MORE ABOUT BUCKS
 THE centre of Bucks is occupied by the Vale of
Aylesbury, one of the richest and most fertile valleys
in England, with corn-fields and meadows, and cherry
orchards and pastures, about which are scattered scores
of handsome cows. Bucks is a great dairy county, in
which enormous quantities of butter are made and sent
both to Oxford and to the London market. Sheep and
oxen, hogs, ducks and geese, are also reared in great
Aylesbury, the county town, is a good-sized
market-town, where lace-making is carried on.
Lace-making is a common cottage employment in Bucks,
and is carried on largely in the four towns upon the
Ouse, Buckingham, Stony Stratford, Newport Pagnell, and
The Great Ouse has a very winding course in this
county, amongst flags and reeds. Cowper, the gentle
poet, whose house at Olney is still shown, tells us how
he took a walk with his dog Beau, when—
"The noon was shady, and soft airs
Swept Ouse's silent tide;"
and while the poet walked, Beau—
"Now wantoned lost in flags and reeds,
Now starting into sight,
Pursued the swallow o'er the meads
With scarce a slower flight.
"It was the time when Ouse displayed
His lilies newly blown;
Their beauties I intent surveyed,
And one I wish'd my own."
Beau, seeing his master's desire, plunged into the
river, broke off a lily, and brought it to the poet's
Cowper speaks of "the meads," for Ouse is bordered
with broad meadows; the Ouse Valley is also a fertile
Buckingham is an old town with a long history; Stowe,
the grand seat of the Dukes of Buckingham, is near the
town. The making of straw plait is carried on here and
in many towns and villages on the Hertford border.
Paper is made in some towns at the foot of the
Chilterns—High Wycombe, Chesham, and some others.
About five miles south of Chesham is the village of
Chalfont St. Giles, where Milton, the blind poet,
stayed while the plague raged in London; here he
revised his. great poem, 'Paradise Lost,' and wrote
the story of 'Paradise Regained.'
The Chilterns, which cross the county, were once=
clothed with a vast forest of beech and oak; many of
them are now cultivated to the top, or are divided into
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