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Title: The Story of Westminster Abbey
Author: Brooke-Hunt, Violet
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Cover art]



        "_It is with history as with travelling through a great
          country.  The by-ways are often the most pleasant._"



[Illustration: HENRY VII’s CHAPEL.]



                             *The Story of
                           Westminster Abbey*

                  _Being some Account of that Ancient
                      Foundation, its Builders and
                       those who Sleep therein._


                                   BY

                           VIOLET BROOKE-HUNT

                               AUTHOR OF
        "PRISONERS IN THE TOWER OF LONDON," "LORD ROBERTS," ETC.



                                 London
                      JAMES NISBET & CO., LIMITED
                           21 BERNERS STREET
                                  1902



                             *INTRODUCTION*

Geoffrey’s father had gone to be the representative of the Mother
Country in one of the distant Colonies, and as the boy had "more brains
than body," to quote his house-master, his parents had taken him with
them for a time, making a long journey first.  When he came home to go
to Eton, I found him a much-travelled person, brimming over with a host
of new ideas and impressions, though otherwise the same original dreamy
boy as ever. The inches he had added to his height and his chest
testified to the success of the experiment on that score, while it was
evident that his active little brain and his big eyes had made the most
of their opportunities.

"I seemed to be doing lessons all day," he confided to me, "only they
weren’t lessons out of a book, and they seemed so much easier to
remember.  I wish I could always learn things by seeing them!"  As the
Christmas holidays had to be spent in London, I took Geoffrey at his
word, and one morning we wandered down to Westminster Abbey for the
ostensible purpose of seeing the Coronation Chair.  Of course we saw a
great deal more, and one visit led to another.

"It’s not a bit like a churchyard, though it is full of monuments," was
Geoffrey’s criticism one morning.  "It is just a book about English
history right from the very beginning; and please I want you to write it
all down; because now I’ve seen the places and the monuments and the
figures, I shall understand reading about them."

I demurred, but Geoffrey had answers for most of my objections, and here
is his view of the matter, imparted to me in fragments and at intervals
during the day.

"It’s not only what I want," he said, "but I know some of the boys and
girls where father is would like it too, especially if you put in plenty
of pictures.  You see though lots of them have never been over here at
all, they always call England home, and they all mean to come some day.
And of course when they do come they will go to Westminster Abbey,
because it partly belongs to them.  I am afraid I can’t explain it very
well, but what I mean is that now I have learned so many new things
about the Abbey, I feel as if I understood ever so much more about
history; not the dates and the Acts of Parliament and the dull parts,
but the kings and the queens, and the important men who really lived and
did things.  And all those people must belong to every one who is
English, no matter where they live, mustn’t they?  So if you put them
all into a book, every one who reads it will know what to go and look
for in the Abbey, and they won’t feel quite strange when they get inside
the doors, because they will see old friends all around them."

Geoffrey’s remarks were suggestive, to say the least of them, and as he
spoke I could not help feeling that there were other boys and girls
besides those across the seas, and possibly some grown-up people too,
who would learn to better know and love the Abbey, with its eight
hundred years of unbroken traditions, if they could read its story
written in simple language and told in a simple way.

That is at once my excuse and my justification for a book which does not
aspire to be technical, exhaustive, or very erudite.  Critics will find
plenty to criticise, especially in the latter part, for I am well aware
that with such a mass of material to draw from, much has been left
unsaid that is nevertheless full of interest. Many events have of
necessity been crowded into a few lines, when a few chapters would not
have done them justice, while I plead guilty to having dwelt at greater
length on some names than is perhaps warranted by their actual position
in history.  Broadly speaking, my desire has been, firstly, to consider
the Abbey as including the Palace of Westminster, and to weave men and
events connected with both into the story; secondly, to try and make
clear how wonderfully representative, how all-embracing, is this
glorious old Church, with its continual reminder to us that though
former things may pass away, new things for ever spring up to fill the
empty places.

Then Geoffrey had his favourites and I had mine, for both of us in our
different ways are hero-worshippers, and thus has our selection been
made.

For the rest, I can only feel that, despite its shortcomings, the book
will not altogether fail in its object if it makes the Abbey a more
familiar place to the boys and girls of the Empire, if it helps, in the
words of Matthew of Paris, "to keep alive the memory of the good in the
past generations, for the which all sacred historians have striven, from
Moses down to the deep-souled chroniclers of the years in which we
ourselves are living."

Many are the books to which I am deeply indebted, but especially would I
mention, among other works, Dart’s "History of the Abbey Church" (1723),
Widmore’s "History of the Church of St. Peter" (1750), Neale and Brayley
on "The History and Antiquities of the Abbey" (1818), and portions of
the Chronicles, Matthew of Paris, Froissard, and Stowe.  Among modern
works Dean Stanley’s "Memorials" easily takes the first place, as much
for the charm of its style as for its general value and admirable
classification; and I am especially obliged to Mr. John Murray, the
publisher, for allowing me to use two of the copyright plans from this
book.  Stanley’s "Sermons on Special Occasions" are also so closely
connected with Westminster Abbey that I have found them very suggestive.

The Deanery Guide is invaluable, and contains a storehouse of
information concisely and correctly tabulated.  No one should go round
the Abbey for the first time without this excellent little work, and I
gratefully acknowledge the assistance it has been to me.  I must also
include the "Annals of Westminster Abbey," by Mrs. Murray Smith;
"Westminster Abbey," by W. J. Loftie; "Westminster," by Sir Walter
Besant, and "A Little Guide to Westminster," by E. M. Troutbeck.

For more general information and for biography I have turned to the
standard histories, especially to Freeman’s "Norman Conquest," and to
those most useful lists of authorities given in the "Dictionary of
National Biography."

VIOLET BROOKE-HUNT.

45 ALBERT GATE, S.W.
_February_ 1902.



                               *CONTENTS*

                                *PART I*

                  _WITH KINGS AND QUEENS IN THE ABBEY_

      I. In the Misty Past
     II. The Hallowing of the Abbey
    III. Saxons and Normans at Westminster
     IV. Through Seven Reigns
      V. With Kings and Queens in Edward’s Shrine
     VI. Edward III. and Queen Philippa
    VII. Richard II. and Queen Anne
   VIII. Henry V. and his Chantry
     IX. The Wars of the Roses and the Third Royal Builder
      X. The Abbey and the Reformation
     XI. In the Chapel of Henry VII.
    XII. From the Stuarts to Our Own Times


                               *PART II*

                         _AMONG THE MONUMENTS_

   XIII. Puritans and Cavaliers in the Abbey
    XIV. Chaucer
     XV. Spenser, Addison, and the Poets’ Corner
    XVI. Garrick, Doctor Johnson, and Sheridan
   XVII. The Musicians in the Abbey
  XVIII. Wilberforce and his Fellow-Workers
    XIX. Pitt and the Statesmen’s Corner
     XX. Lawrence and the Indian Heroes
    XXI. Dickens, Browning, and Tennyson
   XXII. A Last Wander Around



                        *LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS*


Henry VII.’s Chapel . . . . . . Frontispiece

Vaulting in Henry VII.’s Chapel

The Confessor’s Funeral, from the Bayeux Tapestry

St. Edmund’s Chapel

Picture and Tapestry in the Sanctuary

The Confessor’s Chapel

Tombs of Edward I. and Henry III.

Entrance to the Chapter House

The Coronation Chair

Pyx Chapel

Tombs of Richard II. and Edward III.

Henry of Lancaster Crowned at Westminster

Henry V.’s Tomb

Plan of Tombs in the Chapel of the Kings

Gates of Henry VII.’s Chapel

Plan of Chapel of Henry VII.

Tomb of Queen Elizabeth

Interior, Looking East

Jerusalem Chamber

Prince Rupert

Oliver Cromwell

Chaucer’s Tomb

Poets’ Corner

Dr. Samuel Johnson

George Frederick Handel

David Livingstone

Charles Darwin

William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham

Rt. Hon. Warren Hastings

West Transept

Lord Tennyson

The High Altar



                                ERRATUM.

                  Page 99, line 1, for 1388 read 1399.

[Transcriber’s note: the above erratum has been applied to this text.]



                                *PART I*

                       *WITH KINGS AND QUEENS IN
                               THE ABBEY*



[Illustration: VAULTING IN HENRY VII.’s CHAPEL.]



                             *THE STORY OF
                           WESTMINSTER ABBEY*


                              *CHAPTER I*

                          *IN THE MISTY PAST*


"Without the walles of London, uppon the river Thames, there was in
Times past, a little monasterie, builded to the honour of God and St.
Peter, with a few Benedict monkes in it, under an Abbote serving
Christe. Very poore they were, and little was given them for their
reliefe.  Here the king intended, for that it was near to the famous
citie of London, and the river of Thames, that brought in all kinds of
merchandizes, from all partes of the worlde, to make his sepulchre: he
commanded that of the renters of all his rentes the work should be
begunne, in such a sorte, as should become the Prince of the Apostles."

These are the words which gather up the early story of Westminster
Abbey.

Try to forget for a few moments that pile of splendid and richly
decorated buildings, majestic and dignified in its beauty, which to-day
stands out so clearly against the grey of London skies as if conscious
of its right to be regarded as the most wondrous treasure belonging to
London City, and come back with me a journey of many hundred years, to
make the acquaintance of the Abbey as it appeared to the boys and girls
who lived under Saxon and Danish, English and Norman, Plantagenet and
Tudor kings.  For only so will you come to understand how the history of
the Abbey has been interwoven with the history of England; how, in days
gone by, kings and nobles, commons and people gathered beneath its
shadow, making it not only the centre of the nation’s life and activity,
but also the starting-point from which set out every English sovereign
called to the throne, the resting-place to which so many of them were
borne back, when they had received their summons to the high court of
the Great King.

Then you will feel something more than a sense of wonder as your eyes
rest on its beauties.  It will speak to you in a language of its own, as
it tells you of that past which you must learn to know aright if you are
to play your part nobly in present or in future days.  It will open your
ears so that you will catch echoes of the melodies which float down the
ages.  It will bring to your heart a thrill of reverence and a thrill of
pride, as you realise that this treasure-house of memories is a national
inheritance in which you have a share.  It will make you familiar with
that company of men and women who, by reason of their goodness or their
greatness, or their many gifts, so won the respect of their fellows,
that in death they were deemed worthy to lie within walls "paved with
princes and a royal race."  And it will teach you, as no book can teach
you, the story of the land we love, the land which all the great men of
history—kings, soldiers, statesmen, poets, workers, and thinkers have
helped to build up, that it might be ours to inherit and then to pass on
to coming generations in unsullied greatness.


Now if we wish to trace back to its first commencement that "little
monasterie without the walles of London," we must frankly admit that
concerning its earliest history any information we possess is of a very
shadowy character.  Certain it is that for some centuries a religious
building had existed on Thorn-ea, one of those many little islands
standing above the reach of the floods which rose at high tide in that
part of the Thames where it broadened out into a great marsh. Possibly
the Romans had a station at Thorn-ea, as Roman bricks and pieces of
mosaic and such remains as a fine Roman coffin have been discovered from
time to time, and Bede, our first English historian, states that Lucius,
king of Britain, himself a Christian, built a church on Thorney Island
about the year A.D. 178. For nearly four hundred years England had
remained the conquered province of the Roman Empire.  Then the greatness
of that power began to wane; Rome was threatened at her own doors by the
Goths, and to defend herself she had to call back her legions from
Britain and leave the island to its fate.  Picts, Scots, and Saxons bore
down on it, and the Saxons, "fierce beyond other foes, cunning as they
are fierce, the sea-wolves that live on the pillage of the world, to
whom the sea is their school of war and the storm their friend," swept
all before them.  Wherever they went on their victorious way they
slaughtered and shattered, and whatever Christian church existed on
Thornea they razed to the ground.  For awhile the curtain falls, then it
rises to show us Sebert, a Christian king of the East Saxons, who lived
at the beginning of the seventh century.  He was converted and baptized
by Mellitus, the Bishop of London, and founded the Minster of St. Paul
on the east side of London.  But in years to come, when Thornea was no
longer a desolate "Isle of Thorns overrun and wild," but the spot above
which there towered the Abbey, the Palace and the Monastery all grouped
together under the name of the West Minster Foundation, the monks
declared that King Sebert had raised a second church in this very place,
dedicated to St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. Furthermore they
told how one dark and stormy Sunday night, the eve of the day set apart
by Bishop Mellitus for the consecration of the new church, Edric, a
fisherman busy at his craft, heard a voice calling him from the opposite
side of the river.  He went across in his boat, and found there a
stranger, who begged to be rowed over to the island.  This Edric did
with some difficulty, as the waters were rough, and raised with
"prodigious rains," and the stranger, landed safely on the island, at
once went towards the newly builded church.  "Watch well this night,
Edric," he said as he left the astonished fisherman.  So Edric waited
and watched, and in the space of a few moments he saw the empty church
ablaze with light, standing out without darkness or shadow in the wild
night.  Voices, such as he had never heard before, sang chants and
hymns:—

    "Yonder swelled that strain,
    And still the Bride of God, that Church late dark,
    Glad of her saintly sponsors laughed and shone,
    The radiance ever freshening....
    The fisher knew that hour
    That with vast concourse of the sons of God
    That Church was thronged."—AUBREY DE VERE.


Then the lights faded, the music died away, and once more the stranger
stood at Edric’s side.

"Give me to eat," he asked of him.

But Edric had as yet caught nothing.

"Cast forth thy nets, for the Fisherman of Galilee hath blessed thee,"
said the stranger, and then he added, "Tell Mellitus on the morrow what
you have seen, and show him the token that I, Peter, have consecrated
mine own church at Westminster.  For yourself, go out into the river; of
fish you shall catch plenty, and many salmon.  But the tenth of all you
take, you shall pay to my church, and never again shall you seek to
catch fish on any Sunday."

With these words the stranger vanished, leaving Edric to ponder on the
wonderful things he had seen and heard.

On the morrow, when Bishop Mellitus, accompanied by his priests and
singing-boys, arrived to dedicate with all such honour as he could the
Minster of Thorney, he was met by Edric, who held in his hand a salmon,
and gave the message which had been delivered to him. Furthermore, he
pointed out to him the marks of the twelve crosses of consecration, in
memory of the twelve Apostles, on the church within and without.  And
the Bishop believed his words, for he saw everywhere the signs; so he
went from the church saying: "The dedication had been performed
sufficiently, better and in a more saintly fashion than he could have
done."  So he held a service of thanksgiving for this token of heavenly
favour, and then made his way back to London, to enjoy with a good
conscience the fish which Edric had presented to him.

Quaint and picturesque as is the legend, it is clearly nothing but a
legend, told by the monks of St. Peter’s for various reasons, the most
probable being that they were anxious to prove their superiority over
the monks of St. Paul’s.  It is not even a certainty that King Sebert
played any part at all in the history of Thorney Island, for in several
of the oldest chronicles we are told about "a dweller or citizen of
London by name Sebert who was excyted to make a church in the worship of
St. Peter in the West End of London, which that time was foregrowen with
bushes and bryeres exceedynglye."  But, on the whole, I think we may
allow the monks to keep King Sebert as their founder, and accept the
story that he and his queen were buried in leaden coffins in this early
church, that their bodies were removed to the restored church more than
four hundred years later, and once again, in the reign of Henry III.,
were taken from their resting-place to be laid with great ceremony in
the tomb which now you can see just inside the south ambulatory of the
Abbey.

A century later we find something tangible concerning the Church and
Monastery of St. Peter; for Offa, the wise and strong king of Mercia,
made certain gifts to it, and in the charter of 785 A.D. confirming
these, he spoke of Thorney Island as a "locus terribilis," by which he
probably meant "a sacred spot."  But after this again there is silence.
Once more Britain lay at the mercy of the invaders, this time the fierce
Danes, who, as the Saxons had done, swept ruthlessly over the land,
devastating and destroying as they went.  The church at Thorney was in
far too conspicuous a position to escape their notice; they fell upon it
in all their fury, and only a few of the monks managed to reach London
alive.  So were the buildings "reduced to a very mean and low
condition."

In time, however, the hand of the Dane was stayed. For a hundred years
indeed had they held their sway of terror, till at last they were
decisively beaten by Alfred of Wessex, that ideal warrior-king, who
first freed his people from their oppressors, and afterwards, laying
aside all personal ambition, devoted himself to the task of ruling them
wisely and well.

The Peace of Wedmore was signed in 875, and probably the church and
monastery of St. Peter were rebuilt soon after, but we know nothing till
we come to the days when Dunstan was made Bishop of London, and
"prevailed easily with King Edgar (as indeed he did, and ordered all in
Church matters during the reign of that Prince), to have the monastery,
then in ruins, restored, and that too at the king’s expense; that is,
the walls and what else remained of the ruins repaired and the place
made habitable.  And he brought hither from Glastonbury twelve monks to
make it a small monastery of the Benedictine Order."  Dunstan had grown
up from childhood under the shadow of that famous monastery at
Glastonbury, where he had been the pupil of the well-learned and deeply
religious men who had come over there from Ireland, and when at last,
after many years of varied fortunes, he found himself all-powerful, he
made it his first object to introduce the strict Benedictine rule
wherever it was possible in religious houses.  For during the time when
the Danes held the upper hand the people had fallen back into many
heathen ways, and the priests no longer held the torch of Christ’s
religion on high, or sought to lead men from darkness to light.  Dunstan
was full of zeal, and under his strong influence King Edgar made many
grants of lands and provisions to the Abbey of St. Peter, in which place
Wulsinus, also a monk from Glastonbury, reigned as Abbot.

But once again the monks of Thorney Island were driven forth from their
cells and their cloisters, this time also at the hands of the Danes,
who, led by Sweyn, "marched through the land, lighting war beacons" as
they went on their way, avenging the treacherous massacre of their
fellow-countrymen in Wessex.

King Ethelred, the Unready, offered no resistance to the Danes, but let
every city save London fall into their hands, and then fled from his
kingdom, leaving Sweyn on the throne.  However, in Canute, the son of
Sweyn, there arose a friend to what remained of the religious house on
Thorney, for he, "of a usurper being none of the worst," as an old
writer cautiously admits, conceived a great affection for a good monk,
Wulnoth, who had been brought up in the monastery there. When he became
king, Canute raised Wulnoth to the position of Abbot, granted many
favours to him and his house, and there is little doubt that he built
for himself a dwelling-place at Thorney so as to be near Wulnoth, whose
conversation pleased him, the Abbot being a man of singular sincerity.
It was a rest to him to turn from the cares and responsibilities of his
kingdom to the peaceful simple life of the Benedictine house.  God had
called him to the camp and the court, and he had vowed never to spare
himself in what was good or needful for his people.  But in his latter
days it was the calm of the cloister that he loved. Nothing remains of
the palace he built there, save the record that it was burned down in a
later reign, but it is probable that the well-known incident of the
courtiers and the tide took place on Thorney Isle.

Canute was but forty when he died, and with him died the peace which had
been such a blessing to his people while he reigned.  For he left three
sons, and between two of these, Harold and Hardicanute, there was sharp
strife as to who should become king of England. First they divided the
land, then Harold became sole king.  But three years later he died, and
was buried in the Church of St. Peter, under the shadow of the walls his
father had loved so well.  From thence, however, his fierce brother
Hardicanute dragged forth his body and had it thrown into the Thames
hard by.

Such a deed as this stamps the man, and shows him as he was, cruel,
revengeful, and fierce.  His people suffered many things at his hands,
and when he died of hard drinking at the end of two years, there was a
great longing throughout the land to shake off the last trace of a
Danish yoke and to have for king one of their own race.  Their hearts
turned towards Edward, the younger son of Ethelred the Unready, whose
life hitherto had been chiefly spent in Normandy, whither he with his
mother, Emma of Normandy, afterwards the wife of Canute, had taken
refuge when Sweyn had conquered England.  Little did they know of him,
save that he was of their blood, and had been exiled from his land and
his birthright by a foreign foe.  But his face was gentle, like that of
a woman, with white skin, pink cheeks, blue eyes and golden hair; his
voice was low, his manner serious and kind, his ways were simple and he
had a reputation for great holiness.

Earl Godwine, the all-powerful noble who had served under Canute and had
vainly endeavoured to restrain his sons, was at one with the people of
England in this matter, and so it came to pass that "before King
Hardicanute buried were, all folk chose Edward to king at London."  For
awhile Edward hesitated.  A throne had no attractions for him, and he
was almost a stranger to English manners and English life.  But Godwine,
who had gone out to Normandy as the bearer of the message from the
people, over-persuaded him and brought him back.  The Witan met at
Gillingham in Dorset to confirm the choice of the citizens of London,
and Edward was crowned in Winchester Cathedral on Easter Day with great
ceremony, many foreign princes and ambassadors being present to do him
honour.

Almost the first work of the new king was to build himself a palace, and
the site he chose was one close to the little Benedictine monastery at
Thorney Isle, which now was always called Westminster, a place no longer
covered with brambles, but well cultivated by the monks, who were
skilled tillers of the soil, and rendered green and fertile by the river
which flowed hard by. Of the palace as he built it no traces are left to
us, it having been all destroyed by fire, but we know it was made very
strong, guarded by outer and inner walls fashioned after the manner of a
Norman castle, probably nearly resembling the Council Chamber and
Banqueting Hall which still remain in the Tower of London, little
altered since the day when the early Norman builders completed their
work.  The Abbot of Westminster at this time was Eadwine, a very prudent
man, and he soon attracted the notice of the king, who was by nature far
more fit to rule a monastery than a kingdom.  Edward was troubled
somewhat in his mind, for when an exile in Normandy, he had taken a vow
that should it ever please God to restore him to his rightful
inheritance, he would go on a pilgrimage to Rome to do honour to St.
Peter there; but now that he was safely established on the throne, his
council made strong objections to his leaving the country, lest some
evil should befall him or the Danes should take advantage of his absence
to invade the land, while "the common people, publicly and with tears,
showed their concern, entreating him to desist from so dangerous a
voyage."  Thus the king knew not how to act, desiring ardently to carry
out his vow, and yet being unwilling to disregard the wishes of his
people.  Possibly it was Eadwine, living as he did so near to the king’s
new palace as to be often consulted by him, who proposed as a way out of
the difficulty that a Bishop, with a fitting retinue, should be sent as
an ambassador to Pope Leo, to explain to him how Edward was restrained
from journeying thither himself, and to ask for a dispensation. This
proposal was quickly carried into action.

Pope Leo readily absolved the king from his vow, desiring that instead
he should build or restore some monastery to the honour of St. Peter,
and make over to the relief of the poor such a sum of money as his
journey would have cost him.

Edward was wonderfully pleased at the Pope’s message, and resolved to
begin at once a building worthy of the great Apostle.  What more natural
than that he should choose the little monastery at Westminster, which
was very poor?  It lay near to the city of London, and to that great
river up and down which there was so much coming and going of ships.  It
lay near also to his own palace, and if the present humble buildings
gave place to such an edifice as he intended to raise, where could a
more suitable burying-place for himself be found when the time came for
God to call him hence? Then, too, Abbot Eadwine found great favour in
his eyes; and the monks there, under the strict rule of St. Benedict,
had won for themselves a good report concerning the simplicity and
holiness of their lives.  So it seemed fitting that Westminster should
be raised from its lowly state and be refashioned in a manner worthy of
the saint whose name it bore.

Just at this time, too, Wulsinus, an aged and saintly monk at Worcester,
had a wondrous story to tell of a sacred vision vouchsafed to him, in
which St. Peter had appeared bidding him to deliver this message to the
king. "There is," declared the Apostle, "a place of mine in the west of
London, which I chose and love, the name of it being Thorney: which
having for the sins of the people been given to the power of the
barbarians, from rich is become poor, from stately low, and from
honourable is made despicable.  This let the king by my command restore
and make a dwelling of monks, stately built and well endowed, for it
shall be no less than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven."

The vision was made known to Edward, and shortly afterwards he commanded
that a tenth of his entire substance, gold, silver, cattle, and all
other possessions, should be set aside for the purpose of pulling down
the old church and raising a new one from the very foundation.

So from this time the story of the Abbey passes from misty legend into
proven history, and it is with Edward, named afterwards "the Confessor,"
that the glory must rest of having called into being that great
religious house, destined in the future to be most closely linked with
all that concerned alike the crown and the country.



                              *CHAPTER II*

                      *THE HALLOWING OF THE ABBEY*


King Edward had no sooner resolved on the site for his new Abbey Church,
than he commenced the task of building it, pressing on the work with
zealous eagerness, making it indeed the object of his life.  In his
character he lacked all those qualities which go to the making of a
great king.  His prayers and his visions so absorbed him, that in heart
and mind he lived in the company of saints and angels, and the duties of
government were altogether irksome to him.  By birth partly Norman, by
education and tastes entirely so, he knew but little of the people over
whom he was called to rule, and wherever it was possible he willingly
handed over all duties of government to others.  Fortunately for himself
and for England, there were two men ever at his side, who served both
him and his people loyally and well, these being Earl Godwine and his
second son, Harold, Earl of the East Saxons.  Both were related to him,
for Godwine was the father and Harold the brother of Lady Eadgytha, the
beautiful and accomplished wife of the king, and both showed themselves
to be rulers wise, just, and merciful.

Of the two, Harold was the more beloved by king and country alike;
indeed, one chronicler of that time boldly says that Edward’s greatest
claim to glory lies in the fact that he called Harold to the government
of his realm.  Tall of stature, beautiful in form and face, he excelled
in all things, whether in the battle-field or at the council, and to his
many gifts was added a noble and upright character, strong when the need
for strength arose, but ever inclined to show mercy and compassion. This
was the man on whose shoulders Edward virtually laid all the
responsibilities of his realm, while he spent most of his time in his
palace at Westminster, so that he might be on the spot to superintend
the progress of the building, which went on apace, and to consult with
Abbot Edwy as to the form it should take.  It was on the church itself,
rather than on the buildings of the monastery, that the king lavished
his especial care.  He meant it to be in the "new style," which he had
learnt to love during his exile in Normandy, that land from which came
forth those master-builders, many of them priests and scholars, whose
handiwork is still to be found alike in Norman and in English minsters,
beautiful as ever in its strength, its simplicity, and its dignity. Many
were the Norman customs and ideas which Edward brought over with his
Norman friends, and some of them were vigorously opposed by Harold, who
was passionately English.

But as we go through the country and find one after another of those
majestic buildings in grey stone, made so perfect as to defy the
centuries, we must gratefully remember that it was King Edward who first
of all set up this "new style" as a model in our midst.

One characteristic was, that every great church should be built in the
form of a cross; in the centre the nave, at the east end the High Altar,
and where the nave merged into the choir cross arms on the right and on
the left, and so it was that Westminster was the first cruciform church
in England.

This is a description of Edward’s building, given to us in a French Life
of the king, written very shortly after his death:—

    "Now he laid the foundations of the church
    With large square blocks of grey stone.
    Its foundations are deep,
    The front, towards the east he makes round,
    The stones are very strong and hard.
    In the centre rises a tower
    And two at the western front,
    And fine and large bells he hangs there.
    The pillars and mouldings
    Are rich without and within.
    At the basis and the capitals
    The work rises grand and royal.
    Sculptured are the stones
    And storied the windows.
    All are made with the skill
    Of good and loyal workmanship.
    And when he finished the work,
    He covers the church with lead.
    He makes then a Cloister, and Chapter-House in front,
    Towards the east, vaulted and round,
    Where his ordained ministers
    May hold their secret Chapter,
    Prater and dorter,
    And the officers round about."


Considering the size of Edward’s building, for it was very little if any
smaller than the Abbey as we know it to-day, it is unlikely that all the
parts described by the French chronicler were finished during the
lifetime of the king.  Indeed, the royal builder seems to have known
that his eyes would never rest on his work, perfected as he dreamt of
it.  His longing therefore was that church and choir might be completed
and dedicated, and for the rest he made such munificent gifts in land
and money, plate and jewels to the Abbot, that he had no fear but that
the building of the monastery with its cloisters and dormitories,
infirmary and refectory, would be easily accomplished, even if he did
not live to see it.

Signs were not wanting to warn him that the hour of his death was near
at hand.  He had ever firmly believed in dreams and visions, and of late
these had been full of solemn meaning to him.  He had seen the Seven
Sleepers of Ephesus turning from their right sides to their left, and
this he judged to be an omen which told of a great upheaval, of wars,
pestilence, and famine, which should last for seventy years.  Then, too,
the Christ Child had appeared to him as he stood near the High Altar in
the newly finished choir, and had told him how soon he was to be called
hence. And, most wonderful of all, two pilgrims, just returned from the
Holy Land, came to the king with a strange story.

Some time before, Edward was on his way to the dedication of a church he
had built to St. John the Evangelist, when he passed a beggar who
pleaded with him for his charity in the name of the Apostle of Love.
The king carried no money with him, and his much-loved Chamberlain,
Hugolin, was not at hand. Yet so tender-hearted was Edward that he could
not pass the beggar by, and he took from his hand a ring, "large, royal,
and beautiful."  The beggar took it and vanished.  But these two
pilgrims told how while they were in Syria and in great straits, having
wandered from their path, an old man with a long, white beard, carrying
two lighted tapers, stood in their pathway and questioned them.  When
they spoke of their country and their king, he became very joyous, and
declared how great a love he bore to Edward.  Furthermore he led them to
a hostel hard by, told them that lie was none other than St. John the
Evangelist, and gave them the ring, bidding them to take it back to the
king with the assurance that in half a year he should stand at his side
in Paradise.

Edward accepted the story with childlike simplicity. He fasted more
rigorously, he prayed more earnestly, and he decided to hasten on the
hallowing of his church.

The Feast of Christmas was at hand, and the king summoned the Witan for
the first time to Westminster, that they might take part in the great
ceremony.  Little did he dream how through the centuries to come Abbey
and Parliament would be welded together.

On Christmas Day, though ill, he, wearing his crown, took part in the
services, and was present at the Christmas banquet in the palace.  He
conversed with the bishops and the nobles, and appointed the feast of
the Holy Innocents as the day on which the great event for which he had
so longed should take place.

But his strength began to rapidly ebb away, and all who saw him knew him
to be a dying man.  Too weak to do more than set his signature to the
charter of the foundation, he still insisted that the hallowing should
take place.  Death held no terrors for him; it was but the gate through
which he must pass ere he could join that white-robed host of saints and
martyrs whose presence he had felt so near to him through life.  Only,
like Simeon of old, there was one thing he desired before he could say,
"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace."  Not till his
church was consecrated would the desire of his heart be satisfied.

By his bedside stood his wife, the Lady Eadgytha, herself the founder of
a convent church at Wilton.  In life he had never loved her overmuch;
like his kingdom, she occupied a very secondary place in his thoughts.
But womanlike she forgot all that in this moment, and thought only how
best she could help and comfort him. Calmly she carried out his every
wish, and, acting as his representative, went, accompanied by her two
brothers Harold and Garth, to the consecration of the Abbey Church by
Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury.

"Magnificently finished was the church," says an old writer, and it is
not difficult for us to picture what took place there on this joyous
festival.  The walls, massive and stately in their simplicity, gleamed
in their freshness, and formed a vivid contrast to the colours to be
found in the vestments of the bishops and the priests, the robes of the
acolytes and singing boys, the distinctive dress of the monks, and the
varied costumes of nobles, both Norman and Saxon, who were assembled
there. The lights shone on the High Altar, clouds of incense floated
around it, and for the first time those walls resounded with chant and
hymn and solemn antiphon.

"The work stands finished," murmured the king as the echoes of the music
floated across to him.

When the queen returned to his bedside, he lay unconscious, and she,
kneeling on the ground, tried to restore to him warmth and life.  But
for many days he made no sign.  Then suddenly, on the last day of the
old year, came the final flicker.  In a voice clear and strong, he spoke
of two holy monks, and all that they had prophesied to him concerning
the disaster which would shortly overthrow the land.  So earnest were
his words that they struck terror into the hearts of all present; only
Stigand, the Archbishop, dared declare that the king babbled in
delirium.  Yet other things did Edward bequeath in those last days.  To
his friend the Abbot Eadwine he gave his body with the command that it
should be laid in the Abbey Church, and to Harold, his brother-in-law,
he commended the Lady Eadgytha, who had never failed in her duty towards
him, and to whom he desired all honour should be accorded.  Neither did
he forget his Norman favourites, who had, he declared, left their native
land for love of him.

Still there was one all-important bequest to be made, and in that moment
Edward seemed to have understood, as he had never understood before, the
hopes and longings of his people.

"To thee, Harold, my brother, I commit my kingdom," he said solemnly.

Then once more he became silent till near the end, when he turned to the
weeping queen.

"Mourn not, my daughter," he said.  "I shall not die, but live.  For
passing from the country of the dead, I verily hope to behold the good
things of the Lord in the land of the living."

So he fell asleep; and to him St. Peter opened the gate of Paradise, and
St. John, his own dear one, led him before the Divine Majesty.

The grief of the people was intense, and to it was added a wild terror
as to what might now befall the land.  Hurriedly, as if in a panic, the
royal funeral took place on the Feast of the Epiphany, but one day after
the king had breathed his last, and the Abbey became the scene of the
deepest mourning.  Dirges and penitential psalms filled its walls
instead of joyful hymns of praise and thanksgiving.

Edward, wrapped around in beautiful robes embroidered by Eadgytha and
her maidens, and wearing the pilgrim’s ring, was laid in royal state on
a bier, and carried by eight men to the Abbey, there to be placed before
the high altar.

"Bishops, and a multitude of abbots, priests, and ecclesiastics, with
dukes and earls assembled together. A crowd of monks went thither, and
innumerable bodies of people.  Here psalms resound, the sighs and tears
burst out, and in that temple of chastity, that dwelling of virtue, the
king is honourably interred in the place appointed by himself."

[Illustration: THE CONFESSOR’S FUNERAL. FROM THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY.]

So, in a halo of sanctity, ended the life and reign of Edward; and
remembering all his piety, his humility, the nights of contrition he
spent on the cold stones in spite of his wearing sickness, his deep
reverence for all things holy, and the noble gifts he made to the
Church, men spoke of him rather as a saint than as a king.  And indeed
as a ruler he left but little mark on his times.  Yet the Abbey Church
of Westminster is no small memorial for this last king of the Saxons to
have bequeathed to the English nation, and for that alone we owe him a
debt of gratitude which lends an unfading glory to his name.

Now, you will be wondering how much of the Abbey Church as Edward built
it, stands to-day.  And alas! there is but little of it left.  For when
Henry III., who had a special love for the Confessor, resolved to set up
some worthy memorial of this "glorious king," he pulled down the greater
part of the simple, stately building Edward had so loved, and set up in
its place a much more ornate and magnificent piece of work.  Edward
built to the honour of St. Peter; Henry, to the memory of St. Edward.
But generous as was his motive in pulling down that solid Norman
building, which otherwise would have been standing firm as ever to-day,
we cannot help regretting those vanished Norman arches and massive
pillars.

