« PreviousContinue »
pounds annually, together with a steward, four chaplains, thirteen clerks, and seven choristers, the latter of whom were kept at school in the hospital, besides servants." “ And on the anniversary of the founder, instead of one hundred poor men, three hundred were fed; and other extraordinary charities were bestowed on the chief festivals of the year.” To this, Cardinal Beaufort" made an endowment for the maintenance of two more priests, thirty-five additional poor men, residents in the house, and of three women, being hospital nuns, to attend upon the sick brethren." Alas ! how is it now fallen! "Instead of seventy residents, as well clergy as laity, who were here entirely supported, besides a hundred out-members who daily received their meat and drink, the charity consists at present but of thirteen resident brethren, exclusive of one chaplain and the master. it is true, however, that certain doles of bread continue to be distributed to the poor of the neighbourhood; and what is perhaps the only vestige left in the kingdom of the simplicity and hospitality of ancient times, the porter is daily furnished with a certain quantity of good bread and beer, of which every traveller or other person whosoever, that knocks at the lodge and calls for relief, is entitled to partake gratis.” Of this bread have I eaten, and of this beer have I drunk, and, though neither hungry nor thirsty, with a delight and enjoyment I had never known before. It was a kindness done me by strangers—men whose very existence was almost forgotten,-a hand stretched out in fellowship and courtesy, from the darkness of many passed ages—it was a fine commentary on that humanity which teaches us to judge charitably of the errors and opinions of our fellow-men, for we now hold that these men erred grievously—to extend our good wishes and kind offices to the utmost bounds of the habitable world :-it was a real honour done to God, because it was unconditional charity to his creature, for it was here only to ask and to receive.
I have but little more to add, and that I do with infinite regret. It is impossible, I think, to inquire into the origin, and the present condition of this noble endowment, without a firm conviction that it is abused, While the number of its poor brotherhood is reduced to thirteen, the mastership is a fitting office for the son of a bishop, and that bishop was the controller and administrator of the charity. It signifies not that from the earliest times the master has been some person of distinguished consequence—that William of Wykeham appointed his intimate friend—that it has been held by many men who were removed hence to bishopricks;—the question is, in what spirit was it held ? That an important charity of this nature should be under the special government of some distinguished person, is easily enough understood ; but there were offices of honour as well as profit, and when we know the master's salary was from 71. to 8l. annually, we cannot doubt that this was one of the former; and the more readily do I believe it abused, from knowing the original extent of the charity, its reduced numbers, and that the master's income alone is supposed to exceed the whole expense of the establishment. It is indifferent how long the charity has been abused ; we know indeed that the mastership has been for many years considered of great pecuniary value ; but so it was probably before Wykeham by patient exertion and “ long prosecuted suits, both in the ecclesiastical and temporal courts,"
brought back its revenues to their original destination. Neither will it be denied that the property of this charity was cruelly despoiled by Henry VIII.; but how happens it that the spoliation has fallen altogether on the institution, and is only known by the reduced numbers of the brethren, and the abolition of the charitable donations-by leaving one side of the great quadrangle to be pulled down as tenantless, and in converting the “ hundred-mennes hall” into a brewery?
But I must here take a farewell of St. Cross, and return to Win. chester. I am unfortunately no antiquary, having no pretensions to the character-my enjoyment is confined to the memorable and the beautiful, to what excites or recalls delightful feeling. I am insensible therefore, cold as death, to one half the excellence of this city; and yet never was a stranger change than the place wrought in me. The
very air is infectious : we read of, hear of, see nothing of a much later
age than “our Henry:" my common talk is now about John de Pontissara, Bishop de Blois, and Bishop de Rupibus ; I am quite reconciled to Roger de Inkpen, and Saint Rombaldi—indeed saints and martyrs are my familiars. It is well my first visit was paid to the palace, for I should never have gone afterwards. Sir Christopher was born but yesterday—my choice architects are Walkelin and De Lucy, William of Wykeham, Bishop Edyngton, and Warden Thrurbren. That the divisions and subdivisions for captains and subalterns have not left a room distinguishable in the palace, ought to have been no subject of regret ; for though hardly a wall is in existence of the old Priory of St. Swithin that adjoined the Cathedral, I am, thanks to Mr. Milner, as familiar with its whole architectural economy, as “the hostel" where I kennel. Here were the dormitories -- there the refectory~a little farther to the north, the cellarer's store-house and the buttery—that one was the apartment for the novitiates—this the Prior's quarters—and as the whole is a tine smooth level, like a bowlinggreen, there is nothing to obstruct one's passing familiarly through the whole suite of apartments. But, reader, it is probable you never were at Winchester, or only passed through it in yonr way to Hampton, “since the Conquest,” as we say here, called Southampton ; you have, therefore, no sympathy with me. With all your respect for the immortal Alfred, you would not be content to hear me dwell with enthusiasm on all that remains of Hyde Abbey, his own foundation, and the burial-place of himself and family. Of St. Mary's Abbey, founded by Ethelswitha, his queen, not one stone remains upon another. There are no less, I believe, than forty or fifty churches here in much the same situation; and as I despair of giving sufficient variety to this catalogue of nothings, I will pass at once to the Cathedral.
