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times, to revive in his mind many a pleasant recollection.-Several of our greatest authors have been cockneys born, have lived, or have died in London. In the poems, in the correspondence, in the lives of our celebrated wits and authors, we find perpetual references to various parts of the metropolis. In almost innumerable instances the scenes of our dramas are laid there, and it would be difficult to mention a novel, in which either the hero or the heroine does not at some period or other pay a visit to London. Was it not in a street near Hanover-square that Lady Bellaston received the stolen visits of Tom Jones ? Captain Booth was incarcerated in a lock-up-house in Gray's-Inn-lane ; Evelina lodged in High-Holborn ;-but such an enumeration would be endless. It would be a pleasant thing to walk through London and trace out these localities. I once resolved on such a pilgrimage myself, but made very little progress in it; my journey proved a very short one. My terminus à quo, as the lawyers call it, was Fleet-market, and my terminus ad quem, Charing-cross ; yet, unpromising as the way appeared, I was astonished to find how many curious recollections were scattered along it.
I commenced my walk at Fleet-market, where formerly Fleetditch used to flow in muddy pride. It was the favourite retreat of the Goddess whom Gay has celebrated in his “ Trivia :"
She downward glides,
Where common shores a lulling murmur keep,
But Fleet-ditch is still more celebrated as the scene of some of the games in “ The Dunciad.” Here Oldmixon, at the poet's pleasure, “ shot to the black abyss, and plunged outright.” Smedley “ dived," and Concanen “crept." Into this miry stream, in short, Pope delighted to plunge all his dull enemies.*
Fleet-street has been much celebrated in the annals of literature. It used formerly to be a great emporium of books. Thus when Gay anticipates the renown which his “ Trivia” will acquire, he says
“ High raised on Fleet-street posts, consign'd to fame,
This work shall shine, and walkers bless my name. It must not be forgotten that Chaucer is said to have trodden the pavement of Fleet-street, wherein it is alleged that he was so irre
* From this spot the Fleet Prison may be seen, near which resided the accommodating Parson, whose readiness to unite young couples was one great cause of the passing of the marriage-act, 26 Geo. II. I mention this reminiscence for the benefit of the lawyers. Pennant, in his “London,” gives an entertaining account of this reverend gentleman :-“In walking along the street in my youth, on the side next this prison, I have often been tempted by the question, 'Sir, will you walk in and be married ?' Along this most lawless place was hung up a sign of a male and female hand conjoined, with marriages performed within,' written beneath—a dirty fellow invited you in. The parson was seen walking before his shop, a squalid profligate figure, clad in a tattered plaid night-gown, with a fiery face, and ready to couple you for a dram of gin or a roll of tobacco. Our great Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, put these demons to flight."
ligious as to beat a Franciscan friar. Within the purlieus of this street too, Johnson resided many years of his unhappy life; and assuredly, if his spirit be suffered to revisit this terrene sphere, it would haunt his favourite Fleet-street. To a bibliomaniac, however, it possesses superior attractions, for here Wynkyn de Worde lived at the Faucon, and printed his “Fruyte of 'Tymes” in 1515, at the
syne of the Sun. Opposite St. Dunstan's Church I saw a knot of novi homines, unsophisticated creatures fresh from the country, who, with upraised eye and half-open mouth, were waiting, with wondering impatience, till the giant time-killers should strike the hour of five. It was equally new to me, and I joined the little throng to observe and partake of their pleasure. But to me St. Dunstan's had a greater attraction than even the marvellous hammers of these representatives of old Time. It was to this holy place that the divine Clarissa used to steal, to offer up her pure vows to that Heaven of which she was so soon to become an inhabitant. I could almost fancy I saw her with her saint-like eyes bent down, as she returned from morning-prayers, and retiringly sought the solitude of her lodging in King-street, Covent-garden. Through the disguise of her " ordinary gown,” and “ her face half hid by her cap," I could trace her sovereign beauty and her heavenly purity of spirit. I saw too, in the terrified depression of her graceful form, and in the lovely inquietude of her features, the symptoms of a heart which, though broken, was still ill at rest. In her carriage there were still the remains of her early dignity. The vision faded from my eyes but from my heart never. The impression it left on my mind was like that of a vivid dream from which we have been suddenly awakened. I felt sure, if I walked to King-street, I should find the house in which she lodged—“Smith-a glove maker as well as seller." I was sure I should see “his wife the shop-keeper, a dealer also in stockings, ribands, snuff, and perfumes-a matron-like woman, plain-hearted and prudent. The husband an honest industrious man."
