Imágenes de páginas

smile to the smile of Providence, as men of Twelve days afterwards they were safe in his class will sometimes do when they see the Paris. On the second day after their arrival, victims of their hardness really escaping from Sir Robert and his friends had left Donne dependence on their aid. Donne's prospects alone for a while in the dining-room. On rebrightened at Drury House. At Drury House, turning, there was a change in Donne's ap, and in his rent-free apartment, he had those pearance, which led his friend to exclaim :home feelings of peace and rest which give so “ What is the matter? do tell me what has sweet a tone to some of his distinctive pages.

befallen you.” The delicious quietness and friendly security “I have seen a dreadful vision since I saw of his retreat seem to be immortalized in a you,” was the reply, after a long struzgle for few of his best passages; and his fondly. power to speak. “I have seen my dear wife cherished recollections of domestic life under pass twice by me through this room, with her Sir Robert's roof now and then find happy hair hanging about her shoulders, and a dead expression in sentences which, like plainly-set child in her arms; this I have seen since I gems, sparkle here and there in his least ex. saw you.” cellent sermons. He had peaceful memories “Sure, sir,” said Sir Robert, “ you have slept in his soul, when he said from the pulpit at since I saw you, and this is the result of some Whitehall, perhaps in the hearing of his royal melancholy dream, which I desire you to forfriend, James I.:

get, for you are now awake.” * Let the whole world be in thy consideration • Melancholy dream! no, I cannot be surer as one house; and then consider in that, in that I now live, than that I have not slept the peaceful harmony of creatures, in the since I saw you; and I am as sure that at her peaceful succession and connexion of causes second appearance she stopped and looked me and effects, the peace of nature. Let this in the face and vanished.” kingdom, where God hath blessed thee with a A night's rest did not shake Donne's conbeing, be the gallery, the best room of that viction; so that a messenger was despatched house, and consider in the two walls of that to England. In twelve days he returned with gallery, the Church and the State, the peace the news that he found Mrs. Donne confined of a royal and religious wisdom. Let thine to her bed; that, after a painful illness, she own family be a cabinet in this gallery, and had been delivered of a dead child; and that find, in all the boxes thereof, in the several the distressing event had occurred at the very duties of wife and children and servants, the hour in which her husband had seen her pass peace of virtue, and of the father and mother through his room in Paris. Who can explain ? of all virtues, active discretion, passive obe- He who has most carefully tried to sound the dience; and then, lastly, let thine own bosom mysteries of his own nature, will, perhaps, be the secret box and reserve in this cabinet; love the memory of Donne's biographer, dear and then the gallery of the best house that old Walton, all the more for his hint at the can be had, peace with the creature, peace in conclusion of the story, that as “it is most the Church, peace in the State, peace in thy certain that two lutes being both strung and house, peace in thy heart, is a fair model and a tuned to an equal pitch, and then one played lovely design even of the heavenly Jerusalem, upon, the other, that which is not touched, which is visio pacis, where there is no object being laid upon a table at a fit distance, will but peace.”

(like an echo to a trumpet) warble a faint It was while Drury House was the home audible harmony in answer to the same tune;" of Donne and his Anne, that there occurred so there may be “such a thing as a sympathy one of those remarkable incidents which at of souls." times give a moment's deep insight into that Anne Donne lived a few years longer, long mysterious oneness between loving spirits, enough to see her gifted husband consewhich even apparent separation for a time crate his rare powers and rich learning to fails to break. Sir Robert Drury had resolved the Christian ministry, at the request and on a journey to Paris. He pressed Donne to under the favour of the king; whose affection go with him; but the poet's wife was unwilling for him Donne alludes to in the dedication to part with him. She was in a delicate con. of his volume of “Devotions," a book which dition, and “her divining soul boded her some may remind one of the interwoven gold and ill in his absence.” She gave at last, however, purple and fine linen and various coloured "a faint consent," and the travellers started. gems in the garments of Aaron, all perfumed


with the holy anointing oil ; so rare a com. The course of my pilgrimage led me from bination is it of profound reflections, quaint Drury Lane, where I had been dreaming of fancies, acute observation, grave humour, fine freshness amidst scenes of moral decay, dow imagination, Scriptural wisdom, reverent piety, to St. Clement Danes, in the Strand. Not that warm devotion, happy turns of thought, and I expected to see the very same church as the pure and forceful expression, all blending and Doctor once preached in; but perchance I harmonizing under the influence of spiritual might light on the place of his feet, or stand and heavenly feeling. In accordance with the over the vault in which his wife's mortal i royal pleasure, Donne took the honour of a mains are sleeping. Doctor in Divinity at Cambridge, and returned

I found the home of the verger-an elderly just time enough to rejoice at the birth of his man, of good looks and agreeable bearing, twelfth child, and then to see his wife pass intelligent and communicative. I am afraid I into the skies.

