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76

SIR WILLIAM CHAMBERS.

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provements. Sir William rose by his merit to considerable distinction. Born at Stockholm, he was descended of a Scottish family. At the age of eighteen he was appointed supercargo to the Swedish East India Company, and he brought from China the Asiatic style of ornament, which, under the patronage of his Majesty, became very fashionable in England. Sir William became surveyor-general of the Board of Works. The building of SOMERSET HOUSE will always reflect credit on his memory. He died in 1796, much beloved and respected, leaving behind him the character of having been an active and useful member of the community.

I should have mentioned that the beginnings of a new Paluce may be seen near Kew, close to the river side, and exactly opposite to the town of Brentford. It has by no means a pleasant external appearance; and the interior apartments are, it is said, on a particularly small scale. No progress has been made in the building since his Majesty's illness; and it may, therefore, for years remain unfinisbed. The situation is damp and low ; indeed, the foundations of the edifice must be occasionally inundated.

On the road, leading from Kew to Richmond, we beheld the boundary wall of Kew Gardens, along which may be seen delineated, by a disabled sailor, a representation of the British Navy, with the names of the vessels and number of their

guns. Seven or eight hundred ships are exhibited in constant succession; each five or six feet long, extending

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altogether to a distance of a mile and a half. The passing traveller, delighted with these humble specimens of the honest tar's skill, that are dictated by former predilections, cannot refrain from liberally rewarding such patriotic ingenuity.

We now entered RICHMOND, eight miles from London, containing 800 houses, and upwards of 4000 inhabitants, 500 of whom are in trade. In the reigni of Henry the Eighth here were two parks, which appear soon to have been joined together. The new, or great park, eight miles in circumference, was made by Charles the First, and contains 2000 acres. The lodge was built by Sir Robert Walpole at the expense of 14,0001. The banks along the Thames form a noble terrace, extending the whole length of the royal gardens, in the south-east quarter of which a road leads to a sequestered spot in which is a cottage, the favourite retreat of her Majesty, having both birds and beasts, foreign as well as domestic, gratifying to the curiosity. Richmond, from the beauty of its situation, has been denominated the Frescati of England. Its ancient name,: Sheen, derived from the Saxon, signifies re-' splendent; a circumstance that proves our ancestors to have had it in high admiration. The name of Richmond was given it by Henry the Seventh, he having borne the title of Richmond before he obtained the crown. A ROYAL PALACE once stood here, where many of our kings and queens lived and died. Here Edward the Third expired with grief for the loss of his son the Black Prince, whose tomb is still to be seen, along with his sword

78

THE EARL OF ESSEX.

and armour, in the cathedral of Canterbury. Here, likewise, Anne, Queen of Richard the Second, breathed her last: this is the lady who first taught English women the use of the side-saddle ; previous to this period they rode astride; no doubt, without any apprehended violation of delicacy. And Elizabeth, cominonly called good Queen Bess, claimed Richmond as her favourite spot, and here closed her illustrious career in a manner agonizing to every feeling heart. Hume gives this affecting account of it:

The Queen had fallen into a profound melancholy. Some incidents had revived her tenderness for Essex, and filled her with sorrow for his execution. That nobleman, after his return from Cadiz, had regretted that his absence in her service exposed him to all those ill offices which his enemies, more assiduous in their attendance, could employ against him. She was nioved with this tender jealousy, and making him the present of a ring, desired him to keep that pledge of her affection, and assured him that into whatever disgrace he should fall, whatever prejudices she might be induced to entertain against him, yet if he sent her that ring she would immedia ately, upon the sight of it, recall her former tenderness ; would afford him a patient hearing, and would lend a favourable ear to his apology. Essex notwithstanding all his misfortunes reserved this precious gift to the last extremity, but after his trial and condemnation he resolved to try the experiment, and he committed the ring to the Countess of Nottingham,

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S GRIEF.

whom he desired to deliver it to the queen. The countess was prevailed upon by her husband, the mortal enemy of Essex, not to execute the commission; and Elizabeth, who still expected that her favourite would make this last appeal to her tenderness, and who ascribed the neglect of it to his invincible obstinacy, was, after much delay and many internal combats, pushed by resentment and policy to sign the warrant for his execution. The Countess of Nottingham falling into sickness, and affected with the near approach of death, was seized with remorse for her conduct, and having obtained a visit from the queen, she craved her pardon and revealed to her the fatal secret. The

queen, astonished with this incident, burst into a furious passion; she shook the dying countess in her bed, crying to her, that God might pardon her but she never could ; she broke from her, and thenceforth resigned herself over to the deepest and most incurable melancholy. She rejected all consolation; she even refused food and sustenance, and throwing herself on the floor she remained sullen and immoveable, feeding her thoughts on her affliction and declaring life an insufferable burthen to her. Few words she uttered, and they were all expressive of some inward grief which she could not reveal ; but sighs and 'groans were the chief vent she gave to her despondency, and which, though they discovered her sorrows, were never able to assuage them. Ten days and nights she lay upon the carpet leaning on cushions which her maids brought her,

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QUEEN ELIZABETH'S DEATH.

and her physicians could not persuade her to allow herself to be put to bed, much less to make trial of any remedies which they prescribed her. Being advised by the Archbishop of Canterbury to fix her thoughts on God, she replied that she did so, nor did her mind in the least wander from him. Her voice soon after left her, her senses failed, she fell into a lethargic slumber, which continued some hours, and she expired gently without farther struggle or convulsion, in the 70th year of her age and forty-fifth of her reign."

When we reflect on the bustling but glorious reign of Queen ELIZABETH, and compare it with her closing scene, here at Richmond, we may well exclaim

Enough, enough, my soul of worldly noise,
Of airy pomps aud Aeeting joys
What does this busy world provide at best
But brittle goods that break like glass ;
But poison’d sweets, a troubled feast,
And pleasures like the winds, that in a moment pass'd ?
Thy thoughts to nobler meditations give,
And study how to DIBếnot how to live!
How frail is BBAUTY! Ah-how vain!
And how short lived those glories are
That vex our nights and days with pain,
And break our hearts with care !
In dust we no distinction see,
Such Helen is-such, Myra, thou must be !
How short is life! Why will vain courtiers toil
And crowd a vainer monarch for a sinile ?
What is that MONARCH but a mortal nian,
His crown a pageant, and his life a span?

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