Thomas Campbell

S. C. Hall, "Thomas Campbell" in A Book of Memories: Great Men and Women of the Age, from personal Acquaintance (1871) 345-58.

In the year 1830 I had the honour to be associated with the poet, Thomas Campbell, in the editorship of the New Monthly Magazine, in the entire conduct of which I was subsequently his successor. Although in the prime of life, or very little past it, a heavy sorrow was over him. He had not long previously (in 1828) lost his wife, and his son (his only living child) was confined in "a private lunatic asylum." Unhappily he sought relief where it is the friend of but a brief and treacherous moment, and a habit was contracted which I have reason to believe never left him. Fortunately for mankind, his grand "Odes" and "Lyrics" had been given to the world previously; for afterwards his works were, by comparison, nothings.

In whose sea-odes — as in those shells
Where ocean's voice of majesty
Seems still to sound — immortal dwells
Old Albion's spirit of the sea.

Campbell was rather under than above the middle size; his voice was low almost to weakness, and inharmonious; the expression of his countenance indicated the sensitiveness of his mind; his lips were thin; his nose finely and delicately chiselled; his eyes large and of a deep blue; and his manners, though without frankness and lacking dignity, were bland and insinuating. One of his fair friends described the poet as "a little rosy man in a bob wig." "His wig was always nicely adjusted, and scarcely distinguishable from natural hair." He was accustomed to blacken his whiskers with burnt cork, or some kind of powder, to make them correspond with his wig. He was cheerful in general society, agreeable and communicative in the social circle, and his conversation abounded in pointed humour. It was, however, sometimes so irreverent as to make the listener ask if he were really the author of "The Pleasures of Hope;" and his anecdotes were not always kept "within the limits of becoming mirth." He seemed, and was, averse to exertion, mental or corporeal; and was deficient in that energy which is character. He laboured much at what he wrote, poetry or prose, and I have known him to produce but a single page of prose as the result of a day. I remember once expressing my surprise at this, and his telling me he always considered a verse as the ample fruitage of a week; for although the rough hewing of a block might be the work of an hour, the fashioning and polishing were born of the toil that brought reward; while the forethought, as compared with the after-thought, was as the mile to the inch.

I was not long his sub-editor. My appointment to that office was, I believe, against his will; for certainly he had no desire to lose the associateship of his old and valuable ally, Cyrus Redding. Although I had not only nothing to complain of in his treatment of me, but the opposite, there may have been that lack of cordiality which prevented me from cherishing towards him the fervid homage I have felt for so many great men. At least, after this long lapse of time, I cannot say otherwise than that my intimacy with the poet was a dream dispelled. I soon found that the less trouble I gave him in reference to the magazine the better I should please him; no doubt my predecessor had acted on that principle; but very soon after my accession, Campbell was tempted into a speculation that caused him much anxiety and eventual loss. He resigned the editorship of the New Monthly, and became one of the proprietors, as well as the nominal editor, of the Metropolitan, and expended fruitlessly two or three years of wearisome labour. That publication was, in due course, abandoned, and Campbell afterwards led a listless, if not a positively idle, life until his death.

Dr. Beattie thinks his resignation of the New Monthly was the result of a "vexatious incident." There crept into the magazine "a vile and shocking paper," which attacked the memory of his dear friend, Dr. Glennie, of Dulwich; it referred to Lord Byron's foot, and was written by a quack. That it grievously annoyed Mr. Campbell, I know. I was anxious not to be held responsible for the act; and in one of the few letters I have preserved of his, he fully acquits me of all blame. It is, however, clear from some of his letters in 1829 that he was then longing to be "away from the thraldom" to which he was subjected.

His partners in the Metropolitan were Captain Chamier and the publisher Cochrane: he was induced to become "a proprietor" in consequence of finding himself "enormously" in Mr. Colburn's debt. Rogers lent him the money to embark in that undertaking — a disastrous one, although the poet "got out of it" with comparatively little loss, Captain Chamier behaving with nice honour and generous consideration. Subsequently the journal became the property of Captain Marryat, and had but a short and unprosperous life.

