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gossamer! how their eternal thump-thump would have annihilated thy nerves !'
But I must stay my pen ; for I have already crossed and recrossed my letter, till it has assumed the appearance of a remnant of check. Remember me affectionately to our mutual friend, Amelia, and believe me, my dear Henrietta,
Your ever affectionate friend,
LINES IN AN ALBUM TO WHICH LETITIA ELIZABETH LAN.
DON HAD BEEN A CONTRIBUTOR.
BY B. SIMMONS.
As certain pilgrims bound of yore
And won sweet poesy to pour
Now scribbling, shrinks from scribbling more.
Yet, ere I part each favoured leaf,
Where Genius looked, and left a spell,
Of her the lost the loved so well ?
The fire-lipped Sappho of the Isles !
Who woke our tears and smiles ?
To us to whom thy songs shall be
Above thy lucid memory :
Remembrance of thine early fate
Till Grief grows desolate!
Or leaps in thunder by the bed ;
Above the genilo head
Soothed by the full of some sweet river,
A DAY AT ETON.
** Me quoties curas suadent lenire seniles
Umbra tua, et viridi ripa beata toro.
Sit, revocare tuos, dulcis Etona ! dies."
Come, parent Eton! turn the stream of time
Back to thy sacred fountain crowned with bays!
Any one living habitually in the country would find it difficult to appreciate the delight which a Londoner feels when he quits the great metropolis to pass the day either at Hampton Court or Windsor, or indeed to make any other rural excursion. A primrose, cowslip, or even the modest daisy, are not regarded by him with indifference. He thinks the song of the unseen lark the sweetest music he ever heard. He listens with delight to the notes of the throstle and blackbird, and inhales the fresh breeze as if he derived from it a new existence. It is always a satisfaction to witness the delight, the real enjoyment, experienced by those who, emancipated from the smoke and confinement of London, come to have a day of pleasure in either of the places referred to: those especially whose means of living are obtained by the sweat of their brow,—who are either chained to desks, or shut up in offices or shops the greater part of their time,enjoy their excursion to Hampton Court or Windsor with a delight peculiar to themselves. It is a pleasure to witness their happiness, as well as the orderly conduct that is now becoming every day more and more apparent in visiters to these places, even amongst the humblest class; a fact which at once gives an answer to the fears and objections that were formerly urged against the free admission of the public to picture galleries, museums, and gardens. It was impossible to touch upon this subject without bearing this testimony to the correct conduct of the working classes, and it is no small gratification to be able to do so.
But it is time to describe a little excursion I made with an old Etonian about the middle of last month, in order to see all that was worth seeing on the spot where his earliest and happiest days had been passed. It was a delightful May morning when we left Pad. dington to go to Slough by the Great Western Railway. This has now become almost the only public mode of conveyance to Windsor, and it is not surprising that it should be so. It is unrivalled for the smoothness and rapidity with which we travel along it,-its punctuality,—its arrangements,-its comparative safety,—the great civility of its attendants,-to say nothing of the stupendous cost of its works, which no other country but this can boast of, or could have under. taken. All these place it in the first rank among railroads.*
The bell rang at twelve o'clock, and the train was instantly in movement. We arrived at Slough, eighteen miles and a quarter from
The travelling parlour is the very perfection of ease, comfort, and enjoyment.
the Paddington station, in exactly thirty minutes, and an omnibus soon deposited us at Eton.
The emotions excited by a view of Eton College are of a far differ. ent nature from those associated with Windsor. Eton is fraught with a peculiar interest of its own. As we enter the venerable walls of the College, it is impossible not to call to mind that from this place have issued some of our greatest statesmen, philosophers, and poets. Here, amongst other great men, the learned John Hale, Sir Robert Walpole, Harley, Earl of Oxford ; Lord Bolingbroke, Earl Cambden, the celebrated Earl of Chatham, Oughtred, the mathema. tician, Boyle, the philosopher; Lord Littleton, Gray, Horace Walpole, West, Waller, Fox, Canning, the Marquess Wellesley; the bistorian Hallam, and, though last, by no means least, the Duke of Wellington, were educated. Here, probably, the impulses of ambition were first excited in their breasts, and here they may have been warmed with the flush of those glorious feelings, the outbreaking of which has made their names an honour to their country. As we sauntered through the courts of the College, we called to mind the numerous great and good men who have been educated at Eton, and thought that many, perhaps in the zenith of their fame, had revisited its classic shades, and acknowledged how far preferable was the freshness of heart which accompanied the thoughtless school-boy, to all the laurels which they had since reaped. Many, perhaps, beneath its venerable elms, have wept over their early friendships, and breathed a sigh at the recollection of that day, when they were launched from the sunny stream of childhood into the stormy ocean of public life. That this is the case with at least one great man,-one who is equally an honour to his country, as to the school in which he was educated, --is evident from the following beautiful apostrophe :
** Me, when thy shade and Thames's meads and flowers
Invite to soothe the cares of waning age,
To calm my soul, and troubled thoughts assuage.
Come, parent Eton; turn the stream of time
Back to thy sacred fountain crowned with bays,
When all was hope and triumph, joy and praise.
Guided by Thee, I raised my youthful sight
To the steep solid heights of lasting fame,
That brighten round the Greek and Roman name.
O blest Instruction ! friend to generous youth !