“ The Lady” used also to attend prayers in Lincoln's Inn Chapel, which is thus more sanctified to me than by the memory of the crowd of dignified lawyers whose knees have bent within its walls, or whose ashes repose beneath its roof. I almost resolved to make a pilgrimage to those places, which imagination has hallowed with the presence of Clarissa Harlowe.
A little farther onwards I reached the corner of Chancery-lane, and vainly I looked for the house which had been the residence of one of the pleasantest and most simple-hearted men that ever painted a picture of themselves, and left it for the delight of posterity. Shame on that lucre of gain which prompted some narrowminded citizen to demolish the roof under which thy head, honest Isaak Walton, once sheltered itself! While
and contentment, and quiet happiness, have any charm for mankind, the dwelling of gentle Piscator should have been sacred. When the spirits were ruffled and troubled with the world's vexations, it would have been as though oil were cast on the angry waters, if we could have entered a dwelling which the tranquil memory of Isaak Walton still filled. Surely it would have answered upon such a site to have es
tablished an angler's shop-nay, within a few doors of it, on the Temple-bar side, I did observe the indicia of an establishment of the kind-the glass-case containing a pike's head-the stuffed perch-the treacherous wooden frogs-the bright many-coloured flies, and the graceful bend of the rod, from which a golden fish contentedly dangled. Should the shade of Piscator revisit this scene of his earthly sojourn, what pleasing recollections must these memorials inspire! We learn from the life of Piscator, that his first residence in London, as a shop-keeper, was in the Royal Burse, built by Sir Thomas Gresham. Here, indeed, Isaak must have found considerable difficulty in turning himself round, for his shop was only seven feet and a half long and five feet wide. Here did he dwell until the year 1624, when he removed to a house “ on the North side of Fleet-street, two doors west of the end of Chan.. cery-lane, abutting on a messuage known by the sign of the Har. row.”-Froin this description, I presume his house occupied the ground upon which Mr. Thomas's Magazine for bonnets, muffs, shawls, and other lady-like paraphernalia, now stands. Walton is said afterwards to remove to Chancery-lane.*
As I turned my eyes to the left, I observed the portals of the Temple; and the tragical story of all the unmerited sufferings and grievous tortures of some of the most valiant spirits of the world came freshly over my mind. I could not, however, afford time to abandon myself to the indignation which the memory of perverted justice is so apt to inspire; I contented myself therefore with be. stowing a hearty malediction on that monster of France, Philip-lebel—“Il mal di Francia”—“il nuovo Pilato”—as Dante very properly calls him, for commencing the persecution of these brave and innocent men, and on our own Edward II. for so pusillanimously following such evil advice and example.
And this is Temple-bar! this is the grand entrance into “our good City of London”-sufficiently shabby too. Here the Whittingtons for the time being, on each royal visit, shut the gate in their sovereign's face, in order to have the pleasure of opening it to him; and upon this arch the head of many a brave and gallant gentleman has been baked in the sun, in expiation of his misguided zeal. The disgusting practice of exposing the mutilated bodies of State criminals a practice only suited to the meridian skies of Turkey, seems happily on the decline amongst us. Glorious is the reign in which the blood of the subject flows not for State offences. How glorious does this circumstance render the government of Queen Anne. Let us hope that the reign of George IV. may be distinguished by the same merciful celebrity.
But stay! I must not pass the site of the Devil Tavern, which was close to Temple-bar, without bestowing a thought on thee, O rare Ben Jonson. 'Here, in a chamber dedicated to Apollo, didst thou and thy choice spirits assemble, to taste, at stated periods, the enjoyments of intellectual conviviality! and here didst thou promulge
Chancery-lane is famous for being the birth-place of the unworthy and unfortunate Lord Strafford.
for the government of the society thy famous leges conviviales. Here too did the wits of Queen Anne's day sometimes congregate. “I dined to-day," says Swift, in his Journal to Stella, “ with Dr. Garth and Mr. Addison, at the Devil Tavern, near Temple-bar, and Garth treated."--This tavern took its name from the sign which was suspended before it, of St. Dunstan tweaking the nose of the Evil one with a pair of hot tongs. I don't think that even St. George ever performed so valorous an exploit.
