« ZurückWeiter »
print this account of that part of London cares nothing for his neighborhood, though which extends froin St. Paul's to St. James'. stocked with a great deal that might entertain To the volumes describing this portion of Lon him. He has been too much accustomed to don, the name of “ The Town” is given, and identify it with his school-room. We rememwe are told that “the author may be encour ber the time ourselves when the only thought aged, by the reception which the present ven we had in going through the metropolis was, ture may meet, to complete his account of how to get out of it; how to arrive, with our London, by extending his researches east, west, best speed, at the beautiful vista of home. north, and south ; making the whole circuit of And long after this, we saw nothing in Lonthe town, and advancing with its streets into don but the book-shops.” the very suburbs.”
There is a passage in Boswell, quoted by The book is ornamentally printed, with a Hunt, in which he describes the amusement afgreat number of illustrations, for the most part forded him by the contemplation of what a difviews of buildings, and with fancifully-designed ferent thing London is to different people. initial letters and tail-pieces. The very bind- The politician thinks of it but as the seat of ing is extremely beautiful. Binding is becom- government in its many departments; the ing one of the fine arts, and the cover of the grazier as the great cattle-market; the merbook is advertised as designed by W. Harry Chant as the place where the business of the Rogers.”
world is done ; the lover of the drama as the We may as well give the opening of the place where the great theatres are, and so forth ; work. One page exemplifies as well as another but the intellectual man,” and here Bozzy the exceedingly happy conversational style in rises high above bis ordinary self, “ is struck which the whole for a few exceptions are with it as comprehending the whole of human not worth noticing — is written :
life in all its variety, the contemplation of
which is inexhaustible." " In one of those children's books which contain reading fit for the manliest, and which Leigh Hunt's London is intended to touch we have known to interest very grave and even on all these subjects of interest. The book is great men, there is a pleasant chapter entitled to be everybody's book. The grazier is here | Eyes and no Eyes, or the Art of Seeing. The told of great graziers who lived in former days; two heroes of it come home successively from
"of Bakewell, who had an animal that
proa walk in the same road, one of them having duced him in one season eight hundred seen only a heath and a hill, and the meadows guineas; of Fowler, whose horned cattle sold by the water side, and, therefore, having seen for a value equal to that of the fee-simple nothing, the other, expatiating on his delight of his farm ; the money
lover is told of ful ramble, because the heath presented him the miser of old, who, after spending thousands with curious birds, and the hill with the re- at the gambling table, would haggle for a shilmains of a camp, and the meadows with reeds, ling at Smithfield. In describing St. Paul's and rats, and herons, and king-fishers, and sea- School we are reminded that there Milton shells, and a man catching eels, and a glorious was educated ; in passing Johnson's-court we sunset.
are told of the fine old man amusing himself, "In like manner people may walk through during his residence there, by imitating, for a crowded city, and see nothing but the crowd. Boswell's edification, the language of the ScotA man may go from Bond-street to Blackwall, tish heads of families, and proudly designaand, unless he has the luck of witnessing an ting himself Johnson of that ilk. The very accident, or get a knock from a porter's burth names of the streets have their interests. Who en, may be conscious, when he has returned, till reminded of it now, remembers when walkof nothing but the names of those two places, ing in Fleet-street the river Fleet. There is and of the mud through which he has passed. not a sight or sound in London that this book Nor is this to be attributed to dulness. He does not aid us in connecting with additional inay, indeed, be dull. The eyes of bis under associations; and we have no doubt that our standing may be like bad spectacles, which no next visit to the “ Babylon of the Anglicans" brightening would enable to see much. But will be rendered a pleasanter one, through the he may be only inattentive. Circumstances hundred incidents which this little book links may have induced a want of curiosity, to together by the tie of place. We have no which imagination itself shall contribute, if it hope of realizing objects to ourselves to the exhas not been taught to use its eyes. This is tent that years of residence in London and the particularly observable in childhood, when the neighborhood have rendered possible to Mr. love of novelty is strongest. A boy at the Hunt. We have nothing of the matter-ofCharter-House, or Christ-Hospital, probably fact imagination which could make us “feel
as if Shakspeare, Milton, Pope, Gay, Arbutli | marvellously since those days, and the body of not, the Club of the Mermaid, and the Beau- alderinen with them. ties at Whitehall were our next door neigh “ It was not till the reign of Henry V. that bors;
but we admit that there is much of the city was lighted at night. truth in this pleasant exaggeration of the " The illumination was with lanterns, slung pleasurable feeling, and we listen with delight over the street with wisps of rope or hay. Unto the eloquent conversation of our gentle der Elward IV., we first hear of brick houses ; guide, who could work this wonder if any one and in Henry the Eightli's time, of parement could.
