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Old Halls, Battle Fields,
SCENES ILLUSTRATIVE OF STRIKING PASSAGES
IN ENGLISH HISTORY AND POETRY.
BY WILLIAM HOWITT,
AUTHOR OF "THE RURAL LIFE OF ENGLAND," "BOY'S COUNTRY-ROOK," ETC
LONDON: LONGMAN, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS.
THERE is a passage in De Lamartine's "Pilgrimage to the Holy Land," which expresses very clearly the nature and object of this work. "I have always loved to wander over the physical scenes inhabited by men I have known, admired, loved, or revered, as well amongst the living as the dead. The country which a great man has inhabited and preferred, during his passage on the earth, has always appeared to me the surest and most speaking relic of himself: a kind of material manifestation of his genius-a mute revelation of a portion of his soula living and sensible commentary on his life, actions, and thoughts. When young, I passed many solitary and contemplative hours, reclined under olive trees which shade the gardens of Horace, in sight of the delightful cascades of the Tiber; and often have I dropped to sleep in the evening, lulled by the noise of the beautiful sea of Naples, under the hanging branches of the vines, near the spot where Virgil wished his ashes to repose, because it was the most delicious site his eyes had ever beheld. How often, at a later period, have I passed mornings and evenings seated at the foot of the beautiful chestnut trees in the little valley of Charmettes, to which the remembrance of Jean Jaques Rousseau attracted me, and where I was retained by sympathy with his impressions, his reveries, his misfortunes, and his genius. And I have been thus attracted with respect to several other authors and great men, whose names and writings were deeply engraven on my memory. I wished to study them; to become acquainted with them on the spot that had given them birth, or that had inspired them; and almost always a scrutinizing glance might discover a secret and profound analogy between the country and the individual who had graced it; between the scene and the actor; between nature and the genius which derived its inspirations therefrom."