Зображення сторінки

duce the sweetest mutton in the world; this induces many who pass through the town, to carry home some of the Bagshot mutton in their carriages. The town is without a market.

Egham, the next object worthy of notice, is a large village seated on the Thames, eighteen miles from London. Here is a neat almshouse, founded in 1706, by Mr. Henry Strode, merchant of London, for six men and six women, who must be sixty years of age, and have been parishioners of Egham twenty years, without having received any parochial relief. They have each annually a chaldron of coals, clothing, and five pounds in money. The centre of this building is a good house for a schoolmaster, who has 401. a-year and a chaldron of coals, (beside an allowance for an assistant,) for the education of twenty poor boys of Egham. Sir Jobn Denham, father of the poet of the same name, and baron of the exchequer in the reigns of James and Charles I. resided in the parsonage house of this parish, and founded an almshouse here, for six men and six women. The school is under the patronage of the Coopers Company, of London.

Egham is divided into four tythings, and, being a thoroughfare from London to the west, has some very good inns. In the west part of this parish is Camomile Hill, remarkable for camomile growing upon it without cultiva. tion. The fair, which continues three days, begins May 29.

Cooper's Hill, the subject of a poem by Denham, is situated in the parish of Egham, on the right of the road from London. An ingenious but perhaps fastidious critic bas observed, that Cooper's Hill, the professed subject of the piece, is not mentioned by name, nor is any account given of its situation, produce, or history; but that it serves, like the stand of a telescope, merely as a convenience for viewing other objects. It would however be unjust not to quote here the sentiments of a celebrated critic, (Dr. Johnson), who was perhaps too rigid, to be fascinated by mere popular opinion: “ Cooper's Hill

is the work that confers upon Denham the rank and dignity of an original author. He seems to have been, at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be termed local poetry, of which the fundamental subject is some particular landscape, to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection, or incidental meditation. To trace a new species of poetry has in itself a very high claim to praise, and its praise is yet more when it is apparently copied by Garth and Pope. Yet Cooper's Hill, if it be maliciously inspected, will not be found without its faults. The digressions are too long, the morality too frequent, and the sentiments sometimes such as will not bear a rigorous enquiry.” Praise thus ext

Praise thus extorted from a critic not unreluctant to censure will contribute to secure the fame of Denham, which the charming eulogy of the bard of Windsor Forest alone would have rendered immortal:

Bear me, oh! bear me, to sequester'd scenes,
To bowery mazes, and surrounding greens;
To Thames's banks which fragrant breezes fill,
Or where the muses sport on Cooper's Hill.
(On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow,
While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow.)
I seem through consecrated walks to rove,
I hear soft music die along the grove:
Led by the sound, I rove from shade to shade,'
By godlike poets venerable made:
Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;

There the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue. Nor should we here omit the homage of Somerville, the excellent poet of the Chace:

Tread with respectful awe
Windsor's green glades; where Denham, tuneful bard,
Charm'd once the listning dryads with his song

Sublimely sweet.
Vol. V. No. 116.



KINGSWOOD LODGE, the elegant seat of William Smith, Esq. is delightfully situated on Cooper's Hill. Near the house, Mr. Smith has placed a seat, which the lovers of poetry will deem sacred; it being on the very spot where Sir John Denham took his beautiful view of the rich and various scenery, which he has so happily described in his celebrated poem. From this house, which is nineteen miles from London, the hour and minute hands of St. Paul's clock bave, by the aid of a telescope, been distinctly seen.

ENGLEFIELD Green, in this parish, but in the county of Berks, is delightfully situated on the summit of Cooper's Hill, in the road leading through Windsor Great Park to Reading

But the glory of Egham, and its neighbourhood, is Runny MEAD, where king John, in the year 1215, after using the most criminal prevarication, was compelled by his barons to sign Magna Churta, the great charter of the liberties of Britain, and the basis of its laws and privileges. It is true, that here his consent was extorted; but the charter was signed, it is said, in an island between Runny Mead and Ankerwyke House, before mentioned. This island, which is still called Charter Island, is in the parish of Wraysbury.