Campbell had commenced his duties as editor of the New Monthly on the 1st of January, 1821. It was with many misgivings the poet undertook the task, for which he was singularly disqualified. "He was accustomed to make mountains of mole-hills;" he had no organ of order; contributions were rarely acknowledged, and not often read; of the capabilities of contemporary writers he was entirely ignorant. He could seldom make up his mind either to accept or reject an article, and fancied he must be held responsible not only for the sentiments, but for the language of every contributor. Especially he was disqualified for his task by his extreme sensitiveness. He could not bear reproach or blame; complaint more than exasperated him; he took as a personal insult any protest against his editorial fiat. They were "pestilent fellows" who hurried him for the return of the manuscripts he did not know where to find.

Indecision was the prevailing vice of his character. Scott pictured him, in 1817, as "afraid of the shadow his own fame cast before him;" and Talfourd, summing up his faults as an editor, described him as "stopping the press for a week to determine the value of a comma, and balancing contending epithets for a fortnight." His magazine he himself called "an olla podrida that sickens and enslaves me."

His 600 per annum was therefore earned not only by double the amount of needful labour, but by a sacrifice of peace of mind. In a word, a worse editor could not have been selected; yet the enterprise of the publisher Colborn, and his liberal scale of remuneration, attracted many important and valuable aids, and the magazine, though published at 3s. 6d. monthly, was a great success.

Fortunately, however, Campbell had associated with him as sub-editor a practical and painstaking gentleman, Mr. Cyrus Redding, always considerate and courteous, who kept contributors in good humour, and did the "business" part of the magazine thoroughly well. It was this gentleman I was called upon to succeed (I do not know, and I believe I never knew, the reason of the change). In the year 1830 Campbell was then either weary of, or indifferent to, his editorial duties; at least, he left to me the whole business of selecting articles. My own experience certainly bears out the picture drawn by Talfourd of Campbell as an editor. "It was," writes that genial and indulgent critic, "an office for which he was the most unfit person who could be found in the wide world of letters, who regarded a magazine as if it were a long affidavit, or a short answer in Chancery, in which the absolute truth of every sentiment, and the propriety of every jest, were verified by the editor's oath or solemn affirmation; who stopped the press for a week at a comma; balanced contending epithets for a fortnight; and at last grew rash in despair, and tossed the nearest, and often the worst, article 'unwhipped of justice' to the printer."

Consequently, Campbell lost rather than gained in reputation as the presiding power over an important public organ; and, acting "like the poor cat i' the adage," gave no character to the work.

His life has been written by one of the best and kindliest of men — good Dr. William Beattie, his friend and physician; who was guided by strong affection and profound reverence; who had watched him in sickness, solitude, and depression; and who, if he has judged him more in mercy than in justice, will be esteemed and loved for the mind and heart he gave to his labour of love.

Thomas Campbell, the eighth son and eleventh child of his parents, was born in the High Street of Glasgow, on the 27th of July, His father was a Scottish gentleman, though "a decayed merchant," and was of the proud blood of Argyll. He began to write verses early; and when a mere youth gave the promise of after greatness. At sixteen years old he produced poems so good that it need have startled no one when, at the age of twenty-one years and eleven months, he produced "The Pleasures of Hope."

That famous poem, one of the classics of our language, was written at intervals (his vocation being then to teach pupils) during the years 1797-8, and was published at Edinburgh in 1799. It took at once the place it has kept and will keep as long as our language endures. It was composed in "a dusky lodging" in Rose Street, Edinburgh. The copyright he sold to an Edinburgh publisher. Campbell tells us it "was sold out and out for 60 in money and books;" he adds that "for two or three years the publishers gave him 50 on the issue of every new edition."

Professor Pillans, in the course of an address at the Festival to inaugurate the statue of James Hogg, beside "lone St. Mary's silent lake," related this interesting anecdote of Campbell:—

"I knew him — he was a student of Glasgow, I of Edinburgh; and we met about the year 1797, some considerable time before the publication of his immortal poem, 'The Pleasures of Hope.' He was of so poetical a temperament that it happened at the time I made his acquaintance, and he had been at my father's house, he was in the lowest state of depression and dejection of spirits — so much so, that my father taunted me with bringing to his house a man of whom he would not be surprised to hear that he had put an end to his life before morning. That was a part of his poetical temperament. He was always in extremes; hence it was that the next time I saw him he was in the highest spirits, because by that time the book which he held in contempt, as you may guess from his having suffered such dejection, was received with such universal encomiums and applause, that it raised him to the third heaven of exultation. And it was not long after that I met him in London, when the book had gone through several editions, and the last of them contained a passage which had not appeared in the first edition of the poem — a passage which was to me so delightful and so striking, that I complimented him on it, and he said, 'I am glad to receive that compliment, for that passage has cost me more labour and more thought than any equal number of lines in the whole poem.'"

