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garment of hair, washing and kissing the feet of the poorest people, and giving them alms! Such a one must have heen very humble, or very ostentatious; let us hope the former.
The conductor has hastened onwards with a group of visitants, leaving me alone. I have written with my finger on the dust of a monarch's tomb, "Sown in corruption." This is a fit place for reflection. Here kings are crowned, and here they lie down in the grave, making corruption their father, and the worm their mother and their sister, Job xvii. 14. Here they obtain their highest honours, and here they sink to the level of the lowliest of their subjects.
There are some monuments among the many that throng this princely pile, this palace of Death, that usually attract the especial notice of the visitor. The magnificent one of John, duke of Newcastle, is a gorgeous assemblage of massive marble, that excites more surprise than it communicates pleasure.
The lofty memorial raised to the memory of John, duke of Argyle and Greenwich, is very costly, as well as those which commemorate the great Earl of Chatham, and general Wolfe.
The marble representation of the murder of Thomas Thynne, as he drove along in his carriage, arrests the eye of the stranger, as well as that of the right honourable Spencer Percival, shot by Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.
The tomb of general George Wade, whereon Fame is sculptured in the act of pushing back Time, who is hastening forward to pull down a pillar inscribed with military trophies, is finely executed; but in a Christian temple we would rather wish to see the records of peace and benevolence, than those of war.
No monuments, perhaps, secure a greater share of public attention than two executed by Roubiliac: the first, erected to the memory of lieutenant-general William Hargrave; and the second, which commemorates Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale, Esq., and his lady. In the former one, there is a contest between Death and Time, admirably set forth; and in the latter, death issuing from the tomb to smite the female figure above him, is almost inimitable.
The fine full-length figure of the right honourable George Canning, lately erected, cannot be passed by without admiration.
The reflective visitant of the Abbey will pause as he stands on the pavement before the monuments of lord Robert Manners and Chatham; for beneath his feet lie the mouldering earth of the rival statesmen, William Pitt and Charles James Fox. The flashing eye has lost its lustre: the throbbing pulse, the beating heart, the eloquent tongue, are still, and the voice of contention is no more heard.
"Taming thought to human pride 1
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side. Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
'Twill trickle to his rival's bier;O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound, And Fox's shall the notes rebound. The solemn echo seems to cry,
'Here let their discords with them die.'"
Nor will the small white marble monument of the pious Dr. Watts be passed without emotion. The charitable Jonas Hanway, the philanthropic Granville Sharp, and the learned sir Isaac Newton, will in turn demand and receive the homage of an affectionate remembrance, far more than the generals and courtiers who are interred here.
Poet's Corner and its immediate neighbourhood has a constellation of names known to the lettered page. Would that some, aye, many of them, had sung less in praise of mortal creatures, and more to the glory of the Redeemer! The monuments of Chaucer, Spenser, Prior, and Camden; Butler, Milton, and Dryden; Addison, Pope, Gay, Thomson, Goldsmith, and other writers, are gazed on by all. Here are monuments, too, inscribed to Shakspeare and Garrick. With death and eternity before us, how dim appear some of our brightest earthly stars, and what clouds and darkness surround them! How little do the talented of the earth seek the glory of the Lord of heaven! The inscription on one of these tombs,
"Life's a jest, and all things show it;
has led to the very suitable reflection:—
"Life is a solemn scene; this Gay now knows;
But the doors of the Abbey are about to be closed, and I must leave this dormitory of the dead.
Dear as earthly glory may have been to them in days that are past, how gladly would the shrouded 'habitants, the mouldering tenants of the tombs, now exchange their proudest monuments for a place among the just!
On many occasions have I been present when the dust of those of high renown has been here committed to the grave—when the lifeless clay of Canning was sepultured, I was here—when, borne on the bier, the remains of Wilberforce were carried to the silent tomb, I was here—and when the pallid corpse of the Poet Campbell was laid in the narrow house, I was here. Statesmen, Philanthropists, and Poets must all pass through the portals of the grave; death is dealing around his unerring darts! Time is hastening along with the stride of a giant, and soon must "all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ."
"Great God, on what a slender thread
"Infinite joy, or endless woe,
"Waken, O Lord, our drowsy sense,
There is a soul-searching question applicable to each of the illustrious dead that sleep in "dull cold marble;"—not, "Did he command the applause of listening senates, or achieve a victory on the battle-field?" but, "Did he die the death of the righteous, and was his latter end like unto his?"—not, "Is his name graven on marble, or printed in letters of gold?" but, "Does it appear among the names of those who died in Christ, and is it legibly written in the Book of eternal life?"
He who can quit the Abbey of Westminster with a mind unsolemnised with considerations of life and death, time and eternity, has visited the place in vain. "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity," Psa. xxxix. 4, 5.