in the middle of the streets. The general asWe must place ourselves among the scenes, pect of London then experienced a remarkable as we best can, anal contemplate them shifting, change in consequence of the dissolution of under the spell of the magician, Time : religious houses; the city, from the great “ Ancient British London was a mere space pearance of a monastic rather than a commer
number of them, having hitherto had the apin the woods, open towards the river, and pre-cial metropolis.' The monk then ceased to senting circular cottages on the hill and slope, walk, and the gallant London apprentice beand a few boats on the water. As it increased, the cottages grew more numerous, and com
came more riotous.”—pp. 15, 16. merce increased the number of sails.
British London is supposed to have been Roman London was British London, in- about a mile long and half-a-mile wide. Modterspersed with the better dwellings of the con ern London occupies more than eighteen square querors, and surrounded by a wall. It ex- miles, densely populated. London is probably tended from Luigate to the Tower, and from the healthiest city in the world ; but it owes its the river to the back of Cheapside.
health to the successive purifications of plague “Saxon London was Ronan London, de- and fire; the first compelling cleanliness, and spoiled, but retaining the wall, and ultimately the other having given the opportunity of more growing civilized with Christianity, and richer open buildings, and clearing away nests of imin commerce. The first humble cathedral purity and contagion. Much remains to be church then arose, where the present one now done, and the fear of cholera is even now stands.
doing it. “Norman London was Sason and Roman In Elizabeth's days the London houses were London, greatly improved, thickened with for the most part of wood, built with one story many houses, adorned with palaces of princes projecting over another. Neither ground nor and princely bishops, sounding with minstrelsy, materials were then spared, and there were and glittering with the gorgeous pastimes of courtyards which answered well for theatres. knighthood. This was its state through the and long-rooms and galleries which did well Anglo-Norinan and Plantagenet reigns. The for dances. It was “merry England," a naine friar then walked the streets in his cowl, (Chau- that it continues still to bear, though perhaps cer is said to have beaten one in Fleet-Street,) with less right to the designation. The esuberand the knights rode with trumpets, in gaudy ent happiness resulting from health seems inore colors, to their tournaments in Smithầeld.
the thought in this word merry” than any - In the time of Edward I. houses were
other ; but, interpret it as you will, its collostill built of wood, and roofed with straw, that can be assigned to it in this old expres
quial nicaning is now very different from any sometimes even with recds, which numerous fires. The fires brought the brooks sion, but on this we must let Mr. Hunt into request ; and an importance which has speak :since been swallowed up in the advancement “A word or two more on health, and our of science, was then given to the River of modes of living. London was once called Wells (Bagnigge, Sadler's, and Clerkenwell,) Merry London,' the metropolis of Merry Eng. to the Old Bourne (the origin of the name of land.' The word did not imply exclusively what Holborn,) to the little river Fleet, the Wall it does now. Chaucer talks of the · merry organ brook, and the brook Langbourne, which last at the mass.' But it appears to have had a still gives its name to a ward. The conduits, signification still more desirable — to have which were large leaden cisterns, twenty in meant the best condition in which anything number, were under the special care of the could be found, with cheerfulness for the lord mayor and alderman, who, after visiting result. Gallant soldiers were merry men.' them on horseback, on the 18th of September, Favorable weather was “merry;' and London
hunted a hare before dinner, and a fox after was 'merry,' because its inhabitants were not it, in the Fields near St. Giles.' Hours, only rich, but healthy and robust. They had and after-dinner pursuits, must have altered sports infinite, up to the time of the Common
wealth-races, and wrestlings, archery, quoits, I at once placed Wordsworth’s thrush in the very tennis, foot-ball, hurling, &c. Their May-day tree. We will print the poem, as it remains in was worthy of the burst of the season ; not a our memory : man was left behind out of the fields, if he
“At the corner of Wood-street, when daylight apcould help it; their apprentices piqued themselves on their stout arms, and not on their
There's a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for milliner's faces; their nobility shook off the
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard, gout in tilts and tournaments ; their Christmas In the silence of morning, the song of the bird. closed the year with a joviality which brought “ 'T is a note of enchantment; what ails her? She the very trees indoors to crown their cups with, and which promised admirably for the year
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapor through Lothbury glide, that was to come. In everything, they did And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside. there was a reference to Nature and her works,
“Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale, as if nothing should make them forget her ; Down which she so often has tripped with her pail: and a gallant recognition of the duties of And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth which she loves. health and strength, as the foundation of their very right to be fathers."--p. 24.
