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Government” sets the example of considering all fair and lawful gain that can be extracted from the purses of foreigners.
Do not accuse me of too groveling a spirit, in troubling you with sordid statistics from the banks of Lake Leman. These earthly matters are a part of a traveller's necessary occupation; and I know no country where, unfortunately, they are more perpetually thrust on his notice than in this lovely Switzerland. Ere long, you shall hear something of the more inspiring topics of Lakes, Alps, and Glaciers.
Where fourmand each a treasure-sleeping lay,
Treasures in caskets of frail human clay,
The long dark eyelashes on Francis' cheek
Where all the day's past feelings clearly speak.
Had left the impression of his latest prayer:
Bend o’er the couch of childhood—'t will controul
Philir's luxuriant curls, and front of snow,
Where darkly delicate his eyebrows shone,
His loving face, that sculpture well might own,
Whose bended neck confiding love pourtray'd :
But in the inmost chamber one reclines
Round no fond neck her polish'd arm entwines,
M. A. S-y.
LITERARY RECOLLECTIONS OF LONDON. There is nothing pleasanter to me than to visit scenes enriched with classical recollections. I would willingly encounter the mal aria, provided I might read Livy in Rome, take a turn round the Forum, and leap down all that remains of the Tarpeian precipice. Not all the smiling treachery of Ali Pascba should prevent me from visiting the shores of Greece; and I would cheerfully run the chance of being spitted on a Mameluke's lance, if I might behold the “ Memphian grove or green” where Osiris “trampled the unshowered grass with lowings loud." But fate has denied me this gratification, and planted me for life in the centre of London. Had one's fortunes, indeed, confined one to the small circuit of some obscure country-town, unballowed by any of the associations which the traces of genius excite, and where the sole intellectual phenomenon which is recorded in its annals, is some young curate, who possessed Latin enough to lay ghosts, one might, perhaps, have had some just cause of complaint. Not so in London, There is scarcely one of our illustrious countrymen, who bas not either first beheld the light within its walls, pursued his avocations within its circuit, or laid bis bones to rest beneath its soil. Our kings, our statesmen, our most celebrated wits and scholars, our warriors, our men of science, have almost all of them left some memory of their existence within the boundaries of the metropolis; and indeed I sometimes think I would rather remain an inhabitant of the city where Russell bled and where Milton is buried, than become a denizen of the country in which Virgil sang and Brutus struck for liberty.
In general we can acquire only an idea of the intellectual character of an author from the writings which he leaves behind him. His personal character, his habits, his little tastes and peculiarities, survive but in the anecdotes which his contemporaries may happen to transmit to us. And yet nothing is more interesting than facts like these, which seem to render us the intimates of departed genius. The same feeling is strongly excited by visiting the scenes which have been formerly graced by their presence, and which seem, in some degree, to bring us more nearly acquainted with them. And not only do those places which the intellectual of former days have resided in or visited, acquire an interest in our eyes, but even the scenes which they have alluded to in their works excite a portion of the same feeling. Nay, even the places which have been chosen by our writers of fiction, our dramatists, and our novelists, as the theatres of their tales, have a thousand pleasant associations thrown around them. Who can wander through Windsor forest without thinking of Herne's oak and Falstaff, or of Pope's beautiful lines ? and with what rich fancies has the Scotch novelist invested Cumnor-place! For my own part I must confess, that I almost feel more fascinated at visiting the scenes of these fictitious adventures, than if all the affairs that had been transacted there had possessed an historical existence.
To an Englishman London is full of all these associations. He can scarcely take a step without encountering some relic of other times, to revive in his mind many a pleasant recollection.-Several of our greatest authors have been cockneys born, have lived, or have died in London. In the poems, in the correspondence, in the lives of our celebrated wits and authors, we find perpetual references to various parts of the metropolis. In almost innumerable instances the scenes of our dramas are laid there; and it would be difficult to mention a novel, in which either the hero or the heroine does not at some period or other pay a visit to London. Was it not in a street near Hanoversquare that Lady Bellaston received the stolen visits of Tom Jones? Captain Booth was incarcerated in a lock-up-house in Gray's Inn-lane; Evelina lodged in High-Holborn ;—but such an enumeration would be endless. It would be a pleasant thing to walk through London and trace out these localities. I once resolved on such a pilgrimage myself, but made very little progress in it; my journey proved a very short one.
My terminus à quo, as the lawyers call it, was Fleetmarket, and my terminus ad quem, Charing-cross; yet, unpromising as the way appeared, I was astonished to find how many curious recollections were scattered along it.
I commenced my walk at Fleet-market, where formerly Fleet-ditch used to flow in muddy pride. It was the favourite retreat of the Goddess whom Gay has celebrated in his “ Trivia:"
She downward glides,
Whose torrents rush from Holborn's fatal steep."
Fleet-street has been much celebrated in the annals of literature. It used formerly to be a great emporium of books. Thus when Gay anticipates the renown which his - Trivia” will acquire, he says
"High raised on Fleet-street posts, consign’d to fame,
This work shall shine, and walkers bless my name." It must not be forgotten that Chaucer is said to have trodden the pavement of Fleet-street, wherein it is alleged that he was so irreligious
From this spot the Fleet Prison may be seen, near which resided the accommodating Parson, whose readiness to unite young couples was one great cause of the passing of the marriage-act, 26 Geo. II. 'I mention this reminiscence for the benefit of the lawyers. Pennant, in his “ London," gives an entertaining account of this reverend gentleman:-“In walking along the street in my youth, on the side next this prison, I have often been tempted by the question, 'Sir, will you walk in and be married ' Along this most lawless place was hung up a sign of a male and female hand conjoined, with ' marriages performed uithin' written beneath-a dirty fellow invited you in. The parson was seen walking before his shop, a squalid profligate figure, clad in a tattered plaid night-gown, with a fiery face, and ready to couple you for a dram of gin or a roll of tobacco. Our great Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, put these demons to flight."
as to beat a Franciscan friar. Within the purlieus of this street too, Johnson resided many years of his unhappy life; and assuredly, if his spirit be suffered to revisit this terrene sphere, it would haunt his favourite Fleet-street. To a bibliomaniac, however, it possesses superior attractions, for here Wynkyn de Worde lived at the Faucon, and printed his “ Fruyte of Tymes” in 1515, at the syne of the Sun.
