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the Suffolk white brick, and have a chaste and cleanly appearance. The high boundary wall and palisades that enclose the cemetery must have been very costly. Here is a heap of clayed soil, recently thrown up from a depth of twenty feet, and yet it is stiff and dry. We carry
with us our notions of comfort even in thinking of the grave, and thus a dry soil is indispensable to a burialground.
I have passed through the chapels, and descended to the vaults below them-the silent receptacles of the dead. The chapels are plain, but in excellent keeping. Many would like some stained glass in the large window, and I should have no objection to a little drapery round it, to increase the solemnity of the place; but these things are not important, and can be dispensed with. The manner of lowering the coffins into the vaults (by means of a piston working in water underneath the chapel) must have a striking effect on those who have never witnessed anything of the kind. While the mourners, who have attended the solemn service for the dead, are yet gazing, with eyes half blinded with tears, on the coffin that contains the body of the departed, the elevated bier, or stand, on which it lies, begins slowly and noiselessly to sink, without any apparent agency. The astonished spectator can hardly believe his senses ; yet lower and lower the coffin descends, until it altogether disappears.
The service is very solemnly and impressively performed. I am told, that at a funeral, a few days ago, in an assembly of, at least, a hundred persons, scarcely was a dry eye seen in the chapel.
While walking in the grounds, the sound of youthful voices reaches me. The boys of the neighbouring school, near the entrance of the cemetery, have rushed into their play-ground, and all is liberty, and life, and merriment. Happy boyhood! The cares of the world light not on thy joyous brow, nor do its manifold sorrows rest more than a moment on thy heart.
Thy life is all to-day; and in thy gladness,
As I leave the cemetery, a flood of light is pouring down from the south-west on the place ; and crimson and gold, and an unbearable blaze of glory, mark where the declining sun is careering along the skies. Let me bear in mind, that whether the last house is shrouded with gloom or gilded with glory, the heritage of the righteous is a life of peace, a death of hope, and a resurrection to eternal joy.
I am now at Highgate, having had a pleasant walk here from Highbury with a friend. Part of the road has been along retired lanes, and the other part mostly across green fields; the pure
breath of heaven has blown around us; the clouds have sailed along majestically over our heads; and varied conversation has made a ramble, agreeable in itself, still more agreeable. The North London Cemetery is before us; and erected on its entrance, facing the south-east, stands an abbey-like kind of edifice, of miniature size, with an octangular and ornamental dome. In this building, which possesses every accommodation for the purpose, with a large room and private gallery for infirm mourners and invalids, the solemn service is performed ; a window of painted glass, representing the ascension of our Saviour, adorns its extremity, with another compartment, on each side of it, executed in colours of great beauty. But where is the artist whose hand so recently called into existence these trophies of his skill? Alas! he lies motionless : his dust is now reposing in the cemetery. He has, no doubt, stood where I am standing. Doubtless, his eyes have sparkled with unwonted lustre while gazing on the luminous exhibition before me; but now he is returned to the dust. Thus, at the
threshold of the cemetery, and while looking at the bright emblem of immortality, I am once more reminded that “there is but a step between me and death."
The solemn procession of a funeral, with hearse, coaches, coal-black horses, and nodding plumes, gliding along the winding avenue of Swain's
Lane, shaded with overhanging trees, must have an imposing effect as it approaches the cemetery. Swain's Lane runs along that part of Highgate Hill called Traitor's Hill, from the circumstance of the confederates of Guy Faux having assembled there to await the expected explosion of the gunpowder placed under the Parliament House, on the memorable 5th of November, 1605.
The cemetery is a steep acclivity, of some nineteen or twenty acres, with a surface beautifully varied; now rising into swelling hills, bedecked with shrubs and flowers, and now exhibiting, on every hand, the monuments of the dead. Column, pyramid, sarcophagus, tomb, vase, and sculptured stone arrest the eye, with a gigantic mound, canopied with a goodly cedar ; while Highgate new church, crowning the brow of the hill with its “heaven-directed spire,” stands above the upper verge of this place of graves. Beauty and death seem to have entered into a compact together ; for while the latter delves freely beneath the ground, the former takes undisputed possession of its surface. I can just discern the monument of one whose remains I attended to the grave, and whose memory I cherish. Hers was the eye of cheerfulness, the heart of love, the hand of kindness, and the soul
Geary, the architect, and Ramsey, the landscape gardener, have united their talents in a very successful manner to decorate the cemetery; while the church above the grounds, a chaste Gothic building, from designs of Vulliamy, renders the picture complete.
We have gained the rising ground approaching the cedar tree, and the beauties of the cemetery are more fully unfolded.
Flowers in profusion are blooming in all directions. Mountain ashes, laburnums, sycamores, acacias, laurel, and rose trees, are mingled with others of longer growth. The decorated resting places of the dead, set forth the attention of their surviving friends; and the gay colours of the rose, the geranium, and the poppy, contrast the dark hue of the cypress : heart's-ease has been freely planted in the shadow of the tomb, and its deep purple flowers are grateful to the gaze. These flowers spread cheerfulness around them, and breathe of hope and expectation.
As I glance around, I see strangers, young, middle-aged, and old, visiting the different parts of the cemetery; and yonder is a matron habited in sable, musing over a graven stone. Not only do the sculptured stones remind me of the brevity of life, but other symbols of mortality are nu
Sere leaves sprinkle the pathway; faded flowerets are drooping in the sunshine; and at my