“She looks, and her heart is in heaven; but they
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade; That increased happiness may be the condi The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, tion of future society, and that England may,
And the colors have all passed away from her
eyes." in a higher sense than the words have yet borne, be "merry England," we believe with Alas ! we can make nothing of it. The Mr. Hunt; and we incline to think that the thrush was a caged thrush which awaked poor opportunity will be given, not by creating Susan's heart, as we learn, from accidentally again any of the phases through which society looking at a later edition of the poem, where has passed, but, most probably, by the advan- the second line is printed :ces of science, enabling future men to support “ Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for their families with less of bodily and mental toil,
three years ;' and thus leaving more time and he irt for man- so we must give up the fancy of making ly bodily exercises. The importance of fresh Wordsworth's thrush a visitor of the Woodair is felt; and dens of pollution will not be street tree. The heart of the poor servant girl suffered to accumulate in the heart of cities. from the country, wakened by the note of the Railroads will enable thousands to live far caged bird, is, perhaps, better for Wordsworth's away from the smoke and noise of cities, for purposes; but the alteration of the passage, one half of their time. Domestic life, which which disproves a point of our own, can in no true sense existed in old days, will be scarcely be regarded by us with complacency, the result of this separation of the place of and we wish Mr. Wordsworth would cease business from the proper home; and happiness mending his poems. Mr. Hunt tells us, “There will be the effect. In England there is the was a solitary trce, the other day, in St. Paul's perfect honesty and truthfulness of purpose churchyard, which has now got a multitude of that will attain its ends at last. Mistake there young companions. A little child was shown often is, dever willful mistake ; and with all us a few years back, who was said never to their faults, we think it absolutely impossible have beheld a tree, but that single one in St. that the vast overbalance of good accompanying Paul's churchyard. Whenever a tree was the daily discussion of every question in the mentioned, she thought it was that and no newspapers, must not compel everywhere an other. She had no conception even of the examination of these questions of health of remote tree in Cheapside. This appears, body and of mind, on true principles.
adds Mr. Hunt, “ incredible ; but there would Hunt tells us, what we are not prepared seem to be no bounds either to imagination, for, " that there is scarcely a street in the city or the want of it.” of London, perhaps not one, from some part of Assume the fact of the child having seen no which the passenger may not discover a trec.” other tree, it goes far in the way of evidence In Cheapside it was supposed to be out of the against Mr. Hunt's notion of trees being far qu:stion. “ Yet,” says our author, “in Cheap- from singular objects in the city ; but however side, is an actual, visible, even ostentatiously this be, if the one tree were the only one the visible tree, to all who have eyes to look about child ever saw, we do not feel any surprise at them. It stands at the corner of Wood street, her thinking it was meant when a tree was and occupies the space of a house."