interrupted his dinner, or his after-dinner nap; He was left now, as his plaintive friend says, nevertheless, he cheerfully responded to my “like a pelican in the wilderness, whose only desire for a sight of the church. He was not joy it was to be alone, that he might bemoan to have his temper ruffled, or his manners himself without witness or restraint, and pour marred, or his ecclesiastica! stores of informa. forth his passion like Job in the days of his tion deranged, by my untimely call; he was too affliction,

good at heart for that. "Oh that I might have the desire of my The interior of the church, like some others heart! Oh that God would grant me the thing of the same age in London, at once calls up that I long for! for then, as the grave is be- blessing from one's soul on the memory of come her house, so I would hasten to make it Wren. Under his hand, in some instances, mine also, that we two might then make our beds Pagan forms seem to arrange themselves into together in the dark.'

beautiful adaptation to the purposes of ChrisWas his sorrow unduly bitter? Those who tian worship; and with all one's feeling in knew him best said, No. All his former aftlic- favour of what is more properly the Christian tions had been bearable and even gracious in style, we instinctively rejoice in the freedom, companionship with his Anne; but to lose her grandeur, and rich harmony of sanctuaries like was the trial of his life; and the darkness of this. I was pleasantly introduced to the“ gold” that trial none but his own desolated heart anchors, which, as the parish arms, seem to could know, not even such friends as knew of tell that the old “sea-kings

once came up the * that abundant affection which once Thames as far as this, but were obliged, it may betwixt him and her, who had long been the be, to cut their cables and leave their anchors delight of his eyes and the companion of his in the mud, to betoken their failure, or to youth; her with whom he had divided so many furnish an ecclesiastical symbol for the church pleasant sorrows and contented fears, such of St. Clement Danes. At all events, my guide as common people are not capable of.” Every could give no other solution of the anchor “heart knoweth his own bitterness, and a mystery. He called my attention by turns to stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy." Gibbon's carving, to the noble walnut-wood pil

No sorrow, however, can silence the voice of lars, and to the magnificent slab of porphyritic a soul whom God has taught to preach to itself marble which served as a communion tableabout the highest calling of its life. The voice the only relic, perhaps, from the older church. within Donne's soul now moved him : “ Woe “But,” I inquired, as I arose from the seat is me if I preach not the Gospel.” And he which Dr. Johnson used to occupy, “ have you “ stood up from before his dead,” and preached none of the monuments from the old church to the living within the hallowed walls which preserved here?” contained the dust of his sainted wife. It “Ah, sir," was the reply, “nobody can tell must have been touching to those who knew the number of Americans we get here wanting him to hear that widower preaching over the to sit in Dr. Johnson's old seat; as if they were newly-covered grave from the prophet's lamen- sure of getting the secret of sitting still

, or tation : “I am the man that hath seen afflic. wanted to gather weight to keep their balance tion by the rod of His wrath.” The spot on for the time to come.

But I beg pardon, which the preacher stood will always be sacred sir—you were asking about the old monuto those who revere his memory and enjoy his ments. Well, I never saw one. They have all works.

disappeared; how, I cannot tell. The old






church was taken down in Queen Anne's time; of Him who “shall change our vile body, that but what they did with the monuments, who it may be fashioned like unto His glorious knows? Perhaps they dealt with them some- body, according to the working whereby He is what in the same style as they did with the able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” dead themselves.”

“I can show you something pleasant out" What was that? I hoped to find some side," said the kind guide, leading me out to lingering memorial of Mrs. Donne, the wife of the west end of the church, and showing me Dr. Donne, Dean of St. Paul's in the reign of some trees which, as he said, he had “at last James I. She was buried here, and her monu- persuaded the churchwardens to plant.” ment was in the old church.”

Will they grow here?” "I never knew Mrs. Donne, sir; before my Oh, yes;” was the cheerful reply.

“ Come, time, you know. Nor did I ever before hear of and see my pet garden, how fresh the trees the Doctor, though, as you say, he was Dean look here. Is not that a nice creeper running of St. Paul's. But, as to the bodies, I can tell up the church wall, as if it loved the church? you that when I came into office, some years

and there are my

flower-beds among the graves. ago, I had to go down into the vaults, and there My bed of mignonette last year was beautiful. I found coffins all tied up in bundles of six or One of our bishops was passing one day, and seven together, with a chain around each he stopped and smiled; went as far as Temple bundle, fastened with a padlock, and these Bar, and came back again to have another bundles were piled one upon another on shelves. look and to give another smile. Perhaps he 'Look here!' says a man to me, as I was looking thought it was like a promise of life from the around, and thinking that those who built the dead. It was early in the morning, and it may new church had a wholesale way of dealing be there was dew upon the sweet mignonette. with human dust-look here!'