When you stand by the altar rails, you can remember that the bases of
the pillars on either side of the altar are those belonging to Edward’s
church; or if you go from the cloisters, where the south and the east
walks join, into the little cloisters, you will pass under an old
archway over the entrance, always known as the Confessor’s door.
Underneath, too, what used to be the ancient dormitory, but is now the
great schoolroom of Westminster School, some very massive and solid
buildings remain which evidently date from Edward, and there is also
again the Chapel of the Pyx, or Chapel of the Chest, where treasures
belonging to the sovereign and the monastery were kept.  Neither of
these latter places are shown to the general public, but when you go to
see the Chapter-House, the entrance to which is in the east cloister,
you will see to the right of it the doorway of the Pyx Chapel, which is
wonderfully strong, and is said to be lined with the skins of Danes.
The interior of this, with its stone altar and its solid stone arches,
can have undergone very little alteration since Edward’s day.  You will
get, too, what is probably a correct general idea of the whole building
as it looked from the outside in those early days if, when you are in
the Chapter-House, you look carefully at the pictures which are copied
from the Bayeux tapestries.  This wonderful piece of work, which was
prepared for the rebuilt Cathedral at Bayeux in Normandy, was certainly
embroidered during the lifetime of William the Conqueror, and may even
have been the work of his wife, Queen Matilda.  Most probably it was
made in England, and is in itself a valuable addition to the very
fragmentary history of those times.  All its details seem to be very
accurate, copied from what the workers actually saw and knew about, so
there is no reason why the picture of the Abbey in that part of the
tapestry which shows the funeral of the Confessor should not as
accurately represent the building exactly as it stood.

You must notice the part towards the east made round, and the stones
which are "very strong and hard," with the main tower and the two
smaller towers at the side.  And notice too the figure of a man, who is
standing on the roof of the Palace, and holding with one hand the
weathercock on the east end of the Abbey.

May be the worker only sought to show the buildings of the Abbey and the
Palace standing side by side, but all unconsciously that unknown hand
prophesied what should be throughout the centuries to come, and told how
Church and State should stand firmly linked together.

The members of the Witan had not departed to their homes on the
conclusion of the festivities connected with Christmastide and the
consecration of the Abbey. They knew the king was dying fast, and that
before many days a great duty would rest on them.  Rumours may have
reached their ears that William of Normandy, cousin to Edward, meant to
lay claim to the throne on his death, declaring that the king had
promised to make him his heir, and that Harold himself had vowed to
support him.  But the sturdy Englishmen who formed that council were
resolved that never with their consent should a Norman rule over them,
and Edward knew full well the man of their choice when he pointed to
Harold as their future king.  There was an heir to the throne by right
of birth, Edgar the Atheling.  Still he lived far away unknown to them
all, and the days had not yet come when men succeeded to the throne by
right of birth alone.  On the spot was Harold, the man they loved and
trusted, "the shield of the kingdom, the shelter of the oppressed, the
judge of the fatherless and the widow."

Edward had done his part.  "Death snatched him from the earth, angels
bore his white soul to heaven, and in his death he had been glorious,
for he had made fast his realm to the noble earl."

The Witan did not hesitate so soon as the throne was theirs to fill, but
of their number sent two, who sought out Harold where he stayed,
comforting his widowed sister, and offered to him the throne as the man
of their choice.  Here again the copy of the Bayeux tapestry in the
Chapter-House will help you to picture the scene.  You will see the two
nobles, one bearing the axe of office, the other holding a crown and
pointing to the room in which lay Edward, from whence the crown had been
borne.  And you will see Harold—to quote the vivid words of Mr. Freeman,
"at once wistfully and anxiously half drawing back the hand which was
stretched forth to grasp the glittering gift. A path of danger lay open
before him, and duty, no less than ambition, bade him enter upon the
thorny road.  And yet the risk had to be run.  If he declined the crown,
to whom should England offer it?  Under him alone could there be the
faintest hope that England would offer a united front to either of the
invaders who were sure to attack her.  The call of patriotism distinctly
bade him not to shirk at the last moment from the post to which he had
so long looked forward, and which had at last become his own.  The first
man in England, first in every gift of war and peace, first in the love
of his countrymen, first in renown in other lands, was bound to be first
alike in honour and in danger."

So Harold was virtually king of England, appointed by Edward, chosen by
the Witan.  Yet "full king" he was not until before the altar he and his
people had given each other their solemn pledges, until "the blessing of
the Church and the unction of her highest ministers had made the chosen
of the people also the anointed of the Lord."

There was no time to lose.  Already the members of the Witan had
lingered for a much longer period than was their wont, and they were
anxious to return to their homes.  But to delay the coronation until
their next meeting was too dangerous to be dreamed of.  England could
not be left without a king.  The burial of Edward and the coronation of
Harold must take place at once.

So it came to pass that amid unusual sorrow Edward was buried, as I have
already described to you, in the dim light of the Epiphany morning, and
a few hours later all was in readiness for the solemn coronation rite.

There can be but little doubt that it was in Westminster Abbey that the
ceremony took place.  Harold, led by two bishops, walked to the high
altar followed by a long procession, the singers chanting the prayer
that justice and judgment might be the foundations of his throne, that
mercy and truth might go before his face.  Then the king elect fell on
his knees, and the grand strain of the _Te Deum_ rose to the skies.

And now Eldred, Archbishop of Northumberland, turned to the crowd and
demanded of the prelates, the Theyns, and the people of England whether
it was their will that Harold should be crowned king?

Their answer was a mighty shout of assent, which came from their very
hearts.  Then Harold, on his oath, swore to protect the Church of God
and all Christian people, to forbid wrong and robbery to men of every
rank, to strive after justice and mercy in all his judgments; and first
the Bishop and afterwards Eldred prayed that the God who had wrought
such mighty works, would pour down His best gifts on him chosen to be
king of the Angles and Saxons, that he might be faithful as Abraham,
gentle as Moses, brave as Joshua, humble as David, wise as Solomon, so
that he might protect both the Church and his nation from all visible
and invisible foes.

So the oath was taken and the prayers were ended. But there was yet to
follow that sacred rite of mystic meaning, which was enacted as Eldred
poured the holy oil on the head of the king, beseeching God, that as of
old, kings, priests, and prophets were anointed, so now the oil poured
on the head of His servant might be a true sign of the sanctifying of
his heart, a means of grace for His glory and the welcome of His people.
The crown was placed on his head; the sword was handed to him; sceptre
and rod were given one after the other into his hands; while with each
act the solemn voice of the Archbishop rose in prayer that a yet
brighter crown in the heavenly country might be his, that he might ever
with the sword defend the Church and the people against all adversaries,
that his sceptre might be a sceptre of righteousness, and that he who
had been anointed with the holy oil might stand fast in the strength of
God.

Thus was Harold set upon the royal throne; on his head was the crown, in
his hand the sceptre, his sword was borne by two chiefs, "while all the
people saw him with wonder and delight."

Directly the coronation ceremony was over, the Mass was celebrated.
Then all adjourned to the Palace hard by, and a great banquet was held
on this Twelfth Night, the last day of the Christmas festival, into
which so many and varied scenes had been crowded.

Little had those members of the Witan dreamt when they set out from
their homes, of all that would have have happened ere they
returned—Christmas festivities and meetings of the Council; the
consecration of the new church; the death of King Edward; the choosing
of King Harold; the burying of the old king and the crowning of the new,
all had followed one after the other in those short wintry days.

And the Abbey itself had been the centre round which all these events
had taken place.

It could never sink back into being a mere Benedictine monastery of
seventy monks, attached to the Church King Edward had built.  A greater
future lay before it, and I doubt not that the Abbot Eadwine, shrewd man
that he was, conscious of the charter which gave him and his successors
a peculiar independence, rested well satisfied on that old Christmas
night.



                             *CHAPTER III*

                  *SAXONS AND NORMANS AT WESTMINSTER*

                 "Cynge Harold lytel stilnesse gehed."


King Harold, like King Edward, spent much more time in London, and
consequently at Westminster, than any of his predecessors had done,
though not for the same reason.  Edward was reluctant to leave the
building in which he took so deep an interest; Harold, knowing full well
the unsettled state of the kingdom he had to defend, held that London,
"guarded alike by strong walls and the strong hearts of its citizens,"
was the best starting-point for any expedition he might be called on to
undertake.  So instead of spending the Easter Feast at Winchester, as
had been a long-established custom, he came to Westminster and there
assembled the Witan Gemot.  He had faithfully carried out every request
made to him by the dying King Edward.  In every way his position was
stronger than it had been three months before, and this Easter festival
saw him at the zenith of his power. Suddenly a sign appeared from
Heaven, which brought terror and desolation to the hearts of men.  The
Easter hymns were still being sung in the Abbey, when "the sky became
ablaze with a mighty mass of flame, which some called a comet."  This
appearance brought about a state of panic in those days of superstition.
First one interpreter and then another stood up to declare what it might
portend, and to prophesy of terrible events about to be accomplished.
One and all said the same, the sword of the Lord was drawn by this
token, and who should tell where it was destined to fall?

Over the seas in Normandy, William had heard in simple but sufficient
language of all that had taken place at Westminster in those first days
of the year 1066.  A messenger, who had come on an English ship, brought
the news, "King Edward has ended his days, and Earl Harold is raised to
the kindom."

William’s wrath was intense.  "Oft times he laced, and as oft unlaced
his mantle; he spake to no man, and no man dared speak to him."  The
crown of England he declared was his and his alone, promised to him by
Edward years before, when he went on a visit to the English court, and
Harold, shipwrecked on the coast of Normandy, had sworn to support his
claim.  At once he sent a message, or probably several messengers to
Harold, demanding from him the crown.  The Englishman’s answer was given
with no uncertain sound.  Had William really been chosen king by Edward
and the Witan, he would have supported him, but things were all changed
now, and he, Harold, could not give up a crown set on his head by the
will of the nation, except at the nation’s will.  William then decided
on an appeal to force.  His people, bold and adventurous, rallied to his
side, and set about preparing a fleet in which to cross the seas, and
his chief counsellor, the Abbot Lanfranc, obtained for him from Rome the
sanction and blessing of the Church on his undertaking, representing
that it would be for the spiritual welfare of England.  For even in
those early days England had shown an independence and a restiveness
under Roman control which could not be allowed to continue unrebuked.

William was indeed a formidable foe, and he was not the worst or only
foe, for Harold was suddenly called on to face his own brother, Tostig,
who had turned against him, demanding half the kingdom, and who to
enforce this claim had enlisted on his side Harald Hardrada, the warrior
king of Norway, whose fame as a fighter was known from Iceland to
Africa.  With an army, these two landed in the North and moved on to
York, fighting their way victoriously.  But from London Harold was
marching at the head of his house-carls, drawing into his train ready
volunteers.  As they came along the Roman road with a speed almost
incredible, their hearts beating high at the thought of an encounter
with traitors and a foreign foe, they told one another how King Edward
had appeared to Harold on the night before their start, bidding him be
strong and very courageous, for the victory would be surely his.  On the
25th of September the armies faced each other, and there came a
messenger from the enemy’s camp offering terms.  Harold’s answer was
characteristic.  To his brother he promised peace and forgiveness, "for
he is an Englishman.  But to Harald Hardrada, who is a foreigner and an
enemy, I will give him six feet of English ground; or, as I hear he is
taller than most men, I will give him seven feet.  But this is all the
English ground he will get from me."

The battle was a fierce one and bravely fought, but the Norsemen were
utterly vanquished, and Harald Hardrada was left sleeping on that seven
feet of ground which the king had offered him.  As was his wont, Harold
of England showed nothing but generosity to those of the conquered
Norsemen who remained, and sent them back in four-and-twenty ships to
their own shores.  Then with the remnants of his own army he set out by
the way he had come to London, having first summoned a hasty Witan Gemot
where he was, to tell them that the Normans had landed in the South.  He
told them of the work which lay before them, and they answered him with
a shout, "The heart of Harold failed not, and the hearts of the
Englishmen beat with their king."

October the 5th found him in London at his palace of Westminster, and
here to his standard flocked brave and trusty men from the shires of the
east, the south, and the west, impelled by a passionate patriotism.
Even from the cloisters there came willing soldiers, for many of the
monks refused to stay and pray in safety when they could strike a blow
for England on the battle-field.

[Illustration: S. EDMUND’S CHAPEL. SHEWING TOMB OF JOHN OF ELTHAM,
YOUNGER SON OF EDWARD II.]

There was much coming and going of armed men round Westminster during
those days of preparation, and it was to Westminster Palace that Huon
Margot, a monk, came, bearing a message to the king from Duke William.
The message was a demand for submission, a challenge, and Harold proudly
sent back the answer, "Tell the Duke I will seek him out and do battle
with him."  Then Gurth, the brother of Harold, found him in the Palace,
and thus besought him—

"Fair brother, remain here, but give me your troops; I will take the
adventure upon me and will fight William.  And while I fight the
Normans, do you scour the country, burn the houses, destroy the
villages, and carry away all the swine, goats, and cattle, that they may
not find food or anything wherewith to subsist."

All the men who stood round in the chamber said—

"This is good counsel.  Let the king follow it."

But Harold sturdily refused to hold back from danger which he was called
upon to face, neither would he allow the country to be harried.

"Never," he declared, "will I burn an English village or an English
house; never will I harm the lands or goods of any Englishman.  How
could I injure the people I should govern?  How could I harass those I
would fain see thrive under my rule?"

And a few hours later, the king at the head of his army marched through
Kent and Sussex to the high ground of Senlac, where he pitched his camp,
within seven miles of the Norman invaders.

I am trying to tell you of scenes in history which are linked with the
Abbey or Palace of Westminster, so I must not dwell on the days that
followed.  Harold, the fearless soldier, lay dead beneath the standard
he had so gallantly defended, and around him lay the flower of his race,
faithful to the end.  The men who remained were leaderless and hopeless;
they could no more offer resistance to the ruthless Norman soldiers, and
at last they gave way.

William did not immediately march on London. Tidings came that the
citizens of London were eager to fight again.  So he first subdued the
country around, and forced Dover, Winchester, and Canterbury into
submission.  Then harrying and burning wherever he was opposed, he made
his way through Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire, purposing to lay waste
the north and east of London, as he had done the south and west.  He did
his work all too well; even the stout hearts of the Londoners quailed,
and at Berkhamstead a deputation came to him owning him as conqueror,
laying the crown at his feet.  It was a bitter moment for the men who
undertook this shameful errand, but no other way was open to them in
that dark hour, and immediately arrangements were made for the
coronation ceremony. William, who consistently professed the deepest
respect for the memory of King Edward, his "predecessor," declared that
he would only be crowned in Westminster, "which peculiar respect," says
Dart, "seems not only to arise from the pretence of his title from him,
but the better to ingratiate himself with the people, with whom he stood
but indifferent, by expressing extraordinary reverence for their buried
favourite."

On Christmas Day, in the year 1066, the Abbey once again saw a great
gathering.  A guard of Norman soldiers waited without; inside mingled
together wise men of two races, Saxon and Norman.  Before the high
altar, on the gravestone of the Confessor, stood the Conqueror, on one
side a Norman Bishop, on the other, Eldred, Archbishop of York.  Once
again the monks chanted the _Te Deum_, and then followed an innovation.
For half that multitude assembled there knew not the English language,
and the question as to whether they would have this man to be their king
had to be twice asked, once in English, once in Norman.

"Yea, yea, King William," was the answer, given with a shout which so
startled the Norman soldiers outside, that at once they imagined some
disturbance was being made, or some insult was intended to their king.
In their wild anger, they began to set fire to the buildings near at
hand, and as the flames dashed upwards, the astonished people rushed out
of the Abbey to see what all this might portend.  So the body of the
great church was empty, and in dramatic solitude the Archbishop went on
with the service, surrounded only by the monks.  William was greatly
overcome as he stood thus alone before the altar; there was something
terrible in the loneliness and the stillness of the deserted church. He
trembled exceedingly, and could scarce command his voice.  It seems as
if he had shrunk from wearing the crown of Edward, or still older crown
of Alfred, "made of gould wyer works, sett with slight stones and two
little bells," for he had caused to be brought a new crown, very heavy
with gems, and this was the diadem set on his head by Eldred, after he
had made the usual vows, with one specially added, in which he solemnly
undertook to rule his people as well as the best of the kings who had
gone before him.

Still from without came the sounds of tumult and excitement, still
within the gleaming choir the solemn service was continued to the end,
and thus was William the Norman crowned and anointed, made king indeed
of England, but never king of the English people.

Westminster did not fare ill under the new king. Abbot Eadwine was
discreet and wise, with much of the courtier in him, and he managed to
preserve himself and his house in the good graces of the Conqueror.  The
building went steadily on, for money was not wanting, it was no part of
William’s policy to hinder any of the work undertaken by the Confessor.
On the contrary, he confirmed all the charters, and when Abbot Eadwine
gracefully yielded to him the lands of Windsor, which the king desired
to enjoy, it being very convenient; for his retirement to hunting, he
gave in exchange many other lands, besides making rich offerings.
Moreover William set a rich pall over Edward’s grave, presented a cloth
of great splendour with two caskets of gold for the altar, and attended
Mass in the Abbey Church most diligently.

Eadwine, the last Saxon Abbot, died in 1071, and was buried in the
cloisters; he lay near to the very centre of all the life in the
monastery which had so developed under his wise rule.  Here in the
cloisters the monks walked and talked, studied and transcribed; here the
novices and the boy scholars sought their recreation; here was the great
refectory, and close by the infirmary and St. Catherine’s Chapel;
overhead was the long bare dormitory.  Surely it was fitting that the
Abbots of Westminster should be laid in the cloisters, and so they
continued to be till the year 1222. You will find the names of many of
them recut on the stone benches in the south cloister, if you look for
them, only unfortunately this was very carelessly done, and in many
cases the names are put over the wrong graves.  It seems, too, that
Eadwine’s body was moved from the south cloister and laid in the passage
leading to the Chapter-House, close to the faithful Hugolin, who was the
Chamberlain and close friend of the Confessor.

William appointed in Eadwine’s place Geoffrey, a Norman, but so evil
were his ways that at the end of four years, "having been first
admonished by the king and Archbishop Lanfranc, but not amending upon
the admonition," he was deprived and sent back to Normandy in disgrace,
where he died.  He was followed by Vitelus, Abbot of Bernay, held by
William to be wise and a man of business, as indeed it was necessary the
ruler of a large monastery should be, and among other things "being a
stirring man, he let the monk Sulcardus, the best pen they had belonging
to the Abbey, draw up the history of the place to give it a figure in
the world."

During the rule of Geoffrey, the Lady Eadgytha, widow of Harold, died at
Winchester, and was buried with great honour in the tomb of her husband,
a tomb which each year became more and more of a holy place to the
people of England.  Under the hard rule of William, who, in the words of
that honest chronicler Master Richard Wuce, "was eke so stark a man and
wroth that no man durst do anything against his will, beyond all metes
stark to those who withstood his will," the hearts of the people turned
to that tomb of an English king, as the source from which they might
hope for deliverance, as the spot of comfort from whence came signs from
heaven that the saintly king still watched over his sorely tried people.

On one day, a council of Norman clergy was assembled in St. Catherine’s
Chapel at Westminster, their object being to deprive the holy Wulstan,
Bishop of Worcester, of his see, on the ground that "he was a very
idiot, being unacquainted with the French language."  Lanfranc ordered
him to deliver up his staff and ring. But Wulstan was before all else an
Englishman.

"Truly, my Lord Bishop," said he, "you claim from me the pastoral staff
which it was not you who crave me.  In deference to your judgment I
resign it, though not to you, but to Saint Edward, by whose authority I
received it."

Then he walked to the tomb of the glorious king.

"Thou knowest," he said in Saxon, "how reluctantly I undertook this
burden.  Only to thee can I resign the charge of those thou didst
entrust to my care.  Receive thou my staff; give it to whomsoever thou
mayest choose."

Thus speaking, he struck his staff into the stone tomb, and behold it
sank in and stood erect, so that they who stood by could not move it
neither to the right nor the left.  Word was sent to Lanfranc, who had
remained with the council in St. Catherine’s Chapel, and he indignantly
sent Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, to put an end to this foolish story
and carry the staff away. But Gundulph was powerless to move it, and on
his evidence Lanfranc himself came with the king.  Still every effort
was in vain, and at last Lanfranc commanded Wulstan to take back the
staff.

"My Lord and king," entreated the Bishop, "I pray thee give now thy
decision."  And the staff yielded itself into his hands.

So the king and the Archbishop, frightened at what they had seen, ran up
to Wulstan, begging his forgiveness, and he, having learned from the
Lord to be meek and humble of heart, threw himself in his turn upon his
knees.

I need not tell you that this is but a legend, and between legend and
history there is a great gulf fixed. But it is through legends that we
often learn the beliefs and ideas held by the mass of the people, and
this story is one of many which explains how the tomb of Edward became a
holy shrine.

William of Normandy was not buried in the Abbey; he did not even die in
the country it had been his great ambition to conquer and possess.  For
in making war against the king of France, he set fire to the town of
Nantes, and his horse, treading on a red ember, plunged violently,
throwing him to the ground, with such injury to himself that he never
recovered, but breathed his last in a monastery at Rouen.

A hard ruler, indeed, he had been, yet Master Wace, whom "himself looked
on him and somewhile dwelt in his herd," bids us remember that he was
"mild to good men that loved God, and made such good peace in the land
that a man might travel over the kingdom with his bosom full of gold
unhurt, and no man durst stay another man."

"Wa, la wa!  May God Almighty have mild-heartedness on his soul, and
give him forgiveness of his sins.  And may men after their goodness
choose the good in him withal fleeing from the evil, as they go on their
way that leadeth to God’s kingdom."

Such are the kindly words in which Master Wace ends his "Chronicle of
the Conquest."



                              *CHAPTER IV*

                         *THROUGH SEVEN REIGNS*


I am going to take you along very quickly through the reigns of the
Norman kings—William Rufus, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II., Richard Coeur
de Lion, and John, and not make a long pause till we come to the year
1216, when Henry III., the royal builder of the Abbey as we know it,
came to the throne.  The Church of Westminster, from the days of the
Norman Conquest onwards, became, as if by right, the coronation church,
"the head, crown, and diadem of the kingdom;" and Oxford, Winchester,
and St. Paul’s, which had witnessed so many coronations in the time of
the Saxon kings, were no more thought of for this purpose.  But rather
curiously none of the Norman kings were buried here.  Of a foreign race
they were, and some among them rested in foreign tombs—the Conqueror at
Caen, Henry II. and Coeur de Lion at Fontrevault, while Rufus, killed in
the New Forest, was carried to Winchester, Henry I. to Reading, Stephen
to Faversham, and John to Worcester, this last-named king having left
instructions that he should be dressed like a monk and laid next good
Bishop Wulstan, hoping by this subterfuge to take in the devil!

The fact, however, of the Abbey being the recognised place of coronation
gave the Abbot a somewhat unique position, for he it was who had to
prepare the king for the great ceremonial, though the actual crowning
became the right of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  All the regalia, too,
such as the crown of Alfred, the sceptre, the ring of Edward the
Confessor, were kept at Westminster till the seventeenth century, when
all that remained of them after the destructive days of the Commonwealth
found a safer resting-place in the Tower of London.  Yet still are they
carried to the Abbey the night before a coronation and placed for the
night in the Jerusalem Chamber, while the Dean and Canons of Westminster
still have the proud privilege of standing within the altar rails by the
Archbishop.

William Rufus had all the worst qualities of his father without his
sense of justice, and he was a cruel, selfish king, but he left his mark
on Westminster, though not on the Abbey.  The Palace was not large
enough for his requirements, and he intended to rebuild it on a great
scale.  However he accomplished little beyond the Great Hall, which
to-day is known as Westminster Hall, and leads to the Houses of
Parliament.

[Illustration: PICTURE AND TAPESTRY IN THE SANCTUARY.]

This hall, repaired and strengthened by Richard II. and George IV., is
in its way as full of interest as the Abbey, for here always took place
the banquet, a part of the coronation ceremony, here were councils held,
and here was the scene of many a great state trial.  Thanks to the
affection felt by Rufus for Gilbert the Abbot, the monastery was not
taxed in the heavy way which had once seemed likely during a reign under
which the whole nation groaned, and indeed the king granted some new
charters to it, for the belief steadily grew that the burying-place of
King Edward was the burial-place of a saint, and this general feeling of
veneration could not be without its influence on Rufus.  A new dignity,
if that were needed, became attached to the royal tomb at this time, for
on its being opened by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, in company
with many other bishops, the king was found to be sleeping there as
peacefully as if he had been buried but a few hours, with no sign of
change on his fair white face.

On the news that Rufus had been found dead in the new royal forest he
had himself appropriated, his younger brother Henry arrived in hot haste
at Westminster, to urge that he should be chosen and crowned king before
his eldest brother, Robert, could get over from Normandy.  He was better
known, and therefore better liked, than Robert, so it came about as he
wished; but as delay was thought to be dangerous, the ceremony was quite
simple, "good swords being more thought of than costly robes."  The
fact, however, that Henry came to the council, asking for their support,
gave them a power over him which they were ready to seize, and before
the deed was finally done they obtained several important pledges from
him as they met him in Westminster Hall.  This partly explains, too, the
reason why Henry sought to win the goodwill of the English nobles and
the English people, for if Robert had come over from Normandy to fight
for the crown, the Norman nobles could not all have been counted on. And
so, to please the English, he determined to marry a princess of their
race, the Princess Matilda, daughter of Malcolm of Scotland, and
great-grand-daughter of King Edmund Ironside.  Only one obstacle stood
in the way, Matilda was a nun in the Abbey of Ramsey, but a nun against
her will, forced to take the veil by her aunt Christina.  "In her
presence I wore the veil with grief and indignation," she said, "but as
soon as I could get out of her sight I did snatch it from my head, fling
it on the ground, and trample it under foot.  That was the way, and none
other, in which I was veiled."

Anselm, the large-hearted Archbishop of Canterbury, declared that a vow
so taken was not binding, and to the great joy of the nation it was
decided that she should be married and crowned on the same day in the
Abbey.  It was an English crowd which gathered to Westminster on that
great Sunday of November 11, and the shouts of Englishmen resounded the
heartfelt "Yea, yea," when Anselm from the pulpit asked them if they
would that this marriage should take place.

Matilda, who was "a very mirror of piety and humility," and who was,
moreover, shy at the sight of the "prodigious multitude" assembled to
gaze on her, blushed a rosy red, the colour of her crimson robes, and
was greatly overcome.  She took up her residence at Westminster Palace,
and the fame of her good deeds cemented still more closely the affection
felt for her by her subjects.  Henry loyally redeemed the promise he had
made before his coronation, and this was put down entirely to the
influence of his queen.

"Many are the good laws that were made in England through Matilda, the
good queen, as I understand," wrote the monk Robert of Gloucester.

To the Abbey adjoining her palace she was a generous benefactress.  Each
day in Lent she went thither barefoot clothed in hair-cloth, and herself
waited on the poorest beggars who sought the charity of the monks, even
washing their feet.

"Madam, for Godde’s love, is this well ado?" asked a courtier.

"Sir," answered the Queen, "our Lord Himself example gave for so to do."

Both Henry and his eldest son William were away in Normandy when this
good queen died at Westminster in the year 1115, after eighteen years of
happy married life "withouten strife," and she was buried close to her
great-uncle, Edward the Confessor, all people mourning her with sad
tears.

Henry died in the year 1135, leaving no son, as Prince William had been
drowned in making an heroic effort to save his sister Mary, and England
was still so much under foreign influence, that instead of his being
succeeded by his daughter Matilda or Maud, his nephew, Stephen of Blois,
was chosen king and crowned on St. Stephen’s Day.  In spite of this, a
constant struggle went on against the supporters of Maud, who were many,
and the whole reign was one of misery and misrule for England.

"King Henry had given peace to the realm and had been as a father to his
people, but now was the whole kingdom thrown into trouble and
confusion."

Westminster suffered many things at the king’s hands, for he forced on
the monastery an Abbot, Gervase de Blois, who "managed very ill,
disposing of many Abbey lands, and being so lavish with the goods of the
monastery, that the monks were afraid he would have made away even with
the regalia," while many Abbey lands were ravished and laid bare as the
result of the civil warfare between the Empress Maud and Stephen.

At last a compact was made that Stephen should reign for his lifetime,
and that Maud’s son, Henry of Anjou, should succeed him; and one year
after this had been agreed upon, Stephen died, lamented by no one. Henry
was a strong character, a great lover of justice and order; indeed, he
may be called the father of English law, and to him we owe the system of
trial by jury. He found two great powers in the land, the Church and the
Barons, and he determined to hold in check the influence of both.

Westminster was fortunate in having for Abbot, Lawrence, a man of much
learning, and what was even more important, of much tact, for he managed
to keep on excellent terms with the king, whom he persuaded to repair
and cover with lead the roofs of the building. It was he who gained for
the Abbey the great honour for which the whole nation had been longing,
and as the result of a sermon he preached before the king, the nobles,
and a great assembly of people, an embassy was sent to Rome, praying
that Edward the Confessor might be raised to the honour of a saint.
More than once had this appeal been made and refused, but now the Pope,
who feared Henry and had a great regard for Lawrence, decreed that "this
glorious light was to be no more hid from the world."

Perhaps, too, the large sum of money, willingly offered by pious
Englishmen, carried some little weight.

At midnight on October 13, 1163, Abbot Lawrence with the Archbishop
Thomas à Beckett opened the grave of Edward, and the "body of the
glorious king, who was henceforth to be honoured on earth as he was
glorified in heaven," was removed into a "precious coffin," made ready
by the order of Henry II.  The celebrated "pilgrim ring" Lawrence drew
from his finger to keep in the monastery as a precious relic, and the
anniversary of this day was solemnly kept for many a long year.

The king was so anxious to make safe the succession of his eldest son,
Prince Henry, that he insisted on his being crowned during his lifetime.
But Prince Henry did not live to succeed to the throne, and it was
Richard Coeur de Lion who was crowned as the next English king.  A very
vivid account has come down to us through the Chronicle of De Hoveden
describing the doings on this day, telling how from the Palace to the
Abbey the ground was covered with woollen cloth over which walked the
long procession as it wended its way to the ringing of bells, the
swinging of censers, lighted tapers shining everywhere.  Then before the
altar Duke Richard swore that he would all the days of his life observe
peace, honour, and reverence towards God and the Holy Church, that he
would put an end to any bad laws or customs that were in his kingdom,
and confirm all good laws, in token of which Baldwin of Canterbury
anointed him with oil on his head, his breast, and his limbs to signify
glory, valour, and knowledge, afterwards placing the crown on his head.

But the people who were gathered together for the ceremony were filled
with great forebodings of evil at the sight of a bat who fluttered round
the king, though it was the bright part of the day, and at the sound of
a peal of bells which rang mysteriously.  And when some among them
caught sight of a party of Jews, whose curiosity had overcome their
prudence, Jews and witches having been commanded by a royal proclamation
not to come near the Abbey or Palace lest they should work evil to the
king, they fell upon them and beat them to death, thus laying the train
for a series of horrible Jewish massacres throughout the country.

Richard, as you know, devoted himself to fighting the battles of the
Cross in Palestine, and England was left to the mercy and the conflicts
of the Barons.

When he fell in battle, his brother John succeeded in getting himself
elected king, though by this time a right of inheritance had been
established, and there was living Arthur, the son of John’s elder
brother, and therefore the lawful heir.  Never perhaps has a king been
crowned in Westminster who was so false to God, to man, and to his
people.  Even on his coronation day he jeered and mocked during the
celebration of the Mass, and through the years which followed no gleam
of light breaks through his deeds of treachery, cruelty, and crime.
"Hell itself is defiled by his presence," wrote the uncompromising
chronicler of his reign.

Although the desperate Barons had forced him to sign the Great Charter,
they had no belief that he would abide by it, and certain of them
therefore entered into treaty with Louis, the Dauphin of France, who
came over to England prepared to accept the crown.  Just at this moment,
however, John died, and the French Prince was too hasty in assuming that
the throne was his, for he began to divide up the kingdom and give lands
to his French followers in a manner which roused the indignation of the
stalwart Barons. John had left a little son of ten.  Why not make him
king, they reasoned?  The Council could rule the land, and for adviser
to the little Prince, who would be more likely to carry out the spirit
of the Great Charter than that wise and trusted noble, William, Earl of
Pembroke?  So after a short struggle, Louis, who had taken possession of
the Abbey and many other places in London, went back to France, and the
boy king, who had been hurriedly crowned at Gloucester to make him
secure, was crowned again in Westminster with great rejoicings on the
Whit-Sunday of 1220.  Once more the people of London felt that peace and
prosperity would now be theirs, and never before had a coronation day
been kept with such spontaneous joy.

The Abbot of Westminster was a certain Humez, a Norman, "the last of
that country," Widmore tells us with glee, and he was anxious that the
Abbey should not be behind the other great churches of the day through
not having a special chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  For
everywhere cathedrals and abbeys were being enlarged, and the Lady
Chapel, stretching behind the high altar, held the place of honour.

Humez had obtained the necessary money from certain pious persons, and
with much wisdom begged that the boy king should lay the
foundation-stone of this new chapel on his coronation day.  Henry, who
from his childhood was deeply religious, readily agreed; perhaps it was
on that day that the dream came to him of leaving behind him some such
memorial as this of King Edward.  Certainly it was from watching the
building of this Lady Chapel, with its light pointed arches and its
graceful form, representing as it did the "new style," that his dream
took shape, so that twenty-five years later he commenced the work of
completely rebuilding Edward’s massive Abbey on the beautiful Early
English lines.  His reverence for the memory of Edward almost amounted
to worship, and like his ancestor—for he proudly claimed to be of
Edward’s stock through Queen Matilda—his religion was more to him than
anything else, for he spent the greater part of his days praying or in
attending masses.  But he was also a great lover of all that was costly
and beautiful, and having married a French Princess, he had become
familiar with many of the magnificent buildings of France.  So he felt
that the Abbey with its stately simplicity was not splendid enough to
hold the shrine of the sainted king, and he determined to raise a
building which was to be "the most lovable thing in Christendom."

It is for giving us this most lovable thing that we owe to Henry III. a
deep measure of gratitude, and yet heavy was the price paid for it at
the time by those who, being weak and defenceless, were powerless to
resist the heavy taxes laid on them.  The new Abbey was paid for by the
people: sometimes money was cruelly extorted from them; sometimes a
great fair was arranged in the fields near Westminster, and all the
shops in the neighbourhood were commanded to be closed for many days, so
that the crowds would be forced to flock round the Abbey and spend their
money there; sometimes large sums were extorted from the Jews; sometimes
the king was driven as a last resource to pawning the Abbey jewels and
treasures.  At all costs money had to be found, and money in abundance,
for Henry’s ideas were all on the most lavish scale, and could not be
carried out with less than £500,000 of our money.

