AS I have the pleasure to find that my letters, however mean in
themselves, are agreeable to my dear parent, I shall continue my
account of some of those many curiosities which I saw in
Westminster-Abbey. Among the monuments of our ancient Kings is
that of Henry V. whose effigy has lost its head, which being of silver,
I am told, was stolen in the civil wars.
Here are two coffins covered with velvet, in which are said to be the
bodies of two Ambassadors, detained here for debt; but what were their
names, or what Princes they served, I could not learn.
Our guide next showed us the body of King Henry the Fifth's Queen,
Catherine, in an open coffin, who is said to have been a very beautiful
Princess; but whose shrivelled skin, much resembling discoloured
parchment, may now serve as a powerful antidote to that vanity with
which frail beauty is apt to inspire its possessors.
Among the waxen effigies, I had almost forgot to mention King Charles
II. and his faithful servant General Monk, whose furious aspect has
something terrible in it.
Not far from these is the figure of a lady, one of the Maids of Honour
to Queen Elizabeth [Queen
Elizabeth I, of course]
, who is said to have bled to death by
only pricking her finger with a needle [probably hemophilia]
I must now return to those monuments, which are in the open part of
the church, and free to every one's sight; for those I have been
speaking of are inclosed [sic]
and not to be seen without a small gratuity to the conductor.
Among these, then, on the north side, stands a magnificent monument
erected to Lady Carteret, for whose death some reports assign a cause
something odd, viz. the late French King Louis the XIV.'s saying, That
a lady (whom one of his Nobles compared to Lady Carteret) was handsomer
than she [can anyone shed light
Near this stands a grand monument of Lord De Courcy, with an
inscription, signifying that one of his ancestors had obtained a
privilege of wearing his hat before the King.
Next these follow a groupe [sic]
of Statesmen, Warriors, Musicians, &c. among whom is Col.
Bingfield, who lost his head by a cannon ball, as he was remounting the
Duke of Marlborough, whose horse had been shot under him.
The famous musicians Purcell, Gibbons, Blow, and Crofts, have here
their respective monuments and inscriptions; as has also that eminent
painter Sir Godfrey Kneller, with an
elegant epitaph by Mr. Pope. As you enter the west door of the
church, on the right hand stands a monument with a curious figure of
Secretary Craggs, on whom likewise Mr. Pope has bestowed a beautiful
epitaph. On the south side is a costly monument, erected by Queen
Anne to the memory of that brave Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovel, who was
shipwrecked on the rocks of Scilly. In the same aisle, and nearly
opposite to this, is a beautiful monument of white marble, to the
memory of Thomas Thynne, of Long-Leat, in the county of Wilts, Esq. who
was shot in his coach, on Sunday the 12th of February,
1682: In the front is cut the figure of him in his coach,
with those of the three assassins who murdered him. At the end of
this aisle, and on one side of what is called the Poets' Row, lies
covered with a handsome monument, and his effigy a large as the life,
the very famous Dr. Busby, Master of Westminster School, whose strict
discipline and severity are every where so much talked of.
I must now take notice of the Poets, whose monuments stand mostly
contiguous. Here are the ancient monuments of Chaucer and
Spencer, with those of Ben Johnson, Drayton, Milton, and Butler; also
of the great Dryden, the ingenious Phillips, the divine Cowley, the
harmonious Prior, and the inimitable Shakespeare, of whose curious
effigy I have spoken before: nor must I omit the gentle Mr. John Gay,
to whose memory his Grace the Duke of Queensberry has erected a noble
which Mr. Pope has adorned with a very elegant inscription in
verse. I must here end my remarks, but cannot take leave of this
venerable place, without observing, that it has many curious painted
windows, a noble choir, a fine organ, and a magnificent altar-piece.
I am, Honoured Madam, &c.
memorable Saying of the
Duke de ORLEANS, at the Surrender of Gravelling, with a
generous Action of that Prince.
WHEN Gravelling was surrendered to the Duke of Orleans, just as
he entered into town he was heard to say these words: "Let us
endeavour, by generous actions, to win the hearts of all men; so we may
hope for a daily victory. Let the French learn from me this new
way of conquest, to subdue men by mercy and clemency." [Many states of our day and age could
benefit from this advice!]
With what a matchless virtue did
this Prince dismiss a gentleman that was hired to murder him!
This assassin was suffered to pass into the Duke's bedchamber one
morning early, pretending business of grave moment from the
Queen. As soon as the Duke cast his eyes on him, he spoke
thus: "I know thy business, friend: thou art sent to take away my
life. What hurt have I done thee? It is now in my power,
with a word, to have thee cut in pieces before my face. But I
pardon thee; go thy way, and see my face no more."
The gentleman, stung with his own guilt, and astonished at the
excellent nature of this Prince, fell on his knees, confessed his
design, and who employed him; and having promised eternal gratitude for
his Royal favour, departed without any other notice taken of him; and
fearing to tarry in France, entered himself into the service of the
Spanish King. It was his fortune afterwards to encounter the Duke
of Orleans in a battle in Flanders. The Duke, at that instant,
was oppressed with a crowd of Germans, who surrounded him; and, in the
conflict, he lost his sword; which this gentleman perceiving, nimbly
stept to him, and delivered one into the Duke's hand, saying withal,
"Now reap the fruit of thy former clemency. Thou gavest me my
life, now I put thee in a capacity to defend thy own." The Duke
by this means at length escaped the danger he was in; and that day the
fortune of war was on his side. The French had a considerable
You see by this, that heroic actions have something divine in them, and
attract the favours of Heaven. No man was a loser by good works;
for though he be not presently rewarded, yet, in length of time, some
happy emergency arises to convince him, "That virtuous men are the
darlings of Providence."
remarkable Story of GIOTTO, an
Italian Painter, and his Crucifix.