The passage referred to commences—

Oh, lives there, Heaven, beneath thy dread expanse,
One hopeless, dark idolater of chance?

At a late period of life he published an illustrated edition of his poems; they had become his property, I presume, in consequence of the term of twenty-eight years from their original publication having expired, for which reason the copyright reverted to him. The edition was illustrated by engravings, from drawings by Turner: for these drawings he paid 25 each — 350 for the whole. When Campbell sought to sell them, he did so in vain, offering them for 300, but finding no purchaser, until Turner himself bought them back for 200, — "bits of painted pasteboard," Campbell called them, and an adviser, when he "showed him Turner's money," told him "they had been re-purchased at twice their intrinsic value." They would now probably bring 5,000 if offered for sale.

In 1800 he visited Germany; his fame had gone before him, making his journey a triumph. He saw, from the rampart of the Scotch convent at Ratisbon, the horrors of war as exhibited at the storming of Ingolstadt — saw the dying and the dead, and heard the veritable cannon roar. Out of this visit grew some of the noblest of his poems, among them "Hohenlinden."

Campbell had his early struggles. After settling in London, in 1803, he obtained a situation on the Star newspaper, and gained a precarious livelihood as a writer for the press, writing anonymously on any subject, "even agriculture," for daily bread. But, he says, "the wolf was at the door." Among his other troubles he had to pay 40 a year usurious interest on a sum of 200 borrowed to furnish his dwelling.

That dwelling was at Sydenham, then a retired village, not easily reached from London. The house, in which he resided seventeen years, is still standing, and I have pictured it. It had a good garden, but little else to recommend it; yet here the poet received his brother wits; and much concerning "evenings" there may be found in the Memoirs of Moore, Hook, Hunt, the brothers Smith, and others.

Here the happiest of his days were spent, in genial and congenial society, not alone of men and women possessing his own tastes, but of others who fully appreciated his genius, giving him not only honour, but affection.

"The narrow lane, lined with hedgerows, and passing through a little deli watered by a rivulet," "the extensive prospect of undulating hills, park-like enclosures," the "shady walks," where the poet was "safe from all intrusion but that of the Muses," as he himself describes them—

Spring green lanes,
With all the dazzling field flowers in their prime,
And gardens haunted by the nightingale's
Long trills, and gushing ecstasies of song;

—all these are gone. Sydenham is now thoroughly spoiled as a suburban retreat, where the recluse of letters might "retire, his thoughts call home." "An endless pile of brick" is the sole view now obtained from the dwelling-place of the bard, if we except the most wonderful creation of our time — the Crystal Palace.

Just when fate seemed most unpropitious, when his restless mind was seeking repose in laudanum, and health was sinking fast, when his days were "oppressed and feverish," and his nights "sleepless," he was rescued from evils worse than death by a Government pension of 200 a year. It was, as his good physician says, and as he himself thought, "a defence between him and premature dissolution." Who shall say from what utter misery the poet was thus preserved? For how many of his glorious works are we indebted to that wise and just, yet generous aid? He never knew to whose influence he owed the merciful boon — he knows it now! A "certainty" was thus secured to him. Afterwards he inherited more than one legacy: one, amounting to nearly 5,000, was bequeathed to the author of the "Pleasures of Hope;" the old man who left it saying that "little Tommy the poet ought to have a legacy, because he had been so kind as to give his mother 60 yearly out of his pension." How oft is the pot of honey as well as the poisoned chalice returned to our lips! It made him, as he said, "feel as blithe as if the devil were dead." Happier would it have been for himself and mankind, if his gratitude had been felt and expressed to the Giver of all good.

Yet he was never rich; indeed, he was generally poor; had seldom any means for luxuries, seeming to have been "in straits" all his life. A very short time before his death he writes from Boulogne to Dr. Beattie thus: — "If I had money to spare, I should remove to a warmer spot; but I am in a cleft-stick, for I have neither money to meet the expense, nor courage to face the toil and trouble, of removal."