Source of all good! you taught me to intwine
And wake her lyre to strains of faith divine.”
Beautiful as these lines of Lord Wellesley's are, they are exceed. ed by his original Latin composition on the same subject; remarkable as having been written by a great statesman in his eightieth year, yet warm with all the freshness of youth, and the ardour of a true Etonian.
The enthusiasm of my companion, who had not visited Eton since his
school-boy days, knew no bounds. Everything he saw delighted him, because he was reminded of some youthful prank, or some incident almost forgotten, until the spot where it had taken place brought it afresh to his recollection. He was ready to exclaim with the poet,
• Ah, happy courts ! ah, pleasing shade !
Ah, fields beloved in vain !
A stranger yet to pain !
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring.”—Gray.
We visited every hole and corner which were accessible to strangers ; talked of floggings and Montem, Dr. Keate and the late Provost, and then adjourned to “ The Christopher,” to partake of one of Mr. Clark's good dinners, and afterwards strolled about in the evening till it was time to take our departure by the last train.
The object of my companion in accompanying me to Eton was to explore the scenes of his youth ;---mine was to assist my memory, in order to produce an article for the next number of Mr. Bentley's Miscellany, and to indulge my fondness for viewing the fine chapel, and the interesting buildings which adjoin it.
Eton college was founded in the year 1440 by that unfortunate king, Henry the Sixth, and established nearly on the same footing as that adopted by William of Wykham for his seminary at Winchester. The foundation at present consists of a Provost, Vice-Provost, six fellows, a head master, lower master, ten assistants, seventy scholars, seven lay clerks, and ten choristers. Besides these, there are an unlimited number of scholars who derive no advantage from the Col. lege, and who are styled oppidans. Those on the foundation are called King's Scholars, or familiarly Collegers, and are distinguished from the others by wearing a black cloth gown. The total number has generally amounted to about five hundred and fifty, although this number is frequently exceeded.
In immediate connection with Eton is King's College at Cambridge, to which establishment, as vacancies occur in it, the senior “King's Scholars” are elected from Eton every year. Here they are enabled to complete their education free of expense, and at the end of three years are admitted to fellowships, without passing through any preparatory examination.
The College of Eton is divided into two courts, or quadrangles. In the first of these are the chapel, the upper and lower schools, the apartments of the head and second master, and those set apart for the scholars on the foundation,--the oppidans being lodged in boarding-houses in the town. In the other quadrangle are the lodgings of the Provost and Fellows, the great dining-hall, and the library of the College.
The chapel is a fine old Gothic structure : but, with the exception of a monument to Sir Henry Wotton, who was a lay provost of the College, contains no memorial of any particular interest. At the west end of the ante-chapel there is a beautiful marble statue of the
founder in his regal robes, executed by Bacon, in the year 1768. On the monument of Sir Henry Wotton is the following remarkable inscription :
Hic jacet hujus sententiæ primus auctor-
Nomen aliàs quære.
Here lies the Author of this sentence,
Seek his name elsewhere.
In the centre of the principal court is another statue of the found. er in bronze. On its pedestal is an inscription, purporting that it was placed there in 1719, by Henry Godolphin, then Provost of the College. The upper school-room in this court, with its stone arcade beneath, and the apartments immediately attached to it, were built by Sir Christopher Wren, at the expense of Dr. Allestre, who was Provost in the reign of Charles the Second.
The library, besides a curious and highly valuable collection of books, contains an excellent assortment of Oriental and Egyptian manuscripts, many beautifully illuminated missals, and other literary curiosities. It has frequently been added to by the bequests of different persons who have borne an affection to this venerable seat of learning. Amongst these are Dr. Waddington, Bishop of Chester; Mr. Mawn, Master of the Charter-flouse ; Richard Topham, Keeper of the Records in the Tower ; Anthony Storer; and the Rev. Mr. Hetherington, a fellow of the College. Over one of the fire-places is a fine painting of the founder on the panel.
The apartments of the Provost contain the portraits of many learn. ed individuals who have been his predecessors in that office, amongst whom are Sir Thomas Smith, well known as a statesman ; Dr. Stew. art, Clerk of the Closet of Charles the First ; Sir Henry Saville, and Sir Henry Wotton. There are also half-length portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Sir Robert Walpole. In one of the rooms is a painting of a female on a panel, said to be the unfortunate Jane Shore. The supposition principally arises from a belief that her confessor was a Provost of the College, for there is nothing in the portrait that gives any idea of the pre-eminence in beauty which we attach to this cele. brated female. The forehead is high and broad, and the hair auburn; but the other features are small, and devoid of interest. These characteristics also distinguish her portrait in Hampton Court Palace.
Having given this cursory account of Eton, it will be expected that something should be said on the celebrated triennial pageant of the Montem.
At this ancient ceremony, as is well known, contributions are levied from all ; assengers and visiters, and the amount presented to the boy who has the good fortune to be at the head of the school, at the time the Montem takes place. For this purpose the whole of the scholars, habited in different fancy-dresses, march in grand procession to the neighbouring village of Salt-Hill, where a dinner is provided for them, and the money, or sult, which sometimes exceeds one thousand pounds, presented to the head-boy, who is styled for the day, Captain. It is impossible to detail all the different customs and ceremonies which take place during these juvenile saturnalia ; a general notion, how.