IT was a cruel and inhuman caprice of an
Italian Painter (I think his name was Giotto), who designing to draw a
crucifix to the life, wheedled a poor man to suffer himself to be bound
to the cross an hour, at the end of which he should be released again,
and receive a considerable gratuity for his pains. But instead of
this, as soon as he had him fast on the cross, he stabbed him dead, and
then fell to drawing. He was esteemed the greatest master in all
Italy at that time; and having this advantage of a dead man hanging on
a cross before him, there is no question but he made a matchless piece
of work on't.
As soon as he had finished his picture he carried it to the Pope, who
was astonished, as at a progidy [sic]
of art, highly extolling the exquisiteness of the features and limbs,
the languishing pale deadness of the face, the unaffected sinking of
the head: In a word, he had drawn to the life not only that
privation of sense and motion which we call death, but also the very
want of the least vital symptom.
This is better understood than expressed. -- Every body knows that it
is a master-piece to represent a passion or a thought well and natural.
-- Much greater is it to describe the total absence of these interior
facilities, so as to dis-
tinguish the figure of a dead man from one that is only asleep.
Yet all this, and much more, could the Pope discern in the admirable
draught which Giotto presented him. And he liked it so well, that
he resolved to place it over the altar of his own chapel. Giotto
told him, since he liked the copy so well he would shew him the
original, if he pleased.
What dost thou mean by the original, said the Pope? [odd punctuation] Wilt thou shew me Jesus Christ on the
cross in his own person? No, replied Giotto, but I'll shew your
Holiness the original from whence I drew this, if you will absolve me
from all punishment. The good old father suspecting something
extraordinary from the painter's thus capitulating with him, promised,
on his word, to pardon him, which Giotto believing, immediately told
him where it was; and attending him to the place, as soon as they were
entered, he drew a curtain back which hung before the dead man on the
cross, and told the Pope what he had done.
The Holy Father, extremely troubled at so inhuman and barbarous an
action, repealed his promise, and told the painter he should surely be
put to an exemplary death.
Giotto seemed resigned to the sentence pronounced upon him, and only
begged leave to finish the picture before he died, which was granted
him. In the mean while a guard was set upon him to prevent his
escape. As soon as the Pope had caused the picture to be delivered
into his hands, he takes a brush, and dipping it into a sort of stuff
he had ready for that purpose, daubs the picture all over with it, so
that nothing now could be seen of the crucifix, for it was quite
effaced in all outward appearance.
This made the Pope stark mad; he stamped, foamed, and raved like one in
a phrenzy: he swore the painter should suffer the most cruel death that
could be invented, unless he drew another full as good as the former,
for if but the least grace was missing, he would not pardon him; but if
he would produce an exact parallel he should not only give him life,
but an ample reward in money.
The painter, as he had reason, desired this under the Pope's signet,
that he might not be in danger of a second repeal; which was granted
him; and then he took a wet sponge, and wiped off the varnish he had
daubed on the picture, and the crucifix appeared the same in all
respects as it was before.
The Pope, who looked upon this as a great secret, being ignorant of the
arts which the painters use, was ravished at the strange
metamorphosis. And to reward the painter's triple ingenuity, he
absolved him from all his sins, and the punishment due them; ordering
moreover his steward to cover the picture with gold, as a farther
gratuity for the painter. And, they say, this crucifix is the
original, by which the most famous crucifixes in Europe are drawn.
of the HARE and many FRIENDS.
By Mr. GAY.
like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame,
The child whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care;
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many, rarely find a friend.
A hare, who, in a civil way,
Complied with ev'ry thing, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train
Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain;
Her care was, never to offend,
And ev'ry creature was her friend.
| As forth she went at
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies;
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death;
She doubles to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;
'Till, fainting in the public way,
Half dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transports in her bosom grew,
When first the horse appear'd in view!
Let me, says she, your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend;
You know my feet betray my flight,
To friendship every burden's light.
The horse replied, poor honest puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus;
Be comforted, relief is near,
For all your friends are in the rear.
She next the stately bull implor'd,
And thus replied the mighty lord;
Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend;
Love calls me hence; a fav'rite cow
Expects me near yon barley mow;
And when a lady's in the case,
You know all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind,
But see, the goat is just behind.
| The goat remark'd her
pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye;
My back, says he, may do you harm;
The sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.
The sheep was feeble, and complain'd
His sides a load of wool sustain'd,
Said he was slow, confest his fears;
For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.
She now the trotting calf addrest,
To save from death a friend distrest.
Shall I, says he, of tender age,
In this important care engage?
Older and abler past you by;
How strong are those! how weak am I!
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offence:
Excuse me then. You know my heart,
But dearest friends, alas, must part!
How shall we all lament: Adieu!
For see the hounds are just in view.
[Pretty depressing - I was
expecting a happy ending!]
The dying Words and Behaviour of
Men, when just quitting the Stage of
SIR Francis Walsingham, towards the end
of his life, grew very melancholy, and writ to the Lord Burleigh to
purpose: "We have lived long enough to our country,. to our fortunes,
and to our Sovereign; it is high time we begin to live to
ourselves, and to our God."
Sir Henry Wotton, who had gone on several embassies, and was intimate
with the greatest Princes, chose to retire from all, saying, The
utmost happiness a man could attain to, was to be at leisure to be, and to do good; never reflecting on
his former years, but with tears, he would say, "How much time have I
to repent of! and how little to do it in!"
Philip III. King of Spain, seriously reflecting upon the life he had
led in the world, cried out upon his death-bed, How happy were I, had I
spent those twenty-three years that I have held my kingdom, in a retirement! saying to
his confessor, "My concern is for my soul, not my body."
SALISBURY: Printed by B.C. COLLINS.