In 1803 he "fell in love with and married his cousin, Matilda Sinclair." Redding tells us she had no literary tastes; but she had travelled, and had "learned to make the best cup of Mocha in the world." To the poet, however, she was "beautiful, lively, and ladylike." They wedded with very little "gear," but were certainly happy in each other. I knew her long before my more intimate acquaintance with Campbell, when they were living in Upper Seymour Place West, in 1823, and I have more than once partaken of that famous "Mocha." She was an exceedingly pleasant, "chatty" lady, of agreeable and conciliating manners, and certainly one whom a poet with a very hopeful fancy might have dearly loved. Mrs. Grant described her as "frugal, simple, and sweet-tempered." She died in 1828. They had but one son, Thomas Telford, who was, at the time of which I write, "under restraint:" his name, consequently, is seldom heard of in association with that of his illustrious father; they did not often meet; but it is certain that he was always "left in good hands." "My poor boy" was neither neglected nor forgotten. He still lives in comfortable retirement; and although, it is said, of eccentric habits, is not more heavily afflicted by the blight that had fallen on the youth of his life.

When Campbell undertook the editorship of the New Monthly he left Sydenham, to which he often reverted as "The greenest spot in Memory's waste," and took up his permanent abode in London.

In 1829 he formed the "Literary Union Club," — the first meeting being held at his house, 10, Seymour Street, Connaught Square, on the 4th of July of that year; the second meeting taking place at the house of the artist, W. H. Pickersgill, R.A., in Soho Square. I was, if I remember rightly, the seventh member elected. It was formed (to consist of four hundred members) "for the purpose of promoting frequent intercourse among the Professors of Art, Science, and Literature," on a principle of economy. Somehow or other there soon arose sundry bickerings: there was about as much household harmony as there might have been among four hundred spiders agreeing to spin a single web. Some idea of this may be formed from the following minute, entered on its books on the 15th of March, 1830:—

"It having been reported to the Committee that a member of the club had proposed, in the book of candidates for election, the name of one Gortz (described as an esquire), tailor and breeches maker in the Quadrant, as an individual duly fit and qualified to become a member of this society — adding thereto, that this same proposed person 'would have much pleasure in taking measure of all the members' — the committee regret," &c. &c.

The first elections passed tranquilly enough; but when the ballot came, out of ten candidates nine were black-balled — the tenth being in no way connected with art, science, or literature. One of its minutes condemned the practice of taking away newspapers from the reading-room; one ordered the return of sixpence to Mr. Hobhouse, being an overcharge in his bill; and another of a like sum, being an overcharge to a gallant captain for gin and water. There was a smattering of magnates in art, science, and letters; but the structure was composed mainly of small fry. Gradually the best withdrew, and after an existence, I think, of about three years, it fell to pieces.

Campbell's efforts to promote the cause of unhappy Poland were not so inauspicious; at least, if we may judge from the fact that the "Literary Association of the Friends of Poland," of which he was the founder and the first president (in 1831), still exists, and still occupies the apartments it originally held — No. 10, Duke Street, St. James's. Campbell lived for some time in one of the attics of that house: it is a poor and small room, with a view of house-tops; the last place in the world, one would think, a poet could have chosen for a dwelling. But it would seem as if Campbell preferred to abide where nature was quite shut out. It was so in Scotland Yard, in Victoria Square, Pimlico, and in other places where he dwelt — to think, see, feel, and write.

The miserable attic in Duke Street is, however — though consisting now of bare and dilapidated walls, reached by a narrow and somewhat dangerous stairway — a place to which those who love the bard and honour the memory of one who has done so much for mankind may well make pilgrimage. Over the fireplace in that poor chamber is a small marble slab, which contains the following inscription:—

In this attic,
Hope's Bard and Mourning Freedom's Hope,
lived and thought,
While at the head of the Literary Association of the
Friends of Poland.
Divinae virtutis pietati amicitia.
A. B. COL.

It was placed there by a German named Adolphus Bach, who was his successor in the lodging, and who had jointly with him founded the Polish Association.

Neither must it be forgotten that he was chiefly instrumental in founding and establishing the London University.

As one of the foremost men of the age and country, Campbell was honoured during his time, and will receive the homage of the generations for which he wrought. Thrice he was Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow — the place of his birth: he was elected, it was said, "by a show of hearts;" it was "a sunburst of popular favour," and he valued it highly, as he had the right to do. For once, at least, a prophet received honour in his own country.

