too often dies a fund of information which has no written record. Many of the traditions to which I have alluded (no doubt, like all other tales) lose nothing of their wonders by transmission from generation to generation. Nevertheless, there is that of simplicity and nature about them, which may be considered a strong presumptive evidence that they are founded in truth: in some instances, also, they are confirmed by points of known history, with which they are, more or less, connected. For my own part, I confess that I have ever felt a great delight in collecting the fragments of such old stories as are nearly forgotten, or in danger of becoming extinct; and whilst listening to a tale of other times, I have not been so over critical as to object to every thing that is told unless I could find confirmation of its truth (to adopt a vulgar but expressive phrase) in black and white. It may be a deception, it may be credulity to listen to it; still the illusion is harmless: nor can it fail to be replete with lively associations, that engage the imagination, and call up many a reflecting mood on times and things long past away.

Living, as I do, in the midst of a most delightful part of Devon, how much interest is conveyed to an ancient dwelling, a particular rock, or a lone valley, with its bubbling stream and its beautiful hanging woods, by being able to say, "This is the scene," or

"this is the spot, where such and such events are said to have occurred! Who, for instance, even though he be a stranger, can look upon the narrow rocky cavern, so long said to have sheltered the persecuted royalist, Elford, without dwelling with interest on the recollection of those times when so many worthies of this county, gallantly suffered, bled, and died, in the cause of loyalty and religion? This latter observation, indeed, is not altogether inapplicable to the present subject; as the story connected with that cavern, now considered by the peasantry as a pixie haunt, first excited my imagination, and induced me to collect such particulars as might still be gleaned from oral tradition respecting the remarkable local events of the neighbourhood in which I live.

This soon became with me a favourite pursuit; and though I was not always successful in gaining as much intelligence as I desired, yet the many beautiful scenes, curious old houses, and antiquities, which I visited during these researches, were exceedingly interesting; and in addition to the opportunities I thus gained of acquiring a knowledge of past times, I had the gratification of experiencing the kindness and goodwill of many a family, who obligingly afforded me all the information they were able to communicate, and sometimes, when they had nothing to tell, their old family pictures, their ancient mansion, and even their furniture, supplied a fund for observation. Indeed, I received so many kindnesses of this nature, that I should feel a grateful pleasure in here naming all the benefactors to my researches, did I not fear lest, in doing so, I might be charged with being too particular on a subject that cannot interest

others so much as it does myself. However, I cannot wholly refrain from expressing my thanks to the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, for the liberal manner in which his Lordship afforded

me every facility in his power to assist my pursuits at Mount Edgcumbe:* One family in particular must also be named, since Warleigh is now theirs; and I trust that some slight relation of my visit to that ancient baronial residence will not here be found misplaced; for the following work owes its existence to a circumstance of that visit, which will speedily be told.

It was a beautiful day, towards the close of the summer of * The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe has not only enlarged and decorated the ancient family seat in a style of the utmost magnificence, but has placed

within it a rare and beautiful collection of paintings. His Lordship has also added some costly gardens, in the style of different nations. These are all worthy of admiration; but the lover of nature, in her wildest forms, will feel his obligation to the good taste of the present proprietor, who so carefully preserves the venerable and majestic trees of the


1830, that, in company with a small party of friends, I set off in a boat from Devonport, to visit the mansion, as well as the family, at Warleigh. "I shall not here detain my reader by describing to him very minutely our ever-varying progress, as we passed up the Hamoaze, formed by the united waters of many rivers, that expansive estuary which unites itself with the Sound; nor shall I detail to him the number of men-ofwar that, in this apiping time of peace,” are constantly kept floating on its surface, where a thousand little boats, all day in motion, add to the life and animation of the scene. I shall only tell him, that if he be an antiquary, and should ever make the same excursion, he will look with an eye of interest on Saltash—though it is not at all a beautiful place—as he sees it lying on the slope of a steep hill; for Saltash will afford him a theme for debate, whether it was, or was not, the Tamare of Antonius. The learned differ in opinion; some fixing it at the town just named, and others declaring Tamerton (so very germane in sound) to have been the site of that ancient Roman station.

On passing Saltash, a most lovely scene presents itself; for the river becomes so broad that it looks not unlike a lake; villages, each with the tower of its ancient church, arise in succession amid thick woods or verdant slopes; and the mouths of the many rivers present to the eye a vast variety of objects replete with interest. And scarcely had we ceased to admire these than we came in sight of the oak-crowned point of Warleigh, that boldly projects itself at the entrance of the Tavy: Immediately beyond it arose gently-swelling hills, beautifully wooded, and now seen rich in their liveries of green and russet.

On one of these was Maristow, the seat of Sir M. Lopez; whilst Dartmoor, which ever affords the finest backgrounds in Devonshire scenery, stood towering in the distance, shewing its heights, composed of granite tors, glittering in the sun. The varying effects of light and shade upon these eminences were exceedingly striking. The glow of the horizon was of a dazzling brightness; but a mass of dark clouds, that sailed slowly onward, soon cast their shadows upon the lower declivities, and shewed distinctly the bold and picturesque outlines of the extensive moor.

There was a charm also in the calmness of the day, and in the deep repose of the scene: for the waters—bound up, as it were, in slumber_lay spread around like a clear mirror, in whose silvery surface, distinctly reflected, appeared the clouds and the feathering woods, as they hung gracefully bending over the shelving shores. There was something, too, of interest in watching the silent and gentle motion with which we now

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