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of sculptured marble commemorating the achievements of the illustrious dead, and the arresting inscriptions that point to the mortal dust mouldering beneath them -all speak the same impressive language, “ Prepare to meet thy God.” The pageantry of these costly monuments, however highly estimated, will soon pass away.
6 These little things are great to little men,"
but how pitifully poor, how unspeakably insignificant must they be in the sight of the High and Holy One, who sitteth on the throne of heaven! The polished marble, and gilded inscription, may be well-pleasing in the
eyes of human beings; but “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."
Think not, because I thus speak, that I undervalue, or affect to feel but little interest in works of art and human ingenuity: on the contrary, I am thrillingly alive to their magic influence, and having been gazing on some of these “breathing statues” with enthusiastic admiration. It is only to mark the distinction between what is acceptable to God and man, that I thus speak. Let us not regard those things which call forth the praise of man, as necessarily receiving the approbation of God. There is a greater glory resting round the lowliest turf, that covers the humblest disciple of the Redeemer, than that which gilds the hatchment of a hero, or the mausoleum of an unbelieving monarch.
It would be well if the country visitor and the soldier; the learned man, the antiquarian, and the gifted bard; the young and old; the citizen and the stranger from a foreign clime, on visiting Westminster Abbey, would apply the often-quoted, but heart-searching inquiry :
"Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death ?"
For if these things cannot prolong for a moment the
reflection can visit Westminster Abbey without admiration of the exquisite specimens of human art and ingenuity that decorate the placewithout feeling a reverence for the resting-places of so many illustrious dead, and a.conviction of the transitory tenure of earthly greatness. While the Christian visitant, in addition to these, carries his solicitude into an eternal world, and sighs while he thinks of many of those who have obtained earthly renown.
Though the grave is a more fit place for the language of humiliation than of praise, yet it does not. appear unseemly to commemorate on the tomb whatever has been done by the sleeping inhabitant below for God's glory, or man's good. When the sculptor's chisel and the poet's pen are employed to make us love what is truly lovely, and reverence what is worthy of our best regard, according to the Scripture standard, they serve the cause of virtue; it is only when they pander to vice, and offer homage to the unworthy, that they call for reproof.
When sculptured monuments adorn'd with rhymes,
But when the sepulchre, of age or youth,
That marble is not immortality. The fables of 'monkish writers respecting the Abbey are better passed unheeded. Enough that Segbert the Saxon is the supposed founder of the building; that Edward the Confessor and Henry III. both contributed to its execution ; and that Henry vil. erected the splendid chapel which bears his name. It was thoroughly repaired and decorated by Sir Christopher Wren, the -celebrated architect of St. Paul's, and a new choir by Keen, and an altar by Wyatt, have been added.
The portico, called “beautiful,” or “Solomon's gate," leading into the north Cross, and the elaborately decorated east end of the Abbey, seen from the public street, are beyond all praise in point of workmanship.
I have been standing at the western door between the towers to take a general view of the interior: and the great extent, the stately pillars, the lofty roof, the galleries of double columns, the monuments, and the fine stained glass in the north, and the great west window, all have contributed to excite pleasing astonishment and admiration.
I am now standing in that wonder of the world, the chapel of Henry VII., where what before appeared surpassing is surpassed. The brazen gates, the elevated ceiling, wrought with wondrous skill and surprising variety, the double range of windows, the brown-lainscoted stalls, with their beautifully carved gothic canopies; the brass chapel and tomb of the founder, the pavement of black and white marble; these, and the motionless banners of the chieftains, blazoned with illustrious names well known to victory and fame, are all striking in the extreme. Here the mouldering tenants of the tomb are all of “royal blood;" some connexion with royalty being indispensably necessary to secure a resting place in this peculiar spot.
The ten chapels that are encompassed by the Abbey walls, all contain something which the lover of sculpture must admire. Now and then a solemn epitaph strikes the eye and the heart of the beholder, while not a few marble slabs offer up their unseemly incense of worthless flattery. Many of those who moulder here conquered others, but could not control themselves were wise as to this world, but foolish as to the world to come; and knew many things, without knowing Him whom to know is life eternal.
Monarchs, statesmen, judges, generals, admirals; poets, painters, and musicians occupy their several spots of earth: death has assigned them all a dwellingplace.
Here lies the chief lady of the bed-chamber," there the greatest heiress in England," and yonder the “master of his majesty's buck-hounds."
Here is a monument that demands a pause, for beneath it reposes the mortal part of Matilda, wife of Henry iv., who, every day of Lent, walked barefoot from her palace to the church, wearing a garment of hair, washing and kissing the feet of the poorest people, and giving them alms! Such a one must have been very humble, or very ostentatious; let us hope the former.
The conductor has hastened onwards with a group of visitants, leaving me alone. I have written with my finger on the dust of a monarch's tomb, “Sown in. corruption." This is a fit place for reflection.
kings are crowned, and here they lie down in the grave, making corruption their father, and the worm their mother and their sister, Job xvii. 14. Here they obtain their highest honours, and here they sink to the level of the lowliest of their subjects. There are some monuments among
that throng this princely pile, this palace of Death, that usually attract the especial notice of the visitor. The magnificent one of John, duke of Newcastle, is a gorgeous assemblage of massive marble, that excites more surprise than it communicates pleasure.
The lofty memorial raised to the memory of John, duke of Argyle and Greenwich, is very costly, as well as those which conmemorate the great earl of Chatham, and general Wolfe.
The marble representation of the murder of Thumas Thynne, as he drove along in his carriage, arrests the eye of the stranger, as well as that of the right honourable Spencer Percival, shot by Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.
The tomb of general George Wade, whereon Fame is sculptured in the act of pushing back Time, who is hastening forward to pull down a pillar inscribed with military trophies, is finely exeouted; but in a Christian temple we would rather wish to see the records of peace and benevolence.
No monuments, perhaps, secure a greater share of public attention than two executed by Roubiliac: the first, erected to the memory of lieutenant-general William Hargrave; and the second, which commemorates .Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale, Esq., and his lady. In the former one, there is a contest between Death and Time, admirably set forth; and in the latter, death issu