and What is that verse in Isaiah ?-you remember when I turned there were two bodies stand- it: ‘Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the ing side by side; they seemed like mum. dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and mies asking me to cover them. Ah, sir! I the earth shall cast out the dead."" thought of Job's words—Naked came I out of This quotation was happy, and it reminded my mother's womb, and naked shall I return me of Donne himself, and how he used to thither.' And that was the style in which the interweave the beauties of inspired truth living sometimes dispose of the dead; and so with his own interpretations of nature. And you need not wonder that all the monuments as I parted with my interesting guide, and disappeared."

turned my steps from St. Clement's with its "Have the bodies been left, then, in the under-world of sleeping generations, one's condition in which you saw them ?”

hope became more comfortable, and one's “No, no; we gathered them tenderly, and spirits were refreshed by the recollection of a laid them side by side in a large space, then passage from the favourite Doctor's sermon at built them in, covered them with earth, and the funeral of Sir William Cockayne:roofed their common house with cement; so “The Gentiles and their poets describe the their resting-place is now sacred.”

sad state of death as one everlasting night;' to And so," thought I, as we stood in solemn them, a night; but to a Christian it is the day silence over that buried multitude, “the body of death and the day of resurrection; we die in of the lovely and loving Anne Donne must have the light, in the sight of God's presence; and been chained up in one of those bundles, and is we rise in the iight, in the sight of His very now no longer distinguishable among the essence. Nay, God's corrections and judgments mingled remains that await the quickening upon us in this life are still expressed so-voice of Him who gives to every seed his own dies visitationis; still it is a day, though a day body,' and who will as certainly, at the last, of visitation; and still we may discern God to fulfil His promise: This is the Father's will be in the action. The Lord of life was the first which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath that named death ; morte morieris, says Godgiven Me I should lose nothing, but should raise thou shalt die the death. I do the less fear, or it

up again at the last day." Neither the rude abhor death, because I find it in His mouth; action of church builders at St. Clement's, nor even a malediction hath a sweetness in His rage

the great fire at St. Paul's, where mouth, for there is a blessing wrapped up in it; Donne's mortal remains were laid, can shake a mercy in every correction; a resurrection in the ground of Christian hope, nor mar the work




every death.”

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Twas decided that the public an. Prince's brother, the hereditary Prince Ernest,

nouncement of the approaching alone remained to remind him of his old home. marriage should be made in the first An extract from the Queen's journal ds

instance to the Privy Council. This scribes the pain which the Prince felt at being was done on the 23rd of November, in the thus separated from all his connexions, and he presence of eighty-three Privy Councillors. own generous sense that he was making a real No less than sixty-one of these, including the sacrifice for her : illustrious names of the Duke of Wellington, “He said to me,” the Queen records in her Lord Lansdowne, and Sir Robert Peel, are journal, “that I had never known a father, and now dead-an affecting comment on the solemn could not therefore feel what he did. His truth, Sic transit gloria mundi.

childhood had been very happy.” “Ernest." The Queen herself, in her journal, gives an (the hereditary Prince remained for some time interesting account of the brief scene before in England after his brother's marriagelthe Council:

“ Ernest, he said, was now the only one re“Precisely at two I went in. The room was maining here of all his earliest ties and receta full, but I hardly knew who was there. Lord lections; but that if I continued to love him as Melbourne I saw looking kindly at me with I did now, I could make up for all. He bere tears in his eyes, but he was not near me. cried, he said, in general, but Alvensleben and I then read my

ort declaration. I felt Kolowrath (they had accompanied the Duke to my hands shook, but I did not make one England and now left with him) had cried 80 mistake. I felt most happy and thankful when much that he was quite overcome. Ob, bow I it was over. Lord Lansdowne then rose, and, did feel for my dearest, precious husband at in the name of the Privy Council, asked that this moment! Father, brother, friends, country "this most gracious and most welcome com- -all has he left, and all for me. God grant munication might be printed.' I then left the that I may be the happy person, the most room, the whole thing not lasting above two happy person, to make this dearest, blessed or three minutes. The Duke of Cambridge being happy and contented! What is in my came into the small library where I was stand- power to make him happy I will do." ing and wished me joy.

