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• From art, from jealousy secure,
Vain opinion nobly scorning,
All their tender hours improving,
Descending the terrace, and crossing the bridge, how pleasant is the walk along the Middlesex bank of the river to the village of Twick. enham, and its old grey church, where Pope lies buried !
But, plea. santer still is it to take a boat, and be rowed up the middle of the stream, unlocking the stores of memory as we pass, and saying to ourselves, “ Here on the right, lived Bacon.—Yonder, at West Sheen, lived Sir William Temple ; and there was born the celebrated Stella ; and at the same place Swift first made her acquaintance.—And here, again, is Marble Hall
, where the beauteous Lady Suffolk kept open house for all the wits of the neighbourhood."
Among the most conspicuous of the places we pass there is a neat little rural hut, called 'Gay's Summer house, where, according to tradition, that amiable poet wrote his celebrated fables for the infant Duke of Cumberland, currying court favour, but getting nothing but neglect for his pains. “Dear Pope,” he wrote to his brother poet, " what a barren soil I have been striving to produce something out of ! Why did I not take your advice before my writing fables for the Duke, not to write them, or rather to write them for some young nobleman. It is my hard fate,-I must get nothing, write for or against them.” Poor Gay ! Too well he knew, as Spenser so feelingly sings in his Mother Hubbard's Tale,
“ What hell it was in suing, long to bide,
Yet one cannot help thinking, after all, that it served him right ; for, according to his own confession, he was ready to wield his pen either for or against the court, as might be most profitable. Who but must regret that a man of genius should ever have been reduced to so pitiful an extremity ? Who but must sigh that he should, even to his bosom friend, have made such a confession ?
At a short distance beyond Gay's Summer-house, and on the same side of the river, stands Ham House, formerly the residence of the noted Duke of Lauderdale, and where he and his four colleagues, Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, and Arlington, held those secret meetings, which acquired for them a name infamous in English history, the Cabal,-a word which their initials happened to compose. In the house, now the residence of the Countess of Dysart, are preserved many memorials of the Lauderdale family. According to tradition this is one of the places in which Charles the Second took
refuge after the battle of Worcester ; and it is also said that the great gate leading to the Ham avenue, has never been opened to any meaner visiter since the hour when the fugitive king, after he left the wood of Boscabel, was admitted within it for a night's shelter. Another tradition, which is still more questionable, asserts that here also, as at Boscabel, he hid himself among the branches of an oak to escape a party of his eager pursuers. A shattered trunk of a tree in Ham Lane was formerly shown to the visiter as the identical royal oak ; and a fair which is annually held on the spot on the 29th of May, has tended to countenance the belief among the people of the neighbourhood, who have no notion that any incredulous and too precise examiner into dates and facts should deprive them of their traditions. However, “ truth is strong,” and truth compels us to say, that their royal oak is only a counterfeit.
Just before we arrive at Twickenham, there is a small island in the middle of the river, called by some Twickenham Ait,” but better known to the people of London, as “ Eel-pie Island." The tavern upon the island is famous for its eels, and the mode of dressing them, and during the summer season is visited by great crowds from the metropolis. Clubs, benefit societies, trades' unions, and other confederations, frequently proceed thither, each member with his wife and children, or his sweetheart, to feast upon the dainties of the spot. On a fine Sunday especially, Eel-pie Island is in all its glory, thronged with “ spruce citizens, “ washed artisans,” and “smug apprentices,” who repair hither, as Byron has it, “ to gulp their weekly air,"
• And o'er the Thames to row the ribbon'd fair,"
or to wander in the park, which thanks to the public spirit of one humble individual, is still open to every pedestrian. Though somewhat of an episode, the history of the right of way through this pleasant park is deserving of mention. In the year 1758, the Princess "Amelia, daughter of George the Second, who was ranger, thought fit to exclude the public ; but an action was brought against her by Mr. John Lewis, a brewer, and inhabitant of Richmond, which he gained, and the princess was forced to knock down her barriers. The public right has never since been disputed, and the memory of the patriotic brewer is still highly esteemed in all the neighbourhood, and his portraits sought after, as memorials of his courage and per . severance.
