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No sleep, no peace, no rest,
Their wand'ring and affrighted minds possess'd;

Upon their souls and eyes
Hell and eternal horror lies,
Unusual shapes and images,

Dark pictures and resemblances
Of things to come, and of the world below,

O'er their distemper'd fancies go :
Sometimes they curse, sometimes they pray unto
The gods above, the gods beneath;
Sometimes they cruelties and fury breathe
Not Sleep, but Waking now was sister unto Death."

“ But Wither is the true English laureate of pestilence. The following description of the consternation, packing up, and flight of the Cockneys, during the great plague of London, is equally matchless and original.”

“ Those who, in all their life-time, never went
So far as is the nearest part of Kent:
Those who did never tra till of late,
Half way to Pancras from the city gate:
Those who might think the sun did rise at Bow,
And set at Acton, for aught they did know :
And dream young partridge suck not, but are fed
As lambs and rabbits, which of eggs are bred:
Ev'n some of these have journeys ventured on
Five miles by land (as far as Edmonton.)
Some hazarded themselves from Lion-key
Almost as far as Erith down by sea :
Some row'd against the stream, and straggled out
As far Hounslow-heath, or thereabout:
Some climbed Highgate-hill, and there they see
The world so large, that they amazed be;

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as

Yea, some have gone so far, that they do know,
Ere this, how wheat is made, and malt doth grow.

Oh, how they trudged and bustled up and down,
To get themselves a furlong out of town.
And how they were becumber'd to provide,
That had about a mile or two to ride.
But when whole households further off were sent,
You would have thought the master of it meant
To furnish forth some navy, and that he
Had got his neighbours venturers to be ;
For all the near acquaintance thereabout,
By lending somewhat help to set them out.
What hiring was there of our hackney jades ?
What scouring up of old and rusty blades?
What running to and fro was there to borrow
A safeguard, or a cloak, until the morrow?
What shift made Jack for girths? what shift made Gillian
To get her neighbour's footstool and her pillion,
Which are not yet return'd? How great a pother
To furnish and unfurnish one another,
In this great voyage did there then appear ?
And what a time was that for bankrupts here?
Those who had thought (by night) to steal away,
Did unsuspected shut up shop by day;
And (if good luck it in conclusion prove)
Two dangers were escaped at one remove:
Some hired palfreys for a day or twain,
But rode so far they came not back again.
Some dealed by their neighbours, as the Jews
At their departure did th’Egyptians use :
And some, (with what was of their own, content)
Took up their luggage, and away they went.
And had

you

heard how loud the coaches rumbled; Beheld how cars and carts together jumbled; Seen how the ways with people thronged were ; The bands of foot, the troops of horsemen there;

What multitudes away by land were sent;
How
many

thousands forth by water went ;
And how the wealth of London thence was borne;
You would have wonder'd ; and (almost) have sworn
The city had been leaving her foundation,
And seeking out another situation;
Or, that some enemy, with dreadful power,
Was coming to besiege, and to devour.

Oh, foolish people, though I justly might Authorise thus my muse to mock your flight, And still to flout your follies : yet, compassion Shall end it in a kind expostulation."

CHAP. XIX.

GRANDEUR OF THE ANCIENTS.

ONE morning as the Bachelor and his Egeria were looking over a set of Henning's beautiful casts of the Athenian marbles in the British Museum, Benedict observed, with his characteristie simplicity, “ that surely the ancients must have excelled the moderns prodigiously in grandeur of every kind.” “ If that were the case,” said the nymph,

66 it is curious that so little of their domestic splendour has come down to us. I shall not go so far as the Irish gentleman, who said of the magnificence of Cæsar, that he had not a shirt to his back; but I very

much suspect that the domestic comforts of the ancients were far inferior to our own. At the same time, I confess that the ornaments which have been ob

tained from the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii are stubborn facts against me. However, I think it not to be questioned, that if we form our estimate from the remains of their sacerdotal and other public edifices, we shall be obliged to admit with you, that their grandeur very greatly exceeded that of the moderns; and yet I think it is Aristotle who describes that same Athens, where these beautiful sculptures were executed, and which they so long adorned, as a dirty place, with streets scarcely wide enough for a carriage to pass ; the houses chiefly of timber, and overhanging the streets in such a manner as at once to darken the path and confine the air. Indeed, I fancy the state of the citizen-part of the cities of the ancients ought no more to be estimated by the magnificent ruins of the public buildings, than the state of our own old towns in the olden time by the cathedrals and the abbey remains that still render them so interesting. Upon the subject of ancient Roman grandeur, there are some very sensible observations in the fifty-sixth number of the Quarterly Review, which I beg you will allow me to read.”

ANCIENT ROME. “ Unfortunately, very few travellers approach Rome in the first instance with the moderate expectations of Virgil's Shepherd; prepared for nothing more splendid than what they had been accustomed to see at their own country-towns on a market-day. They have taken on trust the descriptions of the poets, and orators, and historians, of a country fertile in such characters ; and the Queen of Cities, throned upon her seven hills in marble majesty, the mistress of a world conquered by the valour of her sons, holds up to them a picture, the effect

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of which they are perhaps unwilling to spoil by filling up all its parts with too curious accuracy ; otherwise it is certain that information enough is to be obtained from Roman authors to prepare them for a scene of much more moderate splendour in the capital of Italy. From them they might have learned, before they put themselves on board the packet, that all those points upon which the imagination reposes with so much complacency, are perfectly consistent with disorder, and misery, and filth: they might have learned, that the Tiber was of old but a torpid and muddy stream;

that heretofore the streets of Rome were dark and narrow, and crooked; that carriages of pleasure (of which, by the bye, the carpentum, one of the most common, probably very little surpassed our tilting and jolting taxcart) were by law prohibited from entering them except on certain days, so little space was there for driv. ing; that the sedans, which were used in their stead, put the people to infinite confusion ; that there were few scavengers, and no lamps ; that when a Roman returned home from a supper party, he had to pick his way along with a horn lantern, and bless himself if he reached his own door without a shower from an attic alighting on his cap of liberty ; that the porticos and approaches to the baths were subject to every species of defilement, so that even the symbols of religion inlisted for their protection ; that the statues with which the city was peopled were treated with that contempt which Launce would have rebuked even in his dog ; that the images of the gods were disfigured by painted faces and gilded beards; and that though the Venus de' Medici never appeared in a hooped petticoat, nor the Apollo Belvedere in a blue swallow-tailed coat with metal buttons, yet that the costume of the day, whatever it was, was very generally bestowed on the representatives of Heaven'; that the houses were for the

were

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