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because he reverenced letters as opposed to illiteracy. He gave his testimony to the worth of Oxford at a distant day, when he held that the great glory of Wolsey was to have founded Christchurch:
“He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one:
The journey from Oxford to London must have occupied two days, in that age of bad roads and long miles. Harrison, in his “Chapter on Thoroughfares' (1586), gives us the distances from town to town –Oxford to Whatleie, 4 miles; Whatleie to Thetisford, 6; Thetisford to Stockingchurch, 5; Stockingchurch to East Wickham, 5; East Wickham to Baccansfield, 5; Baccansfield to Uxbridge, 7; Uxbridge to London, 15. Total, 47 miles. Our modern admeasurements give 54. Over this road, then, in many parts a picturesque one, would the two friends from Stratford take their course. They would fare well and cheaply on the road. Harrison tells us, “Each comer is sure to lie in clean sheets, wherein no man hath been lodged since they came from the laundress, or out of the water wherein they were last washed. If the traveller have a horse his bed doth cost him nothing, but if he go on foot he is sure to pay a penny for the same. But whether he be horseman or footman, if his chamber be once appointed he may carry the key with him, as of his own house, so long as he lodgeth there. If he lose aught whilst he abideth in the inn, the host is bound by a general custom to restore the damage, so that there is no greater security anywhere for travellers than in the greatest inns of England.” On the evening of the fourth day after their departure from home would the young wayfarers, accustomed to fatigue, reach London. They would see only fields and hedge-rows, leading to the hills of Hampstead and Highgate on the north of the road, and to Westminster on the south. They would be wholly in the country, with a long line of road before them, without a house, at the spot which now, although bearing the name of a lane— Park Lane—is one of the chosen seats of fashion. Here Burbage would point out to his companion the distant roofs of the Abbey and the Hall of Westminster; and nearer would stand St. James's Palace,—a solitary and somewhat gloomy building. They would ride on through fields till they came very near the village of St. Giles's. Here, turning from their easterly direction to the south, they would pass through meadows, with the herd quietly
* Henry VIII. Act i., Scene 1.
grazing under the evening sun in one enclosure, and the laundress collecting her bleached linen in another. They are now in St. Martin's Lane; and the hum of population begins to be heard. The inn in the Strand receives their horses, and they take boat at Somerset Place. Then bursts upon the young stranger a full conception of the wealth and greatness of that city of which he has heard so much, and imagined so much more. Hundreds of boats are upon the river. Here and there a stately barge is rowed along, gay with streamers and rich liveries; and the sound of music is heard from its decks, and the sound is repeated from many a beauteous garden that skirts the water's edge. He looks back upon the cluster of noble buildings that form the Palace of Westminster. York Place and the spacious Savoy bring their historical recollections to his mind. He looks eastward, and there is the famous Temple, and the Palace of Bridewell, and Baynard's Castle. Above all these rises up the majestic spire of Paul's. London Bridge, that wonder of the world, now shows its picturesque turrets and multitudinous arches; and in the distance is seen the Tower of London, full of grand and solemn associations. The boat rests at the Blackfriars. In a few minutes they are threading the narrow streets of the precinct; and a comfortable house affords the weary youths a cheerful welcome.
MAY-MORNING: ITS POETRY AND ITS PROSE.
ONCE upon a Time—it is a quarter of a century ago—I used to have raptures about May-Day. I translated Buchanan's Ode to May; I read Herrick under the hawthorn-trees in Windsor Park. On one year, tempted by as bright a sky and as balmy an air as ever inspired the votaries of spring in this variable climate, I silently gave myself up to the fascinations of the beauteous budding-time and its old recollections. I believed in all our ancestors' raptures about May-day, convinced that it was with no effort against blights and chills that they went out, as old Stow tells us, on that memorable morning, “into the sweet meadows and green woods, there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising God in their kind.” I then understood, while the blue vault was scarcely speckled with a cloud, and the foliage of the trees put forth its freshest green, and the hawthorn was budding
that the old seasons had not forsaken us, and the thrush was singing over his sitting mateI then understood the enthusiasm of one of our old rural poets :
“Get up, get up, for shame! the blooming Morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn; VOL. I.
See how Aurora throws her fair
The dew bespangling herb and tree;
Nay, not so much as out of bed,
Nay, profanation, to keep in;
It was in that happy season that I rubbed up, for the first time, some of the antiquarianism of Mayday. The formal Mr. Bourne, who coquetted with old customs by diligently recording them with a pious abuse of their heathenish vanities, says“On the calends, or the first day of May, commonly called May-day, the juvenile part of both sexes were wont to rise a little after midnight, and walk to some neighbouring wood, accompanied with music and the blowing of horns; where they break down branches from the trees, and adorn them with nosegays and crowns of flowers. When this is done they return with their booty homewards, about the rising of the sun, and make their doors and windows to triumph in the flowery spoil. The after-part of the day is chiefly spent in dancing round a tall pole, which is called a May-pole ; which, being placed in a convenient part of the village, stands there, as it were, consecrated to the goddess of flowers, without the least violation offered it in the whole circle of the year. And this is not the custom of the British