On entering the Strand, the first literary recollection that struck me, was the account Dean Swift has left of the accident which he here met with. Let me give the Dean's own words.
"Coming home this evening I broke my shin in the Strand, over a tub of sand, left just in the way. I got home dirty enough, and went straight to bed, where I have been cooking it with gold-beater's skin, and have been peevish enough with Patrick, who was near an hour bringing a rag from next door." I would willingly have been soused over head in a bed of mud, could I but have seen that trip of Jonathan's--it must have been a glorious thing to have beheld the Dean in a passion with the tub of sand. His broken shin was, however, very refractory, and refused to get well
. In one of his letters he says, “I walked too much yesterday for a man with a broken shin ;' and again: “ This sore shin ruins me in coachhire; it cost me no less than two shillings,” &c. &c. At the conclusion of the same letter, we meet with the following elegant passage respecting this accident. “I dined with Sir John Percival, and saw his lady sitting in the bed in the forms of a lying-in woman; and coming home, my sore shin itched, &c. but I am now got to bed, and have put on alum-curd, and it is almost well.” I would not have been Patrick, the Dean's valet, while his shin was thus afflicted, no, not even for the brilliant gold-laced hat, the price of which his master stopped in his wages.
What author ever excited such sympathies in the hearts of his countrymen as Shakspeare? The place of his birth, and the scenes of his dramas, are hallowed ground. I need only mention the Boar'shead in Eastcheap, in which such pleasant visions have been created by the genius of Goldsmith and of Washington Irvine. So many of Shakspeare's plays are laid in London, that a geography of them would be really entertaining. Clement's Inn, near the Strand, has a peculiar charm for me-it was once the residence of Justice Shallow! “ I was once of Clement's Inn, where I think they will talk of mad Shallow yet.” Who can pass the entrance without remembering how “Jack Falstaff broke Skogan's head at the court-gate when he was a crack not thus high.” How, on the same day, the Justice did fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. Poor Shallow! Clement's Inn seems to have been to hin the "green spot" to which his memory ever reverted with pride and with pleasure. The very name conjured up the recollections of his youthful days, when he heard the chimes at midnight, or lay all night in the Windmill in St. George's-fields. Though the fat knight would insinuate something against the veracity of the Jus. tice," this same starved Justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull-street, and every third word a lie duer paid to the hearer
VOL. II. No. 1.-1822.
than the Turk's tribute. I do remember him at Clement's Inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese paring."
“ Ah !" I exclaimed, as I reached the corner of Arundel-street, " “ am I then walking in the footsteps of the learned Selden ?" Yes, hither that austere scholar bent his willing steps, to examine the famous marbles which had lately arrived from the East, and which then lay in the Arundel-gardens, from whence they afterwards derived their appellation. And with him came his learned companions, Patrick' Young (Patricius Junius) the Royal Librarian, and Richard James, who was, “ critically seen both in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin." It will be some time ere such a trio shall again pace the flags of the Strand.
As I wandered on, I reached the site of those celebrated literary games which are described in the second book of the Dunciad. The emulous authors
“took their stand
A Church collects the saints of Drury-lane."
“Wide as a windmill all his figure spread,
And left-legg'd Jacob seems to emulate.” The Strand, no doubt, would furnish a thousand curious recollections, both historical and literary. Our chief nobility used to reside between it and the Thames, as the names of the various streets yet sufficiently testify. But the skies threatened a shower, and I bastened forward. I could not, however, avoid casting a glance up Lancaster-court, as I passed, where the wise and witty Porson used to pay visits to his brother-in-law, who resided there, and on whom he made the philological epigram, which the Sexagenarian has given on his brother's taking a medicine of names not a few," which I shall however forbear transcribing. By the by, the Cider-cellar, in Maiden-lane, was a favourite resort with the Professor, after visiting the Dean of Westminster or Bennet Langton. -As the drops now began to descend, I spurred on “my Bayard of ten-toes," as an old writer says, and arriving
“Where branching streets from Charing-cross divide," I took refuge in Mr. Colnaghi’s print-shop.