So, in every sense of the word, the Abbey is the church of the nation,
built with the gold of the people.  And there is another striking fact
to remember.  Gradually the clear-headed and patriotic among the Barons
were beginning to realise that though they had made the king swear to
observe the Great Charter, they had no power of putting into laws which
had to be observed the different provisions of that Charter; and though
Henry was neither cruel nor tyrannical by nature, as his father had
been, he was weak, impulsive, changeable, and extravagant.  His idea of
power lay in the carrying out of his magnificent ideas at Westminster,
regardless of the cost, till, says Matthew of Paris severely, "Oh shame!
his folly, by frequent repetition, came to be looked on as a matter of
course."

This is not the place to tell you at length how one of the barons, Simon
de Montfort by name, fought the good fight by means of which the Charter
became a living power in the land; you must read of him in other books,
and learn how he came to be called the father of English Parliaments.
What I want you to remember now is that it was he who determined to
check the unjust taxation which was being imposed by Henry in his
efforts to raise the money for the building of the Abbey.  "Let the
king," he said, "call together the barons and citizens, and let him tell
them how much money it is that he wants, and what he wants it for, and
then it will be for the barons and people to say how much money they
will give, and how it shall be collected.  If the king asks what is
right and just, then what he asks will be given to him."

There was only one way by which king and people could thus come face to
face—Henry must summon to Westminster a Parliament to discuss those
matters with him, and it must be a Parliament not made up of bishops and
barons only; all England must be represented.

So in the year 1265 the first real Parliament assembled at
Westminster—twenty-three barons, a hundred and twenty churchmen, two
knights from every county, and two burgesses from every town.

To-day the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey stand side by
side, a truly wondrous group of carved grey stone; but as you look at
them, I want you to remember how it was through the building of the
Abbey that the first Parliament which at all represented the people of
England came into being.

Can you not imagine some of the scenes which took place round
Westminster during those days?  Can you not fancy the interest and
anxiety with which those knights and burghers, many of them perhaps in
London for the first time, walked around the nearly completed building,
struck with amazement that so fair a thing could be fashioned out of
stone?  How closely they must have watched the workmen, some of them
foreigners of great skill, but many of them entirely English, masons,
carpenters, builders, carvers, all doing their part, all carrying out
the designs of that unknown architect, now held to be an English master
of the work, who had been sent by the king of France to learn there the
new style.  How eagerly they must have chatted with the monks, who
during this rebuilding were living in the most uncomfortable manner, but
who nevertheless would be ready enough to take the strangers inside, and
point out to them one beauty after another.  How their eyes must have
been dazzled by the wealth of colour and the exquisite carvings in
marble, stone, and oak.  How they must have marvelled at the fairy
lightness of those arches, the delicate tracery of the windows, the
glint and glitter of the glass mosaic, the soft colours of the marble.

For in very truth this building of King Henry’s exceeded everything they
had dreamt of or imagined. In every way the new Abbey was far larger
than the old, though a limit was set on its length by the Lady Chapel of
Abbot Humez, which is now known to you as the Chapel of Henry VII.  The
old form of the Cross was kept, but a ring of chapels encircled the east
end, while transepts, aisles, and cloisters were all made longer and far
loftier.  But the central point of magnificence was the shrine of Edward
the Confessor, which lay immediately behind the high altar, made to
stand even higher than the altar by a mound of earth said to have been
brought all the way from the Holy Land.

On the 13th of October 1269, the choir and east end being all complete,
the coffin of King Edward, which had been kept during the rebuilding,
first in the "quire where the monks do sing," and then in the Palace of
Westminster, was solemnly carried back to the Abbey by the king and his
brother, his two sons and many nobles, followed by a vast procession of
clergy and citizens, and placed with great pomp and ceremony in the
newly-made shrine.

The next time you go into Edward the Confessor’s Chapel, you must wander
back in imagination for more than six hundred years, and picture to
yourself that solemn service of the "Translation of St. Edward."

[Illustration: THE CONFESSOR’S CHAPEL.]

The workmen had done their work right well, and we know at least the
names of some of them; for Peter, the Roman citizen who wrought the
mosaic, has left an inscription telling us that he finished the work in
1269; and among the Fabric Rolls of Westminster we can find accounts
sent in by Robert de Beverley, mason; Brother Ralph, the convert;
Alexander, the carpenter; and Adam Stretton, clerk of the works, "for
the wages of masons serving before the shrine, carpenters, painters,
plumbers, glaziers, inferior workmen, and workmen sent to divers
places."

The tomb of the Confessor was in the middle of the shrine, set on high
"as a light to the church," and was divided into three parts: the base,
in the niches of which sick people were to be laid, that the Saint might
heal them; the tomb itself, of soft Purbeck marble, rich with mosaic
work of coloured gems and stones, and above this a shrine of pure gold
set with all manner of costly jewels, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies,
whilst images in gold and silver of the Virgin and the Holy Child, John
the Evangelist and Peter, stood around as guardian spirits.

Much of the old magnificence has vanished; time has wrought its work,
but more deadly than time have been the ravages of covetous men who
longed to possess its treasure, or violent men who believed it to be
little better than an idol set up in their midst.

Yet it has a mellow beauty of its own, a dignity enhanced rather than
lessened by the traces everywhere apparent of its former glory, and we
see in it not only an exquisite piece of work, but also that shrine
which, like a magnet, drew so many of England’s kings and queens to rest
beneath its shadow.

[Illustration: TOMBS OF EDWARD I. AND HENRY III.]



                              *CHAPTER V*

               *WITH KINGS AND QUEENS IN EDWARD’S SHRINE*


As you stand in the Confessor’s shrine, you will see all around you the
tombs of kings and queens, and in the next chapters I am going to tell
you something of those who were thought worthy to lie in a place of such
high honour.

Henry III. was not at first buried in this chapel, on which he had
lavished so much thought and wealth.  He died in the November of 1272,
and was carried to Westminster, the Knights Templars, who had given some
precious gifts to the Abbey, undertaking to provide the coffin and to
pay all the expenses of the funeral, that it might be on a scale
befitting one who had been so princely in his dealings with the Church
and all matters concerning religion.  There is something pathetic in the
ending of Henry’s life, for though he had reigned nearly sixty years, he
had not won the love or trust of his people, and it has been truly said
that "in his time England did nothing great except against him."  The
old king was alone when the end came, for his son Edward was away on a
Crusade, and his brother, Richard, had died the year before,
broken-hearted at the murder of his son Henry by a son of Simon de
Montfort. But the Templars spared nothing that could make the funeral
costly, so that, as the solemn procession passed along, men declared
that "the king shone more magnificent dead than he had appeared when
living."

He was laid before the altar, in the very place from which the coffin of
Edward the Confessor had been removed, for it was considered that
special virtues still hovered round that spot.

Very different must the new choir have looked, with its immense height,
its delicate work, and its mysterious flying buttresses, to the low,
simple choir of the Confessor’s day.  Round the High Altar itself was a
blaze of colour, for all the mosaic work on the floor, which you still
can see, was freshly brought from Rome by the Abbot Ware, who had gone
there to do homage to the Pope, the monks of Westminster having refused
to hold themselves subject to the Bishop of London, and it was dazzling
in its richness.  Quarrels between the monks of Westminster and other
dignitaries seem to have occurred very often in those days, as the
monks, somewhat elated at the royal favours showered upon their church,
were inclined to be overbearing and to resent any authority; while once
at least during Henry’s reign there had been a serious fracas between
the "citizens of London" and the "men of Westminster" on the occasion of
some sports.  For when the "men of London" seemed to be getting the
mastery, the Baylif of Westminster, with some men, harnessed themselves
and fell to fighting, so wounding the citizens that they resolved to be
revenged.  Spurred on by one Constantine Fitz-Henulfe, they issued forth
without any order, fought a civil battle round Westminster, and pulled
down as many houses as they could belonging to the Abbot and Baylif.
Nor when Constantine was captured would he express any sorrow for his
misdeeds.  On the contrary, he affirmed gladly that "he had done it all,
and had done much less than he ought to have done."  The fact that King
Henry, among other punishments, forced the citizens to pay many thousand
marks for this raid, did not tend to soften down the ill-feeling which
existed.

Even at Henry’s funeral the dignity of the Abbot had to be asserted, for
he refused to allow the Archbishop to read the service until he had
signed a paper explaining that his so officiating was not to be made a
precedent, or to rob the Abbot of any privileges.

So, with quarrels going on around him to the end, King Henry was buried,
and the Earl of Gloucester, laying his hand on the coffin, solemnly
swore fealty to "Lord Edward," the lawful heir, then far away in
Palestine.

Edward I. was in a special sense a child of Westminster, for he had been
born in the Palace there, and had been christened Edward after the
Confessor.  With all his faults, Henry was devoted to his wife and to
his children, and the young Edward spent much more of his boyhood with
his parents than was usual in those days. He was delicate too, and often
his mother had greatly upset the old monks in the monastery at Beaulieu
by going to nurse him there when he had fallen ill while on a visit.  He
was kept during his boyhood under her watchful eye at Westminster.
Probably he was taught by one of the Westminster monks, and though we
hear that he was "fonder of actions than of books," he learned to speak
eloquently in French and English and to understand Latin.  As he grew
stronger he showed a great liking for all outdoor sports, riding,
hawking, hunting, and sword exercises, and with his cousin Henry, the
son of Richard of Cornwall, his young French uncles, who had taken up
their abode at the Court, and the sons of Simon de Montfort, he played
many a game and had many a boyish adventure round Westminster.  His
affection for the place never failed.  Had not he watched it growing in
grace and beauty, and was there a single corner of it with which he was
not familiar? The deeply religious influence of King Henry, too, could
not fail to leave its mark on his son, who, in spite of being his
opposite in every other way, had always an intense reverence for sacred
things.  Henry was the dreamer, Edward the doer, but among the many fine
qualities the young Prince possessed, one of the most charming was his
loyalty and patience towards his father, which had never wavered,
however sorely he had been tried by Henry’s utter incapacity to hold the
reins of government.

It was nearly two years after the death of Henry before Edward was able
to reach England, and yet all had gone on quietly during the interval.
The new king had been proclaimed; the assembly of prelates, knights of
the shire and citizens had met, had solemnly bound themselves by the
same oath as that taken by the Earl of Gloucester at Henry’s funeral,
and three men, the Archbishop of York, Robert Mortimer, Lord of the
Welsh Marches, and Robert Burnell, all trusty friends of Edward, were
appointed to carry on the government for the time being.

On August 1, 1272, Edward landed at Dover, and on August 19 he was
crowned with his dearly loved wife Eleanor, who had been at his side
through all the perilous years which were past.  "Nothing ought to part
those whom God has joined, and the way to heaven was as near from
Palestine as from England," she had declared.

Great were the rejoicings in London that day, for the beautiful Eleanor
had a warm place in all hearts, and of Edward all had high hopes.  "In
face and form he is comely.  By a head and shoulders he outstrips most
every man," the citizens said as they marked his white determined face,
his eyes, which, though soft, could flash like fire, his hair the colour
of burnished gold, and his well-knit figure straight as a dart.

And throughout his reign the nation understood Edward.  His was a great
simple character which appealed to them.  His faults were the faults of
a strong man who will not be turned aside from his purpose; his
ambitions were bound up in England only.  To make her a strong united
kingdom was the dream of his life, and though in this cause, he fought
relentlessly, alike against Llewellyn of Wales and Wallace of Scotland,
he strove with equal vigour to give his people good laws, fair taxation,
and just representation.  "That which touches all should be approved by
all," was his creed, and it was he who developed the Parliaments of
Simon de Montfort, until, under his guidance, what was called the Model
Parliament was assembled at Westminster in 1295.  So large was this new
assembly, that it was no longer an easy matter for all to sit together
in the hall of Westminster Palace, and a division was made, the Barons
remaining in the Palace, and the Commons, or representatives of the
people, using the wonderful new Chapter-House, which formed part of
Henry III.’s work in the cloisters of the Abbey. This Chapter-House was
the place in which the monks, with the Abbot and all the other
dignitaries of the Abbey, met once a week for conference.  Here
complaints were listened to, here misdeeds were inquired into, here,
tied to the central pillar, those older monks who had offended were
publicly flogged.  It was designed for a meeting-place, with its rows of
stone benches and its stall at the east end for the high officials; and
what more natural than that the Abbot should offer it to the king as the
place where the Parliament should assemble?

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO THE CHAPTER HOUSE.]

The story goes that the prudent Abbot made one condition with the offer,
and stipulated that the Chapter-House, being lent to the king for the
use of the Commons, the Crown should keep it in repair.  No doubt the
story is true, nor can we blame Abbot Wace for making the best terms he
could.  Can you not see the knights and the burgesses making their way
up the cloisters, where the monks were working or walking, through the
door, with its wealth of gold and of carving, past the graves of
Chamberlain Hugelin, with his wife and daughter, Abbot Eadwyn, and the
chronicler Seculdus, into that "incomparable building" which Henry had
determined should be unequalled in beauty?  Handsome indeed had been
their old meeting-place, but this exceeded anything they had ever seen.
"In the centre rose a slender pillar of grey marble, or rather a group
of shafts held together by moulded bauds, from which seemed to spring
the vaulted roof; the building was eight-sided, in itself a new idea;
the walls were richly painted with frescoes setting forth the glories
revealed to St. John in his vision of that New Jerusalem, the city not
built with hands; the large windows had glass of wondrous colours;
saints stood in their niches, and from within and without the Virgin
Mother watched over the place."

Edward I., throughout his life, held the Abbey in great reverence, and
besides carrying on his father’s work and completing the choir stalls,
he caused several magnificent tombs to be set up there.  Always a
devoted son, he resolved that the tomb of Henry III. should lack nothing
in beauty; so he sent to Purbeck for the marble, to Rome for the gold
and glass mosaics, and to these he added the precious stones of jasper
to be brought from France, while to a certain William Torrel he
entrusted the work of carving in gilt bronze the fine effigy of the dead
king, which, save that it has been robbed of its jewels, is still in
perfect preservation, stately in its simplicity.  To this tomb the body
of Henry was removed; only his heart, as he had himself desired, was
carried to the Abbey of Fontrevault in France, there to be placed near
to where his mother, his uncle, Richard Coeur de Lion, and others of his
race lay buried.

In the same year the greatest blow of his life fell on Edward, for after
thirty-five years of the happiest married life, Queen Eleanor, "the good
merciful lady beloved of all the English," died of slow fever near
Lincoln.

"I loved her with a great love while she lived; I cannot cease to love
her while she is no more," said Edward.  And his people loved him all
the more for his deep grief.  He came straight away from his journey to
Scotland, to follow that sad funeral procession which slowly made its
way to Westminster, and at each place where they paused to rest, he
caused a cross to be erected to the memory of the "Chère Reine," one of
which, as you know, stood close to Charing Cross station. She was buried
in King Edward’s Chapel at the feet of Henry III., and once more the
skilful hands of William Torrel, "goldsmith and citizen of London,"
fashioned in gilt copper a wonderfully wrought figure, "the finest in
any country" a great authority has declared, which shows us a sweet
strong face at peace with God, a sleeping form, queenly and beautiful.
Another English workman, Master Thomas of Leghton, made the screen of
wrought-iron which protects this monument, round which run the words—

    "Ici Gost Alinor, jadis Reine de Engleterre
    Femme Al Rey Edward, Fiz le Rey Henri
    E Fille Al Rey de Espagne, Contesse de Puntiff
    Del Alme de li Dieu pur sa pitié eyt merci.
      Amen."

"The king, who loved her well, as she deserved, gave to the monastery
seven or eight manors, to the yearly value of two hundred pounds, for
religious services, and for an anniversary to be performed for her, and
for wax tapers to be kept burning on her tomb both day and night."

[Illustration: THE CORONATION CHAIR.]

It being in the chapel of the Confessor that she who was dearer than all
else was laid, he brought here, as if to lay it at her feet, his
greatest trophy wrested from the Scots, the famous stone of Scone, on
which so many kings of Scotland had been crowned.  This was put at his
command into a chair by a certain Walter of Durham, who was paid one
hundred shillings for his work, with an extra sum of about £2, 12s. for
carving, painting, and gilding two small leopards, for the wages of
carpenters and painters, and for colours and gold employed.

When you look at this chair, remember that on it every sovereign of
England has been crowned from the reign of Edward II.

Another trophy had been offered to the shrine of the Confessor a few
years before, and that was the golden crown of the conquered Welsh
Prince Llewellyn.  The offering had been solemnly made by Edward’s own
little son, Alphonso, a boy of twelve, who, dressed from head to foot in
chain-armour, and wearing a long cloak, followed by nobles and knights,
had laid it down at the feet of the blessed King Edward, the jewels
thereof being applied to adorn the tomb.  In the same year the little
prince died, and was buried in this chapel of the kings.

More than one great disturbance agitated the Abbey during the later
years of Edward’s reign.  First a fire, which began in the Palace,
spread rapidly and caused much damage to parts of the building; then
there were several quarrels with some of the Begging Friars, a new Order
which was highly disapproved of by the regular monks, for those begging
orders got a great reputation among the people, and likewise were in
high favour with the Court of Rome.  But worst of all, a terrible
scandal arose, which ended in forty of the Westminster monks being
thrown into prison.

King Edward, when he went to Scotland, left all his jewels and
treasures, with a sum of money, amounting all told to the value of
£100,000, in the care of the Abbot, who carefully put away most of this
charge in the strongly made Chapel of the Pyx, and the rest in the
Refectory.  In the April of 1303 a great quantity of treasure was
stolen, and the king, very wroth, ordered a strict investigation to be
made, which ended in the discovery that a certain small merchant or
pedlar, named Roger Podlicote, had got into the Abbey during the night
on several occasions, and had carried away his booty in bags.  That he
could have got in unaided was impossible; he must have had accomplices
within the Abbey.  Besides, the Sacrist was found with a gold cup, which
he said he had picked up outside St. Margaret’s Church.  William the
Palmer, keeper of the Palace, declared he had noticed the Sacrist, the
sub-Prior, and many of the monks, coming and going unusually often,
carrying bags and hampers; while John Abbas, a workman, told how
Alexander the monk had caused him to make tools of a special design,
threatening to kill him if he spoke aught of this.

[Illustration: PYX CHAPEL.]

Podlicote, a most adventurous spirit, made a full confession, in which
he generously took all the blame upon himself, saying he knew the ways
of the Abbey and where the treasury was; and being poor, he had thought
how easily he could obtain the goods which were in the Refectory, which
he had seen.  But considering that this wholesale robbery went on for
many months, it is impossible to believe that Master Podlicote’s nightly
visits to the Abbey through a window in the Chapter-House were quite
unknown to the monks, and no one had much pity for them when they were
committed to the Tower for two years.  Still it was a great disgrace to
fall on a monastery which held its head so high; besides, to quote
Widmore, "it was a peculiar baseness to wrong a prince who had been so
kind to their house, had readily renewed their charters, had improved
some of them, and had been very bountiful in giving them lands of great
value."

One action taken by the Abbot at this time, however, greatly pleased
both the king and the people.  For a certain brave knight, John de St.
John, governor for Edward in Aquitaine, having been decoyed and taken
prisoner by the French, and being too poor to pay the large ransom they
demanded, was presented with a generous offering by Abbot Wenlock, "a
commendable and charitable thing of public service," comments an old
writer, "seeing that monasteries did not always lay out their money so
well as for the liberty of a person in high command, a gallant man whom,
while fighting valiantly for his prince, the chances of war had made
prisoner."  Edward’s eventful reign was drawing to a close; already he
was the oldest king who had ruled England, and his life had been a hard
one.  He had never spared himself in mind or body; he had never wavered
in his great aims; and his favourite motto, _Pactum serva_, "Keep
troth," words he had desired should be carved upon his tomb, was the
motto to which he had consistently been faithful.  And yet over these
closing years a dark cloud hung, for his son, young Edward, showed no
signs of rising to his great responsibilities. Tall and handsome to
behold, he was weak, changeable, and careless, given to gambling and low
society, a tool in the hands of first one and then another of his
worthless friends.  The old king knew all too well how useless it was to
dream that his son would carry on the work to which he had devoted
himself, but the knowledge was a veritable cup of bitterness.  He had
always sought to inspire him with high thoughts, great enthusiasms, and
now, as the end loomed on the horizon, he made one more effort, and
appealed to the deepest feelings of the young prince.  At the festival
of Whitsuntide in Westminster Abbey, he admitted his son, with many
other young nobles, to the order of knighthood, and throughout one long
night the Prince of Wales kept his vigil before the altar at the shrine
of the Confessor.  Then at the royal banquet which followed, Edward,
though so weak he could barely stand, swore solemnly to march at once to
Scotland to crush the rebellion which had broken out afresh when all
seemed peaceful, and to avenge the death of Comyn, who had been murdered
in the church at Dumfries by Robert Bruce.  The Scotsmen had not kept
troth, and the king was fierce with indignation. But to this vow Edward
added another, which was made also by the prince and all the newly
dubbed knights in the ball at Westminster; they pledged themselves that
so soon as Robert Bruce was conquered, they would no more bear arms
against Christendom, but would go to the Holy Land and conquer the
infidel, or die in the attempt to do so.

Without delay, king and army set off for Scotland, but the great triumph
for which he had longed was not to be his.  His spirit was as strong as
ever, only his body failed him.  He struggled bravely on, then came a
day when he could only ride two miles, and at last he had to own that he
was face to face with an enemy before whom even his strong will lay
powerless.  Near Carlisle he died, knight and warrior to the end.  He
entreated his son to tear himself away from his favourites, and to set
before himself the conquest of Scotland and the recovery of the Holy
Land, and he asked that his bones might be carried about with the army
till Scotland was subdued, that his heart might go with the knights to
the Holy Land.  Then with a prayer for mercy on his lips he passed away.

Edward II. had not even the grace to carry out one of these dying
requests.  Four months later Edward was buried in the Confessor’s Chapel
near to his father, his brother, and his wife, while to his memory was
raised only the plainest tomb, in striking contrast to the beautiful
monuments around it.  The new king scattered his money among his
favourites with too free a hand to have anything to spare for the
building of a costly tomb.

Yet, after all, as you stand by the grave of this "greatest of the
Plantagenets," and look at the simple unornamented monument, I think you
will feel with me that in its very simplicity and strength it is
unconsciously a truthful memorial of Edward, a striking description of
those qualities which in life he loved and strove after. He was a man of
action, not of words; a soldier, not a saint; a statesman, not a
dreamer.  For Edward the Confessor there was a beautiful shrine, the
delicate work, the gold, the jewels, the angels, and the martyrs. For
Edward the First there was the uncarved block of grey marble, and the
blunt inscription—

         "Here lies Edward the First, the Scourge of Scotland.
                              Keep troth."



                              *CHAPTER VI*

                    *EDWARD III. AND QUEEN PHILIPPA*


"The character of the reigning Prince, King Edward II., will not give
leave to expect anything of great service to this place," wrote grimly a
chronicler of the Abbey. Indeed, beyond the fact that he was crowned
here, that a riot nearly took place at the coronation, so angered were
the people at Piers Gaveston being given the place of honour and allowed
to carry the crown, in defiance of the old king’s last request, and that
he made an offering of two images to the shrine of the Confessor, there
is nothing to tell of Edward’s reign in connection with Westminster
Abbey.

The country bore with the king for nearly twenty years.  Then the
Parliament assembled at Westminster asserted itself.  The king, all were
agreed, had shown himself unfit to rule; he had violated his coronation
oath, he had oppressed his people, and had lost Scotland.  It was only
right, therefore, that he should be deposed, and his son, a boy of great
promise, be chosen in his stead.  Out of that great assembly only four
voices were raised for the king, and a deputation was sent to him
telling him what his Parliament had resolved to do.  To his honour, the
young Prince Edward refused to accept the crown unless with his father’s
consent, but Edward II., "clad in a plain black gown," submitted without
a word to the decree of the assembly, and listened unmoved as they told
him how they "rendered and gave back to him, once king of England, their
homage and fealty, counting him henceforth as a private person, without
any manner of royal dignity."

So Edward III. was crowned on the 29th of January 1327, and the shield
with the sword of state, Scottish trophies of his grandfather’s which
were carried before him, are the identical shield and sword which exist
to-day.

Only fourteen years old when he was crowned king, young Edward had
already impressed all those who came in contact with him.  Men saw in
him a worthy successor of Edward I., whose great qualities stood out in
shining contrast after the second Edward’s disastrous reign.  He was
strong, he was brave; he, like his grandfather, passionately loved
justice and passionately loved England.  Nothing could have been more
unfortunate than his boyhood or his early education. For neither his
father nor his mother could he feel the smallest respect, and the
influences about the Court were of the worst.  A weaker character would
have been swamped by circumstances, and would have sunk to the level of
its surroundings; Edward fought his way through, and came out
triumphantly on the other side. When he was sixteen he married Philippa
of Hainault, and a year later a son was born to them.  The delight of
the nation was intense; Edward was deeply touched at the signs of
affection everywhere shown to him by his subjects, and he resolved all
the more earnestly, with the growing strength of his young manhood, to
be a king indeed, to rule his people justly, to lead them wisely, to
live up to the great things expected of him. England in those days was a
young nation, just beginning to feel its power, rejoicing in its
strength and its freedom, ready for action, for adventure, for
enterprise, and Edward represented in the highest degree all these
enthusiasms and aspirations.  He was able to lead; he grasped the spirit
of his people; king and nation were at one in their aims, so that into
the years which followed were crowded great deeds and great victories,
victories made all the more honourable by the chivalrous conduct of the
conquerors.

I should like to linger over the stories of Edward and his men-at-arms,
the knights, the hobblers, and the archers, who won such fame for
England on foreign battle-fields, but that would be to wander far away
from Westminster, so we must leave Crecy, Calais, and Poitiers, and come
back to the Abbey and the Monastery, this little world of itself, where
life went on in its own way, regardless of wars in Scotland and France.

As usual, there were several disputes in progress, and one between the
Abbot and the king’s treasurer ended in a lawsuit which lasted both
beyond the Abbot’s and treasurer’s time.  The quarrel was as to who had
the right to visit the Hospital of St. James, a hospital founded and
endowed by some citizens of London for fourteen leprous maids, on the
ground where now St. James’s Palace stands.  No fewer than six chaplains
were attached to this hospital, to perform divine service for the
afflicted fourteen lepers, and as the building stood within the parish,
the Abbot declared that these chaplains were under his authority.  To
this the king’s treasurer would not agree, and hence the dispute.
Apparently at last the verdict was given in favour of the Abbot, but the
original Abbot and treasurer being dead, and the new Abbot being
indolent, while the new treasurer was grasping, it ended in an actual
victory for the latter.

Another quarrel centred round the little chapel of St. Stephen’s, which
had been founded by Edward I. within the Palace at Westminster, and so
liberally endowed by Edward III. that it possessed its own dean and
canons.

In this chapel masses were said daily for past and present kings, while
altogether nearly forty priests were attached to the foundation, all of
whom lived in the Palace.  Quite naturally the Abbot of Westminster was
not well pleased at this rich foundation within a stone’s throw of his
Abbey, and insisted that it should be placed under his jurisdiction, a
claim which was warmly supported by the Pope.  But in this "the people
of St. Stephen’s," who had the Court on their side, did not acquiesce;
and at last the king, who was not greatly interested in these matters,
proposed a compromise, which was accepted.  The Abbot was to have the
right of appointing the dean, and was to be paid a yearly sum of money
as a tribute to his authority; while, on the other hand, the dean and
canons were to order their own services and control their own affairs.

This chapel of St. Stephen’s was very beautiful, more beautiful, we are
told, than St. George’s Chapel at Windsor.  But no traces remain of it
or of its cloisters and its chantry except the crypt.  In the reign of
Henry VIII. Westminster Palace was seriously destroyed by fire, and the
chapel was then altered, turned from its original use, and given over to
the House of Commons as their Parliament House, another link, you see,
between the Palace, the Church, and the People.


In the year 1349 the Black Death, that most terrible plague, swept over
England, killing nearly one half of the people; fifty thousand of its
victims were buried in London, and the Abbey was not spared, for the
Abbot and twenty-six of the monks caught it and died. They were buried
in one grave in the south cloister, covered by a large stone, which you
will easily find, although it has a wrong name, that of Gervase de
Blois, carved upon it; and that vast stone, says Dean Stanley, "is the
footmark left in the Abbey by the greatest plague which ever swept over
Europe."

Abbot Bircheston, who thus died, had not been very satisfactory.  "It is
well of this place that he continued no longer," says the chronicler
severely; "for he ran the house into a great deal of debt, being himself
extravagant and his relations being wasteful people."  His successor was
that remarkable man Simon Langham, the only Abbot of Westminster who
ever became Archbishop of Canterbury, and he did such great things for
the monastery that he won for himself the name of the second founder.
Not only did he pay off the debts of his predecessors, but he managed
with great prudence all the estates and revenues under his care, saved
large sums of money by his frugality, and, perhaps most difficult task
of all, brought the house once more into excellent discipline.  This is
what Plete, himself a monk at Westminster, has to say of Abbot Langham:
"He rectified many abuses which had crept in, truly a service as it is
most useful to any place, so commonly is it the most difficult also; and
accordingly it cost him a great deal of study, pains, and resolution to
effect it, as having many ill tempers to deal with, some being indolent,
others odd and particular, some extravagant, and others perverse."

While he was Archbishop, and afterwards when made a cardinal and living
abroad, he never forgot the Abbey where he had been educated and where
he had laid the foundation of his great career, but left to it a sum
equal to £200,000 to be spent on building, and desired that he should be
buried there.  So you will find his tomb of marble and alabaster in the
little chapel of St. Benedict at the entrance to the south ambulatory,
the first monument of any importance set up to the memory of a bishop or
abbot.

He was followed by the Prior, Nicholas Litlington, "a stirring person,
very useful to the monastery," whose mind was set on improving the
buildings.  This was an easy task enough, thanks to the legacy of
Langham and the good favour in which he stood with king and queen. So at
once he set to work, the monastery being the object of his care.  He
built the south and west cloisters, setting his initials on the roof;
the Abbot’s Palace, the College Hall, the Jerusalem Chamber, houses for
the bailiff, the cellarer, the infirmaries, and the sacrist, a
malt-house and a water-mill; and besides this he presented the Abbey
with much valuable plate and many rich vestments.

"But," remarks an old writer severely, "as he was enabled to do all this
with the money left by his predecessor Langham, he should have put some
memorial of the Cardinal upon the buildings.  Instead, he has his own
arms and the initial letters of his name on the keystone of the cloister
arches."

The Abbot’s house built by Litlington is the present Deanery; but the
College Hall, once the Abbot’s refectory, now the dining-hall of the
Westminster scholars, and the Jerusalem Chamber, the room into which the
Abbot’s guests used to pass when they had dined, are open to the public
at certain hours, and you must not forget them when you are walking
through the cloisters. The Jerusalem Chamber has been restored since the
days of Litlington, though the fine roof and the actual building stand
now as then.  The glass in one of the windows, however, is very old, as
is the wonderful stone reredos, which once must have been part of the
high altar.  In the dining-hall you must notice the gallery at the one
end in which the minstrels used to perform, and the fine pointed
windows; for as the Norman architecture had given way to the Early
English, and the Early English had developed into the beautiful
Decorated style, so now another change was taking place, of which
Litlington’s building is an early example, and the Perpendicular style,
which was entirely English, was creeping in.

While Litlington was abbot, another royal funeral took place in the
Confessor’s Chapel, for in 1369, "that moost gentyll, moost lyberall,
and moost courtesse fayre lady, Phillipp of Heynault, died."

This is how a writer living at the time quaintly describes the sad
event: "There fell in England a heavy case and a comon, righte pyteouse
for the King, his children and all his realme.  For the good Queen of
England fell sicke, the which sickenesse contynewed on her so longe,
that there was no remedye but deathe. And the good lady whenne she this
knewe and perceyved, desyred to speke with the Kynge, her husbande. And
she sayde, ’Sir, we have in peace, ioye, and great prosperyte, used all
our time toguyer.  Sir, nowe I pray you at our departyng, that ye will
grant me my desyres.... I requyre you, that it may please you to take
none other sepulture whensoever it shall please God to call you out of
this transytorie lyfe, but besyde me in Westmynster.’

"The Kynge all weepynge sayde, ’Madam, I graunt all your desyre.’  Then
the good ladye made on her the sign of the Cross, and anone after she
yielded up her spiryte, the which I beleeve surely the Holy Angels
receyved with great ioy up to Heven, for, in all her lyfe, she dyd
neyther in thought nor dede, thynge whereby to lose her soule, so farr
as any creature coulde knowe."

Her tomb was ordered to be made of "neat black marble, with her image
thereon in polished alabaster, and round the pedestal, sweetly carved
niches, with images therein."  But what makes this monument specially
interesting is that the figure of Queen Philippa is really a likeness
and not a beautiful fancy picture, so that as you look at that kind,
motherly face you can quite easily picture to yourself the queen who
pleaded for the lives of the citizens of Calais, and of whom it was said
at her death, "She had done many good deeds in her lyfe; having
succoured so many knyghts and comforted ladyes and damosels."

Eight years later, King Edward was laid beside her, all the glory of his
life having passed from him with her.

"In his time, England had seemed to shine in her meridian; learning was
encouraged; gallantry, and that the most honourable, was practised; the
subjects were beloved; the king was honoured at home and feared abroad."
But after Philippa’s death strength of mind and body alike failed him;
his favourite son, the Black Prince, had died; his other sons neglected
him, his courtiers robbed him, and when the end came, there was only a
poor priest by his bedside, who pressed the crucifix to his lips and
caught his last dying word—Jesus.

His funeral, however, was magnificent; he was carried through London
with his face uncovered, followed by his children and by the nobles and
prelates of England, and afterwards a fine tomb was set up to him with
figures of his twelve children kneeling around.

But it was only round the tomb and in the sculptor’s fancy that those
strong, high-spirited sons of Edward and Philippa knelt in one accord,
for from them arose the quarrels and strife which later on brought to
England the greatest calamity which can come to any nation—a civil war
in its midst.

[Illustration: TOMBS OF RICHARD II. AND EDWARD III.]



                             *CHAPTER VII*

                      *RICHARD II. AND QUEEN ANNE*


Edward the Black Prince, that flower of English chivalry, had left his
little son Richard as his legacy to the people who loved him so well.

"I commend to you my son," he said, as he lay dying in Westminster
Palace, "for he is but young and small.  And I pray that as you have
served me, so from your heart you will serve him."