Opposite St. Dunstan's Church I saw a knot of novi homines, unsophisticated creatures fresh from the country, who, with upraised eye and half-open mouth, were waiting, with wondering impatience, till the giant time-killers should strike the hour of five. It was equally new to me, and I joined the little throng to observe and partake of their pleasure. But to ine St. Dunstan's had a greater attraction than even the marvellous hammers of these representatives of old Time. It was to this holy place that the divine Clarissa used to steal, to offer up her pure vows to that Heaven of which she was so soon to become an inhabitant. I could almost fancy I saw her with her saint-like eyes bent down, as she returned from morning-prayers, and retiringly sought the solitude of her lodging in King-street, Covent-garden. Through the disguise of her " ordinary gown," and "her face half hid by her cap," I could trace her sovereign beauty and her heavenly purity of spirit. I saw too, in the terrified depression of her graceful form, and in the lovely inquietude of her features, the symptoms of a heart which, though broken, was still ill at rest. In her carriage there were still the remains of her early dignity. The vision faded from my eyes—but from my heart never. The impression it left on my mind was like that of a vivid dream from which we have been suddenly awakened. I felt sure, if I walked to King-street, I should find the house in which she lodged—“Smith—a glove maker as well as seller.” I was sure I should see “his wife the shop-keeper, a dealer also in stockings, ribbons, snuff, and perfumes—a matron-like woman, plainhearted and prudent. The husband an honest industrious man." “ The Lady' used also to attend prayers in Lincoln's Inn Chapel, which is thus more sanctified to me than by the memory of the crowd of dignified lawyers whose knees have bent within its walls, or whose ashes repose beneath its roof. I almost resolved to make a pilgrimage to those places, which imagination has hallowed with the presence of Clarissa Harlowe.
A little farther onwards I reached the corner of Chancery-lane, and vainly I looked for the house which had been the residence of one of the pleasantest and most simple-hearted men that ever painted a picture of themselves, and left it for the delight of posterity. Shame on that lucre of gain which prompted some parrow-minded citizen to demolish the roof under which thy head, honest Isaak Walton, once sheltered itself! While peace and contentment, and quiet happiness, have any charm for mankind, the dwelling of gentle Piscator should have been sacred. When the spirits were ruffled and troubled with the world's vexations, it would have been as though oil were cast on the angry waters, if we could have entered a dwelling which the tranquil memory of Isaak Walton still filled. Surely it would have answered upon such a site to have established an angler's shop-nay, within a few doors of it, on the Teniple-bar side, I did ob. serve the indicia of an establishment of the kind-the glass-case containing a pike's head—the stuffed perch—the treacherous wooden frogs—the bright many-coloured flies, and the graceful bend of the rod, from which a golden fish contentedly dangled. Should the shade of Piscator revisit this scene of his earthly sojourn, what pleasing recollections must these memorials inspire! We learn from the life of Piscator, that his first residence in London, as a shopkeeper, was in the Royal Burse, built by Sir Thomas Gresham. Here, indeed, Isaak must have found considerable difficulty in turning himself round, for his shop was only seven feet and a half long and five feet wide. Here did he dwell until the year 1624, when he removed to a house “on the North side of Fleet-street, two doors west of the end of Chancery-lane, abutting on a messuage known by the sign of the Harrow."-From this description, I presume his house occupied the ground upon which Mr. Thomas's Magazine for bonnets, muffs, shawls, and other lady-like paraphernalia, now stands. Walton is said afterwards to remove to Chancery-lane.*
As I turned my eyes to the left, I observed the portals of the Temple; and the tragical story of all the unmerited sufferings and grievous tortures of some of the most valiant spirits of the world came freshly over my mind. I could not, however, afford time to abandon myself to the indignation which the memory of perverted justice is so apt to inspire; I contented myself therefore with bestowing a hearty malediction on that monster of France, Philip-le-bel —“ Il mal di Francia" -"il nuovo Pilato"- as Dante very properly calls him, for commencing the persecution of these brave and innocent men, and on our own Edward II. for so pusillanimously following such evil advice and example.
And this is Temple-bar! this is the grand entrance into “ our good City of London"— sufficiently shabby too. Here the Whittingtons for the time being, on each royal visit, shut the gate in their sovereign's face, in order to have the pleasure of opening it to him; and upon this arch the head of many a brave and gallant gentleman has been baked in the sun, in expiation of his misguided zeal. The disgusting practice of exposing the mutilated bodies of State criminals-a practice only suited to the meridian skies of Turkey, seems happily on the decline amongst us. Glorious is the reign in which the blood of the subject flows not for State offences. How glorious does this circumstance render the government of Queen Anne. Let us hope that the reign of George IV. may be distinguished by the same merciful celebrity.
But stay! I must not pass the site of the Devil Tavern, which was close to Temple-bar, without bestowing a thought on thee, O rare Ben Jonson. Here, in a chamber dedicated to Apollo, didst thou and thy choice spirits assemble, to taste, at stated periods, the enjoyments of intellectual conviviality! and liere didst thou promulge for the govern
Chancery-lane is famous for being the birth place of the unworthy and unfortunate Lord Strafford.