Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

was by this first founder that the west front was curiously carved, with angels, climbing up a lartder to heaven; a piece of antiquity which still presents itself to

the
eye

of the most heedless abserver. The death of the bishop caused the building to be neglected for a considerable time; on which occasion the following triplet was written upon one of its walls :

" ( church! I wail thy doleful plight,
" Whom King, nor Card'nal, Clark, or Knight,

" Have yet restor'd to ancient right!" These lines alluded to Bishop King, by whom the church was begun, and Cardinal Adrian, Cardinal Wolsey, Bishop Clark, and Bishop Knight, his four successors in the see, who, during thirtyfive years, contributed nothing to the completion of the pile. The conceit, as was customary in those days, consists in puns upon their names. The whole was nearly ruined at the famous dissolution of monasteries, when the commissioners offered the building and all its materials to the townsmen, for the sum of five hundred marks. The people, however, were afraid to accept the bargain, lest they should have been thought to “ cozin the king ;" whereupon, the glass, iron, bells, and lead, of which last there were 480 tons, provided for the finishing of the church, were seni beyond seas, and, as old writers are fond of believing, shipwrecked on their way.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, however, collections were made throughout the land, for the necessary repairs; but the sum produced, , whether from the parsimony of the givers, or the dishonesty, as it is hinted, of the collectors, was but inconsiderable. It was reserved for “ honest master Billet," of whom we know little, but find a conjecture that he was executor to William Cecil, lord Burleigh, to " distribute good sums," VOL. VI.

D D

upon the occasion.

Under this gentleman's auspices the fane began to flourish; and a second triplet maker ventured to play both the poet and the prophet upon the structure :

“ Be blithe, fair kirck! when Hempe is past,
" Thine Olive, that ill winds did blast,
“ Shall flourish green, for aye to last."

CASSADORE. By the word “ Hempe," we are taught by Fuller to understand “ Henry VIII. Edward VI. Queen Mary, King Philip, and Queen Elizabeth ;' but I should rather suppose that, of these sovereigns, the protestant only were intended, and particularly Elizabeth, in whose time the prediction was put forth. As to the word “ Olive," it is obviously a second pun upon Oliver King, the founder; and the same idea has been made use of in a curious piece of sculpture affixed to a part of the church, which represents the Parable of Jotham, (Judges ix. 8) concerning the trees, which being about to chuse a king, proffered the crown to the OLIVE. The introduction of these, and the former lines, will not, I trust, displease the reader of this tour, since they serve to show the genius of the times in which they were written; and, indeed, to this matter hangs another tale, which displays, I am afraid, the genius of all times :--these verses, it is to be told, in the construction of which there is, to

be sure,

“ Something like prophetic strain," were, in the days of the protectorate, duly applied to one Oliver," as a writer of the ensuing reign denominates him : “ So .apt,” exclaims the same author, are English fancies to take fire at every spark of conceit! but seeing, since, that Olive has been blasted, root and branches, this pretended prophecy, with that observation, is withcred away

The finishing hand was put to this church by James Montague bishop of the see, who expended vast sums upon the undertaking; and who, possessing the lead mines at Mendip, Mynedep, or Mine-deep, easily roofed the church. He lies buried beneath it.

“ This church,” says Fuller, “ is both spacious and specious; the most lightsome I ever beheld, proceeding from the greatness of the windows, and the whiteness of the glass therein.” I have to add, from my own observation, that the prophecy of Cassadore, so far as it relates to the duration of the pile, appears to hold good to the present day. The whole is in good repair ; and, indeed, it were to be wished that the “ repaired, and beautified” of some unmerciful white-and-blackand-yellow-washer, did not present itself so conspicuously to every one who enters its doors. There is a disgusting fashion in Somersetshire, as well as in some parts of the country, of bedaubing churches with a harlequin-variety of white and yellow : the body is washed with yellow, and the mouldings and ornaments, the pillars, capitals, and branches, of the Gothic columns, are most sacrilegiously picked out, to use the language of house painters, in white: then, to complete this tasteful arrangement, the vile monumental tablets, of which, surely, the very vilest are in Bath's abbey-chureb, are bordered with enormous patches of lamp-black. Some of the inscriptions however are elegant.

As Bath is the most important, and, probably, the most useful of all our watering places, par. ticular attention is unquestionably due to it from every writer who undertakes, in however slight a way, to describe a tour of this nature. This place is known to all Europe. Its waters contain bitumen, (which predominates,) nitre, and sul

1

phur; but to what cause or causes their great heat is tobe attributed, has been a subject of dispute. Some bave ascribed it to wind, or airy exhalations, pent in the bowels of the earth; which, by their agitation and attrition, among rocks and narrow passages, gather heat, and impart it to the waters: others have ascribed it to the heat of the sun, whose beams, passing through the pores of the earth, warm the waters; and they were, therefore, auciently called, aquæ solis, as both made by, and dedicated to, the sun. Others, again, attribute it to quick-lime, which readily heats any water upon it, and kindles any combustible substance put therein. A fourth set of persons reier it to a subterranean fire, formed in the bowel of the earth, and actually burning upon sulphur and bitumen; while others have imputed the heat, which is not destructive, but generative, joined with moisture, to the fermentation of several minerals.

Bath is in Somersetshire, one hundred and eight miles from London. It is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills of considerable height, between which the Avon slowly and majestically winds, and is navigable for barges to Bristol. Indeed the Kennet and Avon are now nearly united by a barge navigation, when the intercourse will be amazingly shortened between the busy ports of London and Bristol, and the intermediate places.

The vale, in which Bath was originally built, being too contracted to contain the numerous splendid edifices that have been erected there within a century past, the sides of the hill towards the north have been gradually covered with houses, and its very summit is now crowned with them. This gives the city a very picturesque appearance; but it renders many of its streets steep and unpleasant for carriages as well as foot passengers.

The Baths, however, and the greatest part of the public buildings are in the low or old town, where every possible improvement is adopting to make it assimilate with the new buildings in elegance and convenience.

The necessity of ascending in every direction from Bath, except along the course of the Avon, renders excursions somewhat laborious; but Clavere ton, Lansdowne, and other spots in the environs, are daily resorted to for an airing by such as keep horses and carriages ; and so many charms does the internal of Bath itself command, that pedestrians can scarcely wish to walk out of it as long as their money lasts.

But volumes have been written on this interesting and attractive place, and to them I must refer those who are desirous of particular information.

To conclude, having in less than four months visited the principal places that have been consecrated by fashion to bathing, or water-drinking, and made my observations on the sput, I cannot he'p expressing my wish to impress on the minds of valetudinarians, the necessity of being well advised before they plunge into the tide, or taste the mineral cup. Many would reap benefit from change of air and scene, who injure their constitutions by wantonly bathing and drinking waters. It is a misfortune and to be lamented that those who are most anxious to improve their health, generally injure it more by the very means they take to restore it. They bathe too frequently, they drink water too copiously. I speak from good authority when I say, that a few immersions to clean the skin is more likely to do good than the daily use of the bathing machine for weeks; and that mineral waters, particularly such as are purgative, should be used as gentle alteratives in order to be beneficial.

« НазадПродовжити »