One year afterwards, this boy of eleven was crowned in Westminster, and
so "young and small" was he that the long day with all its wearying
ceremony was too much for him; he fainted away, and had to be carried
from the Abbey to the Palace on a litter.

Never before had there been a coronation on so magnificent a scale: the
citizens of London, with their good wives and daughters, were learning
to enjoy pageants and holidays, and it was now better than half a
century since a king had been crowned.  First Richard had spent some
days in the Tower, that great fort of the capital, and then had come the
wonderful procession through Cheapside, Fleet Street, and the Strand,
the boy riding bareheaded, surrounded by a band of young knights in new
attire, forerunners of the knightly Order of the Bath, winning all
hearts by his beautiful face and his lavish generosity.  For the young
king was from the first recklessly extravagant, and while he with his
nobles feasted in the Palace at the coronation banquet, he caused the
fountains outside to pour forth wine in abundance, that all who would
might drink to their heart’s desire.

John of Gaunt, his uncle, one of those many sons of Edward III., was
made Regent, and Richard, with the approbation of all, was placed under
the tutorship of that accomplished knight, Guiscard d’Angle, Earl of
Huntingdon, to be instructed in the paths of virtue and honour.

But those were not peaceful days in England, and John of Gaunt made the
fatal mistake of defying the knights of the shire and burgesses who
composed the House of Commons, and who really represented the thoughts
and feelings of the people.

"What do these base and ignoble knights attempt?" he asked
contemptuously.  "Do they think they be kings or princes in the land?"

Nevertheless, in the end he was forced to flee from England, so bitter
was the feeling against him.  The cause of the universal discontent was
the heavy taxation, the result of the long French wars, and the Bishop
of Rochester, in his sermon at the coronation, had boldly touched on
this with words of solemn warning.  For the first time the great peasant
population of England, who had hitherto suffered in resentful silence,
was in a position to lift up a voice of protest, as the Black Death had
so ravaged the country that those labourers who were left were able to
make terms for themselves, and to refuse to work without payment.  The
tax which brought the discontent to a crowning point was the poll-tax,
which was a tax of twelve pence (about eighteen shillings) to be paid by
every person over fifteen; and when a certain Wat the Tiler killed a
tax-collector, who, not content with trying to force him into paying
this poll-tax, insulted his little daughter, the men of Kent rallied in
their thousands round Wat and marched on London.  Richard was now only
fifteen, but he was at his best, full of courage, full of strength,
worthy grandson of Edward III., true son of Edward the Black Prince.  He
determined to ride out with a small escort and meet these thousands of
rebels face to face. It was a bold stroke, and he knew the risk.  But he
would not be stayed.  There is a story, most probably true, that he
consulted the aged Anchorite of the Abbey, for every monastery of
importance had its Anchorite, a monk who voluntarily set himself apart
for the rest of his life to live in one cell, praying for the house; and
more than one of the Anchorites of Westminster had given counsel to the
kings who sought them out, the words of these holy men being held as
sacred.  Certain it is that, on the morning of this eventful day, he,
with his escort, heard mass in the Abbey, paid his devotions, and made
his offerings at King Edward’s shrine, "in which," says an old writer,
"the kings of England have great faith."  Then he rode out to
Smithfield.

"Here is the king," said Wat Tiler to his men.  "I will go speak with
him.  When I give you a sign, step forward and kill every one except the
king.  Hurt him not, for he is young and we can do what we will with
him.  We will lead him with us about all England, so shall we be lords
of the kingdom without a doubt."

But in a few minutes, as you know, the scene had changed.  Wat Tiler lay
dead, and the boy king, ordering that not one of his attendants should
follow him, rode forward into the midst of the excited crowd, and said
calmly, "Sirs, what aileth you?  I will be your leader and captain.  I
am your king."

The men were Englishmen, and this cool courage won their hearts on the
spot.  They crowded round the king begging for pardon, which he granted
to them at once, forbidding his followers to strike a blow.  And so the
great rebellion ended.

As he rode back to London, Richard stopped to reassure his mother.

"Rejoice and thank God, madam," he said, kissing her, "for I have this
day regained my inheritance and the kingdom which I had lost."

If only the king had been true to the promise of his boyhood, he might
have ranked among the greatest of our rulers.  As it was, he went on his
way unchecked, uncontrolled, till one after another his good points sank
into the background; cowardice took the place of courage, cruelty of
chivalry, and he who had said confidently to his people, "I will be your
leader and your captain," proved himself to be utterly incapable and
helpless.

A year later Richard married Princess Anne of Bohemia, the sister of
that "good King Wencelaus," about whom was written the Christmas Carol
you know so well, and on their wedding day there were great feastings at
Westminster.  All the city guilds and companies, splendidly arrayed,
came out to do honour to the rosy-cheeked and smiling girl queen,
herself only sixteen; and when at his coronation she entreated the king
as a favour to set free all prisoners in the country, the delighted
citizens gave her the name of "Our Good Queen Anne."

The young king spent much of his time in his Palace of Westminster, and
as you look to-day at Westminster Hall, the only part of the fine
building which stands, I want you to try and imagine all the busy life
which centred there round the court and the church.  Everything
connected with Richard was done on a magnificent scale.  He had a
body-guard of four thousand archers; he had a band of nearly four
hundred workmen—carpenters, jewellers, armourers, masons, tilers,
furriers—whose duty it was to work everything needed for the king’s
service, and these, with their wives and children, lived under the
shadow of Westminster.  Then there were all the servants connected with
the royal kitchen, the pantry, spicery, buttery, bakehouse, and brewery,
and there must have been a goodly number of these, for a writer who
belonged to the court tells us that every day ten thousand folk that
"followed the Hous" drew their rations of food from the Palace.

Besides all these we must count the higher court officials, the members
of the royal household, the judges who sat in Westminster Hall, the
priests of St. Stephen’s Chapel, the bishops and abbots and nobles with
all their retinues, and then we may have some idea of the bustle and
life round Westminster Palace at a time when there was "greate pride,
and riche arraye, and all things much more costious and more precious
than was before or sith."

Look at Old Palace Yard and New Palace Yard, with the dull old streets
leading out of them, and then imagine Richard’s Palace, with its towers,
its posterns, its great halls and painted chambers, its cloisters, its
courts, and its galleries; "gabled houses with carved timber and
plastered fronts, cloisters which glowed in the sunshine with their lace
like tracery, with the gold and crimson of their painted roofs and
walls; everywhere tourelles with rich carvings, windows of tracery most
beautiful, archways, gates, battlements; chantry chapels, oratories,
courts of justice, and interiors bright with splendid tapestry, the
colours of which had not yet faded, with canopies of scarlet and gold,
and the sunlight reflected from many a shining helm and breastplate,
from many a jewelled hilt and golden scabbard."  Would that the Great
Fire which destroyed all this had left us one little glimpse of its old
splendour.

Inside the monastery, too, there was plenty of life of a different sort,
though the monks were by no means cut off from the great world which lay
at their door. For the Abbey of St. Peter was the richest of all the
great houses, and was now at the height of its glory; and Litlington’s
new buildings greatly added to its importance, as the Abbot freely
entertained in his new palace the highest in the land.

Yet a daily routine was carried out.  Eight hours were given to sleep
and eight were spent in church; the remainder were devoted to work—that
is to say, some monks taught the young, others studied and transcribed,
others had duties in the refectory and dormitory, and so on.  Most of
the monks had come here as young boys; many of them spent here fifty and
sixty years of their lives, praying, working, teaching, learning.  But I
think sometimes the young men must have longed for some share in the
life outside of which they heard the echoes daily, and saw all the
outward splendours and delights.

Certain it is that Abbot Litlington was something more than a monk.  For
when, during the reign of Richard, there was a great scare that the
French were about to invade England, he, though at that time seventy,
armed himself and set off with some of his monks to the coast to defend
his country.  And we find that "one of these monks, Brother John,
supposing his courage equal to his stature, was a very proper person for
a soldier, being one of the largest men in the kingdom. His armour, the
invasion not taking place, was carried into London to be sold, being so
big that no person could be found of a size that it would fit."

One other part of vanished Westminster comes into prominence in this
reign, and that is its Sanctuary, which stood where now is Westminster
Hospital.  It was a massive square keep built of stone, each side nearly
eighty feet long, with a heavy oak and iron door, stone stairs, strong
dark rooms and thick walls, and besides a belfry tower, in which hung
those bells which rang for coronations and tolled for royal funerals; it
contained two chapels.  This place was the haven of refuge alike to
innocent and to guilty; so long as they remained within its walls the
Church protected them and kept them. Of course, originally these
sanctuaries attached to the religious houses had been intended to
protect the weak, the helpless, and the oppressed, but gradually all
manner of men, thieves, debtors, and law-breakers, gathered round it,
and at Westminster, where all the Abbey buildings were counted as sacred
ground, strange and lawless crowds assembled; but the right of sanctuary
was jealously guarded.

Outside the world of Westminster the country was full of discontent,
which showed itself in parties and in plots.  John of Gaunt had fled,
and his place had been filled by his brother, Thomas Woodstock, Duke of
Gloucester, who, with Gaunt’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke, and other
nobles, had forced Richard, still a minor, into accepting several of
their demands.  But directly he was of age Richard had his revenge; and
in the Council Chamber he made it clear that he intended to keep all the
authority in his own hands or in the hands of those he himself should
choose.  Francis, a scribe, and the lame Clerk to the Council, has left
us a vivid picture of the scene.

"Then Richard stood in the doorway; upon his head he wore a crown; in
his hand he carried his sceptre; on his shoulders hung a mantle of
ermine, and through the door I saw a throng of armed men, and heard the
clank of steel.

"Since the time of David there had not been a more comely prince in the
world to look upon than King Richard....  Yet let no one say that his
eyes were soft.  This morning they were like the eyes of a falcon.

"’Good, my lord,’ began the Duke of Gloucester.

"The King strode across the room and took his seat upon the throne.

"’Fair uncle,’ he said, ’tell me how old I am.’

"’Your Highness,’ said the Duke, ’is now in his twenty-fourth year.’

"’Say you so?  Then, fair uncle, I am old enough to manage mine own
affairs.’

"So saying, he took the Great Seal from the Archbishop, and the keys of
the Exchequer from the Bishop of Hereford.  From the Duke of Gloucester
he took his office, he appointed new judges, he created a new council.
’Twas a gallant prince.  Alas! that he was not always strong; twice in
his life Richard was strong—that day and another.  That night there was
high revelry in the Palace: the mummers and the minstrels and the music
made the Court merry.  And the king’s fool made the courtiers laugh when
he jested about the Duke’s amazement and the Archbishop’s discomfiture."

Richard now fell entirely under the influence of his own favourites, and
the friction between himself and his Parliament increased each year.
The one good influence in his life was that of Queen Anne; over and over
again her sound sense saved the situation.  Once Richard, in a fit of
sulkiness, had gone to live at Bristol, very privately, and to him there
came the Archbishop of Canterbury, who warned him that unless he
returned to London the citizens of London and the greater part of his
subjects would be very discontented.  Richard at first refused to pay
any attention to the Archbishop, but at last the good advice of the
queen prevailed; he controlled his anger and said he would cheerfully go
to London.  On his arrival there, a special Parliament was summoned,
which made London and Westminster very crowded; the king heard Mass with
the crown on his head in the chapel of the Palace; the Archbishop of
Canterbury performed the divine service, and was very attentively heard,
for he was an excellent preacher; and then came the barons, prelates,
and nobles to Richard, with joined hands, as showing themselves to be
vassals, swearing faith and loyalty, and kissing him on the mouth.

"But it was visible," adds Froissart, "that the king kissed some
heartily and others not."

Possibly, if Anne had lived, her sensible influence might have saved
Richard, in spite of the growing irritation of his people at his
reckless extravagance.  But after only a few hours’ illness the queen
died at the Feast of Whitsuntide 1394, in Sheen Palace, "to the infinite
distress of King Richard, who was deeply afflicted at her death."

Richard was with her when she died, and so uncontrolled was his grief,
that, cursing the place of her death, he ordered the Palace of Sheen to
be levelled to the ground.  He determined that hers should be the
greatest burial ever seen in London, and sent to Flanders for large
quantities of wax wherewith to have made the torches and flambeaux,
though this delayed the funeral by some months.  He summoned all the
nobles of the land to be present in these words:—

"Inasmuch as our beloved companion the Queen, whom God has hence
commanded, will be buried at Westminster on Monday, the 3rd of August
next, we earnestly entreat that you, setting aside all excuses, will
repair to our city of London the Wednesday previous to the same day,
bringing with you our very dear kinswoman your consort at the same time.
We desire that you will, the preceding day, accompany the corpse of our
dear consort from our manor of Sheen to Westminster, and for this we
trust we may rely on you, as you desire our honour and that of our
kingdom."

So a great procession followed the queen from Sheen to Westminster, and
all were clothed in black, men and women, with black hoods also.
Richard behaved as one mad with grief, and when the Earl of Arundel
arrived late, he seized a cane, and struck him on the head with such
force that the unfortunate nobleman fell to the ground.

A year later the king ordered the beautiful monument which you see in
the Confessor’s Chapel, and so great was his devotion that he had his
own monument made at the same time, with his hand clasped in that of his
dearly loved queen.  And the touching inscription, of which this is a
translation, was of his own choosing:—

    "Under this stone lies Anne, here entombed,
    Wedded in this world’s life to the second Richard.
    To Christ were her meek virtues devoted,
    His poor she freely fed from her treasures.
    Strife she healed and feuds she appeased.
    Beauteous her form, her face surpassing fair.
    Only July’s seventh day, thirteen hundred, ninety four,
    All comfort was bereft, for through irremediable sickness
    She passed away into eternal joys."


In spite of his grief, which was very real, Richard married again; but
the new queen had no influence with him, and the breach between him and
his people widened daily.  "Nothing but complaints were heard; the
courts of justice were closed; the enmities increased, and the common
people said, ’Times are sadly changed; we have a good-for-nothing king,
who only attends to his idle pleasures, and so that his inclinations are
gratified cares not how public affairs are managed. We must look for a
remedy, or our enemies and well-wishers will rejoice.’"

So writes Froissart, who lived in England at the time; and he goes on to
say how the people declared to one another, "Our ancestors in former
days provided a remedy; our remedy is in Henry of Lancaster.  Him we
must send for and appoint him regent of the kingdom.  For these people
are most obstinate, and of all England, the Londoners are the leaders."

[Illustration: HENRY OF LANCASTER CROWNED AT WESTMINSTER.]

This being the feeling in the country, the time was ripe for John of
Gaunt’s banished son, Henry Bolingbroke, who had long been waiting for
his hour.  He landed with but thirty men, while Richard was away on one
of his highly unpopular expeditions in Ireland; soon he had an army of
fifty thousand with which he marched to London, and Richard when he
returned agreed meekly, without a word, to all that was demanded.  He
signed a deed prepared by Parliament in which he said that "he was
incapable of reigning, worthy to be deposed, and willing to renounce the
throne."

"If it pleases you, it pleases me also," was his feeble remark.

Then he was put into prison, first in the Tower, afterwards in
Pontefract Castle, and from this last place he never came out alive.
His death was very sudden; some said he fell sick, some said he was
starved, almost certainly he was murdered.  He was buried at Langley,
though many a long year afterwards his body was moved to Westminster by
command of Henry V., and laid in the tomb he had chosen close to his
wife, after it had been carried through London followed by 20,000
persons, of whom "some on him had pity and some none."

So husband and wife lie united at last under this fine tomb, which cost
£10,000 in our money.  But in one detail Richard’s wish is ungratified
to-day, for his hand and hers, which on the monument were clasped
together, have been ruthlessly broken off.

Another memorial of Richard in the Abbey is his portrait, which you will
find in the choir near the altar, and which is "an ancient painting of
the unhappy, beautiful prince, sitting in a chair of gold dressed in a
vest of green, flowered with flowers of gold and the initial letters of
his name, having on shoes of gold powdered with pearls, the whole robed
in crimson lined with ermine, and the shoes spread with the same
fastened under a collar of gold."  It is valuable because it is the
first portrait we have of an English king.

Richard rebuilt Westminster Hall, and built a fine porch called
Solomon’s Porch, where now stands the great north entrance; but of this
porch not a trace remains.



                             *CHAPTER VIII*

                       *HENRY V. AND HIS CHANTRY*


On the last day of September 1399, Westminster was well astir, for
Parliament had met to decide an all-important question.

Richard had renounced the crown, and his cousin, Henry of Lancaster,
claimed it.

"Risyng from his place, mekeley makyne the signe of the Crosse, he saide
unto the people, ’In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I,
Henry of Lancaster, claim the realme of Englande and the crowne, as that
I am dyscended by righte lyne of bloode from that good Lord King Henry
III."  Moreover, he proceeded to make clear, Richard had resigned the
crown into his hands, and he had also won it by right of conquest.

Then the Archbishop asked the assembly if they would have Henry for
king, to which with one voice they answered "Ye, ye, ye," and after that
the Archbishop led Henry to the king’s throne and set him thereon with
great reverence, making to him a long "oryson" from the words, "When I
was a child, I spake as a child; but at the time when I came unto the
state of a man, I put away childish things."

"A chylde," he said, "will lyghtly promise and as lyghtly brake his
promise, doing all thinges that his fancye giveth him unto, and
forgettinge lyghtly what he hath done.  By which reason it followyth
that great inconvenyence must fall to that people a chylde is ruler and
governour of.  But now we ought all to rejoyse that a man and not a
chylde shall have lordeshype over us, a man that shall govern the people
by skylful doyngs, settyne apart wylfulnesse and all pleasure of
himself."

And the people answered "Amen" with great gladness; they clapped their
hands for joy and did homage to the new king, while the coronation was
fixed for the 13th of October, the Feast of St. Edward.

Froissart has left us a vivid account of that great day, which you shall
have in his words.

"On the Saturday before the coronation, the new king went from
Westminster to the Tower attended by great numbers, and those squires
who were to be knighted watched their arms that night.  They amounted to
forty-six, and each squire had his chamber and his bath in which he
bathed.  The ensuing day, the Duke of Lancaster, after mass, created
them knights, and presented them with long green coats with straight
sleeves. After dinner on this Sunday, the Duke left the Tower on his
return to Westminster; he was bareheaded, and there were of nobility
from eight to nine hundred horse in the procession.  The Duke was
dressed in a jacket of cloth of gold, mounted on a white courser, with a
blue garter on his left leg.  The same night the king bathed himself,
and on the morrow confessed himself and heard three masses.  The
prelates and clergy who had assembled, then came in a large procession
from Westminster Abbey to conduct the king thither, and returned in the
same manner, the king and nobles following. The dukes, earls, and barons
wore long scarlet robes, with mantles trimmed with ermine and large
hoods of the same.  The dukes and earls had three bars of ermine on the
left arm, the barons but two.  On each side of the king were carried the
sword of mercy and the sword of justice, and the Marshal of England
carried the sceptre.

"The procession entered the church about nine o’clock, in the middle of
which was erected a scaffold covered with crimson cloth, and in the
centre a royal throne of cloth of gold.  When the Duke entered the
church, he seated himself upon the throne, and was thus in royal state,
except having the crown on his head.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury proclaimed how God had given them a man
for their lord and sovereign, and then asked the people if they were
consenting to his being consecrated and crowned king.  They unanimously
shouted out Ay.

"After this the Duke descended from the throne, and advanced to the
altar to be consecrated.  He was anointed in six places, and while this
was doing the clergy chanted a litany that is performed at the hallowing
of a font.

"The king was now dressed in churchman’s clothes, and they put on him
crimson shoes.  Then they added spurs; the sword of justice was drawn,
blest, and delivered to the king, who put it into the scabbard.  The
crown of St. Edward, which is arched over like a cross, was then brought
and blessed, and put on the king’s head by the Archbishop.

"When mass was over, the king left the Abbey and returned to the Palace,
and went first to his apartment, then returned to the Hall to dinner.

"At the first table sat the king; at the second, five great peers of
England; at the third, the principal citizens of London; at the fourth,
the new created knights; at the fifth, all knights and squires of
honour. And the king was served by the Prince of Wales, who carried the
sword of mercy.

"When dinner was half over, a knight of the name of Dymock entered the
Hall completely armed, mounted on a handsome steed.  The knight was
armed for wager of battle, and was preceded by another knight bearing
his lance; he himself had his drawn sword in one hand and a naked dagger
at his side.  The knight presented the king with a written paper, the
contents of which were, that if any knight or gentleman would dare
maintain that King Henry was not the lawful sovereign, he was ready to
offer him combat in the presence of the king, when and where he would.

"After King Henry had dined and partaken of wines and spices, he retired
to his private apartments, and all the company went.  Thus passed the
Coronation Day of King Henry, who remained that and the ensuing day at
the Palace of Westminster."

But though Henry was thus firmly set on the throne by the will of
Parliament, he knew full well that he was not the lawful heir while the
Earl of March, the descendant of John of Gaunt’s elder brother, was
alive, and this fact put him very much at the mercy of his Parliament
throughout his reign.  He was there by the will of Parliament, and
therefore, according to their will he must act.  His was a troubled,
anxious rule; for rebellions broke out in many different parts of the
country, and Henry never felt really secure.

With Westminster he had little to do, save at the beginning and end of
his reign, and he has left no memorial of himself in the building.  Yet
he is the one king who died within the Abbey walls.

To ease his conscience, he had resolved to make a pilgrimage to the
sepulchre of the Lord at Jerusalem, and this in spite of the fact that
he was suffering from a grave disease.

"Galleys of warre" were made ready for the expedition, and the king came
to Westminster, both to meet his Parliament and to pray in the shrine of
Edward for the blessing and protection of that saint, though he firmly
believed an old prophecy that he should die in Jerusalem would be now
fulfilled.

While kneeling in the shrine, he became so ill that those about him
thought he would die in that place. But with difficulty they moved him
to the fine chamber in the Abbot’s house, carrying him on a litter
through the cloisters, and "there they laid him before the fire on a
pallet, he being in great agony for a certain time."

At last, when he came to himself, he asked where he was, and when this
had been told him, he inquired if the chamber had any special name.

He was told its name was Jerusalem.

"Then sayd the Kynge: Laud be to the Father of Heaven, for nowe I knowe
I shall dye in this chamber, accordynge to ye propheseye of me
aforesayde, that I should dye in Jerusalem."

So, in that dark tapestried room, the king, lying there in his royal
robes, just as he had come from doing honour to St. Edward, made himself
ready to die.  His son, Prince Harry, was with him, though between the
two there had been many a misunderstanding and quarrel during the last
few years; and Shakespeare, taking his facts from the French chronicler,
tells how Henry lay there unconscious, his crown on a pillow at his
side, and at last seemed to breathe no more.  Whereupon the attendants,
believing him to be dead, covered over his face, and Prince Harry first
held the crown in his hands, then set it on his own head.

This very act seemed to call the dying king back to life, for he
groaned, came to himself, and missed the crown.

"What right have you to it, my son?" he asked reproachfully.

The Prince made answer: "My lord, as you have held it by the right of
your sword, it is my intent to hold and defend the same during my life."

To which replied the king: "I leave all things to God, and pray that He
will have mercy upon me."

And thus saying he died.

But the English chroniclers give another picture of the Prince, and
describe him sobered and awestruck in the presence of Death, kneeling at
his father’s side as the priest administered the Holy Sacrament,
tenderly recalling his wandering mind and saying—

"My lord, he has just consecrated the Body of the Lord Christ: I entreat
you to worship Him, by whom kings reign and princes rule."

Then the king raised himself up to receive the cup, blessed his son,
kissed him, and died.

Prince Harry wept distractedly, full of remorse as he thought of all the
follies and mistakes of his past life, which had so added to the sorrows
of the dead king. But all that was good and great in him came to the
front now.  Alone, in a little chapel inside the Abbey, he passed the
rest of that day, kneeling in utter humility before the King of kings,
praying for pardon, for peace, and for strength.  "Then, when the shades
of night had fallen upon the face of the earth, the tearful Prince in
the darkness went to the Anchorite of Westminster (whose stone cell lay
on the south side of the infirmary cloister), and unfolding to this
perfect man the secrets of his life, being washed in penitence, he
received absolution, and putting off the cloak of iniquity, he returned
garbed in the mantle of virtue."  Nor was this sudden change the impulse
of a moment, for "Henry, after he was admitted to the rule of the land,
showed himself a new man, and tourned all his wyldness into sobernesse,
wyse sadnesse and constant virtue."

The king, at his own wish, was buried at Canterbury by the side of the
Black Prince; some chroniclers say, because he trembled at the thought
of lying near Richard’s tomb in the Confessor’s Chapel; and nothing
disturbed the peace of the Abbey till the following spring, when on
Passion Sunday, "a daye of exceedinge rayne and snow," Henry V. was
crowned.

His first act as king was to give King Richard an honourable burial in
the tomb he had chosen, to order that tapers should burn around his
grave "as long as the world endureth," and that dirges and masses should
be said for his soul.  Then he concerned himself with the building which
had stood still throughout his father’s reign, and he made as his chief
architect the wealthy and generous Whittington, now Lord Mayor of
London—possibly the hero of the old story—with a monk of Westminster
named Haweden.  To those two was entrusted the work of completing the
nave and all the western part of the Abbey.

Henry was brave and adventurous, the nobles were longing for war, and
France, at that moment divided against itself, almost invited attack.
The old pretext did well enough; Henry laid claim to the throne of
France and invaded the land, scorning all idea of compromise.  Disease
attacked his army, so that when he came face to face with his foe he had
but 15,000 men to their 50,000.  But his courage rose to the crisis, and
when one of his knights sighed for the thousands of brave warriors in
England, he said warmly—

"I would not have a single man more.  If God give us the victory, it
will be plain we owe it to His grace."

And the battle there fought and won was the great battle of Agincourt,
the victory once again of the English archers.  Henry had always been
loved by the nation, now he became their hero and their darling.

    "Oh, when shall Englishmen
    With such acts fill a pen,
    Or England breed again
    Such a King Harry?"


The news of the triumph was quickly sent to London by a special
messenger, and the Mayor, with the commonalty and an immense number of
citizens, set out on foot to make their pilgrimage to St. Edward’s
shrine, there to offer devout thanksgiving for the joyful news.

And to this procession there joined themselves very many lords and peers
of the realm, with the substantial men, both spiritual and temporal, for
all knew that thanksgiving was due unto God, and to Edward, the glorious
Confessor.  Therefore went they like pilgrims on foot to Westminster, as
aforesaid, passing through the newly built nave.

Later on, when Henry made his triumphant entry into London as the victor
of Agincourt, "the gates and streets of the cities were garnished and
apparelled with precious cloths of arras, containing the victories and
triumphs of the king of England, which was done to the intent that the
king might understand what remembrance his people would leave to their
posterity of these, his great victories and triumphs."

But the king would not have any ditties to be sung of his victory, for
he said the glory belonged to God, and the hymn of praise he commanded
was a joyful _Te Deum_, which rang through the vaulted arches of the
Abbey, led by the monks, swelled by countless voices of brave
Englishmen.  Nor would Henry allow his battered helmet of gold and his
other armour, "that in cruel battaille was so sore broken with the great
strokes he hadde received," to be carried before him or shown to his
people.  With a fine modesty, he sought in no way to glorify himself.
The memory of his early manhood, with its dark side, was ever before his
eyes; the conflict with the enemy within was ever waging, and the
knowledge of his own weakness swept over him even in the hour of his
greatest triumph, so that he could not but be humble as a little child.

Peace was at last made with France, the terms being that Henry should
marry the French king’s daughter, Katherine, who possessed "a white oval
face, dark flashing eyes, and most engaging manners," and that he should
succeed to the throne of France on the death of his father-in-law.  In
the February of 1421 he brought his pretty bride to England, where the
people received her "as if she had been an angel of God," and on the
24th of that month she was crowned by the Archbishop.

In the words of Robert Fabyan, an alderman of London, but devoted to the
pleasures of learning, "I will proceed to show you some part of the
great honour that was exercised and used upon that day."

After the service in the church was ended, Queen Katherine was led into
the great hall of Westminster, and there sat at dinner at Henry’s side,
while close to her sat the captive Prince James of Scotland, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, and many great nobles.  The Countess of Kent
sat under the table at the right side of the queen, and the Countess
Marshal on the left side, holding her napkin, while the Earl of
Worcester rode about the hall on a great courser to keep room and order.
Being Lent, no meat was allowed, excepting brawn served with mustard,
but of fish there was a great choice; "pyke in herbage lamprey powderyd,
codlyng, crabbys, solys, fresshe samon, dryed smelt, halybut, rochet,
porpies rostyd, prawys, clys roast, and a white fisshe florysshed with
hawthorne leaves and redde lawrys."  Wonderful ornaments called
"subtelties" were on the table, being images intended to symbolise the
happy event, and fastened on to these were labels with such verses as—

    "To this sign the king
    Great joy will bring,
    And all his people
    The queen will content."

Or—

    "It is written
    And can be seen,
    In marriage pure
    No strifes endure."


Katherine’s pity was roused by the clever and charming young Scottish
prince who had been so long a prisoner, and who was now deeply in love
with Lady Joanna Beaufort, a lady he had seen in the gardens of Windsor
Castle, and at this banquet she pleaded for him with her husband, with
the result that he was eventually set free, and allowed to marry the
lady of his love.

In spite of the peace which had been made, the French people were not
inclined to submit to their conquerors, and within a few months of
Katherine’s coronation war broke out again, which sent Henry off in
haste to France.  He was still victorious, and when besieging Meaux the
news was brought that Katherine had given him a son.  At the same time
came a loving letter from the queen herself, begging that she might join
him in France so soon as her health would permit.  The permission was
readily granted, and she came, but not too soon; for Henry, who had
bravely fought illness as he fought all other enemies, was conquered at
last, and died at Vincennes, he, "mighty victor, mighty lord, being
carried there helpless on a litter."

In the third year of his reign Henry had made his will, in which he had
set down careful instructions as to his own burying, which was to be at
Westminster, among the kings; and as by now there was but little room
left in the Confessor’s Chapel, he directed that at its eastern end,
where the relics were kept, a high place should be made, ascended on
each side by steps, and that there should be raised an altar, while
underneath it his body should be laid.  To this altar he bequeathed
plate, vestments, and a sum of money for the Abbey, in token of which
three monks of the Abbey were daily to say three masses there for his
soul.

He had been a great benefactor to the Abbey, for besides having
completed the nave, he had paid to it a thousand marks yearly, restored
to it a ring valued at a thousand marks, and given such valuable
presents as a Psalter and other fine books; so the monks were anxious to
do him all honour, while the people of London were determined to
worthily show their sorrow and their love.

The great funeral procession set out from France, and by slow stages
reached London.  The coffin had been set on an open chariot, and behind
it was carved an image of the king made of leather and painted to look
lifelike, clothed in purple with ermine, holding a sceptre, crowned and
sandalled.  The queen and King James of Scotland followed as chief
mourners; a thousand men in white bore torches; throughout the day
chants, hymns, and sacred offices were sung by the priests, and wherever
his body rested for awhile in a church, masses were said.

From Paris to Calais, Calais to Dover, Dover to Canterbury, and
Canterbury to London, this solemn journey of many weeks was made, while
once on English soil the procession was greatly lengthened.  The streets
of London were draped in black; each householder stood at his door with
a lighted torch; before the royal coffin rode the king’s favourite
knight and standard-bearer, Sir Louis Robsart, and many lords bore the
banners of saints. Men at arms, in deep black and on black horses,
formed the guard of honour; behind came his three chargers, then
followed the royal mourners, and once more came a touch of relief from
the rich vestments of the bishops and abbots, and the white robes of the
priests and singers.

"So with great solemnity and honour was that excellent prince brought
unto the monastery of Westminster, and there at the feet of St. Edward
reverently interred, on whose soul, sweet Jesus, be merciful."

The little king of England was not yet a year old, but directly after
the funeral Parliament met, and Queen Katherine rode through the city of
London in a chariot drawn by white horses, surrounded by the nobles of
the land.  She held her baby in her arms, and in the words of one who
watched, "Those pretty hands which could not yet feed himself, were made
capable of wielding a sceptre, and he who beholden to his nurses for
food, did distribute law and justice to the nation."  By his Chancellor
the infant king saluted, and to his people spoke his mind, by means of
another tongue.  Alice Boteler and Joan Ashley were appointed by this
year-old child to be his governess and nurse, "from time to time
reasonably to chastise us as the case may require, to teach us courtesy
and good manners, and many things convenient for our royal persons to
learn."

The building of the chantry over the grave of Henry V. was not long
delayed, and all his instructions were carefully carried out.  You will
see it is a little chapel of itself at the east end of the Confessor’s
Chapel, standing so high, that at first the people from the farther end
of the Abbey could see the priests celebrating mass at its altar.

[Illustration: HENRY V.’s TOMB]

But before long the stone screen put up about this time, to the further
honour of St. Edward, cut it off from view.  How exquisite must that
screen have been, with its lacework tracery, its niches full of saints,
its brilliancy of gold, of crimson, and of blue! You must look carefully
at the carvings, which tell the story of Edward’s life, fact and legend
blended together. Here I will tell you shortly what each scene is meant
to represent, beginning from your left as you face the screen.

The first two describe the birth of Edward; the third, his coronation;
the fourth, his dream of the devil dancing for joy over the piles of
money collected by the much-hated tax called Danegeld, a dream which so
alarmed the king that he did away with the tax.  The fifth shows how
Edward had mercy on a thief who tried to steal his gold, for the king
said, "Let him keep it; he hath more need of it than us."  The sixth
tells how Christ appeared to the king at the Holy Sacrament; the seventh
and eighth describe the crowning of the king of Denmark and a quarrel
between Harold and Tostig. The ninth and tenth go back to legend, the
vision of the Seven Sleepers and the appearance of St. John as a
pilgrim; while the twelfth and thirteenth describe St. John giving back
the ring to the pilgrim, and the pilgrim’s bearing it to King Edward.
The eleventh shows the king washing his hands on the right, and on the
left are three blind men, waiting for their sight to be restored to them
when they wash their eyes in the water Edward had used; and the two last
tell of the king’s death and the dedication of the Abbey.

The chantry of King Henry was less ornate than this screen, but it was
nevertheless very beautiful.  You must look at the pattern of the open
work on the iron grating which is round the tomb gates, and pick out the
fleur-de-lis, the emblem of France, claimed by Henry as his inheritance.
The figure of the king was the special gift of his widow, and was carved
of the best English oak, with a head of silver, and its value made it
too great a temptation to some "covetous pilferers about the latter end
of Henry VIII., who broke it off and conveyed it clean awaie."

Over the chantry you will see a helmet, shield, and saddle; and though
the helmet is certainly not the one which Henry kept hidden from all
people at the Agincourt festival, it is certainly as old as the funeral
day, and was probably made for that occasion.