The Queen was now married to the husband General Grey states, "The Queen always wore of her choice amid the sincere and general re. a bracelet with the Prince's picture," and, rejoicing of her subjects. The Prince, on the ferring to this bracelet, Her Majesty adds in other hand, was established in his new and her journal, “ It seemed to give me courage at difficult position. The first point of any

delithe council.”

cacy which he had to arrange related to the The marriage took place at the Chapel formation of his household. His own ideas Royal, on the 10th of February, 1840, and the are given in a letter to the Queen before his ceremony passed in the most auspicious man. marriage, which furnishes another striking

The morning was, indeed, somewhat proof of his good sense. dismal with rain and fog, “ but before the de- He thus writes to the Queen on the 10th of parture for Windsor the sun shone forth with December, 1839 :all the splendour which distinguishes what is "Now I come to a second point which feu now proverbially called “Queen's weather.'”

touch upon in your letter, and which I bare At four o'clock in the afternoon, the Queen also much at heart; I mean the choice of the and the Prince left for Windsor, being enthu. persons who are to belong to my household. siastically received on all points of their route; The maxim, “Tell me whom he associates with. and, of course, the Eton boys were as con. and I will tell you who he is,' must here espespicuous as usual in their display of boisterous cially not be lost sight of. I should wish parti

. loyalty.

cularly that the selection should be made with The Royal honeymoon was very short, for out regard to politics ; for if I am really to keep on the 19th the Queen held a levée, and on the myself free from all parties, my people must 28th the Duke of Coburg left England. The not belong exclusively to one side. .. .. And



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

above all do I wish that they should be well. as would conduce to the health or recreation educated men, and of high character, who shall of the working classes; and few, if any, knew have already distinguished themselves in their so well, or took such interest as he did, in several positions, whether it be in the army or all that was being done, at any distance east, navy, or in the scientific world. I know you west, north, or south of the great city-from will agree in my views.”

Victoria Park to Battersea--from the Regent's On the whole, his household was formed to Park to the Crystal Palace, and far beyond. his satisfaction.

• He would frequently return, the Queen says, Nothing could be more admirable than the to luncheon at a great pace, and would always wisdom with which the Prince guided his re- come through the Queen's dressing-room, lations towards general society. From the where she generally was at that time, with that first he laid down strict, not to say severe rules, bright, loving smile with which he ever greeted for his own guidance. The principle on which her, telling her where he had been, what new he resolved to act (to use his own noble words) buildings he had seen, what studios, &c., he had was this : “To sink his own individual existence visited. Riding for mere riding sake he disin that of his wife; to aim at no power by himself liked, and said, “ Es ennuyirt mich 80

(It bores or for himself; to shun all ostentation; to assume

me so).”no separate responsibility before the public,” “ There were some, undoubtedly, who would but

, making his position entirely a part of the gladly have seen his conduct the reverse of all Queen's, “continually and anxiously to watch this, with whom he would have been more every part of the public business in order to popular had he shared habitually and indisbe able to advise and assist her at any moment criminately in the gaieties of the fashionable in any of the multifarious and difficult ques- world-had he been a regular attendant at the tions brought before her--sometimes political, racecourse; had he, in short, imitated the free or social, or personal, as the natural head of lives, and even, it must be said, the vices, of her family, superintendent of her household, former generations of the royal family. But manager of her private affairs; her sole con- the country generally knew how to estimate fidential adviser in politics, and only assistant and admire the beauty of domestic life, beyond in her communications with the officers of the reproach, or the possibility of reproach, of Government."*

which the Queen and he set so noble an example. “He imposed a degree of restraint and self- "It is this which has been the glory and the denial upon his own movements, which could strength of the throne in our day, and which not but have been irksome, had he not been has won for the English Court the love and sustained by a sense of the advantage which veneration of the British people, and the respect the throne would derive from it. He denied of the world. Above all, he has set an example himself the pleasure--which to one so fond as for his children, from which they may be sure he was of personally watching and inspecting they can never deviate without falling in public every improvement that was in progress

would estimation, and running the risk of undoing have been very great-of walking at will about the work which he has been so instrumental the town. Wherever he went, whether in a in accomplishing." carriage or on horseback, he was accompanied His own personal position in the Queen's by his equerry. He paid nó visits in general household presented not the least of the diffisociety. His visits were to the studio of the culties which he had to surmount. In a letter artist, to museums of art or science, to insti.

to Prince Loewenstein he says :tutions for good and benevolent purposes.

“In my home life I am very happy and conWherever a visit from him, or his presence,

tented, but the difficulty in filling my place could tend to advance the real good of the with the proper dignity is, that I am only the people, there his horses might be seen waiting;

husband, not the master in the house." never at the door of mere fashion. Scandal But the following interesting passage tells itself could take no liberty with his name. He us how this delicate point was settled :loved to ride through all the districts of Lon

** Thanks to the firmness, but at the same don where building and improvements were in time gentleness, with which the Prince insisted progress, more especially when they were such on filling his proper position as head of the

family—thanks also to the clear judgment and Letter to the Duke of Wellington, in answer to offer of command of the Army.-Speeches, de., of the Prince Consort,

right feeling of the Queen as well as to her p. 76.

singularly honest and straightforward nature


« AnteriorContinuar »