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QLD PAGES AND OLD TIMES.-NO. III.

The future in the passing time is glass'd,
And for the present we must search the past.

THAT we may know the opinion of our ancestors, who happened to pass along that busy thoroughfare,

"Where London's column pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully lifts the head and lies,"

soon after the erection of that noble pillar, which forms indisputably the finest piece of architecture in London, we present to our readers the following extract from an ancient periodical.

"Now, says my friend, I'll show you a towering edifice, erected through the wisdom and honesty of the City, as a very high memorandum of its being laid low, either by a judgment from heaven for the sins of the people, or by the treachery of the papists, according to the assertion of the monument, who I suppose is as ignorant of the matter as myself; for it was neither built then, nor 1 born; sol believe we are as equally able to tell the truth of the story, as a quack astrologer is by assistance of the signs and planets what was the name of Moses's great grandfather, or how many quarts of water went to the world's drowning. You ll be much pleased with the loftiness of this slender column, for its very height was the first thing that ever occasioned wry necks in England, by the people's staring at the top on 't. Do you observe the carving which contains the king and his brother's picture? They were cut by an eminent artist,* and are looked upon by a great many impartial judges to be a couple of extraordinary good figures. This edifice, as well as some others, was not projected purely as a memorandum of the fire, or an ornament to the city; but to give those corrupted magistrates, who had the power in their hands, the opportunity of putting two thousand pounds into their own pockets, whilst they paid one towards the building. All that can be spoken in praise of it is, that 'tis a monument to the City's shame, the orphan's grief, the protestant's pride, and the papist's scandal; and only serves as a metropolitan maypole, or high-crowned hat to cover the head of the old fellow that shows it."

As a companion-piece to this picture of the Monument shortly after its completion, we will give the same writer's remarks on St. Paul's, then in a half-finished state; and as we stand beside him in the centre of the pile, from whose summit the dome had not yet begun to spring, and look upwards at the blue sky, we may contrast the confusion he describes with its present architectural order and painted vault, and anticipate the period when the writer for some New Monthly of a thousand years hence, may again look out upon the clouds through its ruined and roofless walls, or that still more remote æra when not one stone of the mighty pile shall be left standing upon another, and the most learned antiquaries shall even be unable to identify its site.

"By this time we were come to Cheapside Conduit, pallisadoed in with chimney sweepers brooms. These we passed, and entered into Paul's Churchyard, where our eyes were surprised with such a mountainous heap of stones, that I thought it must require the assistance of a whole nation for an age to remove 'em from the quarry, and pile 'em upon one another in

* Gabriel Cibber, the father of Colley, who died about a year after this notice of the bas reliefs on the Monument, executed also most of the statues of Kings round the Royal Exchange, as far as King Charles, that of Sir Thomas Gresham in the piazza beneath, as well as the two admirable figures that lately stood on the gate of Bedlam, and which Pope in his virulence against Colley Cibber, described as his "brazen brainless brothers."

such admirable order, and to so stupendious a height. We turned to the right, where booksellers were as plenty as pedlars at a fair, and parsons in their shops as busily searching after the venerable conceits of our worm-eaten ancestors, as if they came here for want of brains to patch up a discourse for the following Sunday. We walked a little further and came among the music-shops, in one of which were so many dancing-masters' prentices, fiddling and piping of bories and minuets, that the crowd at the door could no more forbear dancing into the shop, than the merry stones of Thebes could refuse capering into the walls, when conjured from confusion into order by the power of Orpheus's harmony. We left these jinglebrains to their crotchets, and proceeded to the west end of the cathedral, where we past by abundance of apples, nuts and gingerbread, till we came to a melancholy multitude drawn into a circle, giving very serious attention to a blind ballad singer; and thence we turned in through the west-gate of St. Paul's Church-yard, where we saw a parcel of stone cutters and sawyers so very hard at work, that notwithstanding the vehemency of their labour, instead of using their handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat from their faces, they were most of them blowing their nails. Bless me! said I to my friend, sure this church stands in a colder climate than the rest of the nation, or else those fellows are of a strange constitution, to seem to freeze at such warm exercise. You must consider, says my friend, this work is carried on at a national charge, and ought not to be hastened on in a hurry, for the greatest reputation it will gain when it's finished, will be, that it was so many years in building. From thence we moved up a long wooden bridge, that led to the west porticum of the church, where we intermixed with such a train of promiscuous rabble, that I fancy'd we looked like the beasts driving into the ark, in order to replenish a new world."

