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in a jestful manner, one Barlow, duke of Shoreditch, for his skill in archery.
It was here that the doting hero, Edward 111., in his sixty-second year, when he ought to have been much better employed, “infatuated by the charms of Alice Pierce, placed her by his side in a magnificent car, and styling her the lady of the sun' conducted her to the lists, followed by a train of knights, each leading by the bridle a beautiful palfrey mounted by a gay damsel; and for seven days together, exhibited the most splendid justs in indulgence of his disgraceful passion.”
To the magnificent tournament of Richard 11., held at this place, “ there issued out of the Towre of London, fyrst three-score coursers, apparelled for the justes, and on every one a squyer of honour riding a soft
pace. “Then issued out three-score ladyes of honoure mounted on fayre palfreyes; and every lady led a knight by a cheyne of silver, which knights were apparelled to just."
Bartholomew fair was granted for three days in the year to the neighbouring priory by Henry II. ; and ever since then, Smithfield has annually been the scene of theatrical representations, wild beasts, shows of all descriptions, revelry, folly, and crime. Bad characters have assembled there of all kinds, but latterly, some successful attempts have been made to diminish the evils of this fair.
But even the reckless debauchery of Bartholomew fair, cannot compare in iniquity with the cruel burnings of the martyrs in Smithfield: these mark the place with a fearful significancy, and brand it with an infamy never to be effaced.
There is a soft, picture-like expression given by the
great elevation of this place to the objects below; and as individual voices are not heard, being drowned in the universal rumble of the streets, the objects of the scattered multitude seem to be set forth by actions, not by words.
The Spaniards are stalking round the gallery, making but few remarks. Not so the little Frenchman, who has just observed to me, with a shrug of exultation, that they have none of our English fogs in France; and that the Monument of London is not like the column of the Place Vendome in Paris.
I have just found out Cripplegate Church, where the earthly part of Milton moulders. Dryden's lines on the three great poets, Homer, Virgil, and Milton, are well known.
« Three poets in three distant ages born,
The fog seems to increase, and every distant object is hidden, or appears very indistinct. Greenwich is hardly perceptible. The marine forest there, the armada on the river, has a goodly appearance; and the bridges bestriding the noble stream are striking objects in this splendid panorama.
I have ventured the remark to the Frenchman, that they have no river Thames at Paris. He replies by asking me with a shrug, where are our English palaces ? and if I have ever visited Versailles ? Nationality is strong with him; but this is as it should be. True patriots love their father-land:
" Where'er we roam
whether we are Englishmen or Frenchmen; whether we were born under the line, or where icebergs crowd the northern sea.
The top only of the Bank of England can be discerned from hence. This is by far the most important institution in the world with regard to money matters. Millions and millions are circulated through the four quarters of the globe by the agency of this establishment. If we were as anxious to lay up treasure in heaven as we are to amass it on earth, how much of care and distraction should we avoid !
The scaffolded space yonder, once occupied by the Royal Exchange, is plainly seen. The conflagration of this elegant edifice was a sore visitation to the merchants of London. It was a singular circumstance that while the fire was at its height, the chimes in the tower of the building were playing the tune, “ There's nae luck about the house." The destruction, the loss, and the inconvenience occasioned by the burning of this place, were truly terrible.
The green trees which are seen here and there, among the masses of brick and stone buildings of the city, look very picturesque. They refresh the eye, and the spirit too. In the large tree at the corner of Woodstreet, Cheapside, are two or three rooks' nests, containing young ones. Who would think of going a birdsnesting in Cheapside ?
The Mansion House resembles one habitation built upon another; and Guildhall and the India House I cannot discern. The Mint appears to great advantage; and the Tower and the Monument are very conspicuous.
As I look around, some new object is continually rising in view. The Custom House, the Docks, and the Greenwich Railway-station are all seen, and St. Saviour's Church at the foot of London Bridge. It was in the Lady Chapel of this truly beautiful Gothic church, that Bonner and Gardiner, whose names are synonymous with bigotry and relentless cruelty, sat in judgment on better men, and condemned them to the stake. Here stood Farrar, and Hooper, and Bradford, and other eminent reformers, the manacled defenders of the Protestant faith.
I have walked round the gallery to explain some of the more imposing and important buildings to the Frenchman, whom I take to be a man of letters. St. Paul's School, close to the churchyard, I had not before noticed ; and Newgate, and the Old Bailey Sessionshouse in the opposite direction, had escaped me.
Newgate was built either in the reign of Henry I., or of Stephen. It took its name from the city gate erected near the place, which was new, compared with Ludgate, built more than a thousand years before.
At one period, the prison of Newgate was the recep tacle of wretchedness, filth, disease, and contagion ; and cartloads of the carcases of those who died of the gaol fever were flung, without the rites of sepulture, into holes where now Christ churchyard stands.
The Frenchman is bent on seeing the Thames Tunnel which he regards as a truly national and grand affair. He tells me, that it is the first, but that it will not be the last undertaking of the kind. There ! he is gone.
He has removed his hat from his head, courteously thanked me for my attentions to a stranger; made me a low bow, and bade me adieu.
Peace go with thee, thou inhabitant of a light-hearted
land ! and
may the nationalities of thy heart lead thee to love thy own country without being unjust to the country of another. Pass by in Britain all that is unworthy, and take back in thine affectionate remembrance, all that thou findest in her consistent with humanity, with virtue, with patriotism, and with piety.
While the surrounding buildings are lost in the fog, the towers of Westminster Abbey are seen distinctly in the distance yonder. They appear to be in the clouds. How often have I lingered among the goodly monuments of that costly fabric, Westminster Abbey; where poets, painters, and musicians, statesmen, kings, and heroes, lie entombed !
The sceptred hand, the anointed head,
My companion has just pointed out the imposing appearance of the ships below London Bridge. Lying as they do, along each side of the river, they resemble two hostile fleets in order of battle, just ready to pour their devastating thunder into each other's bosoms.
Lambeth Palace is not visible. Somerset House looks proudly down upon the flowing river; and farther to the north-west, the bulky Colosseum spreads out its heavy, huge, and dome-crowned walls.
Turning from Westininster Abbey, where heroes slumber, and where crowned heads and mitred brows repose, I have been looking for Bunhill-fields, where the remains of John Bunyan and Dr. Watts are moul