mentioned. In fact we think it must have The passage reminded us of Wordsworth's been so, if persons are right who think that a poem, "The Reverie of Poor Susan," and we child actually, in the first instance, mistakes,
So that,” says
when it calls the second man it notices“ papa.” foundation for his cathedral, he found abunThat a child having seen but one tree, should dance of ivory pins, and wooden ones, appathink the world contained no more than one, rently of box, which are supposed to have is no more strange than that the sight of West- fastened their winding-sheets. The graves of the minster Abbey, or the Monument, should never Saxons lay above them, lined with chalk-stones, suggest to her the existence of similar build or consisting of stones hollowed out; and in ings. We are far from sure that in the notion the same row with the pins, but deeper down, of a tree or any other object of thought which lay Roman lamps and lachrymatories. Sir we have first obtained by means of the eye, - Christopher dug down till he came to sand and extend it to however many individuals you sea-shells, and London clay. please, or vary it as you will by any pro our author, “the single history of St. Paul's cess of abstraction or generalization, the first churchyard carries us back to the remotest individual tree or other object which has at- periods of tradition, and we tracted the attention, is not a part of any after book in the proper style of the old chroniclers
who were not content unless they began with The citizens of London are fond of flowers. the history of the world.” In the heart of the city, Hunt calls our atten Sir Christopher's operations, going back to tion to the names of Vine court, Elin court, the birth-day of creation, disturbed not a little &c. “ There is a little garden in Watling of the antiquarian rubbish with which the imstreet; it lies completely open to the eye, agination of the prosiest of all mankind had being divided from the footway by a railing encumbered the spot. A temple of Diana had only.” Milton and Shakspeare lived in what been fancied as an edifice occupying, in remote were called garden houses. “ A tree or even days, the site of the present church. The a flower put in the window in the street of a temple-fanciers of course found the proofs which great city, sheds a harmony through the busy they were predetermined to find." Sacrificial discord, and appeals to those first sources of knives and vessels were found in suspicious emotion wbich are associated with the remem- proximity with rams' horns and boars' tusks; brance of all that is young and innocent. They and—something more exquisite still—in digpresent us with a portion of the tranquillity ging between the deanery and Blackfriars, a we think we are laboring for, and the desire of brass figure of the goddess was found, and the which is felt as an earnest that we shall realize old tradition was given by Woodward a life of it somewhere, either in this world or the next. some fifty or sixty years more. Wren thought Above all, they render us more cheerful for his examination of the ground disproved the the performance of present duties; and the pagan tradition, but he saw some reasons for smallest seed of this kind, dropped into the not refusing credit to what he calls authentic heart of man, is worth more, and may termin- testimony, recording that a Christian edifice ate in better fruits, than anybody but a great was built here, and a church planted by the poet can tell us.”
apostles themselves.” It is natural that Hunt, a poet, should every The authentic accounts, however, of St. where and in everything refer to the poets. It Paul's, establish that a Christian Church has confirms the truth of his view, that everywhere existed on the spot since the conversion of through the Scriptures analogies are suggested England by St. Augustine. The first structure between the spiritual being of man and the was of wood, and was burned down and rene growth and progress of vegetable life The ed more than once. In the year 1087, a stone tenderest and most beautiful illustrations are edifice was commenced, and“ men at that time forever drawn from the forest and the field; judged it would never be finished,” so rast was they start up at once into every reader's mind, the design, so wonderful was it for length and they have the advantage that they can and for breadth.” It was not finished for more scarcely be marred by individuals connecting than two hundred years, and after it was finwith them accidental associations calculated to ished, there were from time to time cumbrous spoil their effect. They remain as pure sym- additions. At length the great fire of London bols as they were when first used by prophet swept all away, and gave space and opportunity and apostle, and greater than apostle or pro- for the present building. phet.