To Campbell's personal appearance I have made some reference, — his large eyes, quivering lips, and delicate nostrils, — and also to his character, in so far as I was able to estimate it: both, however, have been treated by several of his contemporaries. The portrait by Lawrence, painted when the poet was in his prime, was his favourite. It ever gave him great delight. "When I look at it," he said, "I seem to be viewing myself in the looking-glass of heaven." Lockhart thus describes him: — "Thomas Campbell has a poor skull upwards compared with what one might have looked for in him; but the lower part of the forehead is exquisite, and the features are extremely good, though tiny." He is thus pictured by Leigh Hunt: — "His face and person were rather on a small scale, his features regular, his eye lively and penetrating; and when he spoke, dimples played about his mouth, which, nevertheless, had something restrained and close in it." Leigh Hunt also speaks of his "high and somewhat strained voice, like a man speaking with suspended breath, and in the habit of subduing his feelings."

Miss Mitford thus describes him at one of his lectures: — "Campbell's person is extremely insignificant, his voice weak, his reading detestable — neither English nor Scotch; and yet, in spite of these disadvantages, the exquisite beauty of the images, the soft and sweet propriety of the diction, and the admirable tact of his criticisms, enchained and almost electrified the audience."

The following is from the pen of Mr. Carruthers, of Inverness, the accomplished editor of Pope, &c.

"He was generally careful as to dress, and had none of Dr. Johnson's indifference to fine linen. His wigs were always nicely adjusted, and scarcely distinguishable from natural hair. His appearance was interesting and handsome. Though rather below the middle height, he did not seem little, and his large dark eye and countenance bespoke great sensibility and acuteness. His thin quivering lip and delicate nostril were highly expressive."

Redding says that Byron's description of Campbell, in 1813, is correct, regarding the poet down as late as 1835 or 1836; i.e., "Campbell looks well, seems pleased, and dresses sprucely. A blue coat becomes him; so does his new wig. He really looks as if Apollo had sent him a birthday suit or a wedding garment, and was witty and lively." Leigh Hunt describes him as "a merry companion, overflowing with humour and anecdote;" and so, indeed, he was reported by many of his familiar friends; but it is certain that his "merry" moods were only common after dinner, and, as one poetical associate said, "very unlike a Puritan he talked." Montgomery, who heard him lecture at the Royal Institution in 1812, thus speaks of him: — "He read from a paper before him, but in such an energetic manner, and with such visible effect, as I should hardly have supposed possible. His statements were clear, his style elegant, and his reasoning conclusive." Haydon describes him as "bilious and shivering,' and Redding records that "his natural character was the reverse of equality — the being of impulse in all." He grew bald when a mere youth, and a wig was adopted at the early age of twenty-five.

As an instance of his absence of mind, it is stated that posting off to Brighton to visit Horace Smith, and to spend a few days with the family he dearly loved, he suddenly discovered he had left all his money on his table at his lodgings, and posted back to town to get it.

Dr. Beattie tells us that once, when invited out to dinner, he had forgotten to change some article of his morning dress, and had to borrow from the wardrobe of some near friend. In one of his playful scraps he writes

Oh, picture in the gallery of your thought
Me asked to dine abroad: shaved, toileted,
Busked brave in silken hose and glossy shoon;
But rummaging my wardrobe, struck aghast
To find no wearable untattered shirt!

When he spoke, as Leigh Hunt has remarked, "dimples played about his mouth, which nevertheless had something restrained and close in it, as if some gentle Puritan had crossed the breed and left a stamp on his face — such as we see in the female Scotch face rather than the male."

Dr. Beattie touches very lightly on "his infirmity," — "a habit which he condemned in others, but could not conquer in himself." It is understood, indeed, that he had to struggle against that unhappy tendency from the time he was twenty years old. A very little was to him too much; "hence," it is said, "what would have been only moderation in other men was little else than excess in him."

At the memorable dinner of the Literary Fund at which the good Prince Albert presided (on the 11th of May, 1842), the two poets, Campbell and Moore, were called upon to speak. The author of "The Pleasures of Hope," heedless of the duty that devolved upon him, had "confused his brain." I have referred to that evening in my Memory of Moore.

