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Each generation has laid some of its illustrious ones here, and it is no wonder that there is not a spot to which an Englishman turns his eye with so much pride as to Westminster ; nor a spot which the traveller so well loves to visit.
One cannot but feel both gratitude and indignation here : gratitude for every noble effort in behalf of humanity, civilization, liberty, and truth, made by these sleepers ; indignation at every base deed, every effort to quench the light of science or destroy freedom of thought; every outrage inflicted upon man; and every blow aimed against liberty by the oppressors of the race.
There is not a great author here who did not write for us ; not a man of science who did not investigate truth for us; we have received advantage from every hour of toil that ever made these good and great men weary. A wanderer from the most distant and barbarous nation on earth cannot come here without finding the graves of his benefactors. Those who love science and truth, and long for the day when perfect freedom of thought and action shall be the common heritage of man, will feel grateful, as they stand under these arches, for all the struggles, and all the trials to enlighten and emancipate the world, which the great who here rest from their labours have so nobly endured.
And, above all, the scholar, who has passed his best years in study, will here find the graves of his teachers. He has long worshipped their genius; he
THE SOLITARY ROSE.
has gathered inspiration and truth from their writings; they have made his solitary hours, which to other men are a dreary waste, like the magical gardens of Armida, “ whose enchantments arose amid solitude, and whose solitude was everywhere among those enchantments.” The scholar may wish to shed his tears alone, but he cannot stand by the graves of his masters in Westminster Abbey without weeping : they are tears of love and gratitude.
We passed around the walks on the south side of the Abbey before we finally left it. Here we saw a pretty girl, about fifteen, watering a York and Lancaster rose, which was growing by the Abbey wall. There was but one flower on the stock, and that was in full bloom. We always like to carry away with us, from such hallowed places, some memento ; and though any one would have desired the flower, yet I ought not to have thought of asking for that solitary rose. And yet, “My dear girl," said I,“ will you part with that rose to a stranger ?" “Oh, no, sir! I have tended it for several months, and I cannot think of parting with it; and it's the only flower I have in the world, too.” Judging from her appearance that I should not offend her, I threw down a half crown; she hesitated for a moment, and broke the stem ; and as she handed me the flower a blush spread over her pale features : “I did not think I would let it go, sir," she said, “but you are so generous I must."
We turned to go away; but in a moment I felt sorry for what I had done. It was a cold and selfish request : I had taken away from a poor, sick girl, shut up within the brick walls of London, where the fresh country air, with the fragrance it gathers in blowing over green fields, never comes, the only flower she had in the world. I stopped, and, turning round, saw the poor girl weeping over its stem : I would have given the best day of my life to replace it.
“I am very sorry I took your flower,” said I; “ will it be any comfort to you to have it back ?" “ No, sir, it's picked now ; I shouldn't have cared a fig about it, if there had been another. But there is a bud here, I see, and I shall have another rose in a few days.” I handed her a crown.
A smile lighted up her face again, and she said, “ You are so kind, sir, I had almost as lief you would have the rose as to have kept it myself. I don't care anything about it now-indeed I don't. I was very silly to cry about it; but I had tended it so long, and it was all the rose I had.”
THOUGHTS ON VISITING WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
Old structure! Round thy solid form
And centuries roll'd their tide;
THOUGHTS ON THE ABBEY.
Erect, immovable, sublime,
On the bold Saxon's sight;
“The royal anchorite,"
To her long call’d the Virgin Queen
Who, with a might her own,
Around her fearful throne.
Mysterious form, thy old gray wall
And felt the mighty beat
It scatter'd at thy feet.
And round about me cast,
The glory of the past.
I see the solemn funeral train,
The mournful requiem train.
And high above, the toll
Of the deep bell, whose heavy knell
O'er the departed soul.
'Tis gone! and through the portals wide Comes rolling in a living tide ;
And hark ! far echoed out,
It is a nation's shout.
With drum and trumpet tone!
His eye upon a throne.
The banners droop around him ;
To where the lordly crown him.
His heart in this exciting hour
The given crown shall bring ;
Resounds, “ God save the king !" 'Tis vanish'd! “like a morning cloud”— The throne, the king, the shouting crowd,
And here I stand alone;
A low, perpetual moan,