"The first part that I observed of this inabruptable pile, were the pillars that sustained the covering of the porch. I cannot but conceive, said I, that legs of this vast strength and magnitude are much too big for the weight of so small a body it supports. From thence we entered the body of the church, the spaciousness of which we could not discern for the largeness of the pillars. What think you now? says my friend; pray how do you like the inside? I'll tell you, said I. I must needs answer you as a gentleman did another who was a great admirer of a very gay lady, and asked whether he did not think her a woman of extraordinary beauty who answered, Truly, he could not tell, for he could see but very little of her face for patches.' 'Poh, poh,' says the other, 'you must not quarrel at that, she designs them as ornaments.' To which his friend replied, 'since she has made them so large, fewer might have served her turn: or if she must wear so many, she might have cut 'em less; and so I think by the pillars.' From thence we approached the quire, on the north side, the entrance of which was very much defaced by the late fire, occasioned by the carelessness of a plumber, who had been mending some defective pipes of the organ; which unhappy acci dent has given the dissenters so far an opportunity of reflecting upon the use of music in our churches, that they scruple not to vent their spleen by saying, 'twas a judgment from Heaven upon their carvings and their fopperies, for displeasing the ears of the Almighty with the profane tootings of such abominable cat-calls. Though Mr. Baxter, in his Christian Directory, expresses these words, viz. 'As spectacles are a comfortable help to the reading of the divine Scriptures, so musick serves to exhilarate the soul in the service of Almighty God.'

"Afternoon prayers being now ready to begin, we passed into the quire, which was adorned with all those graceful ornaments that could any ways add a becoming beauty to the decency, splendour, and nobility of so magnificent a structure: which indeed, considered abstractly from the whole, is so elegant, awful, and well-composed a part, that nothing but the glorified presence of omnipotence can be worthy of so much art, grandeur, and industry as shines there to the honour of God, and face of human excellence. When prayers were over, which were performed with that harmonious reverence and exhilarating order, sufficient to reclaim the wickedness of men from following the untunable discord of sin, and bring them over to

the enlivening harmony of grace and goodness, we returned into the body of the church. We now took notice of the vast distance of the pillars from which they turn the cupola, on which they say is a spire to be erected three hundred foot in height, whose towering pinnacle will stand with such stupendious loftiness above Bow steeple dragon, or the Monument's flaming urn, that it will appear to the rest of the holy temples, like a cedar of Lebanon among so many shrubs, or a Goliah looking over the shoulders of so many Davids."

"As we were thus gazing with great satisfaction at the wondrous effects of human industry, raising our thoughts by degrees to the marvellous works of Omnipotence from those of his creatures, we observed an old country fellow leaning upon his stick, and staring with great amazement up towards heaven, through the circle from whence the arch is to be turned. Seeing him fixed in such a ruminating posture, I asked him his opinion of this noble building, and how he liked the church 'Church!' replied he, "tis no more like a church than I am. Adsheart! It's more by half like a great goose-pie, and this embroidered hole in the middle of the top is like the place in the upper crust where they put in the butter.' 'Prithee,' said I, honest countryman, since thou dost not believe it to be a church, what place dost thou take it to be? Why,' says he, 'I'll warrant you now, thou thinkest me to be such an arrant fool I can't tell, but thou art mistaken, for my father was a trooper to Oliver Cromwell, and I have heard him say many a time he has set up his horse here; and do you think the Lord will ever dwell in a house made of a stable? That was done,' said I, by a parcel of rebellious people, who had got the upper hand of the government, and cared not what murder, sacrilege, treason, and mischief they committed. Why then,' says Roger, ‘I think in good truth, the cavaliers are as much to blame in making a church of a stable, as the roundheads were in making stable of a church, and there's a Rowland for your Oliver, and so good-bye to you.'"

In the following sketch, we recognise a character which in every age seems to be reproduced and persecuted with the old threadbare ridicule, and yet to flourish with undiminished pertinacity—we mean that of a collector of rarities, in which term we may almost all of us be included. Some accumulate old books, and some old china, others run to every end of the town in search of autographs; our wives and daughters have each a little museum of their own; and such antiquaries as the following may pursue their whimsies, and ride their harmless hobby-horse without dreading the raillery inflicted upon Dr. Woodward, by the joint malice of Pope and Swift.

