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And, as I watched, the hooded night
Sloped down in majesty and might,
Sprinkled about with drops of light,

And made a golden ferment waken
Within the heavens, us though, o'ertaken
With rich thoughts, they were stirr'd and shaken:

For the keen stars (though faltering never),
Through those blue gulfs which them dissever,
Like lamps in wind, kept trembling ever.

Calm Power, and Peace, and Constany,
And all sweet things which cannot die,
Murmured of smooth Eternity.

Oh, drooping House of Mars! decay
Unheeded; wane and pass away!
Thy strength, was only for a day.

But the round heavens, and the trees,
And flowers, and winds, and harmonies
Of light and dark–all such as these

Are steadfast, and perpetuate
For aye, the glory of their state;
Gentle as Love, and strong as Fate.


"THE evil that men do lives after them, the
good is oft interred with their bones;" and
it is fortunate for the world that it is so;
for if there were no more good than comes
uppermost to broad daylight, the world would
hardly have held together until now. The
Black Lad as he really existed, and the Black
Lad as he has come down in tradition, is a
curious instance of the refracting medium of
popular myths.

Ashton-under-Lyne of the present day is
an entirely manufacturing town: all the
inhabitants, except a few professional men and
some shopkeepers, are either cotton-masters
or cotton operatives; and, as the masters
were most of them operatives to begin with,
there is little beside wealth to distinguish
them from their men. There are whole
streets of nothing else but fine large cotton-mills
many stories high; the chimneys of
which make no manner of pretence to
consume their own smoke, and consequently the
sky is dense with the soot of them.

Ashton-under-Lyne stands in a very beautiful
country, when it can be discerned for
smoke. It is on the confines of Yorkshire
and Lancashire, close under a portion of the
Blackstone Edge range of hills. It stands
upon an elevation which rises precipitously
above the River Tame and the narrow valley
of Duckenfield, which is filled with cotton-mills;
whilst the hills shut out the horizon
and surround the town as with walls, seeming
to block up the road into the world
beyond. The street that overlooks the river
contains a remarkable combination of the
past and present. Below, within a narrow
space, lies the turnpike road, the river, the
canal, and the railway. At the end of the
street, upon a steep elevation like a
rampart, stands the Old Halla quaint,
many-gabled building, flanked by two round towers,
containing the conveniences for detaining
prisoners which were used in the Middle
Ages; and, close by, rises the old church, a
fine specimen of a church of the fourteenth

The Hall, which was formerly fortified, was
the residence of a powerful familythe
Asshetons of Assheton Hallwho possessed
the power of life and death over their vassals;
as a place called Gallows Field still exists to

The people of Ashton of the present day
would seem to have as little in common with
the feudal ages as it is possible to conceive;
but there are only one set of people in the
world, namelythose who come now are
linked on to those who went before. On
Easter Monday, every year, all the inhabitants
of Ashton and the surrounding country for
miles round, assemble " To Hide the Black
Lad." It is an event which is looked forward
to with so much eagerness, that the whole
town is in a ferment about it. Having come
recently to reside in Ashton, and hearing it
said a dozen times " that I was just in tune
to see the Black Lad," I inquired what it all

"Why," replied one man, " I have heard
say that in former times there lived a great
man at the Old Hall up yonder. He was such
a terrible bad man, that the folks called him
the "Black Knight." He used to gallop up and
down on a black horse, that was as wicked
as its master. He tyrannised, and ill-treated
the people till they could not stand it no road.
If he saw a man as did not please him, he had
him hanged up in the Gallows Field yonder;
and if he saw any of their wives or daughters
he had a mind to, and if those they belonged to
opposed him, or was not altogether agreeable,
he had him taken and put into a barrel lined
with sharp spikes and rolled him down the
hill from the top to the bottom. He had a
road made under ground from the Hall that
reached two miles away; but it did him no
good; for, one Easter Monday as he was
riding through the town, a woman shot him.
from a window. He made a rule that his horse
and an effigy of himself, dressed in the armour
he wore when he was shot, should ride
through the streets every Easter Monday.
He left five pounds a year for that purpose.
It used to be a very grand affair, but it has
fallen off of late years. The figure used to be
made of the best black silk velvet that could
be got for money, but now it is made of
sacking blacked over and stuffed with any
sort of rubbish, and the five pounds that was
formerly allowed, has been taken away and
the men have only five shillings allowed
besides what other parties may be willing to
subscribe; but all the publicans of the place
are obliged to give them either money or beer.
Those who have the dressing of the figure
always put on the back of the " Black Lad,"