« AnteriorContinuar »
APPROACH TO LEYDEN.
able. Many of these spots were graced by the acacia and Weymouth pine, to which the soil and climate seemed to be congenial. On the other side were rich meadows, whose vivid green seemed to rival that of the emerald, and cornfields yellow with harvest. Enchanted with the day and the scenery, I envied not the aquatic pomp of Cleopatra, although
“ The barge she sat in like a burnish'd throne
The blunder of the waiter added not a little to the delights of my passage, for I sat a solitary grandee upon the top of the cabin, without a soul to interrupt the happy frame of mind formed by the lovely prospects on every side of me. In this agreable manner three hours and a half passed away with feathered fleetness, and at the end of a long avenue of trees and a line of water, the spires and elevated buildings of Leyden appeared. We stopped about half way from the Hague at Leydehendam, a very neat pretty village, the neighbourhood of which abounds with pleasure houses and gardens. The country as I approached Leyden appeared to be thickly wooded, and displayed the novel variety of a gentie undulation of ground. After passing through a beautiful boulevard, and crossing some drawing bridges, I entered the elegant city
DESCRIPTION OF LEYDEN.
of Leyden through the white gate, and proceeded to a very comfortable hotel in the principal street, called the Broad street, the length, spaciousness, and beauty of which entitles it to the highest admiration : there is no canal in it, and the buildings on each side are very handsome, many of them splendid mansions. This seat of learning is considered to be one of the handsomest in Holland, and next in size to Amsterdam ; the entrance to it is through seven stone gates, at each of which is a draw-bridge : the town is surrounded with a rampart, and a deep, broad canal, and is adorned by beautiful shady walks. The number of bridges in this city is astonishing, they are said to exceed one hundred and fortyfive of stone and railed with iron. It has also many canals, the most beautiful of which is the Rapenburg. It has been compared by travellers to Oxford, but I cannot see any resemblance, except in its being devoted to learning, and consequently presenting many of those features of meditation and consequent tranquillity, which are to be found in places destined to similar objects : but in its fortification, its buildings, streets, and canals, there is unquestionably no resemblance. Thechannels or gutters of the Broad street are covered with boards which open like a trap door, into which the moment any dirt is lodged, it is removed by persons appointed for that purpose ; and lofty common pumps, with large brass ornaments constantly scoured and kept bright, are placed in different parts of it, to supply the PICTURE OF LUCAS VAN LEYDEN. 189 inhabitants and to purify the street, of which they are not a little proud. The fame of Lucas Van Leyden made the stadt-house or town-hall the object of my first visit; it is a vast gothic building, presenting a very long irregular front, in a very uncouth style of architecture, surmounted by a small steeple, which is crowded with carillons, and stands in the centre of the Broad street. As I ascended the grand staircase, a painter was giving a finishing touch to some large stone lions, which by way of blending them with the stone colour of the rest of the building, he had painted vividly red. In one of the apartments, which was very heavy and gloomy, I beheld the celebrated production of Lucas Van Leyden, or Hugens, who was born here in 1494, and died in 1533. This picture is in three divisions, the two external smaller ones being made like folding doors, to close if necessary over the middle one. The subject is the last jugment, for which vast sums of money have been repeatedly offered to the magistrates of the town and refused. I must confess I felt no more pleasure in contemplating this picture than what arose from its great antiquity. There are a great number of figures in it: the females are wholly destitute of beauty, at the same time there is a freedom in the outline: many of their limbs appear to be elongated, and every head seems to have been taken from the same subject, and wholly destitute of expression ; however, considering the early period
ANECDOTE OF LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.
in which the artist flourished, it is a very curious and valuable production. This painter was instructed in the principles of his art by his father, Hugens Jacobs, an artist of some consideration : it is said that Lucas from his infancy displayed incessant application, and at the age of nine and twelve years astonished the artists of his time by his works. After he had learned the rudiments of his art under his father, he became a pupil of Cornelius Engelbrecht : at the age of fifteen he painted the history of St. Hubert, which elevated him to high distinction in his art. On account of the principles of perspective not being known in his early time, he proportioned the strength of his colouring to the different degrees of distance, in which his objects were placed. He painted not only in oil, but in destemper and on glass. A famous print of this master's engraving, the subject a bagpiper, is also mentioned, which sold for a hundred ducatoons or twenty pounds sterling.
In the justice hall is a celebrated picture of Harel de Aloor, who was born in this town in 1656 : the subject Brutus condemning his sons, the design, the colouring and finishing of which are very beautiful. De Moor had great and highly merited honors paid to him by various princes and distinguished personages, particularly by the emperor of Germany who directed his embassador Count Singendoff to engage him to paint the portraits of Prince Eugene
189 and the Duke of Marlborough on horseback, with which his imperial patron was so gratified, that he conferred upon him the honor of knighthood, and nobly rewarded him in a more substantial manner for his admirable production: he had also the honor of painting that mighty savage of the North, Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy.Under the picture of Brutus are some elegant Latin verses : there is also a large picture representing the bravery of its citizens, who are rendered immortal in the page of history for the heroic valour they displayed during a siege, which in the year 1573, for five months, visited this place with all the horrors of war, disease, and famine. The historian can scarcely do adequate justice to these heroes. After the Spaniards had been compelled to raise the siege of Alkmaar, they determined upon directing their forces against Leyden, from the trenches of which they were bravely repulsed by Count Louis of Nassau, brother to the then Prince of Orange; but having been reinforced, they returned to the attack : when the Spanish general, Francis Valdey, discovering that he could not take the place hy storm, resolved upon reducing it by famine, and a scene of horror ensued, which baffles the powers of the pen to describe. The Spanish General, Frederic of Toledo, son of the execrable Duke of Alva, repulsed a body of English auxiliaries who were coming to the relief of the besieged, in consequence of which the blockade