Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/34

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tured into wines of the highest relish, equally luscious with those of France. Numerous towns overspread the vale, which is further enriched with populous villages, and costly places of public worship." Drayton, too, in his Polyolbion, personifying this fertile tract of country, makes it boast an excellence, which it may assert with truth and justice:

" I which am the queene
" Of all the British vales, and so have ever been
" Since Goner's giant brood inhabited this isle,
" And that of all the rest myself may so enstile."

Divided, for the most part, into small farms, this happy tract of country has hitherto been preserved, in some measure, from that unnatural rise in the prices of the articles of life which those districts labour under, where, the land being thrown into a few hands, combination is easy, and the markets are at the mercy of a junto of overgrown farmers, whose only object is to fill their coffers at the expence of the country around them. Cheese, the boasted produce of the Vale, still sells as low as 43, 44, and 45s. per cwt.; and butter, equally excellent in its kind, at 10d. 11d. and 1s. per lb.

Little arable husbandry is to be seen as we pass through this extensive flat; and where it does