But to return again to Eel.pie Island. The place was the favourite resort of Kean for a few months before his death. The boatman we were fortunate enough to hire was the boatman generally employed by the great actor, and from him we learned, that after the fatigues of the night were over at the theatre, he often caused himself to be rowed to Eel.pie Island, and there left to wander about by moon. light till two or three o'clock in the morning. The tavern used at that time to be frequented by a poetical sawyer of Twickenham whose poetry Kean greatly admired. The first time he heard the sawyer's rhymes, he was so delighted that he made him a present of iwo sovereigns, and urged him to venture upon the dangerous seas of authorship. By his advice the sawyer rushed into print, and published
a twopenny volume upon the beauties of Eel-pie Island, the delights of pie-eating, and various other matters of local and general interest. Kean at this time was so weak, that it was necessary to lift him in and out of the wherry—a circumstance which excited the boatman's curi. osity to go and see him in Richard the Third at the Richmond Theatre. “ There was some difference then, I reckon," said the honest fellow; "so much that I was almost frightened at him. He seemed on the stage to be as strong as a giant, and strutted about so bravely, that I could scarcely believe it was the same man. Next morning he would come into my boat with a bottle of brandy in his coal-pocket
, as weak as a child, until he had drunk about half the brandy, when he plucked up a little
One morning he came on board—I shall never forget him -he was crying like a child, and sobbing as if his heart was breaking'twas the morning when his • lady' ran away from him, and he told me all about it as well as he could for his tears. He had a bottle of brandy with him then. He gave me a quartern of it, and drank all the rest before we got to Twickenham, and ihen he was much better. But he was never the same man afterwards; he said his heart was broken ; and I believe it was, for he never held up his head again, poor fellow!"
We thought the boatman (we should mention his name-George Cripps) seemed affected at the thought, and we asked if Kean had been kind 10 him.
“Many's the time,” replied he, “that I have carried him in my arms in and out of the boat, as if he were a baby :--but he wasn't particularly kind. He always paid me my fare, and never grumbled at it, and was very familiar and free-like. But all the watermen were fond of him. He gave a new boat and a purse of sovereigns to be rowed for every year.”
“Ah! that accounts for it,” said we.
" When he died,” continued the boatman, “a great many of the watermen subscribed their little mite towards his monument.
" Was there much gathered ?" inquired we.
“ About seven or eight hundred pounds, I think,” replied the boat. man, “and it was to have been placed in Richmond church; but we hear nothing of it now, or whether it's ever to be erected at all. But here we are, sir, at Twickenham church; and if you please to step ashore, I'll wait for you, and then row you up to the Grotto.”
This was exactly the arrangement that suited us, and we walked into the dirty village of Twickenham, to pay our homage at the grave of Pope.
THE GOLDEN LEGEND.-No. III.
BY THOMAS INGOLDSBY.
A LAY OF ST. DUNSTAN. “This holy childe Dunston was borne in ye yere of our Lorde ix hondren & xxv. that tyme regnynge in this londe Binge Áthelston. * *
“ Conan it so was that Saynt Dunston was wery of prayer than used he to werke in goldsmith's werke with his own handes for to eschewe ydelnes.”
St. Dunstan stood in his ivy'd tower,
Alembic, crucible, all were there;
Every one knows
How the story goes:
Nor do I intend
An instant to spend
Edwy left them all joking,
And drinking, and smoking,
But sent the Archbishop
Their Sovereign to fish up,
6. Sir King,
No far her to treat
Of this ungallant feat,
A particular fact in the life of the Saint, St. Jingo, or Gengo (Gengulphus), sometimes styled “The Living Jingo," from the great tenaciousness of vitality exhibited by his severed members. For his Legend, see BENTLEY's MISCELLANÝ for March last.
Which somehow, for want of due care, I presume,
St. Dunstan stood again in his tower,
Alembic, crucible, all complete;
And call'd to his Broomstick to bring him a seat.
What they may be,
But I know they are three,
However that be,
You'll doubtless agree
And, in sooth,
From my youth
I remember a truth Insisted on much in my earlier years, To wit, “ Little Pitchers have very long ears !” Now, just such a “ Pitcher” as those I allude to Was outside the door, which his “ears" appeared glued to.