There is a solemnity, a mysterious intermingling of the shadows of old trees with its own deeper shade, that makes the approach to it strangely impressive. The common church-yard in which it is situated, much as it detracts from its general appearance, adds something to this feeling. Its magnitude, its beauty, its bold and severe simplicity, all concur to tame down the passions and to humble the heart; and no man can have spent an hour in gazing on it, but he came away the wiser and the better.
Of its exterior, hardly an opinion can be given, that must not, to be just, be limited to the very spot on which we may imagine ourselves
standing. The nave, the transepts, and the choir, are all of widely different ages, and even the north and south sides of the nave, differ from one another. The line of noble windows, the solid grandeur of the buttresses, and the uniform simplicity of the whole northern exterior of the nave, leave it, in my judgment, almost without a rival in ecclesiastical architecture; but, from the south side, the cloisters have been swept away, the buttresses, if it ever had them, are gone with the cloisters, and this barbarous mutilation has not only destroyed the beauty of that part, but the security of the building itself. I think, as a whole, the finest view of the exterior is from the north-east. There is a dignity in the massy proportions of Anglo-Norman architecture, that, on a large scale, approaches the sublime, and the range of building from the chapel of the Virgin at the east end, to the north transept, including the tower, though but a portion of the cathedral, is amply sufficient to prove it. The east end of the choir, indeed, does, by the multitude of its ornaments, injure the general effect, and detract something from its uniform simplicity, nor can I agree to the commendation which better judgments have passed on the choir itself.
I speak from feeling, and without any pretensions to critical accuracy; but it seemed to me too much broken into parts, and those parts were uniform and tasteless ;-the flying buttresses, though light, I do not think " elegant”--the dome canopies, which crown the turrets, I do not think «
gorgeous ;" and I do think that a dome canopy, though to be met with elsewhere, is directly opposed to every principle from which Gothic architecture takes its sublime character ; and as to the “profusion of elegant carved work that covers the whole east front," I can only say there seemed to me an astonishing dearth of invention in the multitudinous repetition of the same ornament, and that ornament poor and common.
Upon entering the great west door of this cathedral, I felt it was inferior to Westminster. The almost painful sense of sublime astonishment was wanting. The pillars are heavy-the roofing low--the general proportions are inferior ; I speak comparatively, of course. It wants the magic lightness that distinguishes the other. It is grand, but it takes its grandeur from its vastness—its length is great, but the transepts break the connexion between the east and west ends; and it is enough that the connexion actually exists in stone walls ; there must be a continuity of feeling in the heart of the spectator, which is impossible when the nave is of one age, the transepts much older, and the east end, to which they lead the eye, of a much later date. Still it is a noble building, and the magnificent east window is a beauty, and a great beauty, wanting in the other. But the greatest enjoyment here, and whence we obtain the most accurate knowledge of its magnitude and architectural riches, is in a patient examination of the separate parts of the cathedral, and of the chapels and shrines contained in it. İn the latter, Winchester is without a rival—those of Wykeham, Waynflete, Beaufort, and Fox, are a constellation superior to any in the kingdom that fall within my knowledge; and let me here do justice to the latter in that commendation of the interior of the choir, which I could not, with sincerity, give to the exterior. These shrines, or chantries, are what such erections ought to be, consistent and in harmony
with all surrounding objects, and a splendid ornament to the building that encloses them.