In the year 1878, Katherine of Valois, who had first been buried in
Henry III.’s chapel, then left for more than two hundred years in a
rudely made coffin, open to the public gaze, by her husband’s tomb, and
afterwards laid in a side chapel, was at last buried under the altar
slab in the Chantry Chapel of Henry V., and here within the calm shelter
of Edward’s shrine were carried the remains of two other queens,
Eadgytha, the wife of Harold, and good Queen Maude, the wife of Henry I.
Here, too, rest two tiny royal children, Margaret of York, the baby
daughter of Edward IV., and her niece, Elizabeth Tudor, the
three-year-old child of Henry VII. and Elizabeth.  Their little marble
tombs are plain and bear now no name.  One other royal prince is buried
here, Thomas of Woodstock, the uncle and for some time the adviser of
Richard II., who certainly suffered heavily for any advice he gave, good
or otherwise, for he was smothered to death at Calais with Richard’s
consent.  And one man not of royal birth lies here—John of Waltham,
Bishop of Salisbury, for whom this same Richard II. had so great a
liking, that, defying every one, he ordered him to be laid among kings,
close to the tomb of the Confessor.

I wonder if by now you know thoroughly that chapel which holds our
earliest and some of our greatest kings and queens?  Does that stately
tomb in the centre call to your mind Edward, the dreamer and the
builder, the dramatic ending of his life, the splendid ceremony of his
burial within these walls, when he was honoured not alone as king of
England or founder of the Abbey, but as a saint of the Church?  Does the
tomb of Henry III., with its remains of soft coloured marble and gilt
mosaics, tell you of Westminster’s second great builder, a lover of
beauty and religious observances, but withal weak and extravagant, and
incapable of rising to his great responsibilities?  Does the rugged,
undecorated monument of Edward I. show you the man, strong, stern, and
steadfast, or the tomb of his beloved Eleanor speak to you of his
wonderful love for her and of her sweet goodness?  And when you look at
the resting-place of Edward III. and Philippa, does it not call up to
your mind the days of chivalry and the feats of English soldiers, the
victories of Poitiers and Crecy, the siege of Calais and the
compassionate pleading of the kindly queen?  You stand by the tomb of
Richard and Anne, united at last, and do not you think, "Oh, the pity of
it," when you remember how Richard might have been strong and brave, had
only he kept true to his best self?  And then, do you not turn with a
thrill of pride to the lofty chantry which encircles the grave of Henry
V., the best loved king England ever had, the king who set a glow of
patriotism alight in his realm, who rose above his failings and his
faults, and gave to his people the fine example of a man who was victor
over himself as well as victor over his foreign foes?  Worthily I think
does Henry’s chantry crown the Confessor’s shrine.

If some of these thoughts have come to you, this chapel will have taught
you more history than any number of books or any number of dates.
Because history only grows real to all of us, when the men and women
about whom we read and learn cease to be mere figures and become our
familiar acquaintances, till we fit them in as it were to their proper
places in the story of England—places which are not always bounded by
the years of a reign, which often cannot be bounded even by centuries.

[Illustration: TOMBS IN THE CHAPEL OF THE KINGS.]



                              *CHAPTER IX*

                  *THE WARS OF THE ROSES AND THE THIRD
                             ROYAL BUILDER*


Little Henry VI. was not crowned till he was nine years old, and one old
writer says that "so small was he, he could not wear the crown, and a
bracelet of his mother’s was placed on his head."  He was a dreamy,
gentle boy, and, far from being excited or happy on his coronation day,
we hear how "very sadly and gravely he beheld all the people round about
him, at the sight of which he showed great humility."  His mother,
Katherine, had married a Welshman named Owen Tudor, much to the anger of
those about the court and the nobles, who considered that by so doing
she had demeaned herself, and after this she was allowed to see very
little of her son, who was therefore left entirely to his uncles, the
Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Gloucester.  Like Edward the Confessor,
Henry was fit for a cloister but not for a crown, and he was called to
reign in troublous times, when strength of will and purpose were more
needed in a king than saintliness or simplicity of life.  His uncles,
who realised his weakness, arranged that he should marry Margaret of
Anjou, a woman who was brave, ambitious, and masterful; but the fact
that she soon got Henry completely under her control only brought about
in the end his destruction and hers.  In France the English lose all
that they had won, for a deliverer of France had arisen in the girl Joan
of Arc, who gave fresh courage and hope to her fellow-countrymen and led
them on to victory as though she had been a saint sent by God.  Then
back to England came those many thousands of soldiers who had been
fighting abroad all these years, and they were not inclined to settle
down to a peaceful life; they wanted adventure, excitement, and plunder,
and they were ready to flock round any leader who could promise them the
chance of a fight.  You will remember how, when you looked at Edward
III.’s tomb, with the figures of his sons kneeling round, I told you
that the descendants of those sons brought civil war upon England; and
it was in the reign of Henry VI. that this terrible war broke out.
Henry, as you know, was descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster,
and his grandfather, Henry IV., had gained the throne by will of
Parliament and by right of conquest, but not by right of inheritance.
Now there was living Richard, Duke of York, who was descended from the
Duke of Clarence, the elder brother of John of Gaunt, and when, owing to
Henry’s weakness and the jealousies of the great nobles, two parties
gradually began to form themselves, these parties naturally became
divided into those who supported the king, that is to say, the House of
Lancaster, and those who supported the House of York.  At first there
was no thought of civil war; these two parties merely opposed each other
and schemed one against the other; but before long feeling ran so high
that open warfare became inevitable, and each side took as its badge a
rose.

So began the Wars of the Roses, and there followed those terrible
battles of Northampton, Wakefield, St. Albans, Towton, Barnet, and
Tewkesbury, in which thousands of Englishmen were slain (20,000 at
Towton alone), the victory resting first on one side and then on the
other, though finally with the Yorkists.  The Duke of York had been
killed early in the campaign, but his place had been filled by his young
son, Edward, and at last, after the battle of Tewkesbury, King Henry and
Queen Margaret were taken prisoners, their son Edward having been killed
in battle or murdered afterwards.  Both were taken to the Tower, and one
night, between eleven and twelve, King Henry was put to death, the Duke
of Gloucester and divers of his men being in the Tower that night.  So
Edward of York ascended the throne, the fourth king of that name, and
the first stage of the War of the Roses was ended.

Henry was not buried at Westminster; in the darkness of the night his
body was carried from the Tower, put on to a lighted barge, and,
"without singing or saying," conveyed up the dark waters of the Thames
to his silent interment at Chertsey Abbey.  And yet this gentle, humble
king had loved the Abbey well, and had greatly longed to lie near to St.
Edward, by his father and his ancestors, having chosen the spot where
the relics had been kept, as a "good place."

Edward IV. reigned for twelve years, but he did not reign in peace; and
once his wife Elizabeth was in such distress and danger that, with her
three little girls, Elizabeth, Mary, and Cicely, and one faithful
attendant, Lady Scrope, she fled to Westminster for sanctuary, and threw
herself on the mercy of Abbot Mylling.  In this gloomy place of refuge
her son was born, she being tended by a certain Mother Cobb, who also
lived in sanctuary, while the Abbot sent her some few things for her
comfort, and a kind butcher named Gould provided "half a beef and two
muttons every week."

It was a strange birthplace for an English prince; but his christening,
which took place in the Abbey, was not without honour, though the
ceremony was carried out as though he were a poor man’s son.  He was
given the honoured name of Edward, the Abbot was his godfather, and the
Duchess of Bedford with Lady Scrope stood as his godmothers.  When peace
was restored, Edward IV. at once came to Westminster to comfort his
queen, and he did not forget to reward those who had helped Elizabeth in
the hour of her distress.  To Nurse Cobb he gave £12 a year; from the
butcher he ordered a royal shipful of hides and tallow; while the Abbot,
for "his great civility," was made a Privy Councillor, and afterwards
Bishop of Hereford.

But though Elizabeth left the Sanctuary, she was once more to return to
its kindly shelter.  She had always a mistrust of her husband’s
favourite brother, the Duke of Gloucester, and when King Edward died in
1473, she at once went back to Westminster with her daughters and her
second son, the Duke of York. Her eldest boy, Edward, was already in his
uncle’s power and in the Tower, although the Duke of Gloucester had made
him enter London in state, he riding bare-headed before him, and saying
to the people loudly, "Behold your prince and sovereign."  But the queen
was not to be deceived by this.  "Woe worth him," she said bitterly; "he
goeth about to destroy me and my blood."

This time Elizabeth and her children were given room in the Abbot’s
palace, probably in the dining-hall, and there the Archbishop of York
came to her to deliver up, for the use of her son, the Great Seal,
entrusted to him by Edward IV.  He found her sitting on the floor,
"alone on the rushes, desolate and dismayed, and about her was much
rumble, haste, and business with conveyance of her household stuff into
sanctuary.  Every man was busy to carry, bear, and convey these stuffs,
chests, and fardels, and no man was unoccupied."  In the distance could
be heard the noise of the workmen already beginning the preparations for
the coronation of King Edward, which the Duke of Gloucester was
apparently pushing forward with all haste.  But as the Archbishop looked
out of his window on to the Thames, he saw the river covered with boats
full of the Duke of Gloucester’s servants, keeping a watch over the
queen’s hiding-place.

Richard of Gloucester’s next move was to get possession of the little
Duke of York, and as he was now appointed Protector, having altogether
deceived the Council as to his real intent, this was no very difficult
matter.  And the poor queen had only a mother’s love and a mother’s
fears to set against these mighty men and the fair sounding argument
"that the little king was melancholy and desired his brother for a
playmate."

"I deliver him into your keeping, my lord," she said to the Archbishop
of Canterbury, her face white, her voice trembling, "of whom I shall ask
him again before God and the world.  And I pray you, for the trust which
his father reposed in you, that as you think I fear too much, so you be
cautious that you fear not too little."

Then she threw her arms round the boy and covered him with kisses.

"Farewell, mine own sweet son," she sobbed; "God send you good keeping.
And God knoweth when we shall kiss together again."

Her worst fears were realised.  She never saw her boys again, never knew
how they were murdered in the Tower, or even where they were buried.
And from her dwelling-place within the Sanctuary precincts she could see
and hear all the preparations that were being made for the coronation of
Richard III., while she "sobbed and wept and pulled her fair hair, as
she called by name her two sweet babes, and cried to God to comfort
her."

For nearly a year she remained where she was, then Richard, having taken
an oath before the Lord Mayor and the Council to protect her and her
daughters, she moved out of Sanctuary into some humble lodgings near
Westminster, where her one friend seems to have been a doctor named
Lewis, who was also a priest, and apparently something of a politician
too, for he began to plan with the queen for the marriage of her eldest
daughter, Elizabeth, with Harry of Richmond, who, through his mother,
Margaret Beaufort, was the hope of the Lancastrian party.

Richard III. was already hated in England, and as the story of the way
in which he had caused his little nephews to be murdered became
generally known, the hatred increased tenfold.  So the Lancastrian party
thought the moment had come for them to make another effort.  Harry
Richmond landed at Milford Haven from France with 3000 men, and soon an
eager, willing army flocked to his standard.  At Bosworth field he met
Richard in battle.

"Let courage supply the want of our numbers," he cried.  "And as for me,
I propose to live with honour hereafter, or die with honour here."

Evening found him the victor of the day; Richard lay dead on the field,
and his crown, which he had worn into battle, was found hanging on a
bush.  There on the scene of his triumph the crown was set on Henry’s
head, while the soldiers shouted joyfully, "God save King Henry VII.,"
and then burst into a solemn _Te Deum_.

In October Henry was formally crowned in the Abbey, and in the Abbey,
too, a few months later, he married the Princess Elizabeth, once the
helpless, homeless Sanctuary child.  So were the Houses of York and
Lancaster made one; so were the red roses and white roses grafted
together, and the people of London celebrated the happy event with
bonfires, dancing, songs, and banquet.  Cardinal Bourchier, himself of
Plantagenet stock, performed the marriage ceremony, and so, as an old
writer prettily puts it, "his hand held the sweet posie wherein the
white and red roses were first tied together."

Not till a year later was Elizabeth crowned, and by then a little son
had been born to her, named Arthur at his father’s wish, in memory of
the stainless King Arthur, whom Henry VII. claimed as an ancestor
through his Welsh grandfather, Owen Tudor.

It was about this time that a great change came over the people of
England in regard to their opinion of Henry VI.  They had begun by
pitying him for his misfortunes; then they had called to mind his
patience and humility, his kind deeds, his love of learning, and his
pure life, till at last in their eyes he became nothing short of a
saint.  Richard III. had caused his body to be removed from Chertsey to
Windsor, much to the anger of the priests at Chertsey, who had spread
abroad stories of wonderful miracles performed at his tomb, which
stories, being readily believed, had drawn many pilgrims to the place.
And pilgrims never came empty-handed.

Henry VII. came under the influence of this feeling, and he resolved
that honour should now be done to this king, whom men had liked and
pitied, but had never honoured in life.  He had already decided to build
a new chapel to the Virgin Mary in the Abbey, or rather to entirely
rebuild the Lady Chapel of Henry III., and here he intended Henry VI.
should be reburied under a costly tomb.  He went so far as to petition
the Pope to add King Henry’s name to the list of saints; but the Pope
would only agree to do so for an extravagant sum of money, and Henry
Tudor thought the money could be more profitably spent in other ways.
So the matter was allowed to drop, and although the council which had
been summoned to decide where Henry should finally be buried—in Windsor,
Chertsey, or Westminster—gave their judgment in favour of Westminster,
it is very doubtful if his body was ever moved to the Abbey at all.
Certainly no monument was raised to his memory. However, the building of
the Lady Chapel went on apace, only its purpose was changed.  It was no
longer to be the chantry of Henry VI., but the chapel of Henry VII., the
burying-place of the Tudor kings and queens of his race.

Henry was a curious mixture of a desire to hoard up money, and a desire
to build what he undertook on a very lavish scale.  He saved more money
than any other English king, and he certainly spent less, for he was
simple in all his tastes, a silent, gloomy man.  But he has left behind
him in Westminster Abbey a piece of work as beautiful as wealth and art
could make it, a building "stately and surprising, which brought this
church to her highest pitch of glory," and though his original ideas as
to its purpose were frustrated, his longings that here "three chantry
monks should say prayers for his soul so long as the world endured,"
being ruthlessly disregarded by his own son, Henry VIII., his chapel
still stands, so that with Edward the Confessor and Henry III. he ranks
among the three great royal builders of the Abbey.

Before you go into this chapel stand for a minute in King Edward’s
shrine, with its stately simplicity; then pass under the chantry of
Henry V., simple too, but telling of strength, of life, and vigour; walk
up the steps of Henry’s Chapel into the dark entrance, and then stay
still in the doorway to drink in the matchless beauty before your eyes.
Here, simplicity is a word unknown; everywhere, inside and out, is a
wealth of carving; no spot or corner was deemed too hidden away to be
ornamented; roof and walls alike are covered with delicate lacework and
rich embroidery made out of stone.

     "They dreamed not of a perishable house who thus could build."


The foundation-stone was laid one afternoon in the January of 1502 by
Islip, "that wise and holy man who was Abbot of the Westminster monks,"
and the building was solemnly dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary by
order of Henry VII., king of England and France and Lord of Ireland.
The work went on quickly, for money was not lacking.  Abbot Islip was a
man of action, and Henry was feverishly anxious that the building should
be completed in his lifetime.  Here it was that he meant to be buried,
for just because his claim to the throne was not a very good one, he was
doubly anxious to link himself on by many different ways to the kings of
the past.  Everywhere in his chapel, round his tomb, on the roof, and on
the doorways, you will find his different badges set up, as if to say,
"Each one of these badges gave me the right to be king of England."  You
will see over and over again the York and Lancaster roses; the
portcullis and the greyhound, both of them Beaufort badges, which had
come to him through his mother, Margaret Beaufort, the direct descendant
of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; the red dragon of Cadwallader of
Wales, the last British king, whom Henry alone of all the English kings
proudly claimed as his ancestor, through Owen Tudor, his father; and the
lion, which always figured in the royal arms of England. These badges,
everywhere carved, were Henry’s challenge to any one who might dispute
his claim.

"We will," said Henry, "that this chapel be wholly and perfectlie
fynished with all spede; and the windows glazed with stories, imagies,
badgies, and cognoisants; that the walles, doors, archies, windows,
vaults, and imagies, within and without be painted, garnished, and
adorned in as goodly and rich manner as such a work requireth and as to
a king’s work appertaigneth."

But in spite of all the speed the king died before the work was
finished, and never saw his chapel in all its costly beauty.  Only a few
days before his death he gave the Abbot £5000 more, "in redy money by
the hande," for the carrying on of the work, and his will showed how
deep his interest lay, for he solemnly charged his executors to advance
whatever money was needful, and to choose for the high altar "the
greatest Image of our Lady we have in our Juel house; a Crosse of plate
of gold upon tymber, chalices, altar suits, vestments, candlesticks, and
ornaments," all of them to bear the royal badges.  "And for the price
and value of them," he concluded, "our mynde is, that thei bei of suche
as appertaigneth to the gifte of a prynce; and therefore we wol that our
executours in that partie have a special regarde to the lawe of God, the
weal of our soule and our honour royal."

Queen Elizabeth had died some years before her husband, and had been
impressively laid in some side chapel of the Abbey.  Now, on Henry’s
death, both were buried together in the tomb which the king had ordered
should be in the middle of the Chapel by the high altar, and about which
he had left minute instructions as to the images of himself and the
queen, the inscription, the tabernacles round the tomb with the images
of saints and angels, and the grating of copper and gilt for its
protection.

Certainly the tomb was made worthy of the exquisite chapel which
enshrined it, and Henry’s wishes were faithfully carried out in this
respect.  An Italian, Torregiano, made the images of the king and queen
in gilt bronze, and Torregiano was something of a genius, for all his
images have a wonderful life of their own.  Yet he must have been
anything but a pleasant visitor to the monastery precincts, for he was a
bold man, with a loud voice, frowning eyebrows, and fierce gestures, who
daily boasted of his feats among the beasts of Englishmen, and told how
he had broken the nose of his rival Michael Angelo; or how he had
shattered to pieces an image of the Virgin, because there was some
dispute about the price to be paid him.  However, we must forgive him
his violent temper out of gratitude for his beautiful work.

The grating round the tomb was made by English workmen, and here again
you will see everywhere the king’s badges.  And I want you to notice,
too, the little angels who stand round the king and queen, for they look
as if they had just flown there for a moment, so lightly are they
poised.  Then you must look at the carvings round the tomb, those Saints
whom the king had chosen to be his guardians: the Virgin Mary with
Christ in her arms and St. Michael at her side; St. John the Baptist
pointing to a picture of the Lamb of God; St. John the Evangelist
holding his Gospel in his hand, an eagle standing at his feet; St.
George of England standing on the vanquished Dragon, and with him St.
Anthony dressed as a monk; Mary Magdalene with her box of precious
ointment; St. Barbara holding a three-windowed tower; St. Christopher
bearing on his shoulder the Christ Child, and St. Edward the Confessor
crowned in glory.

Just outside the screen must have stood a beautiful altar, also the work
of Torrigiano, an altar of white marble, gilded with fine gold, enriched
by inlay and carving, the central figure being "an image, erth coloured
of Christ dead;" but this was wrecked by a fanatic named Marlow in the
time of the Commonwealth, whose "ignorant zeal was such that he brake it
into shivers, though it was a raritie not to be matched in any part of
the world."

As you stand in the chapel I want you to gaze up at the vaulted roof,
which seems as though it hung in mid air, so wonderful is the design
with its fairy grace and lightness; for here you see a beautiful example
of that fan-tracery vaulting which was peculiarly English in its style,
and which in this case was probably the work of two English masons, John
Hyharn and William Vertue. Then you must look around at the army of
Saints and Martyrs who guard the walls; king, apostle, saint confessor,
all are here, and the niches in which they stand are delicately carved
and decorated.  And you must try to imagine the glory of the windows in
those early days when, filled with "goode, clene, sure, and perfyte
glasse of oryent colours, and the imagery of the story of the olde lawe
and the new lawe," they reflected their rich hues around.  Now only one
little part of those many painted windows remains, but that is a figure
of Henry VII., who looks down over the chapel which he raised.

The carved oaken stalls intended for the monks were not all finished at
this time, and as is so often the case with such stalls, there is
nothing sacred about the character of the ornaments carved on them.  On
the contrary, they aim at being amusing; and you will find quaint
figures of monkeys winnowing corn; of foxes in armour riding on the
backs of cocks; of fiends seizing a miser; of turkeys chasing a boy; a
bear playing on bagpipes, and so on.  In the year 1725 George I.
reconstructed the old order of Knights of the Bath, and as from the days
of Richard II. it had been the custom only to create such knights at a
coronation and when a Prince of Wales was created, the Order had many
associations with Westminster.  So this Chapel of Henry VII. was set
apart as the Chapel of the Order, just as the Chapel of St. George’s,
Windsor, was set apart for the Order of the Garter; and here for nearly
a hundred years every knight was installed; here was hung his banner;
and here was fastened up over his stall the plate on which was
emblazoned his coat of arms.  But gradually the Order became so large
that the many ceremonies connected with it had to cease, and now only
the banners which hang here tell us of bygone days.

[Illustration: GATES OF HENRY VII.’s CHAPEL.]

As you come out, take a last look at the massive gates of oak and metal
serried with badges, and then stand once more in the middle of the
sixteenth century, when that mass of carving was made yet more rich and
beautiful by the colours which blazed everywhere, from the crimson,
blue, and purple of the windows; the gold and silver vessels on the
altar; the gleaming brass of the images; the gorgeous vestments of the
priests; the dazzling whiteness of the marble; the glitter of the tapers
round the tomb.  Think of how Abbot Islip must have gloried in this new
gem of dazzling beauty now added to the Abbey, already so rich in
treasure; for Islip was of "a wakeful conscience" and held himself the
steward of the house of God, so that he too did some building to this
place, and evidently won the confidence of the king, who made him
paymaster of the workmen.

As for Henry himself, the chapel has become a far greater memorial of
him than he can ever have deemed possible.  It matters little to us now
what was his real motive in raising it, even if it were possible to
point to any one unmixed motive which inspired him.  For us it is enough
that the chapel stands, and though we need not, with Fabyan the
chronicler, wax enthusiastic over "the excellent wysdome, sugared
eloquence, wonderfull dyscression, the exceedynge treasure and rychesse
innumerabyll" of this silent, almost gloomy king, let us with the same
chronicler "remember his beautyfull buildyngs and his liberell
endowments at Westminster, and pray that he may attain that celestyall
mansion whych he and all trew Christen soules are inheritors unto, the
whyche God hym graunt."

[Illustration: CHAPEL OF HENRY VII.]



                              *CHAPTER X*

                    *THE ABBEY AND THE REFORMATION*


A few months after the death and burial of Henry VII., another royal
funeral took place in this beautiful chapel of the Tudors, the funeral
of his mother, Margaret, the "venerable lady," whose influence was
far-reaching, and whose holiness had won for her such universal love and
reverence.

"It would fill a volume to recount her good deeds," says her biographer,
and he goes on to tell how she lived a life of prayer and simplicity,
being a member of no leas than five religious houses; how she herself
waited on the poor, the sick, the dying, and how she freely gave of her
wealth for the encouragement of learning.  "Her ears were spent in
hearing the word of God, her tongue was occupied in prayer, her feet in
visiting holy places, her hands in giving alms."  She provided an
almshouse for poor women near Westminster Abbey, and another at
Hatfield, and besides founding schools and colleges, she maintained many
poor scholars at her own expense.  She also translated many works in the
English tongue.  It was in Westminster that she desired to be buried,
and she made many gifts to the place which her son was so richly
beautifying, stipulating in return that prayers should always be said
here for herself and all her family.  She was destined to outlive son,
daughter-in-law, and grandson, and it was not till 1509 that her useful
life of close on three-score years and ten came to an end, and she
passed peacefully away, "the almoner of God, the friend of the poor, the
supporter of true religion, the patroness of learning, the comforter of
the sorrowing, the beloved of all."  As you stand by her monument in the
south aisle of Henry VII.’s Chapel, look at her strong, noble face,
beautiful in its calm old age, her hands clasped in prayer as was their
wont; and while you are lost in wonder at the skill of the sculptor,
probably Torrigiano, I think you will realise something of the goodness
and purity of Margaret Richmond, which this sleeping figure makes so
vivid, and will understand how "every one that knew her loved her, for
everything she said or did became her."  It was well for her that she
did not live long enough to see her clever imperious grandson seeking to
destroy so many of the things which she had loved and guarded.

Henry VIII. came to the throne with splendid opportunities.  He was
gifted far above the average: his manners were genial and taking; he
could talk many languages; he was devoted to sport, a good musician, an
admirable wrestler; fond of amusement, but fond also of more serious
things; and the people were prepared to love their King Hal, for he was
in every way a contrast to his father, who had never won their
affections. Henry was a strong man, who resolved to be no puppet in the
hands of any party or minister.  Yet it was his will which ruined his
character, for it was a will entirely bent on gaining its own ends,
unchecked by any sense of duty, untouched by any appeal to high or noble
motives.  What he desired he must have, and all that stood in his way
must be swept aside: he would spare no one who thwarted him; nothing
weighed in the balance against the gratification of his own whims and
fancies.

You will remember that he was not the eldest son of Henry VII.  His
brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, had died in 1501, a few months after he
had married Katherine, the Infanta of Spain, and chiefly because the
idea was at first strongly opposed, Henry made up his mind to marry his
widowed sister-in-law.  When he came to the throne, he at once carried
out his will in this matter, and brushed aside all the objections that
were raised on account of the close relationship existing between the
two.  The marriage took place at Greenwich, and the double coronation
followed at Westminster on Midsummer Day in the year 1509, "amid all the
rejoicings in the world."  Katherine made a beautiful queen, dressed in
white with cloth of gold, her long hair hanging down to her feet, and
little dreamt any of those who cheered her on her way of all that was to
spring out of that marriage, for Henry seemed to be the most devoted of
husbands.  In 1511 their son was born, and had such an elaborate
christening that he took a cold from which he never recovered.  "His
soul returned to among the Holy Innocents of God," says a Westminster
manuscript, and we are told how "the queen made much lamentation, but by
the king’s persuasion she was at last comforted."  The baby prince was
certainly buried in the Abbey, though exactly where is unknown. But his
death, unimportant as it must have seemed at the moment to those who
took part in the funeral, had in reality a deep significance.  Henry was
incapable of loving any one for long, and as he began to grow weary of
Katherine, he made it a grievance that her other child was a daughter
and not a son. Furthermore, he argued to himself that he had done wrong
in marrying his brother’s widow, so that the death of his son was the
sign of God’s wrath, and then he began to devise how he could dissolve
his marriage with her, to wed instead her fascinating maid of honour,
Anne Boleyn.  Only the Pope could grant him the divorce that he desired,
and accordingly Henry sent his all-powerful favourite, Wolsey, to Rome
to get this consent.  But the Pope, much as he feared Henry, feared the
Emperor Charles V., the nephew of Queen Katherine, much more, and
Wolsey, on his side, was anxious not to offend the Pope, as his ambition
was to succeed him, so it all ended in his going back to Henry without
having the desired permission.  Henry was furious, and Wolsey,
disgraced, died broken-hearted. The king’s next step was to defy the
Pope, and to send round to all the ministers in Europe, asking them
whether in their opinion his marriage with Katherine had been a legal
one.  But their answer in almost every case was the opposite answer to
what Henry had determined on, and their opposition only increased his
determination, till at last, urged thereto by Thomas Cromwell, Wolsey’s
successor in his favour, he took the bold step of declaring that he
himself was the head of the Church in England, the defender of the
faith, and that therefore the Pope had no power to forbid the divorce.
He was clever enough to know that for many a long day the independent
spirit of the English nation had rebelled against the power of the Pope
in the land; that the revival of learning had set men thinking for
themselves; that the teaching of Luther and the other reformers had
prepared the way for a great change in England, and that he could count
on his Parliament to support him in declaring himself supreme head of
the Church in this land.  Thus whilst pretending to cleanse and purify
the Church, and reform the many errors which had crept in, Henry really
was true to his general policy of sweeping out of the way any obstacle
to his wishes.  The Pope had opposed him, so from henceforward he would
deprive the Pope of all authority in England.  He divorced Katherine,
and married Anne Boleyn, while those few men who refused to go against
their conscience by declaring the king to be in the right on this
question of his marriage, when they felt him to be in the wrong, did so
at the cost of their lives.

But the king had not yet finished with the Pope; urged thereto by
Cromwell, who earned for himself the name "The Hammer of the Monks," he
proceeded to attack all the monasteries and religious houses in England,
and there were many hundreds of them, which were under the immediate
jurisdiction of Rome.  To these religious houses England owed no small
debt of gratitude: the monks had been teachers, scholars, chroniclers,
architects, carvers, painters, translators, and illuminators; they had
nursed the sick, they had relieved the needy; they had been the great
employers of labour, the tillers of the soil, and, untouched by the ebb
and flow of the tide outside, they had gone quietly on with their daily
round of work and prayer, keeping their lights ever burning before the
altar to signify that their house was "always watchynge to God."  But,
as they became rich and powerful, they fell away from their high ideals;
the threefold vow of poverty, obedience, and purity ceased to sanctify
their lives; luxury took the place of plain, frugal living; the monks no
longer laboured with their own hands, but kept great retinues of
servants, and the money that should have been spent for the glory of God
and the church was squandered in extravagant living.  The abbots were
under no control save that of Rome, and Rome was far away, so that there
was no power from outside to correct, to reform, and to purify.
Gradually, too, the monasteries had lost their hold over the people;
resting on their past, they made no effort to keep pace with the
present; they bitterly opposed any education save that which they held
in their own hands; they resented progress and enlightenment; they were
no longer centres of light and learning; their fire had burnt out,
quenched by covetousness, by wrong-doing and by luxurious living.

Cromwell saw in them an opportunity which Henry was all too ready to
grasp.  A Commission was formed to visit and report on the universities
and all religious houses; and when the visitors had finished their work,
which they had done carefully and thoroughly, they laid their verdict
before the House of Commons in the famous Black Book, which was
destroyed some years later by order of Queen Mary.  Much of what it
contained is therefore lost to us, but as the Commons, who sat,
remember, in the Chapter-Room at Westminster, heard clause after clause
read out, which told, with a few honourable exceptions, a terrible story
against the monasteries, they could not restrain themselves, and over
and over again shouts of "Down with the monks" rang through the vaulted
building.  Generally speaking, the largest of the monasteries had come
well out of the inquiry, and Parliament therefore began by only
dissolving the smaller houses, at the same time ordering that the lands
and incomes of these latter should be handed over to the king, as head
of the Church, to be spent in the "high and true interests of religion."
Certainly the Commons had none but high motives in passing this Act, and
never dreamt of a general dissolution, or the appropriation of all that
immense wealth for anything but religious or educational purposes.  They
had not realised Henry’s greed, "which no religion could moderate, or
the force of his will, against which nothing, however sacred, seemed
able to stand."

The monks at Westminster naturally heard very quickly all the
particulars of the deliberations which had taken place inside the
Chapter-Room.  How they must have lingered about the cloisters that day;
how eagerly and excitedly must they have talked during those hours when
talking was allowed, wondering in what way all these things would end;
how they must have speculated as to their own future, and that of the
few other large monasteries in which the Commissioners had declared that
"thanks be to God, religion had been right well kept and observed."
They had not long to wait.

A general order issued shortly afterwards, ordering the removal of all
shrines, images, and relics, made it clear that Henry and his ministers
had other ideas beyond the reformation of religious houses; and the
monks, who gauged the character of the king, hastily moved the body of
St. Edward to some sacred spot, that, at least, this holy possession of
the Abbey might not be lost to it.  They managed, too, to hide some of
the treasures which beautified Edward’s shrine, but much of the gold and
many of the jewels became the property of the king.  Altogether nearly
800 monasteries fell into the hands of Henry, and without any
compunction he appropriated their lands and their wealth, giving away to
his favourites of the moment what he did not desire to keep for himself.
Inside the religious houses the greatest excitement prevailed, and much
diversity of opinion; for some there were among the abbots and monks who
were prepared to lose their lives rather than willingly surrender
themselves to the king’s will, while others, more the children of this
world than the children of light, deemed that by submission could they
best hope to save something in this overwhelming deluge.

At Westminster, under Abbot Benson, the monks chose a prudent course,
the abbot being one, as an old writer severely remarks, "whose
conscience was not likely to stand in his way on any occasion," and in
the January of 1540 the Abbey with all its wealth was voluntarily handed
over to the king.

Partly perhaps on account of this absolute submission, but much more
because even Henry had still reverence for a place which was peculiarly
royal in all its associations, Westminster was in some degree saved.
The old order indeed was destined to pass away; its wealth was to be a
thing of the past, save for the wealth of beauty in sculptured stone
which could not easily be taken from it, and which still remained
unrivalled even when all the gold and jewels and plate excepting a
silver pot, two gilt cups, three hearse clothes, twelve cushions and
some other clothes, had been carried away to satisfy greedy courtiers,
"leaving the place very bare."

But Henry converted the building into a cathedral, giving it a bishop, a
dean, prebendaries, minor canons, all these offices with the exception
of the Bishopric being filled by the monks belonging to the
establishment. The Bishop, Thirleby, was ordered to make the abbot’s
house his palace; Abbot Benson, now Dean, took up his residence in
humble quarters, and all the old glory of the monastery departed for
ever, while Henry was quite £60,000 a year richer in our money. Those of
the monks for whom no place could be found under the new system were
pensioned off, and many of the buildings, such as the refectory and the
smaller dormitory, no longer needed for the cowled figures who for so
many generations had used them, were pulled down or put to fresh uses.

Nor was the monastery the only part of Westminster which fell from its
greatness.  Earlier in the reign of Henry a fire had destroyed much of
the old Palace, and the king, who cared but little for it, set his heart
on York House close by, at Whitehall, once the London house of the
Bishops of York, afterwards the residence of Wolsey.

The Cardinal lived in state; indeed Westminster was but a humble
dwelling compared to this magnificent palace, and on his disgrace, Henry
took possession of it. For more than a hundred and fifty years it was
the royal palace, with fine courts, halls and chambers, its own chapel
and offices, its bowling-green, tent yard, cock-pit, and tennis courts,
and meanwhile the gabled, sculptured Westminster Palace, the home of
Saxon, Norman, and Plantagenet kings, fell to pieces.  For us, both are
now but phantom palaces, with hardly a trace of either remaining to
recall the glories of the past.

But in the story of the Abbey, this change from Westminster to Whitehall
had more than a passing effect; from henceforth the old intimate
association between the Palace and Abbey ceased to exist, and Henry thus
broke one more link with the traditions of his ancestors.  Not even the
chapel of his father, now no longer called the Lady Chapel, but instead
St. Saviour’s Chapel, had any attractions for one in whose nature
reverent affection for old associations was entirely absent, and at his
own desire, Henry was buried at Windsor, by his "true and loving wife,
Jane Seymour," who had kept in his good graces by giving him a son, and
then dying before he had time to grow weary of her.  Of all his wives,
only the plain and placid Anne of Cleves was buried in the Abbey, on the
south side of the Altar, and "she had but half a monument," says Fuller,
though her funeral was an elaborate one, by order of Mary, who was then
queen.

King Edward VI., just ten years old, succeeded his father; and the
members of his council, especially his uncle, the Duke of Somerset,
strongly in favour of the Reformed Church, were determined that the Pope
should not win back any of his old authority.  In this, all the thinking
people were of their opinion, but some of the poor people, who had
formerly received much in charity from the monks, were very bitter, and
there was more than one rebellion in favour of the monasteries. However,
these were put down, and the reformers went on with their work.  Edward
was crowned as Head of the Church in England, and, for the first time, a
Bible, translated into the English tongue, was set in his hands at the
coronation service.  For only within the last ten years had the Bible
been read to the people in a language they could understand, and you
will remember how first Wycliffe, and then Tyndale, had failed in their
attempts to place this book in the hands of all, that all might read and
learn of God’s teachings, by the light of the understanding which God
had given them.  Two years after the coronation a Prayer-Book was
published, also in English, not exactly the same Prayer-Book as we use
now, for as time went on the spirit of the people changed in favour of a
still simpler service than that which found favour with the early
reformers in England, and in the reign of Charles II. a revised
Prayer-Book was issued, as in the reign of James I. our present
translation of the Bible was authorised.  But it was in Edward’s reign
that an English Bible and Prayer-Book first found their way into the
Abbey.

The plan of having a Bishop at Westminster does not seem to have
succeeded.  Thirleby was removed to Norwich, and Richard Cox became the
Dean.  But he remained in the simple quarters, near the Little Cloister,
which had been assigned to Dean Boston, and the Abbot’s house passed
into the possession of a layman for the time being.  Protector Somerset
had certainly no feeling of veneration for the grand old pile of
buildings.  Not only did he put the Abbey under the Bishop of London,
and insist on cart-loads of stone, which once had formed part of the
solid monastery buildings, being used for his own palace, Somerset
House, but of the few lands which still remained to the Abbey, he took
some and made them over to St. Paul’s, from time immemorial the rival of
Westminster. You have often heard the saying "robbing Peter to pay
Paul;" now you know its origin.  And as if to cut off every possible
association with the past, the House of Commons moved from the Chapter
House to St. Stephen’s Chapel, part of the old Westminster Palace, and
there met until the great fire in 1834, after which the present Houses
of Parliament were built.

But with the death of Edward, who had reigned seven years, and the
defeat of the Protestant party, who had tried to set Lady Jane Grey on
the throne, there came a flicker of prosperity to the Abbey, a dim
reflection, as it were, of its bygone greatness.  For Queen Mary was a
devout Roman Catholic, and so soon as it lay in her power, she dissolved
the chapter or cathedral body, restored the monastery, and gave the post
of Abbot to Fakenham, who was "a person of learning, good-natured, and
very charitable to the poor."

Edward was buried at Westminster, close to his grandfather, Henry VII.,
and underneath the altar of Torrigiano, of which I have already told
you, so that the last Roman Catholic and the first really Protestant
king of England lay side by side, under the same exquisite roof, a
striking commentary on the fact that the Reformation was not a complete
wrench with the past, but a transition from old to new according to the
unchangeable law of progress.

Mary was crowned on October 10, and on the coronation morning she
journeyed in the royal barge from Whitehall to the private waterstairs
of old Westminster Palace, and from thence went into the Parliament
chamber, where she robed.  Blue cloth covered the ground all the way
from Westminster Hall to the choir in the Abbey, but here the altar
blazed with cloth of gold, and rich covers hung all around, while the
floor was strewn with fresh rushes, a quaint contrast to everything
else.  The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London
were already in the Tower as prisoners, so it was Gardiner, Bishop of
Winchester, who met the queen and performed the service, at which there
was much dismay among the people, for they said it had ever boded ill
for England when the Archbishop did not crown the sovereign.  The old
coronation service with its full ceremonial was used, and the queen was
very devout, kneeling long in silent prayer.

Four days later, the queen again rode to the Abbey, this time to open
her Parliament.  But the occasion did not pass by without some
disturbances, for some who refused to kneel while the Mass was being
celebrated were turned out by force.

The restoration of her religion was the object dearer than all others to
Mary’s heart, and her unfaltering belief that in so doing she was
working the will of God, added to her passionate enthusiasm for her
faith, are the only excuses we can plead for her, when we shudder at the
cruel persecutions which made England a land of terror during the next
few years.  Here it is only necessary to say that, as always,
persecution purified and strengthened the very cause it was destined to
destroy, and Mary, during her five years’ reign, made her people hate
her so bitterly, that nothing but her death prevented a general
rebellion.

She died a wretched, lonely woman, conscious of her utter failure.

"My oppressed heart is pierced by many wounds," she said bitterly at the
last.

Her funeral took place with much state, but the only real mourners were
the priests and monks, who feared for their own fate.  Mary had
entreated that she might not be buried in royal array.  Her crown had
brought her no happiness, she said, and she did not wish to be
encumbered by it now.  Behind her coffin rode her ladies, with black
trains so long that they swept the ground.  Mass was said before the
High Altar for the last time, while Fakenham, the last Abbot of
Westminster, as he himself well knew, preached a great sermon on the
dead queen, and, in a voice trembling with deep feeling, told how she
was too good for earth, a veritable angel, who had found the realm
poisoned with heresy, and had purged it.

But his words found no echo in the heart of those around, and the
funeral ended in a scene of disorder, for the people had no respect for
the dead, and plucked down all the hangings and draperies, while the
Archbishop of York, "in the midst of the hurly-burly, pronounced that a
collation was prepared," whereupon the lords, ladies, and knights, with
the bishops and Abbot Fakenham, hurried to another part of the building
for dinner.

And no monument was erected to the memory of her who was the last queen
of the old faith to be buried in the Abbey.



                              *CHAPTER XI*

                     *IN THE CHAPEL OF HENRY VII.*


On November 17, 1558, Mary died, and that very day Parliament met in old
Westminster Palace "to proclaim without further halt of time the Lady
Elizabeth as queen of this realm."  Shouts of "God save Queen Elizabeth"
resounded through the walls, and outside the cry "Long live our Queen
Elizabeth" was taken up with heartfelt intensity by the people, who
believed, and not in vain, that with her their deliverance had come.
She had suffered, they had suffered, both in the same great cause, and
now together they were standing in the dawn of a day which promised to
be fair and radiant.  The Spanish influence, which they hated
passionately, as Englishmen have ever been wont to hate foreign
interference, had received its death-blow, for here was a queen, "born
mere English, here among us, and therefore most natural to us," who
understood them, and whom they could freely trust.  No wonder that there
were no signs of mourning for the dead queen, only irrepressible joy and
relief at the accession of the new sovereign they were prepared to love
so loyally.  But no wonder either that the echoes of the cheers which
reached the Abbey fell on some hearts which could not respond to them.
To Fakenham, with his handful of monks, those shouts of joy were as a
death-knell, though the Abbot himself may have had some hopes that
Elizabeth would remember how he had pleaded with Mary for her freedom.

The coronation festivities, which began January 15, put London in a
delirium of rejoicings, and though the royal exchequer was so low that
there was no money available for costly preparations, the people more
than compensated for this by the pageants and decorations they organised
out of the fulness of their hearts.  "The queen," says an officer who
followed the procession, "as she entered the city was received with
prayers, welcomings, cries and tender words, with all those signs which
argue the earnest love of subjects towards their sovereign. She, by
holding up her hands and glad countenance to such as stood afar off, and
most tender language to those that stood near, showed herself no less
thankful to receive the people’s goodwill than they to offer it, and to
such as bade ’God save her Grace,’ she said in return, ’God save you
all,’ so that the people were wonderfully transported at the loving
answers and gestures of the queen."

Only one bishop could be found to read the coronation service, as those
few Protestants who had escaped with their lives across the seas had not
yet returned from their exile, and the Roman Catholics refused to
assist, though no alterations were introduced into the service,
excepting that the Litany, the Gospel, and the Epistle were ordered to
be read in English.  This bishop, with the singers, met the queen at
Westminster Hall on the following day, a Sunday, and to the fine old
hymn, "Hail, Festal Day," the procession wended its way into the Abbey,
and the solemn ceremony took place.

Nor did Elizabeth at first make any changes in the Abbey services.  It
was her desire, she declared at the opening of her Parliament ten days
later, "to unite the people of the realm in one uniform order," and
though she was determined that the English Church should be utterly
severed from Roman control, and that the Bible should be an open book,
she understood the bulk of her people well enough to know that, as
Bishop Creighton has so clearly put it, "what they wished for was a
national church, independent of Rome, with simple services, not too
unlike those to which they had been accustomed."  So, at the state
service in the Abbey on this occasion, the Mass was celebrated with the
usual ritual, though the sermon was preached by a certain Doctor Cox,
who was a vigorous Protestant.

Elizabeth’s first Parliament gave over to her all the religious houses
revived by her sister, and she decided to once more make Westminster a
Cathedral church, though without a bishopric.  Possibly if Fakenham had
been a more time-serving man, he might have managed to stay on under the
new regime as Dean, but he was uncompromisingly true to his principles;
he refused to acknowledge any one but the Pope as head of the Church,
and in the House of Lords he made a strong speech against the English
Prayer-Book.  His reign at Westminster had been a short one, but he had
not failed in his duty towards the precious trust committed to his care.
The Confessor’s Chapel, shrine of the English saint, was still the
greatest treasure of the Abbey, and to this he had caused the body of
the king, hidden, you will remember, by the monks at the first threat of
dissolution, to be carried back "with the most goodly singing and
chanting ever heard," after he had repaired the shrine itself to the
best of his ability, assisted by Queen Mary, who had sent him some
jewels.  Moreover, in Parliament he successfully defended the right of
sanctuary, so that this remained for some time longer at least an Abbey
privilege, and altogether it is pleasant to remember this last Abbot as
one who was true to the light as he saw it, a kindly, moderate, honest
man, a firm friend, a fair enemy, a fine solitary figure standing out
among his fellows.  It is said that when in 1560 the bill was passed in
Parliament which decided the fate of Westminster and the other remaining
monasteries, a messenger who came to bring the news to Abbot Fakenham
found him busy planting young elms in the Dean’s yard.

"Cease thy labours, my lord Abbot," he said.  "This planting of trees
will avail thee nothing now."

But the old Abbot was not so mean-spirited.

"I verily believe," he made answer, "that so long as this church
endureth, it shall be kept for a seat of learning."

And he went on contentedly with his work.

He lived for twenty-five years after he left the Abbey, under a certain
amount of restraints, and great efforts were made to induce him to
change his faith. But he never wavered, and so far as possible withdrew
from all controversy, spending his time and his substance among the
poor.  "Like an axil tree, he stood firm and fixed in his own
judgments," says Fuller, "while the times, like the wheels, turned
backwards and forwards round him."

Westminster stood aloof from the keen religious controversies which
raged around, and quietly stepped into its new position.  It was now
neither a monastery nor a cathedral, but a "collegiate church," as it is
to-day, with its Dean and Chapter and its school.  Very little, if
anything, happened to disturb the peace of the Abbey under the rule of
its three excellent Deans appointed by Elizabeth—Bill, Goodman, and
Andrewes; the only sign of the times which deserves noticing being that
more and more it became the custom to bury distinguished people not of
royal blood within these honoured walls.  Otherwise we may well quote
the words of Widmore, who in summing up this epoch in Westminster
history, concludes—"It may here be remarked that though misfortunes and
disturbances in a place give opportunity to an historian to make
observations and show his eloquence, while they also entertain the
reader, yet peace and quietness are good proofs both of the happiness of
the times and the discretion of those who govern."

On the 24th of March 1603, Elizabeth died after a reign of forty-four
years, during which she had never lost her hold over the hearts and
minds of her people. As a woman she had her failings and weaknesses, but
as a queen she had done right well for England, and "round her, with all
her faults, the England we know grew into the consciousness of its
destiny....  She saw what England might become, and nursed it into the
knowledge of its power."

The outburst of grief at her death was her people’s acknowledgment of
the debt they owed her.  They had trusted her, and not in vain; she had
understood them, had served them, and had loved them.  On the day of her
burying at Westminster "the city was surcharged with multitudes of all
sorts, in the streets, houses, windows, leads, and gutters, and when
they beheld her statue lying on the coffin, set forth in royal robes,
having a crown upon the head thereof, a ball and sceptre in either hand,
there was such a general sighing, weeping, and groaning as the like hath
not been seen or known in the memory of man, neither doth any history
mention any people, time, or state to make the like lamentation for the
death of their sovereign."

Nor did her memory fade away with her life, for her tomb, which you will
find in the north aisle of Henry VII.’s Chapel, became familiar to her
people throughout the length and breadth of the land, "a lovely draught
of it being pictured in the London and country churches."

The monument raised to her memory by James I. is a fine one of its kind,
and the sculptor has given us an impression of her strength and power as
she lies sleeping there in royal state, guarded by lions, though I think
we cannot help missing the exquisite little figures of saints and angels
banished in deference to the increasingly severe views of the English
Churchmen. Here is the translation of the Latin inscription round the
monument, which certainly described, and in no way exaggerated, the
feelings of the nation towards her:—

"To the eternal memory of Elizabeth, Queen of England, France, and
Ireland, Daughter of Henry VIII., Grand-daughter of Henry VII.,
Great-Grand-Daughter of Edward IV.  Mother of her Country.  A Nursing
Mother of religion and all liberal Sciences, skilled in many languages,
adorned with excellent adornments both of body and mind, and excellent
for princely virtues beyond her sex.  Religion to its primitive purity
restored; peace settled; Money restored to its just value; Domestic
Rebellions quelled; France relieved when involved with internal
divisions; The Netherlands supported, the Spanish Armada vanquished;
Ireland, almost lost by rebels, eased by routing the Spaniards; the
Revenues of both Universities much enlarged; and lastly, all England
enriched.  Elizabeth, during forty-five years, a very prudent Governor,
a victorious and triumphant Queen, most pious and most happy, at her
calm death in her seventieth year, left her remains to be placed in this
Church which she preserved, until the hour of her Resurrection in
Christ."

In arranging for this lengthy epitaph, James could not fail to be
reminded that Queen Mary, who lay in the same tomb as Elizabeth, was
passed over in cold silence, so he added a simple sentence pathetic in
its restraint, almost an appeal on behalf of the one whose life had been
such a failure.

"Here rest we two sisters Elizabeth and Mary, fellows both in throne and
grave, in the hope of one resurrection."

[Illustration: TOMB OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.]

In life everything had tended to separate them, but in death they lay
together at peace.

James erected another monument in this chapel, on the southern side, and
this was to the memory of his mother, the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots.
She had been buried at Peterborough, but her son, when he came into the
inheritance which was his, through her, very rightly caused her to be
buried among the kings and queens of England.  Here again death
reconciled two implacable foes, so that Mary Queen of Scots lies
opposite to Elizabeth in this chapel of the Tudors. The marble figure,
with its sweet, finely-cut face and its graceful draperies and its
delicate lacework, is full of charm, and makes familiar to us one whose
fascinating beauty was her own undoing.

And now we come to a new phase in the history of the Abbey; for though
after the days of Queen Elizabeth several kings and queens of England
were buried within its walls, to none of them was a monument raised, not
so much even as an inscription was cut on the stones over their graves.
With the Stuarts began a new race of kings, and under their rule there
grew up a new set of relations between king and subjects.  They preached
the doctrine of the divine right of kings, declaring themselves to be
above any laws which their people might desire to make through
Parliament, so the battle had to be fought out between king and
Parliament, a battle so fierce that it brought once more civil war to
England, cost Charles the First his life, and caused James II. to flee
to foreign lands.  But from that struggle with its many errors there at
last developed

    "That sober freedom out of which there springs
    Our loyal passion for our temperate kings,"

which holds together to-day the throne and the nation as never before in
our island story.

So you will see how, as the people became more and more the ruling force
in England, it was the representatives of the people—statesmen,
soldiers, sailors, writers, musicians, travellers, thinkers,
discoverers, and benefactors—who stepped into the foremost places, and
who were thought worthy of a resting-place among the great kings of old
in the Abbey, while, with a few exceptions, the sovereigns of England
were buried at Windsor, now the most important of all the royal palaces.

It is in Henry VII.’s Chapel that James I. himself was buried in the
founder’s tomb, and his wife Anne of Denmark lay close to him.  Near at
hand you will see a beautiful little monument of a baby in a cradle,
which marks the grave of Princess Sophia, a baby daughter of James I.
The king gave orders at her death that she should be buried "as cheaply
as possible, without any solemnity," but in spite of this, and although
she was only two days old, a great number of lords, ladies, and officers
of state attended, followed the little coffin, which was brought up on a
black draped barge from Greenwich, and which was met at the Abbey by the
heralds, the dean and prebends, with the choir, while an antiphon was
sung to the organ.  The royal sculptor, Nicholas Pourtian, was allowed
the sum of one hundred and forty pounds for her monument, and he must
have been a great lover of children or he could not have thought out
anything so charming as this yellow-tinted, lace-covered cradle with its
tiny baby occupant.

Nor is the inscription less pretty in idea than the monument, for it
tells us how Sophia, "Royal Rosebud, snatched away from her parents,
James, King of Great Britain, Ireland and France, and Queen Anne, that
she might flourish again in the Rosary of Christ, was placed here."

Next to her is her sister Mary who lived to be two, and then died of
fever, saying many times over in her wanderings these same words, "I go,
I go, away I go."  Hers too is a very natural little figure, in spite of
the stiff straight clothes and the quaint cap; and the carver has put a
great deal of life into the weeping cherubs, to whom surely not the most
rigid Puritan could have objected.  In this same corner were laid, some
years later, the bones found by some workmen under the stairs at the
Tower of London, supposed to be those of the little princes who had been
murdered there, so that at last King Edward the Fifth and his brother
were honourably buried near their more fortunate sister Elizabeth of
York.

The tomb of Mary Queen of Scots is really a Stuart vault, and it might
almost be called the vault of Royal Children, for more than thirty are
buried under it. Here, without any monument, but an inscription on the
floor, lies Henry, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of James, who gave
such high promise both of character and ability, that he had won the
hearts of the people, and more especially of the Puritans, in a
remarkable degree. James, though holding very unsatisfactory views as to
the rights and duties of a king, had nevertheless brought up his son
wisely and had educated him most carefully. Before he was six he had
been instructed "how to behave towards God, how to behave when he should
come to be king, and how to behave in all those matters which were right
or wrong according as they were used;" and when he was only nine he
wrote in Latin to his father giving an account of the books he had been
reading, which included Cicero’s Epistles.

According to the law of Scotland, the heir to the throne was not allowed
to be brought up by his parents, but was sent to Stirling Castle, to be
under the care of the Earl of Mar, who held the right to be the
hereditary guardian, and this accounts for the many letters which passed
between the little prince and the king and queen.  When Elizabeth died
and James became king of Great Britain, he had to go hastily to London,
but about a year later he sent for the queen to come "with the bairns to
Windsor, where he prayed God they should all have a blyth meeting."  As
they arrived there during the festival of St. George, Prince Henry was
at once made a Knight of the Garter, and his "princely carriage and his
learned behaviour" on that occasion greatly impressed every one who saw
him.  The coronation of James was fixed for St. James’s Day, but because
of the plague raging in London, all the fair pageants and the public
rejoicings were hastily countermanded, so that the ceremony was almost a
private one, even the usual procession through the city being left out.
Great was the disappointment of the Londoners, though they were promised
that so soon as the plague had disappeared the king, with the queen and
their children, would visit the city with all the state of a coronation
procession.

One part of this coronation service was of special interest; and to many
people it meant the fulfilment of an old prophecy. For more than eight
hundred years before these words had been roughly carved on the sacred
stone of Scone—

    If Fates go right, where’er this stone is found
    The Scots shall monarchs of that realm be crowned.

And now, seated on the Coronation Chair which held that stone, James VI.
of Scotland was crowned as James I. of England.

Prince Henry was still brought up away from home, first in company with
his sister, the merry and witty little Princess Elizabeth, who
afterwards married the Elector Palatine.  Brother and sister were
devoted to each other: both were full of the highest spirits, ready for
any adventure; both loved riding and games, and would "mount horses of
prodigious mettle;" and it was a great grief to them when they were
parted, though, woman-like, Elizabeth fretted the longer.  Prince Henry
was more of a philosopher.

"That you are displeased to be left in solitude I can well believe," he
wrote to her; "you women and damsels are sociable creatures.  But you
know those who love each other best cannot always be glued together."

Meanwhile Henry took up his residence at Hampton Court.  The Gunpowder
Plot left a deep impression on him, for had it succeeded he would have
lost his life, and he became still more serious and thoughtful, making
friends only with those who could teach him something about the many
things in which he took an interest, ships, guns, fortifications, books,
foreign lands, politics and so on.  For Sir Walter Raleigh, that
adventurous sailor and treasure-hunter, now a prisoner in the Tower, he
had the greatest affection, and spent many hours walking up and down the
terrace with him talking of ships and the sea, to the great delight of
the old man, who found him an enthusiastic and intelligent companion and
at one with him in his opinion that a strong navy meant peace for
England.  In vain Henry pleaded with his father to set free this
prisoner who had committed no crime save that of offending Spain.  But
James and his son were of very different natures, and James was always
doggedly obstinate.  "No one but the King would shut up such a bird in a
cage," said the boy sadly.

[Illustration: INTERIOR LOOKING EAST.]

In 1610 he was created Prince of Wales and there were great festivities
in the White Chamber of Westminster Palace, as there, in the presence of
the Lords and Commons, he knelt before the king, wearing a robe of
purple velvet, to receive the crown of Llewellyn.  Once again he won all
hearts, and the members of Parliament congratulated themselves that so
worthy a prince was heir to the throne.  He became more and more the
idol of the people, and indeed rarely if ever since the days of Edward,
the Black Prince, had a king’s son been so full of promise.  But to the
utter grief of the nation he died two years later, after a short
illness.

"Are you pleased to submit yourself to the will of God?" asked the
Archbishop, when all hope was given up.

"With all my heart," the boy answered simply.

"I had written him a treatise on the ’Art of War by Sea,’" said Raleigh,
when the sad news reached him. "But God hath spared me the labour of
finishing it.  I leave him therefore in the hands of God."

When the long funeral procession passed through the streets "there was a
great outcry among all people," and it was to the sounds of weeping and
wailing that the boy-prince, who had won so much love and respect, was
carried to Westminster Abbey.  There, close to him, was laid more than
forty years later, his dearest sister, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, who,
after a sadly adventurous life, spent her last few years peacefully in
London, cared for and watched over by Lord Craven, whose devotion to her
had been lifelong, as unchanging as it was chivalrous.

Another brother and sister are buried here, Anne, the little daughter of
Charles I., and Prince Henry, his third son.  Anne died before all those
troubles began, which saddened the childhood of her brothers and
sisters, and made them prisoners in the hands of their father’s enemies,
as she was only four when she fell into a fast consumption.

"I am not able," she said wearily, the night she died, "to say my long
prayer, but I will say my short one. ’Lighten mine eyes, O Lord, lest I
sleep in death.’"

Little Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, was extraordinarily like his uncle
Henry in every way, old for his age, clever, thoughtful, "with a sweet
method of talking, and a judgment much beyond his years."  He was taken
from his father almost before he knew him, and was, with his sister,
also a Princess Elizabeth, kept practically a prisoner in London by the
Puritan party. But he was not unkindly treated, for so engaging was he
both in conversation and in manners, that many of the Puritans thought
he would make a good ruler for England if only he were strictly brought
up, and kept away from the influence of his mother or the court.

When the sentence of death was passed on King Charles, he asked to see
the two of his children who were in London, and after some delay the
request was granted.  Awe-struck, the little couple came into his
presence, and the king seems to have grasped what was likely to happen.
He lifted the Duke of Gloucester on to his knee.  "Sweetheart," he said,
"they will cut off thy father’s head, and mark, child, perhaps they will
make thee a king.  But you must not be a king while your brothers
Charles and James be living."

"I will be torn in pieces first," answered the white-faced child, with a
determination which made so great an impression on Charles, that even at
that sad moment he rejoiced exceedingly; while the little Duke, who up
till now had rarely seen his father, could carry away as a last memory
the picture of one whose courage was highest when the need for it was
greatest, and who, if he had faced life weakly, met death bravely.

With his sister he was taken to Carisbrooke Castle, but here his
existence was very sad, for Princess Elizabeth, like her sister Anne,
fell into a consumption, and not being properly cared for, she died.  So
lonely was he now, that those who had the charge of him, still nursing
the idea that one day he might become king, sent him abroad to Leyden,
with a tutor, and here he won for himself the pleasant reputation of
being "a most complete gentleman and rarely accomplished."

With the Restoration Henry gladly returned to England, and at once
begged his brother to find him some work to do, as "he could not bear an
idle life."  So he was made Lord Treasurer.  He proved himself to be a
good man of business, while in his leisure hours he gathered round him
men of letters and learning, and soon became as popular in London as he
had been in Leyden.  Then a sudden attack of smallpox killed him, and
once again a funeral procession wended its way to Westminster amid signs
of very real sorrow.  For his fair life had won him many friends and
never an enemy.

Of Prince Rupert, who was buried in this vault, that gallant soldier in
the Royalist cause, more in another chapter, and this one shall end with
a few words about the luckless "Lady Arabella Stuart."  She was a cousin
to James I., as her father’s brother was the Earl of Darnley who had
married Mary Queen of Scots; but besides this she was of royal birth,
and her grandmother, the Countess of Lennox, whose tomb you will find
close by, claimed, as you will see inscribed thereon, to have "to her
great-grandfather Edward IV., to her grandfather Henry VII., to her
uncle Henry VIII., to her grandchild James VI. and I."  Arabella’s
father had committed the unpardonable offence of marrying without Queen
Elizabeth’s permission Elizabeth Cavendish, the daughter of the
celebrated Bess of Hardwick, and for so doing the young couple were
promptly sent to the Tower, in company with both the mothers-in-law, one
of whom, the Countess of Lennox, had already twice been imprisoned for
matters of love—an early attachment of her own to Thomas Howard, and the
marriage of her elder son to Mary Queen of Scots.  The young Earl of
Lennox died very soon after his marriage, and Elizabeth relented so far
as to allow yearly £400 a year to his widow and £200 to his little
daughter Arabella.

When she was twelve, Arabella was sent for by the queen to London, and
being very handsome as well as clever, she soon began to attract
attention.  The Roman Catholic party, always on the look-out for a
weapon to use against the crown, turned their attentions to her, and her
position became a dangerous one, though she herself was entirely loyal
and very prudent.  The great Lord Burleigh, however, was always her good
friend, and when James came to the throne, he gave him a wise hint to
"deal tenderly with this high-spirited and fascinating young lady."
James took his advice, and Arabella lived at his court, nominally as the
governess of the Princess Elizabeth, but actually as if she herself had
been a daughter.  She was a favourite with all, especially with Henry
Prince of Wales, for she was highly educated and a most delightful
companion.  But though she had many lovers, she would look at none of
them, declaring "she had no mind for marriage."  However, unfortunately
for her, she lost her heart to William Seymour, whom she married in
spite of the disapproval of James. And then began her troubles, for
Seymour was utterly unworthy of her, and had only married her to advance
his own position.  When he was put into the Tower, and his wife was kept
as a prisoner at Lambeth, his only idea was to make good his own escape,
leaving Arabella to her fate; whilst she, still believing in him, risked
everything to set him free.  It was only when she found that he had fled
to Ostend without her that the full force of her sorrows overwhelmed
her.

She had hardly a friend, for even Prince Henry seems to have sided for
once with his father, and greatest of all was the bitterness of
realising that her husband cared nothing for her.  He did not even write
to her, lest in so doing he might endanger his own safety.

She was sent to the Tower, where first her health, then her mind gave
way, and she became as a little child, singing nursery songs, prattling
of childish things. Death was a merciful release.  Secretly, by dead of
night, she was taken from the Tower to the Abbey on a barge, and buried
without any ceremony in the vault under the tomb of her aunt.  She had
often described herself as the "most sorrowful creature living," and,
indeed, I think that under this tomb in Henry VII.’s chapel lie three
royal women of the Stuart race whose lives were all the saddest
tragedies, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and the Lady
Arabella.  "God grant them all a good ending," as the old chroniclers
were wont to say.  At least now, after life’s fitful fever, they sleep
well in the calm of the old Abbey.



                             *CHAPTER XII*

                  *FROM THE STUARTS TO OUR OWN TIMES*


When James I. came to the throne, Lancelot Andrewes was Dean of
Westminster, and he devoted himself to the care of the school, which,
under Elizabeth’s endowments, was now prospering greatly.  He had this
excellent reputation, "that all the places where he had preferment were
better for it," and it is certain that either he must have been a
remarkable master or the Westminster boys must have been models of their
kind, for this is how Hacket, once his pupil, rapturously describes
him:—

"Who could come near the shrine of such a saint and not offer up a few
pæans of glory on it?  Or how durst I omit it?  For he it was that first
planted me in my tender studies and watered them continually with his
bounty....  He did often supply the place of head-master and usher for
the space of an whole week together, and gave us not an hour of
loitering time from morning till night.  He never walked to Chiswick for
his recreation without a brace of this young fry, and in that wayfaring
leisure had a singular dexterity to fill those narrow vessels with a
funnel.  And what was the greatest burden of his toil, sometimes twice
in the week, sometimes oftener, he sent for the uppermost scholars to
his lodgings at night and kept them with him from eight to eleven,
unfolding to them the best rudiments of the Greek tongue and the
elements of Hebrew grammar.  And all this he did to boys without any
compulsion or correction; nay, I never heard him to utter so much as a
word of austerity."

Altogether Andrewes was a man of great influence and renown both as a
scholar and a preacher, so he was promoted to a bishopric after a short
time, and was succeeded by Richard Neile, who had himself been a boy of
Westminster School, and who, therefore, in his turn carefully fostered
its growth.  He too became a bishop in three years, and of the two deans
who followed him, Montague and Tounson, we know little except that the
one was "a person of wit and entertaining conversation," and the other
"one of a graceful presence and an excellent preacher, who left a widow
and fifteen children unprovided for."

It is Hacket who again gives us an amusing picture of the excitement
among all the divines when it became known that Tounson was to be Bishop
of Salisbury and that the Deanery of Westminster was vacant.

"It was a fortunate seat," he says, "near the Court. Like the office
over the king of Persia’s garden at Babylon, stored with the most
delicious fruits.  He that was trusted with the garden was the Lord of
the Palace."

Among those who earnestly desired the post was John Williams, one of the
chaplains to James I., and in these words he applied for it through Lord
Burleigh:—


"MY MOST NOBLE LORD,—I am an humble suitor, first to be acknowledged
your servant, and then that I may with your happy hand be transplanted
to Westminster if the Deanery shall still prove vacant.  I trouble not
your Honour for profit, but for convenience, for being unmarried and
inclining so to continue, I do find that Westminster is fitter by much
for that disposition.  If your Honour be not bent upon an ancient
servitor, I beseech you to think on me."


Fortunately for Westminster he obtained his heart’s desire, and in 1620
began his useful rule.  He took for his exemplars Abbot Islip and Dean
Andrewes, imitating the first by carefully restoring the many parts of
the Abbey which through neglect were falling in ruins, and the second by
encouraging the school.  Then, "that God might be praised with a
cheerful noise in His sanctuary," he obtained, as Hacket tells us, "the
sweetest music both for the organ and for voices of all parts that was
ever heard in an English quire;" and in Jerusalem Chamber he gave many
entertainments with music, which "the most famous masters of this
delightful faculty frequented."  To enlarge the boundaries of learning
he turned one of the deserted rooms in the cloisters, of old used by the
monks, into a library, bought out of his own means a large number of
books from a certain Mr. Baker of Highgate, and was so public-spirited
that he allowed men of learning from all parts of London to have access
to those precious works.

He was in great favour with James, who made him Lord Keeper of the Seal
and Bishop of Lincoln, allowing him to hold Westminster at the same
time, and though his enemies had much to say on the subject of his
holding so many offices, it must be said in justice that he got through
an amazing amount of work. Under him it seemed as if some of the
splendid hospitalities which had ceased since the days when the Abbots
kept open house were to be revived, for Dean Williams entertained in
Jerusalem Chamber the French ambassadors who came over to arrange for
the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Henriette.

Before the feast he led them into the Abbey, which was "stuck with
flambeaux everywhere that they might cast their eyes upon the
stateliness of the church," while "the best finger of the age, Dr.
Orlando Gibbons," played the organ for their entertainment.

You will see a memorial of this banquet in the carvings over the
mantelpiece in the Jerusalem Chamber for on one side is Charles I. and
on the other side his French bride.

But with the death of James I., Lord Keeper, Bishop and Dean Williams
fell upon evil days, for he was disliked by the Duke of Buckingham and
Laud, who entirely influenced the king, and was not even allowed to
officiate on the coronation day.

[Illustration: JERUSALEM CHAMBER.]

Under the Commonwealth the Abbey fared badly, for with a fanatical
horror of anything that reminded them of royalty or of Rome, the
Parliamentarians had not the smallest regard for it, and delighted in
showing their contempt for its past.  How far the soldiers were allowed
to desecrate its walls and its altars it is difficult to clearly
ascertain, and we may fairly believe that the story of how they pulled
down the organ, pawned the pipes for ale, and played boisterous games up
and down the church "to show their Christian liberty," is a great
exaggeration, even if any such thing took place at all. Certainly the
altar in Henry VII.’s chapel, under which lay buried Edward VI., was
destroyed, the copes and vestments were sold, and many windows and
monuments supposed to teach lessons of superstition and idolatry were
demolished.  No dean was appointed. The church being put under a
Parliamentary Committee, Presbyterian preachers conducted morning
exercises, which took the place of the daily services, and Bradshaw, the
President of the court which tried and condemned to death Charles I.,
settled himself into the deserted deanery.  A strange sight indeed it
must have been to those who noted it to watch this man going backwards
and forwards between Abbot Islip’s house and the Hall of Westminster
Palace, holding in the hollow of his hand the life of the king of
England!

Westminster School, which, under Elizabeth, had been set on its new and
enlarged footing, and since then had vigorously expanded under the
various head-masters, alone continued to flourish.  Its scholars
naturally were closely connected with the life that centred round
Westminster: they listened to the debates of Parliament, they flocked to
hear the trials in Westminster Hall, they attended the services in the
Abbey.  Their feelings ran high during the Civil War.  Pym, Cromwell,
and Bradshaw they hated; the execution of Charles roused their deepest
indignation, and they listened in awed horror as Bushby, their master,
read solemnly the prayer for the king at the very moment when the
scaffold was being erected at Whitehall.  It was the strong personality
of Bushby and his tactful management which saved the school from being
seriously interfered with at the hands of the all-powerful Parliament,
so that for fifty-five years this model for head-masters "ruled with his
rod and his iron will, and successfully piloted this bark through very
stormy seas."  He was full of enthusiasm and energy and he was more
anxious that his pupils should become men of action and character than
accomplished scholars. His monument, which is near the Poets’ Corner
shows him, in the words of the inscription, "such as he appeared to
human eyes;" and the words which follow tell how he "sowed a plenteous
harvest of ingenious men; discovered, managed, and improved the natural
genius in every one; formed and nourished the minds of youths, and gave
to the school of Westminster the fame of which it boasts."

But the Abbey was a national institution, too firmly builded on the
rocks to be more than shaken by the passing storms.  It had weathered
the earthquake of the Reformation, it had survived the tempests of the
Revolution.  With the Restoration came the calm, and quietly the old
life was resumed.  I have but little more to tell you of the inner story
of the Abbey, nor from this time forward do kings and queens play any
very important part in its story.  It is the tombs and monuments which
now begin, more closely even than before, to cement the tie between
Westminster and the pages of English history.  So I will only tell you
in a few words how Dean Sprat busied himself with the restoration of the
great buildings, the architect being Sir Christopher Wren, who, as you
know, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral, and rebuilt so many of the old
London churches which the Great Fire had destroyed, and how Dean
Atterbury carried on the work, including the rebuilding of the great
dormitory, until his devotion to the Stuart cause and his opposition to
George I. caused him to be sent first to the Tower, and afterwards as an
exile to France. Atterbury loved well his Abbey, and his last request
was that he might walk through it once more, especially to see the glass
which was his own gift to it, and which still exists in the beautiful
rose window over the north door.  But the sad thing about these
so-called restorations is that so much of the matchless old work was
destroyed, and nobody seemed in the least concerned at this.  That was
an age when the glories of medieval architecture appear to have lost all
their charm in men’s eyes, when the love of beautiful things was at its
lowest ebb.  The Westminster boys played their games in the chapels, and
were allowed to skip from tomb to tomb in the Confessor’s shrine;
hideous monuments were erected and crowded together, nothing old was
reverenced, and we can only be thankful that more was not destroyed or
hopelessly ruined.  And yet, in spite of this apparent indifference,
here and there were men who found themselves stirred when they came
within those walls as they were stirred nowhere else, so that many a
writer, including Addison, Steele, and Goldsmith, and earlier still,
John Milton, has paid homage, even in those unimaginative days, to that
fair place, "so far exceeding human excellence that a man would think it
was knit together by the fingers of angels."

One more dean I must tell you of, and that is Dean Stanley, who, with
his wife, lies in the south aisle of Henry VII.’s Chapel.  For it was
when he was appointed to Westminster in 1864 that once again the Abbey
became something more than a great memory of former days.  First of all
he unfolded the storied past, clearing up many a mystery, setting right
many an error, and then, impelled by a deep reverence for all its great
associations, he consistently carried on its history.  In every trace of
his work we find this same wise spirit of sympathy and understanding.
To him the Abbey was our greatest national treasure; his ideal was, not
only so to keep it, but to make it a living influence among all
English-speaking people.  And thanks in no small degree to him,
Westminster Abbey is to-day a very magnet in the heart of the empire, to
which high and low rich and poor, learned and ignorant are drawn from
far and near, to drink in, as they are able, its memories and its
beauties, to do homage to those great souls whom it honours there to
read as from a book stories of Englishmen who whether as kings or
statesmen, abbots or deans, nobles or commoners, poets or patriots,
added at least some stones to that other building, not fashioned by
hands alone, which grew up side by side with Edward’s church, and thus
became the builders of our nation.

But we have gone forward, quickly, and I must take you back for a moment
to Henry VII.’s Chapel, where still after the Restoration some royal
funerals took place. With the outburst of loyal feeling, it was felt by
many that Charles I., who had been buried at Windsor, ought to be
brought here, and Christopher Wren was commanded to prepare a costly
monument.  But nothing further was done in the matter.  Charles II. was
buried at midnight most unceremoniously, close to the monument of
General Monk, and one who was probably present adds, by way of comment,
"he was soon forgotten."  Ten children of James II. were laid in the
spacious vault under Mary Queen of Scots monument, but he himself,
having fled from his kingdom, died abroad and was buried in Paris.
William and Mary, Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark,
all lie near Charles II., and the seventeen children of Anne are just
behind in what is really the Children’s Vault.  One of these children,
Prince William Henry, another Duke of Gloucester, though he only lived
to be eleven, was such a quaint little boy that his tutor wrote a
biography of him.  He was always very delicate, but though his body was
weak his mind was precocious and his spirits were unfailingly high.
From the time he was two his craze was for soldiers, and he had a
company of ninety boys from Kensington for his bodyguard, whom he
drilled and ruled by martial law.  These boys he called his
horse-guards, and they wore red grenadiers’ caps and carried wooden
swords and muskets; but, however much they may have pleased the little
prince, who lived at Camden House, they were somewhat of a terror to the
people of Kensington, as, "presuming on being soldiers, they were very
rude and challenged men in the streets, which caused complaints."  This
tutor of his, Jenkin Lewis, who entered thoroughly into the spirit of
the little Duke, gives a delightful account of a visit paid to him by
his uncle, the grave William III., who appears to have been very fond of
him.

Altogether the Duke must have been a charming little boy, plucky,
generous, and remarkably bright.  If he fell down and hurt himself, he
would say, "A bullet in the war had grazed me," and though, to please
the queen, he learnt dancing from an old Frenchman, he confided to his
tutor that the only thing he loved in that way was the English march to
a drum.

Greatly to his joy the king decided to make him a Knight of the Garter
when he was only six years old, and to add to the honour William tied on
the Garter himself.

"Now," said the boy proudly, "if I fight any more battles I shall give
harder blows than ever."

He was as quick and interested at his lessons as he was at soldiering,
and we bear of his making amazing progress under the Bishop of
Marlborough in the history of the Bible, geography, constitutional
history, and many other subjects, while his tutor had taught him "the
terms of fortification and navigation, the different parts of a ship of
war, and stories about Cæsar, Alexander, Pompey, Hannibal, and Scipio.
It was his tutor who put into verse, and persuaded Mr. Church, one of
the gentlemen of Westminster Abbey, to set to music, the Duke’s words of
command to his boys, which ran thus:—

    "Hark, hark! the hostile drum alarms,
    Let ours too beat, and call to arms;
    Prepare, my boys, to meet the foe,
    Let every breast with valour glow.
    Soon conquest shall our arms decide,
    And Britain’s sons in triumph ride.
    In order charge your daring band,
    Attentive to your chief’s command.
    Discharge your volleys, fire away;
    They yield, my lads, we gain the day.
    March on, pursue to yonder town;
    No ambush fear, the day’s our own.
    Yet from your hearts let mercy flow,
    And nobly spare the captive foe!"


When in 1696 a plot formed against William III. was discovered, the Duke
determined not to be behind the Houses of Parliament, who offered their
loyal addresses to the king, so he drew up a little address of his own
in these words, which was signed by himself and all his boys: "We, your
Majesty’s faithful subjects, will stand by you as long as we have a drop
of blood."

On the 24th July 1700 he was eleven and had a birthday party, which of
course meant a sham fight among his boys; and when on the next morning
he complained of feeling ill, every one naturally thought he was only
over-tired or excited.  But a bad throat and high fever soon showed that
there was serious mischief, and within a week he died.  "To the
inexpressible grief," wrote the Bishop of Salisbury, "of all good men
who were well-wishers to the Protestant religion and lovers of their
country."

George II. was the last king to be buried in the Abbey, and he was laid
in the same stone coffin as his wife, Queen Caroline.  You will find the
gravestones in the nave of Henry VII.’s Chapel, and near to it are
buried his two daughters, his son Frederick, Prince of Wales, and
several grandchildren.  Horace Walpole, the son of Robert Walpole, who
had for twenty-one years been the Prime Minister of the king, thus
describes to us the last royal funeral at Westminster:—

"The procession through a line of foot-guards, every seventh man bearing
a torch, the horse-guards lining the outside, their officers with drawn
swords and crape sashes, the drums muffled, the fifes, the bells
tolling, and the minute guns, all this was very solemn.  But the charm
was the entrance to the Abbey, where we were received by the Dean and
Chapter in rich robes, the choir and almsmen bearing torches, the whole
Abbey so illuminated that one saw it to greater advantage than by day.
When we came to the Chapel of Henry VII., all solemnity and decorum
ceased, no order was observed, people sat or stood where they would or
could; the Yeomen of the Guard were crying out for help, oppressed by
the immense weight of the coffin.  The Bishop read sadly and blundered
in the prayers, and the anthem, besides being immeasurably tedious,
would have served as well for a wedding....  The Duke of Newcastle fell
into a fit of crying the moment we came into the chapel and flung
himself back in a stall, the Archbishop towering over him with a
smelling-bottle; but in two minutes his curiosity got the better of his
hypocrisy, and he ran about the chapel with his glass to spy who was or
was not there.  Then returned his fear of getting cold, and the Duke of
Cumberland, who felt himself weighed down, on turning round found it was
the Duke of Newcastle standing upon his train to avoid the chill of the
marble."

But though Westminster was no longer to be the church of the royal
tombs, there was one ceremony she was still to claim undisputed as her
own peculiar right.  A Coronation meant the Abbey; no other place was
ever dreamt of.  Charles II. here commenced his reign with great glory.
James II. characteristically grudged spending any money excepting
£100,000 for the queen’s dress and trinkets.  William and Mary were
crowned together, for Mary refused to be queen unless her husband became
king with her, and it is for this joint-coronation that the second chair
of state was made, which stands with the old Coronation Chair in the
Confessor’s Chapel.  The members of the House of Commons were present
and "hummed applause at the eloquent ending to Bishop Burnet’s sermon,
in which he prayed God "to bless the royal pair with long life and love,
with obedient subjects, wise counsellors, faithful allies, gallant
fleets and armies, and finally with crowns more glorious and lasting
than those which glittered on the altar of the Abbey."

Queen Anne, fat, gouty, and childless, found the day a weary one.
Unlike her sister Mary, she was crowned queen in her own right, and her
husband was the first of the nobles to do her homage.

When George I. was crowned many difficulties had to be overcome, for
everything had to be explained to the king, who knew no English, by
ministers who stumbled badly over their German.  But George II. had
learnt the language of his people, and liking great ceremonies as much
as his father had disliked them, his coronation day was celebrated in
great state.  Queen Caroline must have been ablaze with jewels, for
besides wearing all her own, she had borrowed what pearls she could from
the ladies of quality, and had hired all manner of diamonds from the
Jews and jewellers. George IV. spent more money when he was crowned king
than any other of his race, but the day was not without a very painful
scene, as he refused to prepare any place for his wife, Queen Caroline,
and she indignantly tried in vain to insist on her rights and to force
her way into the Abbey.  She failed, and her failure so broke her
spirits that she fell ill, and a few weeks later she died.

William IV. was crowned at a critical moment, for the country was in a
state of excitement concerning the Reform Bill, which, if passed, would
give a vote to a great number of people who did not possess one, but
which was being firmly opposed by the Duke of Wellington and a strong
party.  To avoid any risks of riots or demonstrations the usual
procession was left out, even the usual banquet in the old palace, while
everything was as simple and private as possible.  But seven years later
those old grey walls looked down on a Coronation Day which brought
untold blessings to England.  On June 28, 1838, Princess Victoria, a
slender girl in the first freshness of her youth, was publicly
recognised undoubted queen of the realm, and took her solemn oath in the
sight of the people to perform and keep the promises demanded of her by
the Archbishop.  Here in the Sanctuary she was anointed; here the spurs
and the sword of state were presented to her, and then laid on the
altar; here the orb was placed in her hands and the royal robe about her
shoulders; here the ring, the sceptre, the rod were delivered to her;
here was the crown of pure gold set on her head, and the Bible, the
royal law, placed in her hands; here she ascended the throne, while her
nobles did her homage; here, taking off her crown, she received the Holy
Communion, and then passed on into the Confessor’s Chapel in accordance
with the time-honoured usage.

Vastly solemn indeed was the ceremony, calling to mind as it did the
long procession of kings and queens who, without exception in that
place, almost in those identical words, had accepted the great trust to
which they had been called.  Some had been faithful; some, through
weakness or through wilful wrong-doing, had violated the vow.  The
strongest men had sometimes wavered, the bravest men had faltered before
their task. But Queen Victoria never failed her people.  Through weal
and woe, through storm and sunshine, through good and evil days, she
watched over them and guarded their interests.  She ruled over their
hearts at home and throughout those vaster dominions beyond the seas,
she bound them to her with bonds of loyal devotion, so that when, in the
dim light of a winter’s day in February 1901, the Abbey was filled with
a vast crowd of those who were there to pay their last tribute to her
memory, their universal sorrow was no mere formality, but was in harmony
with the sense of personal loss which was felt by all who had owned her
as their Sovereign Lady.



                               *PART II*

                         *AMONG THE MONUMENTS*



[Illustration: PRINCE RUPERT.]



                             *CHAPTER XIII*

                 *PURITANS AND CAVALIERS IN THE ABBEY*


By a strange irony of fate, the royal chapel of the Tudors was destined
to be, at least for awhile, the burying-place of many Parliamentary
leaders, and perhaps stranger still it is to realise how Roundhead and
Cavalier, disgraced minister and triumphant reformer, came at last to
the old Abbey, which opened its arms to receive them, condemning no man,
but committing all unto the care of Him who judgeth with righteous
judgment.  The Duke of Buckingham and Pym, Cromwell and Prince Rupert,
Admiral Blake, Clarendon the historian of the great rebellion, Essex and
General Monk, all were buried within a few feet of each other, and their
names are still engraved on Abbey stones, though some of them sleep
there no more.

These men, in their different ways, stood in the forefront of that
hard-fought Revolution, and as I want Westminster to be something more
to you than a place of names and monuments, I will try to tell you
enough of each one for you to be able to fit them into their proper
places in the history of those stormy days.

We will begin with Buckingham, who, as young George Villiers, was
brought up to be a courtier, and taught only such accomplishments as
would fit him for that part.  He was an apt pupil, graceful, witty,
versatile, full of charm, and from the moment he entered the service of
James I. as cupbearer, his upward career began. He leapt from step to
step with dazzling rapidity, and the king became a mere puppet in his
hands.  "I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anything else," he
declared.  "Whatsoever he desireth must be done."  For awhile Buckingham
did not seriously interfere with politics; his ambition was satisfied
with personal power and court influence, while his own position
concerned him much more closely than the affairs of the country. But
eventually he was drawn into the vortex, to his own undoing, for his
brilliancy was only superficial, his wild schemes collapsed one after
the other, while his reckless extravagance, coupled with his disastrous
undertakings, staggered the Parliament, which had for a brief moment
believed in him.  However, Charles, who was now king, implicitly
believed in him through all his failures, and supported his exorbitant
demands for money to carry on his unpopular and unsuccessful foreign
policy.  At last the gathering indignation burst.

"The Duke of Buckingham is the cause of all our miseries," was the
deliberate statement made in the House of Commons, followed by a long
list of charges, and the determination, for the first time, to hold a
minister responsible to Parliament for his actions.  The king was
furious.  "None of my servants shall be questioned by you, or it shall
be the worse for you," he said scornfully, and he dissolved Parliament.
But the trial of Buckingham was taken out of their hands, for shortly
afterwards he was stabbed to death by a certain Fenton, a melancholy,
malcontented gentleman, who declared that he did so to rid the country
of an intolerable tyrant.  He was buried quietly in the Abbey, and the
king set up to his memory the elaborate but hardly beautiful monument
which you see.  You must notice, though, the three figures of his
children, for one of them, Francis, a very gallant boy, "of rare beauty
and comeliness," fell fighting for the king at Kingston, wounded nine
times, yet scorning to ask quarter, standing with his back against an
oak tree till he dropped.

General Monk, afterwards Duke of Albemarle, fought on the Parliamentary
side, and after the defeat of the Royalists in England he was with
Cromwell through his victorious campaigns in Scotland and Ireland,
remaining behind as commander-in-chief for Scotland.  But it was as a
sailor rather than as a soldier that he made his greatest reputation,
for when the struggle began between England and the Dutch for the
command of the seas, the Dutch challenging the English right to it,
Monk, and another Parliamentary officer, Blake, were appointed generals
at sea, it being thought that their ability to lead, their energy and
their good sense, would more than compensate for their lack of technical
experience.  So it eventually proved, and after some close fighting Monk
was able to report that the English held the coast of Holland as if it
were besieged.  Parliament rewarded Monk with a vote of thanks, a medal
and a chain worth £300, and he assured them that he had "no other
thought but to defend the nation against all enemies, whether by sea or
by land, as might be entrusted to him."

Not altogether approving of the arbitrary way in which Cromwell treated
Parliament, he determined to keep clear of politics and to remain a
"plain fighting man."  But while employed by the Protector he was
entirely loyal to him, and at once sent to him a letter he received from
Charles II. suggesting negotiations.  "An honest, very simple-hearted
man," was Cromwell’s remark on him.

But with the death of the Protector the whole aspect of things changed.
Monk had fully intended to serve Richard Cromwell as he had served his
father, only it became palpably evident that the new Protector was not
in any way capable of controlling the country or the army, and within a
few weeks dissatisfaction and discontent were evident everywhere—the
pendulum had swung back, and England cried for a king once more. With
Richard Cromwell at the head of affairs, Monk saw that the days of the
Commonwealth were numbered. "He forsook himself or I had never faltered
in my allegiance," he explained; for Dick Cromwell was as anxious as any
one to be rid of his office.  Through his brother, Nicholas Monk, a
sturdy Royalist, afterwards made Bishop of Hereford, Charles sent a
straightforward letter to the general, judging rightly that plain words
were more likely to take effect with him.  "If you take my interests to
heart," wrote the king, "I will leave the way and manner to you and act
as you advise."

For awhile Monk hesitated, then he accepted the situation.  He met the
king at Dover, and served him faithfully in whatever capacity it was
desired of him, assisting in the settlement of Scotland, or going to sea
with Prince Rupert, or keeping order in London during those years of
panic when first the plague, then the Great Fire produced the wildest
terror and confusion. He died "like a Roman general and a soldier, his
chamber door open as if it had been a tent, his officers around him,"
and England mourned an honest, duty-loving man, brave on every point
excepting where his wife was concerned, and here he frankly admitted to
a "terror of her tongue and passions."  The king, who had made him Duke
of Albemarle, was present at his funeral, and undertook to pay all the
expenses, besides erecting a monument to him.  But his memory and
gratitude were both short-lived, so that it was left to the second Duke
to see that his father’s name and fame were duly chronicled in the
Abbey, that future generations might know him as "an honest man, who
served his country."

Admiral Blake, buried in the Cromwell vault, first went to sea to settle
Prince Rupert, who with his tiny fleet was a terror to English ships,
and so successful was he, that at last Rupert was thankful to reach
France in safety with his one remaining vessel.  For reward, Parliament
gave him a place in the council of state, and he devoted himself to
making the navy more efficient, as he felt sure a war at sea with the
Dutch was imminent.  He desired to make his sailors men of the same
stamp as Cromwell’s famous Ironsides, but though he was a great
disciplinarian he was very popular, and his men fought for him with a
will.  The war began with a victory for Blake, which, far from
disheartening the Dutch, put them on their mettle, and off Dungeness
they compelled the English admiral to retreat on Dover, after a fierce
struggle.  So elated was Van Tromp at this advantage, that as he passed
along the Channel he had a broom fastened to the masthead of his ship to
show how he meant to sweep the English from the seas.  Blake was sorely
grieved at his failure, and for a moment gave way to a depression which
led him to entreat Parliament that he might be discharged from "an
employment much too great for him."  Then his old spirit returned, and
he asked "for more men to fight again."

At the battle of Portland the fleets met once more, and it was a
terrible fight.  Though Blake was badly wounded, the victory lay with
the English.  He followed up the advantages he had gained, and near the
North Foreland took eleven Dutch ships and 1350 prisoners, with a small
loss.  His wound had by now so affected his health, that he was
compelled to return to England, leaving Monk to fight the last great
fight, in which Van Tromp was killed, 6000 Dutchmen killed, wounded, or
made prisoners, and twenty-six of their ships sunk or taken.  However,
though the Dutch were settled, it was necessary to assert the English
power in the Mediterranean, especially where Spain was concerned, and
Blake was the name to conjure with.  So, in spite of his painful
illness, he set out once more, "the one man able to preserve the
commonwealth," Cromwell told him.  At Santa Cruz he met the Spanish
fleet and conquered it.  "To God be all the glory," he wrote in his
simply worded despatch which told of this great and popular victory.

Then, feeling his increasing weakness, he asked leave to return home, as
"the work was done and the chain complete."  But he died at sea, in
sight of Plymouth Sound.  His funeral in Westminster Abbey was a
splendid one, worthy of the splendid service he had rendered to England,
Cromwell having ordered that "no pomp was to be spared, so as to
encourage all officers to venture their lives."  A lasting shame it is
indeed that at the Restoration his remains, with those of Deane, one of
his admirals, and other Parliamentary officers, were taken from their
graves, and buried without any mark of respect in one common grave in
St. Margaret’s Churchyard. Within the Abbey no monument marks his grave,
though he had held for England the supremacy of the seas against
vigorous attacks, and had made a reputation for himself "very wonderful,
which will never be forgotten in Spain."

The very name of Prince Rupert breathes of romance and adventure.  His
mother was the fascinating and high-spirited Princess Elizabeth,
daughter of James I., who had married Frederick, Prince Palatine of the
Rhine, and had persuaded him to accept the crown of Bohemia when it was
offered to him by the people, who had just wrested their independence
from the Emperor of Austria.  But his reign at Prague was short, for the
Emperor won back his own, and the Queen of Hearts, as Elizabeth was
affectionately called, had to escape with her children as best she
could, Rupert being but a few weeks old.  Her father, afraid of Spain
and the Roman Catholic powers, would do nothing to help her, so she
would have fared badly had it not been for some faithful English
friends, headed by Lord Craven, and the people of Holland, who looked on
the king of Bohemia as a sufferer in the Protestant cause, and who
therefore gave his family a home besides a generous allowance.
Frederick was not only deprived of his new kingdom, but lost also his
old possessions, for the Emperor seized his lands on the Rhine and
spoiled his palaces.  Many a brave attempt he made to win back the
Palatinate, always to be baffled, and at last, after the death of his
eldest son, he fell into such a low state of health that he died of a
fever.  Elizabeth was left with three sons and two daughters, Rupert
being her idol, for she believed him born to be a hero.  And truly he
was a boy to be proud of, excelling in everything he undertook, and such
a true soldier that, when he was only fourteen, his tutors declared he
was worthy to command a regiment. When Charles I. became king, he
invited two of his nephews to England, and, with the queen, at once lost
his heart to Rupert, who was then about eighteen.  He proposed making
him a bishop or marrying him to an heiress, but Rupert would hear of
neither plan.  A soldier’s life, with plenty of adventure, was the only
life for him.

On the 22nd of August in the year 1642, the Civil War broke out in
England; the royal standard was set up at Nottingham, and Prince Rupert
was made General of the Royal Horse, he being then but twenty-three. His
very presence, brimming over as he was with enthusiasm, vigour, and
determination, brought a breath of new life to the men who "could not
hold back when the royal standard waved," yet "who did not like the
quarrel, and heartily wished the king would yield and consent to what
Parliament desired."

But Rupert was quite untouched by the general feeling of depression.
The cause or its merits concerned him but little; he knew nothing of the
intensity of the struggle, of the many unredressed grievances, of the
arbitrary treatment of the nation’s representatives in Parliament, of
the total disregard for the opinions of the people which had at last
made nothing but war possible between two such conflicting parties.  He
only saw the romantic side, a king called upon to defend himself in his
own realm against rebels and traitors, and so heart and soul he espoused
his uncle’s cause.  A cavalier of the cavaliers was Prince Rupert, with
his handsome face, long flowing hair, clean-shaved cheeks, beplumed hat,
and scarlet cloak, to which he added a very gallant bearing and a lordly
manner.  Directly he saw the cavalry he was to command, less than a
thousand badly mounted untrained men, he dashed away like a whirlwind,
to scour the country in search of more. Here, there, and everywhere he
came and went like a flash, "in a short time heard of in many places at
great distances," to quote a Parliamentary historian, till the very
sound of his name had a magic effect.  He charmed some, he terrified
others, but he did what he would with them all, and in less than a month
he rode back to join the court at Shrewsbury, with a picked force of
three thousand men, well horsed and equipped. Contrasted with the
indecision of Charles, Rupert’s high-handed audacity was refreshing, and
when the king left him free "to steer his own course," he at once set
out for Worcester, which was threatened by Essex and the Parliamentary
army.

The Royalist plan was to march on London, a plan which Parliament saw
must at all costs be frustrated, so Essex received imperative orders to
intercept and check the enemy.  At Edgehill, near Banbury, the armies
met, and the king, from his position on a hill-top, took view of Essex
and his army in the vale.

"I shall give them battle," he said.  "God assist the justice of my
cause."

Then he called a council of war, at which many points of difference
arose between the old soldiers and the young.  Of course Rupert was the
spokesman for the latter, and this was not the first time he had come
into collision with the other generals of the Royalist army.  Caution
was a word unknown to him, and patience did not exist in his vocabulary.
Slow and steady tactics he abhorred; he scorned the enemy, and pleaded
vehemently for bold, dashing movements, which were, he said, best suited
to the high-spirited soldiers of the king.  As usual he prevailed, for
he was never one who could be persuaded to change his opinion.  His plan
of battle was decided on, which meant that the Royal Horse should charge
and drive the Roundhead Cavalry from the field, afterwards falling upon
the flank of the enemy’s infantry, while the Royalist infantry attacked
them from the front.

"Then," he added, carried away by the thought of a victory which seemed
so obvious, "the day is ours."

When the battle began in earnest Rupert charged with his cavalry, and so
magnificently, that it seemed as if all his prophecies were fully
justified, for the Roundheads were swept backwards till they broke and
fled. But so excited and eager were the horsemen to pursue their flying
foes, that they left all the Royalist infantry unprotected, and when
Prince Rupert returned with such troops as he could rally from the
chase, he found all confusion and uncertainty.  Moreover, it was nearly
dark, and no one was ready to support Rupert when he entreated that
another charge might be made to settle the day.  So, after all, it was
only half a victory for the king’s army, even though he held the road to
London, while altogether quite 6000 Englishmen lay dead on the field.

Charles next made a move to Oxford, where he established his Court, for
Oxford was almost the only city at that time "wholly devoted to his
Majesty," and from here peace negotiations were again entered into, with
the usual result that both sides were left still more bitterly opposed
to each other.  Rupert was charged with attacking two Parliamentary
regiments at Brentford during the negotiations when all fighting was
suspended. But with all his faults of impatience and impetuosity he was
far too honourable a soldier to have willingly taken any unfair
advantage of his foe, and it seems clear what he did was at the king’s
command, or when he was in ignorance of the stage which had been reached
in the negotiations.  While the king and the main army lay inactive
though full of talk at Oxford, Rupert with his cavalry scoured the
country round in search of men, horses, food, and forage, and indeed
whatever they could lay hands on; for as Parliament held all the money,
the king’s soldiers had to live off the country as best they could, and
wait patiently for pay which rarely came.  The Prince, as was his wont,
journeyed far and wide, his special object being to extend the king’s
territory all round Oxford and to take in all the west of England.  So
we hear of him, sometimes successful and sometimes baffled, at
Cirencester, Banbury, Bristol, Gloucester, Birmingham, and Wales, then
moving northwards in Leicester and Northamptonshire, till at the
peremptory command of Charles he made his way towards York, which was in
great danger, and which, "if lost," wrote the king, "would mean little
less than the loss of the crown."

He relieved the town with great dash, but was so eager to press on that
he would not even wait to speak to the governor, Lord Newcastle, who was
very offended at what he considered to be a want of respect.  Still more
angry was he when he received a message from Rupert commanding him to
follow the cavalry without delay.  He made no haste to carry out this
order, and Rupert, who was in close touch with the enemy, waited for him
in vain.  The delay cost the Royalists dear, for the battle of Marston
Moor which ensued was a complete triumph for the Roundheads.  But even
then Rupert did not lose heart, as did so many of his party.

"’What will you do?’ asked General King of him. ’I will rally my men,’
sayes ye Prince.  Sayes General King, ’Nowe what will my Lord Newcastle
do?’ Sayes he, ’I will go to Holland, for all is lost.’"

The defeat of the Northern army was decisive, and Rupert felt the only
help lay in Wales and the west of England.  But defeat followed defeat.
At Naseby the Parliamentary army was again victorious; Bristol
surrendered, then Oxford.  Nor was this all. Among the king’s nearest
advisers were many who disliked Prince Rupert, especially Lord Digby,
and when the Prince surrendered Bristol, he saw his opportunity for
revenge.  Very cleverly he worked on Charles to such an extent that he
made it appear as if Rupert had weakly capitulated without any
justification, and the king, who all too easily forgot the past, signed
an order revoking the military authority and position he had bestowed on
his nephew. The Prince was sorely hurt and indignant at this want of
confidence.  "It is Digby that is the cause of all the distraction," he
said quietly, and then proceeded to defend his honour and his action,
which he did in a manner that commended itself to all fair-minded men.

Having written a full account of the siege, and proved that holding out
longer would have only meant a useless sacrifice of valuable lives, he
followed this up by going straight to the king at Newark, in spite of
having been forbidden to do so by Digby.  "I am come, sir," he said, "to
render an account of Bristol."  At first Charles would not listen, but
Rupert insisted on a court-martial, which at last was granted, and which
completely cleared him.  The king accepted the verdict, but in a
half-hearted way, which nettled the Prince, who was already chafing at
the unjust accusations made against his honour.  A few days later he
vigorously fought the battle of another officer who had been
dismissed—also the victim of Digby’s jealousy.

"No officer," he declared indignantly, "should be deprived of his
commission without being able to defend himself against a council of
war."

In his anger he applied to Parliament for permission to return to
Holland, but when the message came that this would only be given on
condition that he did not fight again, he indignantly refused the terms.
His loyalty was deeper than his anger when it came to the test.

Ere long, however, the hopeless, weary struggle reached its end.  The
king threw himself on the mercy of his Scottish army, who for £400,000
gave him up to Parliament, and he was made a prisoner. Rupert found his
way to France, and later on he joined the Prince of Wales in getting
together a small fleet which it was proposed to send to Ireland.  He
entered enthusiastically into this new career.  "The royal cause," he
said, "is now at sea."  Far and wide on the ocean he was to be heard of
with his ships, round Spain, Portugal, in the Mediterranean and the West
Indies, near Azores and Cape Verde, seizing wherever he could find them
the treasure-ships belonging to the English Parliament.  His name was a
terror by sea as it had been by land, and the adventurous life was quite
according to his liking.  With the Restoration he came back to England,
and Charles settled on him an allowance of £4000 a year, besides giving
him an important command in the fleet.  But no real scope was allowed
him for his powers, and Charles, with all his foreign intrigues, found
Rupert too inconveniently straightforward and resolute.

So the end of his life was a disappointment, though when action of one
sort was denied him, his eager brain turned to science, chemistry, and
inventions. Most of his old friends had vanished; his mother had died
many years before, protected and comforted to the last by Lord Craven,
who had taken for a motto the words "For God and for Her;" and of his
sisters, one was an abbess, the other married to the Elector of Hanover.

He lived alone and quietly at his house in Spring Gardens at the top of
Whitehall, and when he died, comparatively young, he was "generally
lamented for an honest, brave, true-hearted man, whose life had embraced
innumerable toils, and a variety of noble actions by land and by sea."

"It is an infinite pity he is not employed according to his genius," a
friend of his mother’s had written to her long years before.  "He is
full of spirit and action, and may be compared to steel, which is the
commanding metal if it be rightly tempered and disposed.  Whatever he
wills, he wills vehemently."

And this criticism, which was true of him up to the day he died,
contains the essence of his successes and of his failures.

It was in this vaulted chapel of the Tudor kings that Oliver Cromwell
was buried with regal magnificence, his effigy robed in purple,
surrounded by a sceptre, a sword, and an imperial crown, being also
placed in the Abbey.  Many of his friends and followers—Pym, the hero of
his early days; Ireton, his son-in-law; Bradshaw, the President of the
Court which had tried and condemned the King in Westminster Hall close
by—were already by his desire buried in the Abbey, as were most of his
immediate family; his old mother, who had always said "she cared nothing
for her son’s grandeur, and was always afraid when she heard a musket
lest he should be shot, and his best loved daughter, Betty, Elizabeth
Claypole.  The latter was such an attractive girl, and "played the part
of princess so naturally, and obliging all persons by her civility,"
that Cromwell feared lest her very charms should be a snare to her,
leading her thoughts from God.  His letters to her show all the
tenderest side of his strong nature.  "I watch thy growth as a Seeker
after truth," he once wrote to her.  "To be a Seeker is to be of the
best sect, next to a Finder.  And such a one shall every happy Seeker be
at the end."

[Illustration: OLIVER CROMWELL.]

Oliver Cromwell was ever a son of strife, and two years after his death,
on the anniversary of the king’s execution, his body was dragged from
the grave by order of the Restoration Parliament and publicly hung, a
similar revenge being meted out to Bradshaw and Ireton, and the
"pure-souled patriot John Pym."

So to-day we do not even know where he is buried, and only a plate in
the floor of Henry VII.’s chapel, put there by Dean Stanley, shows us
where once the great man lay.

For great he surely was, even though narrow, relentless, arbitrary, and
overbearing; great, that is to say, if high aims, honest ambitions,
dogged courage, and unswerving obedience to what he held to be the
Divine voice, count for ought in the standard we require of our public
men.



                             *CHAPTER XIV*

                               *CHAUCER*


Geoffrey Chaucer was the first English poet or writer to be buried
within the Abbey, and just as the Confessor’s tomb drew kings and queens
to lie around it, so Chaucer’s grave, in a way undreamed of at the time,
consecrated one part of Westminster as the Poets’ Corner.  And what more
fitting than that he who has been so justly named the "poet of the dawn,
the finder of our fair language, the father of English poetry," should
rest, when his life’s work was ended, near to those others with whose
names our early history is studded?

