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destruction, and the gray forms of oppression and power fell before the advance of the people. Instead of erecting new monuments, old tombs, where slept the illustrious dead, were defaced, and shrines were plundered of their ornaments and treasures. After the restoration of the Stuarts (which was a darker day for the liberties of England than any she had seen under the great Cromwell) the triumph of wealth and dissoluteness began. The age of simplicity, of stern and bold primitive character, was past. The English people were yet too barbarous to enter fully into the wise policy of Cromwell : he achieved their liberty at a great price, but they were not yet prepared to receive and preserve it, or they never would have let Charles II. ascend the throne.
“ Wealth now became a passport to distinction during life, and the opulent, who had never rendered any service to humanity which would cause their names to be remembered, were determined that the marble at least should perpetuate their fame. But it seems to be an unalterable law of Providence, that no man shall long be remembered with reverence by a race whom he has never benefited ; and it is well that it is so. This world is not so sadly out of joint as to honour those men long who have not rendered it some signal service.
“At the period of which I speak almost every church began to be lined with tablets and crowded with monuments. You can hardly enter an old English church that does not abound in tombs and
AN AGREEABLE COMPANION.
shrines. The Abbey walls were soon covered with tablets and inscriptions, and it became the first object in life, and the last hope in death, that the name should live in marble after the body was turned to dust. We shall pass carelessly by the great mass of inscriptions; but there are names here we must read-names which will be known and honoured when the walls of old Westminster have gone to decay. No, I shall never tire of wandering around such old temples; and I love to associate with them all the stories tradition has handed down to us from other times."
I could not have found a more agreeable companion than Captain Manners. “ He is not," in the fine language of Dickens, “one of those rough spirits who would strip fair Truth of every little shadowy vestment in which time and teeming fancies love to array her; and some of which become her pleasantly enough, serving, like the waters of her well, to add new graces to the charms they half conceal and half suggest, and to awaken interest and persuit rather than langour and indifference; as, unlike this stern and obdurate class, he loved to see the goddess crowned with those garlands of wild flowers which tradition weaves for her gentle wearing, and which are often freshest in their homeliest shapes. He trod with a light step, and bore with a light hand upon the dust of centuries; unwilling to demolish any of the airy shrines that had been raised above it, if one good feeling or affection of the human
heart were hiding thereabout. Thus, in the case of an ancient coffin of rough stone, supposed for many generations to contain the bones of a certain baron, who, after ravaging with cut and thrust, and plunder in foreign lands, came back with a penitent and sorrowing heart to die at home; but which had been lately shown by learned antiquaries to be no such thing, as the baron in question (so they contended) had died hard in battle, gnashing his teeth and cursing with his latest breath. He stoutly maintained that the old tale was the true one; that the baron repented him of the evil ; had done great charities, and meekly given up the ghost; and that, if baron ever went to heaven, that baron was then at peace. In like manner, when the aforesaid antiquaries did argue and contend that a certain secret vault was not the tomb of a gray-haired lady who had been hanged and drawn and quartered by glorious Queen Bess for succouring a wretched priest who fainted of thirst and hunger at her door, he did solemnly maintain against all comers, that the church was hallowed by said poor lady's ashes; that her remains had been collected in the night from four of the city's gates, and thither in secret brought, and there deposited ; and he did farther (being highly excited at such times) deny the glory of Queen Bess, and assert the unmeasurably greater glory of the meanest woman in the realm, who had a merciful and a tender heart."
I love to wander with such a companion round the old structures of England ; listen to the wild legends he tells, and yield the heart up to the control of
associations that are linked with all the remembrances of childhood, and all that is interesting in history.
We entered the Abbey through the southern transept, denominated the “Poets' Corner ;” and Captain Manners, with a delicacy which none but a cultivated mind ever displays, strolled off with the old verger to a distant part of the Abbey, saying, “I will do by you as I should like to be done by.” Who has not sometimes felt it a luxury to be alone?
I think the eye of any man, in whose veins the Anglo-Saxon blood flows, and who learned to speak the Anglo-Saxon tongue when he was a child, will first of all, as he enters the “ Poets' Corner,” seek the monument of SHAKSPEARE. And when he sees the tablet of the great poet, and stands where ke so often stood, he will feel that it is a crisis in his life. Said Pope, who was one of the committee to whom Britain gave the charge of erecting this monument, as he was asked to write an inscription, “No! I cannot write it. Let us have some of his own lines. No other man's genius is worthy to record his fame. Let us say nothing: we cannot praise Shakspeare!" With great taste and judgment, they engraved upon an open scroll which forms a part of the tablet, these celebrated lines :
“The cloud.capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
This is not only sublime, but true. There is an hour coming when every temple on earth shall be shaken to its foundations, and the walls of Westminster shall feel the universal shock.
What can a monument do for Shakspeare ? It seems strange, but it is nevertheless true, that the age which produces such a man never knows fully what it has produced. His own generation cannot do him justice. While he is walking in flesh among his fellows, they little know of the sacredness of such a gift from Heaven. When after generations have read his words, each leaving a tribute of more exalted admiration for his genius, and entering with a warmer feeling into his spirit, leaving in every book they write, and on every monument they raise to his memory, one more tribute of devotion-then it is that the world begins to know what kind of a being the great man was.
This reminds us of a custom among the simple, but proud American Indians: they come, one after another, on pilgrimages from the far West, whither our injustice has driven them, each to cast a stone upon the spot where tradition says a great sachem of their tribe lies buried, and in time the monument becomes a mountain.
Did Sir Thomas Lucy send Shakspeare to the treadmill ? This Lucy's fame will be imperishable, from being associated with that of the youthful Deer Stealer of Stratford. How has it been with great souls in all ages ? Dante was sent forth from his country into banishment : his home, house, and gar