Page images


of smoke, so that in five or six miles, in traversing about, I did not see one load of timber unconsum’d, nor many stones but what were calcin'd white as

The people who now walk'd about ye ruines appear'd like men in a dismal desart, or rather in some greate citty laid waste by a cruel enemy ; to which was added the stench that came from some poore creatures bodies, beds, &c. Sir Tho. Gressham's statute, tho' fallen from its nich in the Royal Exchange, remain’d intire, when all those of ye kings since ye Conquest were broken to pieces, also the standard in Cornhill, and Q. Elizabeth's effigies, with some armes on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, whilst the vast yron chaines of the citty streetes, hinges, barrs, and gates of prisons were many of them melted and reduc'd to cinders by yo vehement heate. I was not able to passe through any of the narrow streetes, but kept the widest; the ground and air, smoake and fiery vapour continu'd so intense, that my haire was almost sing'd, and my feete unsufferably sur-heated. The bie lanes and narrower streetes were quite fill'd up with rubbish, nor could one have knowne where he was, but by ye ruines of some church or hall, that had some remarkable tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went towards Islington and Highgate, where one might have seene 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees dispers'd and lying along by their heapes of what they could save from the fire, deploring their losse ; and tho' ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking one penny for relief, which to me appear'd a stranger sight than any I had yet beheld. His Majesty and Council indeede tooke all imaginable care for their reliefe, by proclamation for

the country to come in and refresh them with provisions. In ye midst of all this calamity and confusion, there was, I know not how, an alarme


begun that the French and Dutch, with whom we were now in hostility, were not onely landed, but even entering the citty. There was, in truth, some days before, greate suspicion of those two nations joining ; and now, that they had been the occasion of firing the towne. This report did so terrifie, that on a suddaine there was such an uproare and tumult, that they ran from their goods, and taking what weapons they could come at, they could not be stopp'd from falling on some of those nations, whom they casually met, without sense or

The clamour and peril grew so excessive, that it made the whole court amaz’d, and they did with infinite paines and greate difficulty reduce and appease the people, sending troops of soldiers and guards to cause them to retire into ye fields againe, where they were watch'd all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and came home sufficiently weary and broken.

Their spirits thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now began to repaire into ye suburbs about the citty, where such as had friends or opportunity got shelter for the present, to which his Mat's proclamation also invited them.John Evelyn.


When the born and bred gentleman, to keep to coined and current terms, pays down his thousand pounds or so, for his commission, what incites to the purchase? It may be the elegant idleness of the calling; it may be the bullion and glitter the regimentals; or, devout worshipper ! it may be an unquenchable thirst for glory. From the moment that his name stars the Gazette, what does he become ? The bond-servant of war. In

stantly, he ceases to be a judge between moral right and moral injury. It is his duty not to think, but to obey. He has given up, surrendered to another, the freedom of his soul : he has dethroned the majesty of his own will. He must be active in wrong, and see not the injustice: shed blood for craft and usurpation, calling bloodshed valour. He may be made, by the iniquity of those who use him, the burglar and the brigand; but glory calls him pretty names for his prowess, and the wicked weakness of the world shouts and acknowledges them. And is this the true condition of reasonable man? Is it by such means that he best vindicates the greatness of his mission here ? Is he, when he most gives up the free motions of his own soul-is he then most glorious ?-Douglas Jerrold.

I've often wished that I had clear
For life six hundred pounds a-year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood
Of land, set out to plant a wood.

Well now I have all this and more,
I ask not to increase my store;
But here a grievance seems to lie,
All this is mine but till I die;
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,
To me and to my heirs for ever.

If I ne'er got or lost a groat
By any trick or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools,
As thus, “ Vouchsafe, oh gracious Maker!
To grant me this and 'tother acre;

Or if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure !"
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits ;
Preserve, Almighty Providence !
Just what you gave me, competence,
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose.-Swift.


And let me tell you, scholar, this kind of fishing with a dead rod, and laying night hooks, are like putting money to use; for they both work' for their owners when they do nothing but sleep, or eat, or rejoice, as you know we have done this last hour, and sat as quietly and as free from cares under this sycamore, as Virgil's Tityrus and his Melibæus did under their broad beech tree. No life, my honest scholar, no life so happy and so pleasant as the life of a well-governed angler; for when the lawyer is swallowed up with business, and the statesman is preventing and contriving plots, then we set on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams which we now see glide so quietly by us. Indeed, my good scholar, we may say of angling as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries,

Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did;" and so if I might be judge) “ God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.”

I'll tell you, scholar, when I sat last on this primrose bank, and looked down these meadows, I thought of them as Charles the Emperor did of the city of

[ocr errors]

Florence, “that they were too pleasant to be looked on but only on holidays.” As I then sat on this very grass, I turned my present thoughts into verse : 'twas a wish, which I'll repeat to you:

I in these flowery meads would be;
These crystal streams should solace me;
To whose harmonious bubbling noise,
I with my angle would rejoice;

Sit here, and see the turtle-dove
Court his chaste mate to acts of love ;

Or on that bank feel the west wind
Breathe health and plenty: please my mind,
To see sweet dew-drops kiss these flowers,
And then wash'd off by April showers;

Here, hear my Kenna sing a song ;
There, see a blackbird feed her young,

Or a laverock build her nest:
Here, give my weary spirits rest,
And raise my low-pitched thoughts above
Earth, or what poor mortals love:

Thus, free from law-suits and the noise
Of princes' courts, I would rejoice.

Or, with my Bryan * and a book,
Loiter long days near Shawford brook;
There sit by him, and eat my meat,
There see the sun both rise and set,
There hid good morning to next day,
There meditate my time away,

And angle on; and beg to have
A quiet passage to a welcome grave.

Izaak Walton.

[blocks in formation]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »