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been the residence of the gallant sir Walter Raleigh, who threw down his court mantle for queen Elizabeth to walk on, that she might not damp her feet; he, whose achievements in Virginia secured immense revenue to his country; whose individual enterprise in South America carried terror to the recreant heart of Spain; who lost years of his life within the walls of the Tower, where he wrote the “History of the World,” and better than all, its inimitable preface; and who finally lost his life on a scaffold for his courage and services. By a door in the rear we got into “the best parlour;" this was on the ground-floor; it had been Raleigh's dining-room. Here the arms of sir John Miller are painted on glass in the end window; and we found Mr. John Cleghorn sketching them. This gentleman, who lives in the neighbourhood, and whose talents as a draftsman and engraver are well known, was obligingly communicative; and we condoled on the decaying memorials of past greatness. On the ceiling of this room are stuccoed the five senses; Feeling in an oval centre, and the other four in the scroll-work around. The chimney-piece of carved oak, painted white, represents Charity, supported by Faith on her right, and Hope on her left. Taking leave of Mr. Cleghorn, we hastily passed through the other apartments, and gave a last farewell look at sir Walter's house; yet we bade not adieu to it till my accompanying friend . a wish, that as sir Walter, according to tradition, had there smoked the first pipe of tobacco drawn in Islington, so he might have been able to smoke the last whiff within the walls that would in a few weeks be levelled to the ground. We got to Canonbury. . Geoffrey Crayon’s “Poor Devil Author " sojourned here:— “Chance threw me,”hesays, “in the way of Canonbury Castle. It is an ancient brick tower, hard by ‘merry Islington;’ the remains of a hunting-seat of queen Elizabeth, where she took the pleasure of the country when the neighbourhood was all woodland. What gave it particular interest in my eyes was the circumstance that it had been the residence of a poet. It was here Goldsmith resided when he wrote his ‘Deserted Village.' I was shown the very apartment. It was a relic of the original style of the castle, with pannelled wainscots and Gothic windows.
I was pleased with its air of antiquity, and with its having been the residence of poor Goldy. “Goldsmith was a pretty poet,” said I to myself, ‘a very pretty oet, though rather of the old school. É. did not think and feel so strongly as is the fashion now-a-days; but had he lived in these times of hot hearts and hot heads, he would no doubt have written quite differently. In a few days I was quietly established in my new quarters; my books all arranged; my writing-desk placed by a window looking out into the fields, and I felt as snug as Robinson Crusoe when he had finished his bower. For several days I enjoyed all the novelty of change and the charms which grace new lodgings before one has found out their defects. I rambled about the fields where I fancied Goldsmith had rambled. I explored merry Islington; ate my solitary dinner at the Black Bull, which, according to tradition, was a country seat of sir Walter Raleigh, and would sit and sip my wine, and muse on old times, in a quaint old room where many a council had been held. All this did very well for a few days; I was stimulated by novelty; inspired by the associations awakened in my mind by these curious haunts; and began to think I felt the spirit of com sition stirring with me. But Sunday came, and with it the whole city world, swarming about Canonbury Castle. I could not open my window but I was stunned with shouts and noises from the cricket ground; the late quiet road beneath my window was alive with the tread of feet and clack of tongues; and, to complete my misery, I found that my quiet retreat was absolutely a ‘show house, the tower and its contents being shown to strangers at sixpence a head. There was a perpetual tramping up stairs of citizens and their families to look about the country from the top of the tower, and to take a peep at the city through the telescope, to try if they could discern their own chimneys. And then, in the midst of a vein of thought, or a moment of inspiration, I was interrupted, and all my ideas put to flight, by my intolerable landlady's . ing at the door, and asking me if I would ‘just please to let a lady and gentleman come in, to take a look at Mr. Goldsmith's room.” If you know any thing what an author's study is, and what an author is himself, you must know that there was no standing this. I put a positive interdict on my room's being exhibited; but then it was shown when I was absent, and my papers put in confusion; and on returning home one day I absolutely found a cursed tradesman and his daughters gaping over my manuscripts, and my landlady in a panic at my appearance. I tried to make out a little longer, by taking the key in my pocket; but it would not do. I overheard mine hostess one day telling some of her customers on the stairs that the room was occupied by an author, who was always in a tantrum if interrupted ; and I immediately perceived, by a slight noise at the door, that they were peeping at me through the keyhole. By the head of Apollo, but this was quite too much l With all my eagerness for fame, and my ambition of the stare of the million, I had no idea of being exhibited by retail, at sixpence a head, and that through a key-hole. So Ibade adieu to Canonbury Castle, merry Islington, and the haunts of poor Goldsmith, without having advanced a single line in my habours.” Now for this and some other descri
tions, I have a quarrel with the aforesaid Geoffrey Crayon, gent. What right has a transatlantic settler to feelings in England He located in America, but it seems he did not locate his feelings there; if not, why not? What right has he of New York to sit “solitary” in Raleigh's house at Islington, and “muse” on our “old times;” himself clearly a pied animal, mistaking the pied bull for a “black” bull. There is “black” blood between us. By what authority has he a claim to a domicile at Canonbury 2 Under what international law laid down by Vattel or Martens, or other jurist, ancient or modern, can his pretension to feel and muse at sir Walter's or queen Elizabeth's tower, be admitted He comes here and describes as if he were a real Englishman; and claims copyright in our courts for his feelings and descriptions, while he himself is a copyist; a downwright copyist of my feelings, who am an Englishman, and a forestaller of my descriptions— bating the “black” bull. He has left me nothing to do. My friend, the artist, obligingly passed the door of Canonbury tower to take a sketch of its north-east side; not that the tower has not been taken before, but it has not been given exactly in that position. We love every look of an old friend, and this look we get after crossing the bridge of the New River, coming from the
“Thatched house" to “Canonbury tavern." A year or so ago, the short walk from the lower Islington-road to this bridge was the prettiest “bit” on the river nearest to London. Here the curve of the stream formed the “horse-shoe.” In by-gone days only three or four hundred, from the back of Church-street southerly, and from the back of the upper street westerly, to Canonbury, were open green pastures with uninterrupted views easterly,bounded only by the horizon. Then the gardens. to the houses in Canonbury-place, terminated by the edge of the river, were covetable retirements; and ladies, lovely as the marble bust of Mrs. Thomas Gent, by Behnes, in the Royal Academy Exhibition, walked in these gardens, “not unseen,” yet not obtruded on. Now, how changed 1 My ringing at the tower-gate was answered by Mr. Symes, who for thirtynine years past has been resident in the mansion, and is bailiff of the manor of Islington, under lord Northampton. Once more, to “many a time and oft" aforetime, I ranged the old rooms, and took perhaps a last look from its roof. The eye shrunk from the wide havoc below. Where new buildings had not covered the sward, it was embowelling for bricks, and kilns emitted flickering fire and sulphurous stench. Surely the dominion of the brickand-mortar king will have no end; and cages for commercial spirits will be instead of every green herb. In this high tower some of our literary men frequently shut themselves up, “far from the busy haunts of men.” Mr. Symes says that his mother-in-law, Mrs. Evans, who had lived there three and thirty years, and was wife to the former bailiff, often told him that her aunt, Mrs. Tapps, a seventy years' inhabitant of the tower, was accustomed to talk much about Goldsmith and his apartment. It was the old oak room on the first floor. Mrs. Tapps affirmed that he there wrote his “Deserted Village,” and slept in a large press bedstead, placed in the eastern corner. From this room two small ones for sleeping in have since been separated, by the removal of the pannelled oak wainscotting from the north-east wall, and the cutting of two doors through it, with a partition between them; and since Goldsmith was here, the window on the south side has been broken through. Hither have I come almost every year, and frequently in many years, and seen the changing occupancy of these apart
ments. Goldsmith's room I almost susect to have been tenanted by Geoffrey 8. about seven years ago I saw books on one of the tables, with writing materials, and denotements of more than a “Poor Devil Author.” This apartment, and other apartments in the tower, are often to be let comfortably furnished, “with other conveniences.” It is worth while to take a room or two, were it only to hear Mr. Symes's pleasant conversation about residences and residentiaries, manorial rights and boundaries, and “things as they used to be” in his father's time, who was bailiff before him, and “ in Mrs. Evans's time,” or “Mrs. Tapps's time.” The grand tenantry of the tower has been in and through him and them during a hundred and forty-two years. Canonbury tower is sixty feet high, and seventy feet square. It is part of an old mansion which appears to have been erected, or, if erected before, much altered about the reign of Elizabeth. The more ancient edifice was erected by the priors of the canons of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, and hence was called Canonbury, to whom it appertained until it was surrendered with the priory to Henry VIII.; and when the religious houses were dissolved, Henry gave the manor to Thomas lord Cromwell; it afterwards passed through other hands till it was possessed by sir John Spencer, an alderman and lord mayor of London, known by the Iname . “ rich Spencer.” While he resided at Canonbury, a Dunkirk pirate came over in a shallop to Barking creek, and hid himself with some armed men in Islington fields, near to the path sir John usually took from his house in Crosbyplace to this mansion, with the hope of making him prisoner; but as he remained in town that night, they were glad to make off, for fear of detection, and returned to France disappointed of their }. and of the large ransom they calcuated on for the release of his person. His sole daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, was carried off in a baker's basket from Canonbury-house by William, the second lord Compton, lord president of Wales. He inherited Canonbury, with the rest of sir John Spencer's wealth at his death, and was afterwards created earl of Northampton; in this family the manor still remains. The present earl's rent-roll will be enormously increased, by the extinction of comfort to the inhabitants of Islington and its vicinity, through the covering up
of the open fields and verdant spots on his estates. As a custom it is noticeable, that many metropolitans visit this antique edifice in summer, for the sake of the panoramic view from the roof. To those who inquire concerning the origin or peculiarities of its erection or history, Mr. Symes obligingly tenders the loan of “Nelson's History of Islington,” wherein is ample information on these points. In my visit, yesterday, I gathered one or two particulars from this gentleman not befitting me to conceal, inasmuch as I hold and maintain that the world would not be the worse for being acquainted with what every one knows; and that it is every one's duty to contribute as much as he can to the amusement and instruction of others. Be it known then, that Mr. Symes says he possesses the ancient key of the gate belonging to the prior's park. “It formerly hung there,” said he, pointing with his finger as we stood in the kitchen, * withinside that clock-case, but by some accident it has fallen to the bottom, and I cannot get at it.” The clock-case is let into the solid wall flush with the surface, and the door to the weights opening only a small way down from the dial plate, they descend full two-thirds the length of their lines within a “fixed abode.” Adown this space Mr. Symes has looked, and let down inches of candle without being able to see, and raked with long sticks without being able to feel, the key; and yet he thinks it there, in spite of the negative proof, and of a suggestion I uncharitably urged, that some antiquary, with confused notions as to the “rights of things,” might have removed the key from the nail in the twinkling of Mr. Symes's eye, and finally deposited it among his own “collections. A very large old arm chair, with handsome carved claws, and modern verdant baize on the seat and back, which also stands in the kitchen, attracted my attention. “It was here,” said Mr. Symes, “before Mrs. Tapps's time; the old tapestry bottom was quite worn out, and the tapestry back so ragged, that I cut them away, and had them replaced as you see; but I have kept the back, because it represents Queen Elizabeth hunting in the woods that were hereabout in her time— I'll fetch it.” On my hanging this tapestry against the clock-case, it was easy to make out a lady gallantly seated on horseback, with a sort of turbaned headdress, and about to throw a spear from her right hand; a huntsman on foot, with a pole in. one hand, and leading a brace of dogs with the other, runs at the side of the horse's head; and another man on foot, with a gun on his shoulder, follows the horse; the costume, however, is not so early as the time of Elizabeth; certainly not before the reign of Charles I. This edifice is well worth seeing, and Mr. Symes's plain civility is good entertainment. i.e. have only to ring at the bell above the brass plate with the word “Tower” on it, and ask, “Is Mr. Tower at home?” as I do, and they will
be immediately introduced; at the conclusion of the visit the tender of sixpence each, by way of “quit-rent,” will be accepted. Those who have been before and not lately, will view “improvement” rapidly devastating the forms of nature around this once delightful spot; others who have not visited it at all may be amazed at the extensive prospects; and none who see the “goings on" and “ponder well,” will be able to foretell whether Mr. Symes or the tower will enjoy benefit of survivorship.
To Canonbury Tower.
As some old, stout, and lonely holyhock,
Grow dim and townlike;
a cold, creeping gloom
Steals into thee, and saddens every room:
May 18, 1825,
This is the fifth sunday after Easter. “Rogation” is supplication, from the Latin rogare, to beseech. Rogation Sunday obtained its name from the succeeding Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, which are called Rogation-days, and were ordained by Mammertus, archbishop of Vienne, in Dauhiné; about the year 469 he caused the itanies, or supplications, to be said upon them, for deliverance from earthquakes, fires, wild beasts, and other public calamities, which are alleged to have happened in his city; hence the whole week is called Rogation-week, to denote the continual praying.” Shepherd, in his “Elucidation of the Book of Common Prayer,” mistaking Pienne for Vienna the capital of Germany, says: “The example of Mammertus was followed by many churches in the West, and the institution of the Rogationdays, soon passed from the diocese of
Pienna into France, and from France into England.” Rogation-week is also called grassweek, from the appetite being restricted to salads and greens; cross-week, from the cross being more than ordinarily used; procession-week, from the public processions during the period; and gang-week, from the ganging, or going about in these processions.” The rogations and processions, or singing of litanies along the streets during this week, were practised in England till the Reformation. In I554, the priests of queen Mary's chapel made public processions. “All the three days there went her chapel about the fields: the first day to St. Giles's, and there sung mass: the next day, being Tuesday, to St. Martin's in the Fields; and there a sermon was preached, and mass sung; and the company drank there: the third day to Westminster; where a sermon was made, and then mass and good cheer made; and after, about the park, and so to St. James's
court. The same Rogation-week went out of the Tower, on procession, priests and clerks, and the lieutenant with all his waiters; and the axe of the Tower borne in procession: the waits attended. There joined in this procession the inhabitants of St. Katharine's, Radcliff, Limehouse, Poplar, Stratford, Bow, Shoreditch, and all those that belonged to the Tower, with their halberts. They went about the fields of St. Katharine's, and the liberties.” On the following Thursday, “Being Holy Thursday, at the court of St. James's, the queen went in procession within St. James's, with heralds and serjeants of arms, and four bishops mitred; and bishop Bonner, beside his mitre, wore a pair of slippers of silver and gilt, and a pair of rich gloves with ouches of silver upon them, very rich.”t The effect of processions in the churches, must have been very striking. A person sometimes inquires the use of a large portion of unappropriated room in some of our old ecclesiastical edifices;
he is especially astonished at the enormous unoccupied space in a cathedral, and asks, “what is it for?"—the answer is, at this time, nothing. But if the Stuarts had succeeded in reestablishing the catholic religion, then this large and now wholly useless portion of the structure, would have been devoted to the old practices. In that event, we should have had cross-carrying, canopy-carrying, censing, chanting, flower-strewing, and all the other accessories and essentials of the grand pageantry, which distinguishes catholic from protestant worship. The utmost stretch of episcopal ceremonial in England, can scarcely extend to the use of an eighth part of any of our old cathedrals,each of which, in every essential particular as a building, is papal.
: Dr. Forster,