The chantry of Wykeham is simple and elegant, and its high preservation does honour to his children, here and at New College. It is superior, I think, to all, in the delicacy of its proportions, the simplicity of its ornaments, and the general lightness of its appearance. The chantry of Fox is, in taste, its direct opposite. It is oppressed with ornament, and frittered away into minute parts, till the general design is indistinguishable. It is an enigma—a sort of mysterious confusion of columns, arches, pedestals, niches, groining, and sculpture, that, till the eye is familiar with, the mind cannot reduce to order. That great man seems to have had the taste of a carver, or an upholsterer, rather than a sculptor or an architect. Yet the chantry of Fox is not without beauty; there is something exquisite in the finishing of the ornaments, and the relative proportion of such a multitude of parts, when we can bring ourselves to the consideration of these things.
Waynflete and Beaufort's chantries stand immediately opposite, in equal and admirable condition, and have, both from size and situation, a vague general resemblance, although broad distinctions are visible to an accustomed eye.
The cardinal's tomb is generally admitted the more elegant; but are not the columns that support the canopy too light for the incumbent weight? Do they not want something of proportionate richness? This judgment may seem hypercritical, for without the objection the work would be perfect; but it originates in a comparison with Waynflete's, which in this particular I prefer. The gorgeous canopies, and pendents, the rich fan-work, and the clustering pinnacles above, are beyond all description, and beyond the graver itself. There is a fine figure of the Cardinal-as, I omitted to observe, there is of Wykeham—in all the splendid trappings of his high office, beneath this canopy. The parts of the Cathedral itself that deserve special attention are without number, and it is a fine illustration of the rise and progress of Gothic architecture, from the dignified simplicity of the Anglo-Norman, to the delicacy and refinement of the age of Henry VII.
TO A JASMINE FALLEN FROM LELJA's BOSOM.
On Lelia's bosom fled, I saw thee shine
As Purity within her holiest shrine.
Her lover's fate was thine, and ihou wast riven
Like some fallen spirit weeping its lost Heaven.
For woman's bosom can delight and slay;
To feel its bliss, and sigh thy life away.
CIVIC SPORTS.-NO. I.
Monday, Sept. 1. 9 A. M.- Took down from back attic my legacy gun, so called because it became mine under the will of Sir Diggory Drysalt, my maternal uncle. Used by him, with tremendous effect, when a grenadier in Colonel Birch's first Loyal London, in the battles of Shad Thames and Primrose-hill. Thought it prudent to ascertain the death of this Gunpowder Percy: drew out the ramrod and thrust it down the barrel ; felt a soft substance at bottom, and trembled ; screwed up my courage and the soft substance, and found the latter to be a doll's pincushion, probably pushed in by little Sally. Borrowed Bob's duster and Molly's scowering-paper, and rubbed off the rust. Looked about for a game-bag, and luckily alighted upon my uncle's havresack, in which I moreover found seventeen old cartridges. Put on my shooting-dress, viz.—my white hat, my stone-blue coat and black velvet collar, my white Marcella waistcoat, my India dimity under ditto, my nankeen trowsers, and my ditto gaiters, not forgetting my military boots and brass spurs. Jammed down ramrod till it rang again, to the great terror of Mrs. Swandown, of whom I took leave, singing
“ Adieu, adieu, my only life,
My honour calls'ine from thee.” Set off, in high spirits, to meet Jack Juniper, Kit Cursitor, and Tom Tiffany, by appointment, at half-past nine, at the Cumberland Arms, opposite St. Luke's Hospital, in the City Road. Saw a poll-parrot at a window in Carpenter's Buildings: longed for a shot, but housemaid too sharp. Terrier puppy barked at a bedstead in Broker's Row: looked round, and found that she had made a point at a bulfinchcocked and levelled, but broker kept walking to and fro. Arrived at place of appointment without seeing any more game. Found Jack Juniper and Kit Cursitor discussing a plate of biscuits and a couple of glasses of brandy and water. Waited twenty minutes for Tom Tiffany; Jack in the mean while, to pass the time, said he would play“ Water parted” with his finger upon the rim of the rummer : could not catch the tune, probably because it was all in one note. Examined our pieces: Kit's wanted a flint, and Jack's lock too rusty to go, though he pulled till he nearly sprained his fore-finger. Borrowed some oil, with three wasps in it, of the barmaid, and got a Aint from a bald pavier in the road. Rang the bell to pay, when who should turn up but Tom Tiffany, in high dudgeon: back up, like the half-moon at Lower Holloway. Told us his brother Sam had walked off with the family fowling-piece across Shoulder of Mutton Fields, to slaughter snipes in Hackney brook. Asked landlord if he could lend us a gun, but he had nothing but a horse-pistol. Hobson's choice, so Tom had nothing to do but to take it. Too short to bring down pheasants, but quite long enough to do for the little birds.