In 1842, when he was barely sixty-four, Time was not dealing gently with him. He conversed less freely; his spirits came in jerks, so to speak; and in company he was often silent and thoughtful; he walked feebly; while "his countenance was strongly marked with an expression of languor and anxiety." His memory grew treacherous, and he had the characteristics of premature old age.

To the wonder of his friends, for the event was unaccountable (and it was certainly in opposition to the advice of his friend and physician), he went to reside at Boulogne, removing his books from his then residence in Victoria Square (No. 8), Pimlico. Infirmities increased upon him; he avoided all intercourse with fellow-men, and sought a comfortless and diseased solitude, having none of that consolation which religion gives at all times, but especially when the mind's eye sees the open grave. He was, in short, to borrow a line of his own, — "A lonely hermit in the vain of years."

In June, 1844, his ever-dear and constant friend, Dr. Beattie, was at his bedside; but the hand of death was on him. The good doctor writes, — "The most that can be done is to palliate one or two urgent symptoms — to treat with the inexorable besieger, and obtain a surrender on as easy terms as we may."

On the 15th of that month his mortal put on immortality. He had been attended by a clergyman, and joined in prayer. "We shall see — to-morrow," naming a long-departed friend, he said, and left earth.

Dr. Beattie, who stood beside him, says, "The last sound he uttered was a short faint shriek, such as a person utters at the sudden appearance of a friend, expressive of pleasure and surprise. This may seem fanciful," he adds, "but I know of nothing else that it might be said to resemble."

Many such cases are recorded, and on evidence that cannot be disputed. Surely it is not mere fancy to believe that a spirit departed is waiting to receive the spirit departing; and, at the moment of what is called "Death," becomes visible to the organs of the soul about to be welcomed.

The picture he presented in death — the features in cold placid relief — "was that of a wearied pilgrim resting from his labours; a deep untroubled repose." The good doctor writes thus: — "Seldom has death assumed an aspect so attractive, and often as it has been my lot to contemplate, under various circumstances, the features of the dead, I have rarely, if ever, beheld anything like the air of sublimity that now invests the face of the deceased."

And thus he describes the dwelling of the poet after the spirit had left it:—

"There lay the breathless form of him who had impressed all sensitive hearts with the magic influence of his genius, the hallowed glow of his poetry, the steady warmth of his patriotism, the unwearied labours of his philanthropy; the man whom I had seen under many varieties of circumstances; in public the observed of all observers, in private the delight of his circle; the pride of his country, the friend of humanity; now followed with acclamations, now visited with sorrows; struggling with difficulties or soured with disappointments; then striving to seek repose in exile, and here finding it in death."

An interesting incident is recorded by the same liberal hand. The old nurse was a French soldier's widow. She twined a chaplet of laurel, with which, as a mark of homage, she asked leave to encircle the poet's brow. The day was the 18th of June, the anniversary of Waterloo. With that chaplet on his head, he was laid in his coffin. Its leaves are now with his honoured dust in Westminster Abbey; for in Westminster Abbey, on the 15th of July, he was buried. His pall was borne by the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Brougham, Lord Leigh, Lord Dudley Stuart, Lord Campbell, Lord Morpeth, Viscount Strangford, and Sir Robert Peel; and the grave that received his remains was surrounded by a throng of poets and men of letters — his contemporaries.

Well do I remember that day and that august assemblage — in the Jerusalem Chamber famous for centuries — memories inscribed on every dark oak panel of that solemn room for the mind's eye to read! There they waited the coming of the dead! — illustrious mourners many of them, whose own resting-places were foreshadowed there, under the fretted roof of England's proudest mausoleum of her heroes of pen and sword. It was a dark and gloomy day, — "The sun's eye had a sickly glare." There was solemn and impressive silence — every footfall had a sound-as we followed the poet Milman, who read the touching Burial Service for the dead. And in Poets' Corner they placed Thomas Campbell. A lengthened pause preceded the words, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;" there advanced from the throng a Polish officer, one of the many of his unhappy nation there assembled. He dropped upon the coffin-lid some earth gathered for the purpose from the grave of Kosciusko. The effect was startling; but it became a thrill — the hearts of all there present beating audibly — when immediately afterwards, as the venerable Dean uttered the words, "I heard a voice from heaven," a thunder-clap shook the old Abbey-aisles, pillars, and roof. He paused; the pause continued full a minute, and as the awful sound subsided, the assembly heard the sentence finished — "they rest from their labours!"