Графични страници
PDF файл

Hill; and all of it, to the east of the turnpike, being understood, in like manner, to belong to Bayswater.

We regret the loss of the old name, for many reasons. The district called the Gravelpits, or at least so called in books, and in directions of letters, appears, on a rough calculation, to have comprehended all the north and north-western side of Kensington, lying between Notting Hill, Bayswater, Holland House, the Church, and the Palace.

Readers may call to mind a remnant of one of the pits, existing but a few years ago, to the north of the Palace in Kensington Gardens, and adding greatly to their picturesque look thereabouts. A pleasant poetical tradition was connected with it, of which we shall have something farther to say. Now, the Gravel-pits were the fashionable suburb resort of invalids, from the times of William

and Anne to the close of the last century. Their “ country air,” as it was called, seems to have been preferred, not only to Essex, but to Kent. Garth, in his “Dispensary,” makes an apothecary say, that sooner than a change shall take place, from making the poor pay for medicine, to giving it them gratis,

"Alps shall sink to vales,
And leeches in our glasses turn to whales,
Alleys at Wapping furnish us new modes,
And Monmouth Street Versailles with riding hoods :
The rich to th’ Hundreds in pale crowds repair,
And change the Gravel-pits for Kentish air.”

Swift had lodgings in the Gravel-pits during the winters of 1712 and 1713; and Lord Chatham's sister, Anne Pitt (as like him, says Horace Walpole, “ as two drops of fire”) is recorded to have died at“ her house, in Pitt Place, Kensington Gravel-pits,” in

1780. In the pleasant little corner entitled the Mall (why so called we know not, probably from its having been a more open place formerly, and frequented by players of the game so called) lived and died, not long since, the admired painter of our cold northern skies and sea-coasts, Sir Augustus Callcott; whose death was followed, in the same place, by that of his wife, previously known as Mrs. Graham (an estimable writer of travels and history). It had been preceded, some years, also, in the same place, by that of his brother, William Callcott, a learned and interesting musician, celebrated for his composition of glees. He was author of the pathetic composition, “It was a Friar of Orders Grey;" and is understood to have been the ruin of Sir John Hawkins's “ History of Music,” by no greater weapon than a musical pun ; having expressed, in a catch on

VOL. 11.

the subject, his preference of Burney's History; which, by the frequent repetition of its title, in contradistinction to that of Sir John's was made to say, with a horrible re-iteration, “ Burn his History.”

Have you Sir John Hawkins' hist’ry?
Some folks think it quite a myst’ry.
Music fill'd his wondrous brain ;
How d’ye like him? Is it plain ?
Both I've read, and must agree
Burney's histry pleases me.
Sir John Hawkins—Sir John Hawkins,
How d’ye like him ? how d’ye like him ?
Burney's hist'ry-Burney's histry,
Burney's hist’ry pleases me.

M. Fetis, the most learned of musical critics, has well disposed of the merits of the two histories, by showing, that neither of them was as good as the author supposed; but that each contains matter wanting in the

other, and turnable to account. Burney, however, besides being a musician professed, had made himself personally acceptable in the circles of literature and fashion, by his agreeable manners; whereas, Hawkins, who was only an amateur (he had been bred an attorney), was pragmatical, niggardly, and censorious. Hawkins was one of those men who, in a special manner, “take upon themselves to know;" and, like most such persons, he was apt to pronounce grand final judgments upon things of which he knew little. Hence the epitaph that was written upon him, and that so briefly and pleasantly expresses the knight's pompous manner, and the nothings which he uttered.

Here lies Sir John Hawkins,
Without his shoes and stawkings.

Turning southwards from the Mall towards

« ПредишнаНапред »