The land a while,
Affrighted, droop?d beneath despotic rage.
Instead of Edward's equal gentle laws,
The furious victor's partial will prevail'd.
All prostrate lay; and, in the secret shade,
Deep-stung, but fearful, Indignation gnash'd
His teeth. Of freedom, property, despoild,
And of their bulwark, arms; with castles crushid,
With ruffians quarter'd o'er the bridled land;
The shivering wretches, at the curfew sound,
Dejected shrunk into their sordid beds,
And, through the mournful gloom of ancient times
Mus’d sad, or dreamt of better. Ev'n to feed
A tyrant's idle sport the peasant starv'd:


To the wild herd, the pasture of the tame,
The chearful hamlet, spiry town, was given,
And the brown forest roughen'd wide around.
But this so dead, so vile, submission, long
Endur'd not.
Unus'd to bend, impatient of controul,
Tyrants themselves the common tyrant check'd.
The church, by kings intractable and fierce,
Deny'd her portion of the plunder'd state,
Or tempted, by the timorous and weak,
To gain new ground, first taught their rapine law.
The barons next a nobler league began.
Both those of English and of Norman race,
In one fraternal nation blended now,
The nation of the free! Press'd by a band
Of patriots, ardent as the summer's noon
That looks delighted on, the tyrant see;
Mark! how with feign'd alacrity he bears
His strong reluctance down, his dark revenge,
And gives the charter, by which life indeed
Becomes of price, a glory to be man.

THOMSON. In memory of the above completion of the glorious fabric of British freedom, a plan was some years ago in agitation, at the head of which were some of the principal gentlemen of the kingdom, to erect a pillar in this celebrated mead; but the attention of the projectors has hitherto been attracted to other objects, and the plan is, for the present, laid aside.

On Runny Mead are annually horse races, which are generally attended by their majesties and the royal family; and thus the place has its name, Runny, or Running, Mead. They commence September 4, and continue that and the two following days.

A road leads from Egham to the pleasant and opulent town of

CHERTSEY, situated on the banks of the Thames, in a fertile spot of well cultivated soil. It is of considerable antiquity, having Z z 2


[ocr errors]

been the residence of the Saxon kings, and famous for a monastery and burial place of the unfortunate Henry the Sixth, (who .was cut off by the house of York,) till Henry the Seventh removed his corpse to Windsor.

The hundred, to which it gives name, has the special privilege of exemption from the jurisdiction of the high sheriff, who must direct his writ to its bailiff, an officer appointed, by letters patent from the Exchequer, for life.

Chertsey Abbey, was founded in the year 664; but nothing more than part of the walls of that venerable building are now remaining. By the ruins of this abbey, the streets of Chertsey are somewhat raised; which, were it not also for the bank from Egham to Staines Bridge, would, by reason of its low situation, be often liable to be overflowed by the Thames. On the site of the abbey, is a very handsome building of brick, known by the name of the Abbey House. It was built out of the ruins of the abbey, by Sir Henry Carew, master of the buck hounds to king Charles the Second,

The charity-school was founded by Sir William Per. kins, knt. in the year 1725, for clothing and educating twenty-five poor boys, and the same number of poor girls, and instructing them in reading, writing, arithmetic, &c.

The workhouse is commodious for the aged and infirm; the younger persons are employed in winding and spin. ing wool.

In the town are five almshouses, under the management and care of the parish officers.

The parish Church, dedicated to St. Ann, is a large and spacious structure, with six musical bells.

In the year 1787, the laudable institution of Sunday schools, for the religious instruction of poor children, was established in this parish.

From the opulence and respectability of this town and its vicinity, the markets are very well supplied with coru, poultry, butcher's meat, &c. on Wednesday. There are four good annual fairs, on the first Monday in Lent for horses, cows, hogs, and toys; May 14, for sheep and


« НазадПродовжити »