« PreviousContinue »
Has a thought about its nest,
The most imaginative and harmonious of poets has grouped the most charming of flowers around his “Sensitive Plant:'
A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Then the pied windflowers and the tulip tall,
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
And the wand-like lily, which lifted up,
And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose,
The "Field Flowers" of the poet of Hope' beautifuily contrast with the · Garden Flowers’ of Shelley :
“ Ye field flowers ! the gardens eclipse you, 'tis true,
For ye waft me to summers of old,
Like treasures of silver and gold.
you for lulling me back into dreams
And of birchen glades breathing their balm,
Made music that sweeten'd the calm.
Not a pastoral song has a pleasanter tune
Of old ruinous castles ye tell,
your blossoms were part of her spell.
Even now what affections the violet awakes !
Can the wild water lily restore !
In the vetches that tangled the shore.
Earth's cultureless buds, to
heart ye are dear,
Had scathed my existence's bloom;
We conclude with one of the most graceful poems
of an age from which a taste for the highest poetry was fast vanishing :
"Go, lovely rose !
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
When I resemble her to thee,
Tell her that 's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
In deserts, where no men abide,
Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired :
Suffer herself to be desired,
Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
How small a part of time they share
38.-ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON.
[John EVELYN, of Wotton, Surrey, was a younger son of an ancient family. During a long life, in eventful times, he maintained a character for independence and honesty, without being a violent partisan ; and in a profligate age he displayed the decorous virtues of an English gentleman. His · Memoirs' were found about thirty years ago, in a mutilated state, in the old mansion in which he lived and died Wotton, near Dorking; and they offer some of the most curious pictures we possess of the events and manners of the 17th century. We subjoin his narrative of the great fire of London, in 1666. Mr. Evelyn died in 1706, in his 86th year.]
1666. 2nd Sept. This fatal night about ten began that deplorable fire near Fish Street in London.
3. The fire continuing, after dinner I took coach with my wife and son and went to the bank-side in Southwark, where we beheld that dismal spectacle, the whole city in dreadful flames near the waterside; all the houses from the bridge, all Thames Street, and upwards towards Cheapside down to the Three Cranes were now consumed.
The fire having continued all this night, (if I may call that night which was as light as day for ten miles round about, after a dreadful manner,) when conspiring with a fierce eastern wind in a very dry season; I went on foot to the same place, and saw the whole south part of the city burning from Cheapside to the Thames, and all along Cornhill, (for it kindled back against the wind as well as forward,) Tower Street, Fenchurch Street, Gracechurch Street, and so along to Bainard's Castle, and was now taking hold of St. Paul's Church, to which the scaffolds contributed exceedingly. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning, I know not by what despondency or fate, they hardly stirred to quench it, so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and lamentation, running about like distracted creatures, without at all attempt ing to save even their goods; such a strange consternation there was upon them, so as it burned both in breadth and length, the churches, public halls, exchange, hospitals, monuments, and ornaments, leaping after a prodigious manner from house to house and street to street, at great distances one from the other; for the heat, with a long set of fair and warm weather, had even ignited the air and prepared the materials to conceive the fire, which devoured after an incredible manner, houses, furniture and everything. Here we saw the Thames covered with goods floating, all the barges and boats laden with what some had time and courage to save, as, on the other, the carts, &c., carrying out to the fields, which for many miles were strewed with moveables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh the miserable and calamitous spectacle ! such as haply the world had not seen the like since the foundation of it, nor be outdone till the universal conflagration. All the sky was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, the light seen above forty miles round about for many nights. God grant my eyes may never behold the like, now seeing above 10,000 houses all in one flame; the noise and cracking and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches was like an hideous storm, and the air all about so hot and inflamed, that at last one was not able to approach it; so that they were forced to stand still and let the flames burn on, which they did for near two miles in length and one in breadth. The clouds of smoke were dismal, and reached upon computation near fifty miles in length. Thus I left it this afternoon burning, a resemblance of Sodom, or the last day. London was, but is no more!
4. The burning still rages, and it has now gotten as far as the Inner Temple, all Fleet Street, the Old Bailey, Ludgate Hill, Warwick .- Lane, Newgate, Paul's Chain, Watling Street, now flaming, and most of it reduced to ashes; the stones of Paul's flew like granados, the melting lead running down the streets in a stream, and the very pavements glowing with fiery redness, so as no horse nor man was able to tread on them, and the demolition had stopped all the passages, so that no help could be applied. The eastern wind still more impe