"He's a wonderful antiquary, and has a closet of curiosities which outdoes Gresham College. He tells you that he has the toothpicker of Epicurus, which he always used after eating; it is made of the claws of an American humming-bird, and is to be used like a rake, and will pick four teeth at once. He has Diogenes's lanthorn, which he carried about Athens at noonday to seek for an honest man. He says he has some of Heraclitus's tears, which dropped from him in a hard winter, and are frozen into christal; they are set in a locket, and every time any body looks upon it they cannot forbear weeping. Also a tenpenny nail drawn out of the ark, and though it's iron, toss it into a tub of water, and 'twill swim like a feather. He pretends to have one of Judas's thirty pence, and every time he looks upon 't he is ready to hang himself. A mighty collection of these sort of trinkets he tells the world he is master of, and some give credit to his ridiculous romances."

In so musical and poetical an age as the present, we shall, perhaps, be accused of temerity in inserting a song against those double attri

butes of Apollo, but we shall, notwithstanding, venture upon the experiment if it be only for the sake of its novelty.

"A song against Musick.

Musick's a crotchet the sober think vain,
The fiddle 's a wooden projection;
Tunes are but flirts of a whimsical brain,

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Which the bottle brings best to perfection.
Musicians are half-witted, merry and mad,

The same are all those that admire 'em;
They 're fools if they play, unless they 're well paid,
And the others are blockheads to hire 'em.

CHORUS.

The organ's but humming,
Theorbo but thrumming;
The viol and voice
Are but jingle and noise,
The bagpipe and fiddle
Goes tweedle and diddle,
The hoit-boy and flute
Is but toot a toot toot.

Your scales and your cliffs, keys, moodes, and dull rules,
Are fit to please none but madmen and fools."

"The novelty of this whimsie," says the old periodicalist from whom we are quoting, "gave great diversion to the whole company except one, who being a musician, and angry to hear his profession so disparaged, called for pen and ink, when the following crotchet started from his brain, like Esop's mouse from the mountain, to the great laughter of the whole company.

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CHORUS.

Their soft panegyric
Is praise beyond merit,
Their lampoon and satyr
Is spright and ill-nature,
Their plays and romances
Are fables and fancies,
Their farces and drolls
Are but fit for dull souls;
While their figures and similes only are fit,

To please the dull fools that give money for wit."
VOL. IX. No. 53.-1825.

64

'DANGEAU'S MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF FRANCE.*

A CONTEMPORARY journal, in a paroxysm of displeasure, has thought fit, in a recent number, to censure the voracity of the public for scandalous gossip. In this somewhat acrimonious animadversion we cannot altogether agree; and, as the party inculpated happens to be our very particular friend," we feel ourselves moved to avoid the inky imputation of ingratitude,-the hic niger est of the poet,-by protesting against so much of the charge as will relieve that injured innocent, our aforesaid friend, at least from the odium of the accusation.

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That the public are fond of memoirs abounding in personal anecdote we freely admit ;-" 'tis true, 'tis pity," &c.: but that they are more fond of such high-relishing condiments than any other public, past, present, or to come, we utterly deny, Nay, we will go still further, and advance that, if they really were so, it would only prove an additional progress in refinement and civilization. Among the idle and dissipated of all communities, scandal and detraction will be sought after for their own sake; and the baser and more vulgar it is, the more greedily will it be swallowed. But when works of a personal tendency are eagerly bought up by the public at large, the circumstance shews less a depraved taste among persons not otherwise corrupt, than a laudable curiosity in the mass of the people to become acquainted with the morals and manners of their superiors, to measure themselves by the soi disant models of perfection, and to extract from life a code of philosophy for themselves, instead of trusting the musty apophthegms of omre pretending authorities.

The passionate desire of penetrating into the human heart, and wresting from it the secret of every situation, rank, and predicament in the scale of fortune, is part and parcel of human nature. It would be as reasonable to find fault with the stomach for its carnivorous digesti bilities, which are confessedly barbarous and ferocious, as to be angry with this equally inherent and inevitable tendency. In the very teeth then of the reviewer's censure we profess our regret for the destruction of the Byron manuscript; not because, like Discord, in the golden pippin, we "doat on a sweet bit of mischief," but because we are curious about every thing that tends to illustrate human nature. That the public were most anxious to receive the legacy, there can be no doubt; nor could it well be otherwise. They had been taught by the political opponents of the poet to consider his intellect and disposition as exceptions to our common nature, and to make his personal adventures matter of daily remark; and it was impossible that, thus stimulated, they should not look with eagerness for every means for passing a correct judgment on so singular and so much disputed a topic.

Of all the different species of writing, memoirs are at once the most enticing and the most instructive. Placing facts before us, in all their freshness, with all their localities and personalities, they make us, as it were, present at the transactions they relate. They are to history and

*Memoirs of the Court of France from the year 1684 to the year 1720, now first translated from the Diary of the Marquis de Dangeau. With historical and cri

tical Notes. vols. 8vo.

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