We have not room for Mr. Hunt's descripUnder Mr. Hunt's guidance, the traveller tion of the old edifice, and its successive addithrough London streets begins at St. Paul's. tions, nor could we hope to render any It is probably the oldest ground built upon in description of it intelligible, without the aid of London. There is some reason to think it was pictorial illustrations. Hunt gives us a spirited a burying-ground of the ancient Britons, be engraving of the West front of old St. Paul's
, cause, when Sir Christopher Wren dug for a with Inigo Jones' portico. Nothing could be
more incongruous with the rest of the building ment, and obelisks, and turrets, were“nothing than this Corinthian portico, which, singly con to the several deformities" within. Old St. sidered, was a beautiful composition. Four- Paul's was from the first “a den of thieves.” teen columns, each rising to the lofty height of To go round the wall of the churchyard, was forty-six feet, were so disposed, that eight, with felt by the busy Londoners to be too great a two pilasters placed in front, and three in each circuit ; and, even in the reign of Henry III., flank, formed a square (oblong) peristyle, and the church itself became a thoroughfare. Loitsupported an entablature and balustrade which erers, led by devotion or love, lingered in the was crowned with the statues of kings, who aisles, or round the altars. In the reign of claimed the honor of the fabric :
Edward III. the king complains that the eatthat Sir John Denham speaks in the following shameless women.” Kings remonstrated, and " It is of the cathedral, as thus renovated, ing-room of the canons had become “ the office
and work place of artisans, and the resort of passage of his . Cooper's hill’:
bishops fulminated mandates and excommuni- That sacred pile, so vast, so high, That whether it's a part of earth or sky,
cations in vain. Parliaments tried their hand Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
with not much better success. From an Act of Aspiring mountain, or descending cloud ;
Philip and Mary the church appears to have
and other beasts. In Elizabeth's reign, idlers
and drunkards were allowed to sleep on Preserved from ruin by the best of kings.
the benches at the choir-door. " . The best of poets' is his brother courtier,
Are we to consider the uses in which great Waller, who had some time before written his portions of the church were employed as verses . Upon his Majesty's repairing of St. encroachments on the rights of the digPaul's,' in which he compares King Charles, nitaries, in whom the property was vested? for his regeneration of the Cathedral, to Am- or were they parties to the kind of tenancy in phion and other ' antique minstrels,' who are which it seems to have been held “ in great said to have achieved architectural feats by the Eliza's golden days ?” power of music, and who, he says :
Of the chantry and smaller chapels, some
were used as storehouses-one was a school, Sure were Charles-like kings, Cities their lutes, and subjects' hearts their strings;
another was a glazier's shop, and the author, On which with so divine a hand they strook,
from whom we transcribe the last fact, says that Consent of motion from their breath they took.' the windows were always broken. Part of the “ Jones' first labor, the removal of the va
vaults beneath the church were occupied by a rious foreign encumbrances that had so long carpenter, the remainder were held by the oppressed and deformed the veneral.le edifice, bishop, the dean, and the canons; "one vault, Waller commemorates by a pair of references thought to have been used for a burial-place, to St. Paul's history, not unhappily applied : was converted into a wine-cellar, and a way he says the whole nation had combined with bad been cut into it through the walls of the his majesty
building itself.” Houses were built against
the walls, one was a playhouse, another a
to grace The Gentile's great Apostle, and deface
bakery, with a place for the oven excavated in Those state-obscuring sheds, that like a chain, the cathedral wall. Seem'd to confine and fetter him again;
"The middle of St. Paul's," we transcribe Which the glad Saint shakes off at his command, As once the viper from his sacred hand.'
from Mr. Hunt, "was also the Bond-street of “ Denham's prediction did no credit to the the period, and remained so until the time of prophetic reputation of poetry. Of the fabric Paul's walkers.” “The walkers in Paul's,”
called which was to be unassailable by zeal or fire, the poet himself lived to see the ruin, begun following reigns, were composed of a motley
, one ; himself, curiously enough, a short time before the idle, the knavish, and the lewd.” In Ben
assembly of the gay, the vain, the dissolute, his death, was engaged as the king's surveyor- Jonson's "Every Man out of his Humour," general in (nominally at least) presiding over
we find that advertisements were posted on the the erection of the new cathedral --the successor of the sacred pile,' of which he had thus sung Falstaff say of Bardolph, “I bought thee in
columns in the aisle, and Shakspeare makes the immortality.”-pp. 34-36.
Paul's.” In William and Mary's time it The incongruities of architecture, where you would seem that treasonable meetings were held bad a Corinthian portico with a Gothic pedi- here by the Jacobites.