He was born in London about the year 1335, the son of a merchant
vintner, and throughout his life London was to him "a city very deare
and sweete."  He was well educated, though where we know not, in
classics, divinity, astronomy, philosophy, and chemistry, and naturally
spoke French fluently, as its use was general.  From his boyhood he
loved reading only less than he loved nature.

    "On bokës for to rede, I me delyte,
    Save certeynly whan that the moneth of May
    Is comen, and that I here the foulës synge,
    And that the flourës gynnen for to sprynge,
    Farwel my boke and my devocïoun."

And almost equally, too, he loved to see life, to travel in foreign
countries, to study, in a kindly sympathetic spirit, human nature in all
its forms, neither criticising harshly nor condemning impatiently, but
just observing and understanding.

Those early years of his life marked a great epoch in England, for
Edward III. made the land ring with the fame of his victories at Crecy
and Poitiers; the valour of his knights and soldiers; the fair and
famous deeds done in the name of that chivalry which was then at its
height; and young Chaucer seems to have caught the reflection of all
that enthusiasm and vigour.  He was the child of his age, but he heard
its sobs as well as its laughter, the rattling chains of its slaves as
well as the clanking steel and the trumpet notes of its armed men. The
Black Death and the revolt of the downtrodden peasants made a grim
setting to the picture of heart-stirring triumphs in the battle-field,
and Chaucer saw both the setting and the picture.

When he was about twenty he became attached to the court in a humble
capacity, but his pleasant manners and conversation, his cheerfulness
and his straightforward simplicity, soon won him promotion, so that he
was made first gentleman-in-waiting, then esquire to King Edward, who
more than once spoke of him as his "beloved valet," and who trusted him
well enough to send him on many important missions to foreign countries
as his messenger.  But Chaucer’s greatest and unchanging ally at court
was the king’s brother, John of Gaunt.  For more than forty years their
friendship remained unbroken through many ups and downs of fortune.

In 1369 John of Gaunt’s first wife, Blanche, died, young, beautiful, and
beloved.  Chaucer had already shown his power of writing excellent verse
by a translation he had made from a celebrated French poem "Le Roman de
la Rose," so it was only natural that John of Gaunt should turn to him
when in the sorrow of the moment he desired the goodness and charm of
his lady to be commemorated.  The result was the "Book of the Duchess,"
a story told as an allegory, for Chaucer was under the spell of French
literature, which revelled in allegory.  In this book he tells how one
May morning, the sun shining in at his windows, and the sound of the
"sweete foule’s carolling," drew him forth into the forest, where, led
thereto by a faithful dog, he found a knight dressed in black, mourning
all in a quiet spot among the mighty trees.  His hands drooped, his face
was pale, he could not be consoled.  But finding the poet a sympathetic
listener, he told him the story of his sorrow.

    "My lady bright
    Which I heve loved with all my might,
    Is from me deed, and is agone ...
    That was so fair, so fresh, so free."

Years of happiness he had spent with her, this sweet lady, who yet was
so strong and helpful.

    "When I hed wrong and she the right,
    She wolde alwey so goodëly
    Forgive me so débónnairly.
    In alle my youth, in alle chance,
    She took me in her governaunce.
    Therewith she was alwày so trewe,
    Our joys was ever y-liche newe."

And now she was dead.  Words of comfort were of no avail.  The poet
could no longer intrude on grief so overwhelming.  He could only
silently sympathise, and then leave the mourning knight alone in his
sorrow, with the parting words

    "Is that your los?  By God, hit is routhe."


Soon after he had written this touching tribute to the memory of a woman
who had been his ideal of goodness and graciousness, Chaucer was sent on
a mission to Genoa and Florence, a journey which left its influence upon
him in a very marked manner, as he made the acquaintance of Francis
Petrarch, the Italian poet, and through him he learned to know the works
of Dante and the delightful stories of Boccaccio.  A new world was
opened out to him, and eagerly he wandered through it, eyes and mind
open to every fresh vision that unfolded itself before him.  From this
time forward his works were tinged with Italian influence, and thereby
became much the richer.  For he lost none of his own sturdy
individuality and fresh, pure style; he only added to this more warmth,
more colouring, more romance.

On his return to England he was made Comptroller of the Customs of the
Port of London, on the understanding that he did all the accounts
himself, so important was it that this post should be filled by a man
who was both shrewd and honest; and in addition to this both the king
and John of Gaunt granted him certain allowances and privileges, so that
in worldly affairs he prospered.  Good fortune, however, did not cause
him to become idle, and his poems followed each other in quick
succession.  There was the "Assembly of Fowles," of course an allegory,
and written probably to celebrate the betrothal of young King Richard to
the Princess Anne of Bohemia.

"Troilus and Cresside" was a much deeper poem, full of sadness, and
Chaucer himself called it his "little Tragedie," adding the hope that
one day God might send it to him to "write some Comedie."  It is in this
work that he refers to the great difficulty with which he, in common
with the other writers of his day, had to contend—the unsettled state of
the language.  The struggle as to whether the French or English tongue
should prevail had been a fierce one, but it was now in its last throes.
Chaucer, through his works, helped more than any one else to develop our
language as it is to-day, and strenuously avoided those "owre curyrows
termes which could not be understood of comyn people, and which in every
shire varied."  But his own words show the difficulties which beset him.

    "And for there is so great diversité
    In English, and in writing of our tong,
    So pray I God that none miswrite thee
    Or thee mismetre for default of tong,
    And red whereso thou be, or elles song,
    That thou be understood, God I beseech."


And it is just because he wrote to be understood that the charm of
Chaucer’s style remains for ever fresh and entrancing.

In his "House of Fame" he had free scope for his pleasant wit,
especially when he tells of all he saw and heard in the "House of
Rumour," whither came shipmen, pilgrims, pardoners, couriers, and their
like, each bringing scraps of news, which, whether true or false, were
passed on, growing like a rolling snowball.  He set fame at its true
value, and for himself only desires that in life he might be able to
"study and rite alway," while for the rest—

    "It suffyceth me, as I were dedd,
    That no wight have my name in honde,
    I wot myself best how I stonde."


The "Legend of Good Women" was written in praise of all those maidens
and wives who loved truly and unchangingly.

Hitherto Chaucer, whose married life was not an altogether happy one,
had sung but little of love in its highest, purest form.  But here, in a
prologue sparkling and radiant as the morning he describes, he tells us
how he went out to greet the daisy, the flower he loved, and would ever
love anew till his heart did die.

    "Kneeling alway, til it uncloséd was
    Upon the swetë, softë, swotë gras
    That was with flourës swote embroidered all.


In his dream there came to him the God of Love, with his queen,
Alcestis, who, daisy-like, was clad in royal habits green—

    "A fret of golde she hedde next her heer,
    And upon that a white courone she beer."

She it was who made him swear that from henceforth he would "poetize of
wommen trewe in lovying," "speke wel of love," and so make a glorious
legend.

Chaucer had intended writing at least nineteen stories on the lines
decreed by Alcestis, but his days of prosperity had come to an end for
the time being, with the exile of John of Gaunt, and he became so poor
after his dismissal from the Customs, that he had to raise money on his
pension.  And so the legend seems to have been laid aside.

When Henry of Lancaster became king five years later, he doubled the
pension, remembering how his father, just dead, had loved the poet; and
so the cloud, which had been heavy enough while it lasted, passed away.
But it is to those dark days that we owe the greatest of all Chaucer’s
work—his "Canterbury Tales"—work, it must be remembered, which rings and
re-rings with cheerfulness, courage, sympathy, and kindliness.  We know
so little of Chaucer as a man but this one fact stands out, that he
never allowed his own troubles or anxieties, or even his pressing
poverty, to over-cloud his heart or his mind.  For him the sun shone
always, though he saw it not, and because of that sunshine no trace of
bitterness or harshness is to be found in his work.

In the prologue to the "Tales" Chaucer explains his plot in the most
natural and personal way.  One day in the spring, he says, he was
waiting at the Tabard Inn, to rest before continuing a pilgrimage he had
set out to make to Canterbury, when twenty-nine other pilgrims, all
bound for the same destination, arrived.  He soon made friends with
them, and, finding their company very entertaining, arranged to join
this party.  Then came the proposal that each one should tell two tales
to enliven the journey; a good supper at the end to be the reward of the
pilgrim whose story found most favour.  The jovial host of the inn
decided to join them, and one morning in early spring the procession set
out.  What a motley crowd they were!  Yet Chaucer, with his happy knack
of describing people just as they appeared, has made them all so real to
us, that it is easy to picture each one of them, and in so doing to get
a vivid glimpse of the men and women whom the poet was accustomed to
meet every day of his life.  But for Chaucer we should know next to
nothing about the people of his day.  First came the knight, who "lovede
chyvalrye," who had ridden far afield in his master’s wars; a great
soldier, but tender as a woman, "a verrey parfyte gentil knight."  With
him was his son, acting as his squire, great of strength, able to make
brave songs, and to sit well his horse, handsomely dressed, yet in his
manners "curteys, lowly, and servysable."  His attendant was a yeoman,
sunburnt and sturdy, who carried the sheaf of arrows, which he could
dress right yeomanly. It seems likely that for a short while Chaucer
served as a soldier in France, and if so, how familiar these three must
have been to him.  Then came the prioress, very "pleasant and semely,"
adopting court manners, and impressing every one with the idea that she
was so compassionate and charitable that even to see a mouse in a trap
made her weep.  She had her own attendant nuns and priests.  The monk
was only interested in riding, but the friar, who was licensed to hear
confessions, raise money, and perform the offices of the Church in a
certain district, was merry, the good friend of all rich women, and
reported to "hear confession very sweetly," being easy with the penances
he ordered.  Sometimes he lisped, "to make his English sweet upon the
tongue," and when he sang to his guitar, "his eyes shone like stars on a
frosty night."  The merchant sat high on his horse, and talked loudly of
his increased wealth, a great contrast to the poor clerk of Oxford, who
looked hollow, wore a threadbare cloak, and had not been worldly enough
to get a benefice. The sergeant-at-law, the landholder, the haberdasher,
carpenter, weaver, dyer, tapestry-maker, the cook, the sailor, and the
doctor, all had their special characteristics, but of these there is not
space to speak.  The wife of Bath had a bold face and wore bright
clothes; had buried five husbands, all of whom she had ruled, and was
quite willing to try a sixth.  The poor parson, who was "a shepherd holy
and vertuous, never despising sinful men, but teaching them the law of
Christ, which he faithfully followed," was, I think, the pilgrim whom
Chaucer most reverenced.  The religion of the monks and friars revolted
him, but those poor priests, leading their simple lives of work and
worship, were to his eyes in very truth the servants of Christ, who
witnessed loyally to their Master, in spite of the contempt with which
their very poverty caused them to be treated. His brother, the
ploughman, was in his way as good a man as the priest, for he was a true
and honest labourer, who lived in charity with all, loved God, and
would, for Christ’s sake, "thresh, dyke, or delve for the poor widow’s
hire."  The miller; the manciple, who bought the food for an Inn of
Court; the reeve or steward; the summoner to the ecclesiastical courts;
and the pardoner, with his packets of relics which he always sold
successfully, made up the party; and all having agreed to the host’s
proposals as to the tales to be told, they drew lots to decide who
should begin, the choice falling on the knight, whereat all rejoiced.
"Tell us merry things," was the injunction of the host, who was
rejoicing in a spell of freedom from his wife’s sharp eyes and sharper
tongue, and—

    "Speak ye so plain at this time, we you pray,
    That we may understandë what you say."


Just as Chaucer gave to each pilgrim his own individuality, so in every
case he fitted the story to its teller. The knight had a tale of love,
romance, and adventure; the clerk chose for heroine the patient,
much-suffering Griselda; the prioress told of a child-martyr, and the
poor parson, in earnest words, drew their thoughts upward to "that
parfyt glorious pilgrimage which each and all must make to celestial
Jerusalem."  Chaucer did not live to finish all the tales he had planned
out.  In the year 1399 he had taken on a long lease a house at
Westminster, which stood where now is Henry VII.’s chapel, and here he
spent the last few months of his life, reading and writing contentedly
to the end, in high favour at the Palace hard by, and the centre of a
little group who loved and revered him.  Probably the poor priest’s tale
was his last bit of work, and that significantly ends with words
concerning the pilgrimage of man to the Heavenly City, "To thilke life
He bring us, that bought us with His precious blood. Amen."

Chaucer’s wife had been dead many years, and of his children we know
nothing, except that to his son Lewis he gave an astrolabe, an
instrument for taking the height of the stars, and wrote for him a
"little treatise" on the subject, in which he craves pardon for his
"rude inditing and his superfluity of words," explaining that a child is
best taught by simple words and much repetition. But we can never think
of Chaucer as alone or solitary in his old age.  Rather was the house at
Westminster a pleasant haven of rest where he anchored surrounded by his
many comrades and friends.  So greatly honoured was he, that when he
died it was at once decided to bury him in the Abbey.  The verses with
which I end have been called Chaucer’s Creed, and some say he repeated
them just before his death.  Certain it is that they guided his conduct
through life.



                      THE GOOD COUNSEL OF CHAUCER

    Flee from the crowd and dwell with truthfulness,
    Contented with thy good, though it be small.
    Treasure breeds hate and climbing dizziness;
    The world is envious, wealth beguiles us all.
    Care not for loftier things than to thee fall,
    Counsel thyself, who counsel’st others’ need,
    And Truth shall thee deliver without dread.

    Pain thee not all the crooked to redress,
    Trusting to her who turneth as a ball;
    For little meddling wins much easiness.
    Beware lest thou dost kick against an awl!
    Strive not, as doth a clay pot with a wall.
    Judge thou thyself, who judgest others’ deeds,
    And Truth shall thee deliver without dread.

    All that is sent receive with cheerfulness:
    To wrestle with this world inviteth fall.
    Here is no home, here is but wilderness.
    Forth! pilgrim, forth!  Forth, beast, out of thy stall!
    Look up on high, and thank thy God for all!
    Cast by ambition, let thy soul thee lead,
    And Truth shall thee deliver, without dread.



[Illustration: CHAUCER’S TOMB.]



                              *CHAPTER XV*

               *SPENSER, ADDISON, AND THE POETS’ CORNER*


Chaucer was buried in the year 1400, and it was close upon two hundred
years before another great poet, Edmund Spenser, "followed here the
footing of his feet."  During much of this interval England had been in
a state of unrest and excitement.  First the Wars of the Roses, then the
Reformation, with the bitter persecutions that followed it, had stirred
men to the very core.  Their eyes had been dazzled by the sudden and
vehement changes which had followed each other. English blood had flown
freely, English life had been offered up on English soil, not only in
the great battles of the Civil War, but on scaffolds and in fiery names.
It had not been an age for poets or writers.  Of the few who have left
their mark on our literature during that time, John Wycliffe had not
even been allowed to rest in peace after death, for his body was taken
from its grave and burnt, and his ashes were thrown into the river
Swift, while both Sir Thomas More and the Earl of Surrey had been
executed at the command of Henry VIII.  One important piece of work had
indeed been commenced and carried on during those days of storm which
affected both earlier and later writers, and which was distinctly
connected with the Abbey.  For in the year 1477, William Caxton had
settled with his printing press in the Almonry at Westminster, and had
issued his famous advertisement, in which he had made known the fact
"that if it should plese ony man, spiritual or temporal, to bye ony pyes
of two and three commemoracions of Salisbro’s use, enpryntid after the
forme of this present lettre, which been wel and truly correct, lete hym
come to Westmonester into the Almonerye at the Red Pale, and he shal
have them good chepe."  He had learned his art in Cologne and Bruges,
having lived for nearly thirty years in the latter place, where he
traded as a merchant, and during those years he had translated a number
of books into English.  Why he settled on Westminster when at last he
returned to England as a middle-aged man, we know not, unless it was
that he fancied he should find quiet and security under the walls of the
Abbey, or that the abbots and monks, as the patrons of learning, would
prove themselves good friends to him.  But here he came, and here from
his study, "where lay many and diverse paunflettis and bookys," this
wonderful man, who was master-printer, translator, corrector, and
editor, worked and directed his apprentices.  Over a hundred different
books were issued from this press, among them being "The Canterbury
Tales," the "fayre and ornate termes" of which gave Caxton "such greate
playsir," that he desired to make them widely known.  Many people, some
friends, some strangers, found their way, full of curiosity and
interest, to the quaint house, which was marked by a large white shield
with a red bar, there to watch Master Caxton and his workmen at their
strange new craft, and many shook their heads, declaring that "so many
books could never find purchasers."  But the wise printer heeded them
not.  He worked with a will from morn till eve, and marked his hours by
the Abbey bells. It was not only Chaucer’s writings that he gave to the
public, but many other works which without him would long have remained
unknown or forgotten, and more than any one else he helped to fix the
language which Chaucer had used, by himself using the same in all his
translations.  His busy life came to an end in 1491, and he was buried
in the Church of St. Margaret’s, Westminster.  But at the sign of the
Red Pale his favourite apprentice, Wynken de Worde, carried on the
master’s work with the same extraordinary industry, producing no fewer
than five hundred separate books up to the time of his death in 1535.
This date brings us to within about twenty years of the time when Edmund
Spenser, Walter Raleigh, and Philip Sidney, the singing birds and
knightly spirits of the Elizabethan Court, were born.  Like Chaucer,
Spenser was a Londoner and he describes his birthplace as

    "The merry London, my most kyndly nurse,
    That to me gave this life’s first active source."

He proudly declared that "he took his name from an ancient house," but
we know little of his immediate family.  His boyhood was spent at
Smithfield, then within easy reach of woods and fields, and he has given
us a glimpse of it in these words, which show that he was a boy very
much like all other boys:—

    "Whilome in youth, when flowed my joy full spring
    Like swallow swift, I wandered here and there
    for heat of headlesse lust me did so sting,
    That I oft doubted daunger, had no fear:
    I went the wastefull woodes and forrest wide
    Withouten dread of wolves to bene espied.

    "I wont to raunge amid the mazie thicket,
    And gather nuttes to make my Christmas game,
    And joyed oft to chase the trembling pricket,
    Or hunt the hartlesse hare till she were tame.
    What wrecked I of wintrie age’s waste?
    Tho’ deemed I my spring would ever last.

    "How often have I scaled the craggie oke,
    All to dislodge the raven of her nest?
    How have I wearied with many a stroke
    The stately walnut tree, the while the rest
    Under the tree fell all for nuttes at strife?
    For like to me was libertye and life."

He was educated at the Merchant Taylors’ School, and afterwards at
Cambridge, where an old biographer declares "he mispent not his time, as
the fruites of his labours doe manifest, for that he became an excellent
scholar, especially most happy in English poetry."  But no other
memories remain to us of his university life except the names of his two
great and lifelong friends, and all we know of him during the first few
years after he left Cambridge is that he lived in the north, and that he
fell violently in love with a certain Rosaline, "a gentlewoman both of
nature and manners, worthy to be commended to immortalitie for her rare
and singular virtues," but who apparently did not in any way return his
ardent affections.  He lamented her indifference so deeply that he left
his home and made his way to London, "all weeping and disconsolate," and
though he was by nature light-hearted and pleasure-loving, he treasured
the memory of her many charms for fourteen years, until he met and
married the Elizabeth whom he described as "my love, my life’s last
ornament."  But if it was despair which drove Spenser to London, he had
no cause ever to regret the move, for it led to his making the
acquaintance of Sir Philip Sidney, who introduced him to his uncle, the
all-powerful Earl of Leicester.  Both received him cordially, and in a
short time he was mixing in all the intellectual society of the day.
England was at peace; Elizabeth’s firm rule made for prosperity; the new
learning had taken root; the spirit of adventure, of imagination, of
chivalry had free scope; the spirit of growth, of progress, of
enterprise pervaded the air.  All was ready for the coming of a poet who
could sing as Chaucer had done, and make sweet music with the national
language.  In the winter of 1579 Spenser published, not under his own
name, his "Shepherdes Calendar," a series of shepherd tales, one for
each of the twelve months of the year, and these he dedicated to
"Maister Philip Sidney, that noble and vertuous gentleman, most worthy
of all titles, both of learning and chevalrie."  At once the "new poet"
leapt into fame, though nothing could have been in greater contrast than
Chaucer’s Tales and Spenser’s Calendar.  The first faithfully pictured
life as it was without romance or exaggeration; the second, according to
the fashion of the day, was in the form of a masquerade: the heroes and
heroines were all shepherds or shepherdesses; everything took place in
the country, every one was a rustic, and the highest praise that could
be given to Chaucer was to call him the "god of shepherds."  So the
Calendar had none of that simplicity and truthfulness which gave to
Chaucer’s work its great charm.  Shepherds and shepherdesses, when put
in all kinds of unnatural positions, could not fail to be unreal and
artificial, especially when they were made to talk in the language of
scholars. But Spenser’s strength lay in the melody of his verse, in his
sense of beauty and his power over language, and it has been truly said
that though he is not the greatest of poets, his poetry is the most
poetical of all poetry.

Fuller, who wrote on the "Worthies of England," tells us that Spenser
was presented to Queen Elizabeth, who was so overcome by the beauties of
his poem, that she ordered Lord Burleigh to give him a hundred pounds,
to which the cautious Treasurer objected, saying it was too much.  "Then
give him what is reason," said the Queen.  But it was evident that
Burleigh had not a great liking for the new poet, probably because he
was such a friend of Leicester’s, and Spenser saw nothing of the money
till he brought it to the Queen’s remembrance in a little rhyme.  He
soon found that he could not live by his poetry, but he had no desire to
exist on the favours of Leicester or Sidney, and preferred to earn his
own daily bread in some honourable and independent way.  An opening came
unexpectedly. Ireland was causing much anxiety to the crown; one Lord
Deputy after another sent from England had failed to restore to it order
or good government, and had come home depressed and disheartened, if not
actually disgraced.  In 1579 the Government pressed Lord Grey de
Wilton—the "good Lord Grey"—high-minded, religious, and fearless, to
undertake the thankless task, and he, from a sense of duty, accepted the
office of Lord Deputy.  He invited Spenser to come with him, as his
secretary, and the offer was at once accepted, though it must have cost
the poet something to tear himself away from the centre of life and
learning, from the society he so enjoyed, to bury himself in a country
regarded as only half civilised, and which at that very time was in open
rebellion.  He left behind him Merrie England, with all that was
pleasant to him, when he went to Ireland, which was then in a most
turbulent and rebellious condition, and for the time being his writing
had to be laid aside for sterner stuff.  But all honour to him that he
chose work rather than dependence.

Lord Grey de Wilton did not succeed any better than his predecessors had
done.  Naturally kind-hearted, he nevertheless deemed it his duty to
carry out a policy of great severity, and himself almost a Puritan in
his religious views, he saw no hope for the distressful country until
Protestantism reigned there.  Spenser adopted the same opinions as his
master, and pitiless force was the only weapon used in the warfare.  Of
course it availed nothing, and Lord Grey was recalled, more or less
under a cloud, for he had many enemies at home among those who found him
too uncompromisingly straightforward and honourable, as well as among
those who condemned his fanatical severity and his ruthlessly heavy
hand.  Spenser, who stayed behind in Ireland, always remained loyal to
him, and sturdily defended that "most just and honourable personage,
whose least virtues, of many most excellent, which abounded in his
heroical spirit, they were never able to aspire to, who with evil
tongues did most untruly and maliciously backbite and slander him."

For the next few years the poet held various clerkships and other posts,
and at last he became the possessor of Kilcolman Castle, where he lived
for some time, devoting his spare hours to the great work he so long had
in contemplation, "The Faerie Queene."  In 1590 he got permission to
return for awhile to England that he might publish that part of his book
which he had finished, a permission he owed to Raleigh, who had read
much of the work when staying as his guest in Ireland, and who with
generous sympathy longed to give to the poet the fame which was so
justly his. Thanks to him, too, the Queen listened to some portions of
the poem, and was greatly delighted with the many references made to
herself.  For Spenser had learnt how to flatter gracefully in his verse,
and had realised that to find favour in the Queen’s eyes he would do
well

    "To lyken her to a crowne of lillies
    Upon a virgin bryde’s adorned head,
    With roses dight and goolds and daffadillies;
    Or like the circlet of a Turtle true
    In which alle colours of the rainbow bee.
    Or like faire Phebes’ garland shining new,
    In which alle pure perfection one may see.
    But vain it is to think by paragone
    Of earthly things, to judge of things Divine."


He had dedicated his book to her, "The most High, Mightie, and
Magnificent Empress, renowned for Pietie, Virtue, and alle gracious
Government;" and at the end of the dedication expressed the humble hope
that "thus his labours might live with the eternity of her fame."
Elizabeth smiled graciously on one who added such glory to her court,
and gave Spenser a pension of £50.  "The Faerie Queene" was greeted with
a chorus of enthusiastic praise, and the publisher, who in an
introduction had begged gentle readers to "graciouslie entertain the new
Poet," had no reason to complain of the warm welcome given to him.

Of course, the work was an allegory, a double allegory, so to speak; for
besides having a general meaning to his story, he had a special one
which referred to living people, such as the Queen, Sir Philip Sidney,
Lord Grey, and so on.  The whole poem, therefore, is rather complicated,
and in great contrast to the well-arranged plots which Chaucer had woven
into his stories.  The general idea was that in a certain happy country
there reigned a great Queen Gloriana, around whose presence had gathered
a body of brave and fearless knights.  The queen decided to hold a feast
for twelve days, and on each day an adventure was to be undertaken by
one of these knights for the purpose of righting some wrong, releasing
some captive, or succouring some oppressed person.  Spenser purposed to
tell of these several adventures in twelve books, but only six were
finished. Now if in "The Faerie Queene" we attempt to unravel the very
knotted allegory, we shall soon get into difficulties, for Spenser’s
greatest gifts did not lie in his power of making a clear story, but in
his perfectly chosen language, his lofty thoughts, and the never-failing
music of his verse.  So the wisest plan, I think, is to read the
romances for their own beauty without trying to find a hidden meaning in
every line, and even so, we shall everywhere discover rich gems.

It is strange that in spite of all the fame which "The Faerie Queene"
gave the poet, it brought him neither wealth nor even work, and he
"tourned back to his sheepe" in Ireland.  He married, and poured out his
joy in an exquisite song called "Epithalamion."  Besides this, he wrote
more books of his great work, many sonnets and hymns, and a treatise on
Ireland. He was made Sheriff of Cork, and altogether his worldly affairs
prospered; for Burleigh was dead, and it was Burleigh who had always
checked the Queen’s generosity towards him, "saying a song needed not
such liberal payment."  Suddenly a fresh and violent rebellion broke out
in Ireland.  Spenser’s castle was attacked and set on fire; his little
child was burned to death; and all his valued possessions were
destroyed.  He came back to London with his wife, homeless, penniless,
broken-hearted.  Over the next few months a veil is drawn; how it came
to pass that his many friends and admirers knew nothing of his
sufferings, or knowing did not raise a hand to help him, remains a
mystery.  This is certain, that he died of grief and for lack of bread
in a street near Westminster.  After his death, indeed, his friends came
to the fore once more.  The Earl of Essex paid all the expenses of his
funeral, which took place in the Abbey.  Poets and writers flocked to
his grave-side, throwing on to his coffin their songs of woe.  We may
take it for granted that Shakespeare was among the mourners, and with
him were all the brightest spirits of the day.  Truly the broken-hearted
poet was well honoured on that last event of his life.  At some period
of his career, probably near the end, he had written a poem on "Change
and Mutabilitie."  God grant that in those bitter closing days he found
the ray of hope he thus did sing of:—

    "Then gin I think on that which Nature sayd,
    Of that same time when no more Change shall be,
    But stedfast rest of all things firmly stayd,
    Upon the Pillars of Eternitie,
    That is contrayr to Mutabilitie.
    For all that moveth does in change delight:
    But thenceforth all shall rest eternally
    With Him, that is the God of Sabbaoth hight:
    O that great Sabbaoth God, grant me that Sabbaoth’s sight."


True it is that Spenser, the herald of the Elizabethan day, gives to the
Poets’ Corner the reflected glory of that period, but we can never cease
to regret that Shakespeare, its crown and its sun, lies so far away from
Westminster. Only the Abbey seems a fitting monument to that great mind,
our king of English literature.

    "Thou art a monument without a tomb,
    And art alive while still thy books doth live,
    And we have wits to read, and praise to give."

So wrote Ben Jonson.  With that thought, and the fact that, a hundred
and twenty years after his death, a memorial to Shakespeare was put up
in the Poets’ Corner by public subscription, we must rest content.  Ben
Jonson himself was buried here, having in his imperious way demanded of
the king "eighteen inches of ground in the Abbey," and so he remained in
death "a child of Westminster."  He had been educated at Westminster
School, this turbulent, strong-spirited lad, with Border blood in him,
who could never settle down to the trade of a builder, to which he had
been apprenticed, and who was heard of among actors and playwriters.  He
was the friend of Shakespeare; indeed, it is said that the great man not
only warmly praised his first play, "Every Man in his Humour," but acted
in it himself at the Globe Theatre.  Jonson produced a great number of
plays and a still greater number of court masques.  He was a master of
plot, and everything he wrote was full of force and personality.  Such a
fiery character as his could hardly fail to lead him into a series of
quarrels; but, in spite of this, he was held by his large circle of
friends to be "the prince of good fellows," and the words, "O rare Ben
Jonson," carved on his tomb by order of Sir John Young, "who, walking
here when the grave was covering, gave the fellow eighteenpence to cut
it," is an epitaph that came from the hearts of those who loved him and
recognised his genius.  Francis Beaumont, another Elizabethan
playwriter, and the intimate friend of the whole group of dramatists,
lies here; as does Michael Drayton, who wrote more than one hundred
thousand lines of verse, and who, despite the fact that he was always
quarrelling with his booksellers, whom he described as "a company of
base knaves I scorn to kick," was known among his contemporaries as the
"all-loved Drayton."  Abraham Cowley, held in his day to be a great
poet, had a magnificent funeral and a most flattering epitaph, but
though one enthusiastic admirer went so far as to declare that the Great
Fire left the Abbey untouched because Fate would that Cowley’s tomb
should be preserved, his works did not long survive him.  Close to him
was laid John Dryden, who as a boy had been well whipped by the great
Doctor Busby.  He says himself that he "endeavoured to write good
English," and he produced several plays and some excellent political
satires.  He was not a great poet, but he had the knack of reasoning
well in verse, of choosing apt words, and of writing vigorously.  And we
must remember that he lived in the days of the later Stuarts, when poets
had well-nigh forgotten the sweet music of the Elizabethan age.  Near to
his tomb stands the bust of his bitter enemy, Shadwell, of whom he had
written:—

    "Shadwell alone of all my sons is he
    Who stands confirmed in all stupidity.
    The rest to some faint meaning made pretence,
    But Shadwell never deviates into sense."

Even so did the Abbey unite these rival poets-laureate.

[Illustration: POETS’ CORNER]

Another satirist, Samuel Butler, has a monument, but not a tomb, in the
Abbey.  He also died in abject poverty, and of him these lines were
written, which apply to more than one of those commemorated in the
Poets’ Corner:—

    "When Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
    No generous patron would a dinner give.
    Behold him starved to death and turned to dust,
    Presented with a monumental bust.
    The poet’s fate is here in emblem shown:
    He asked for bread, and he received a stone."


Thomas May, the historian; Davenant, the Royalist poet-laureate; Sir
John Denham, a Royalist versifier, and John Phillips, a devoted imitator
of Milton, are little more than names to us; but then we must remember
that, with few exceptions, neither the poets nor the poetry of that
period which ended with the death of William III. have lived on through
our literature. With the accession of Anne there came a burst of new
life, and the next great name we come to in the Abbey is that of Joseph
Addison, the most charming of our prose writers.  To find his grave,
however, we must leave the Poets’ Corner and go to General Monk’s vault
in Henry VII.’s Chapel.  For here, close to his friend Charles Montagu,
Lord Keeper, he of "piercing wit, gentle irony, and sparkling humour,"
the regular contributor to our two earliest newspapers, the _Tattler_
and the _Spectator_, was buried.  His own words, from an article in the
_Spectator_ when it was about twelve days old, best describe both the
man and his aims: "It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great
city enquiring day by day after these my papers, and receiving my
morning lectures with a becoming seriousness and attention.  My
publisher tells me that already three thousand of them are distributed
every day, so that if I allow twenty readers to every paper, I may
reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westminster,
who, I hope, will take care to distinguish themselves from the
thoughtless herd of their ignorant and unattentive brethren.  I shall
spare no pains to make their instruction agreeable and their diversion
useful.  For which reason I shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit
and to temper wit with morality....  I have resolved to refresh their
memories from day to day, till I have recovered them from that desperate
state of folly and vice into which the age is fallen.  The mind that
lies fallow but a single day sprouts up in follies that are only to be
killed by assiduous culture.  It was said of Socrates that he brought
philosophy down from heaven to inhabit among men, and I shall be
ambitious to have it said of me that I brought philosophy out of closets
and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies,
at tea-tables and in coffee-houses."  Then, having given his general
aim, he goes on to especially commend his paper to all well-regulated
families; to those gentlemen of leisure who consider the world a
theatre, and desire to form a right judgment of those who are the actors
on it; and to those "poor souls called the blanks of society, who are
altogether unfurnished with ideas, who ask the first men they meet if
there is any news stirring, and who know not what to talk about till
twelve o’clock in the morning, by which time they are pretty good judges
of the weather, and know which way the wind sets;" while finally he
appeals to the female world: "I have often thought," he says, "that
there has not been sufficient pains taken to find out proper employments
and diversions for the fair ones.  Their amusements seem contrived for
them rather as they are women than as they are reasonable creatures.
The toilet is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of
their hair the principal employment of their lives.  This, I say, is the
state of ordinary women, though I know there are multitudes of those
that move in an exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue, and that join
all the beauties of mind to the ornaments of dress.  I hope to increase
the number of those by publishing this daily paper, which I shall always
endeavour to make an innocent entertainment, and by that means at least
divert the minds of my female readers from far greater trifles."

Faithfully and yet very pleasantly did Addison carry out his scheme.
His humour was always kindly, his good sense was unvarying, his thoughts
were always generous and true, and his easy unaffected language
completed the charm.  Instead of dropping to the level of his readers,
he raised them to the much higher level on which he himself stood, and
this without dull lecturing or violent denunciations.  Religion, duty,
love, honour, purity, truth, kindliness, and public-spiritedness were
all real things to him, and he sought to make them everywhere realities
too, gilding his little moral pills so cleverly, that until they were
swallowed no one knew they were pills, and then they left nothing but a
sweet taste behind.

"About an age ago," he writes, "it was the fashion in England for every
one who would be thought religious to throw as much sanctity as possible
into his face.  The saint was of a sorrowful countenance, and generally
was eaten up with melancholy.  I do not presume to tax such characters
with hypocrisy, as is done too frequently, that being a vice which, I
think, none but He who knows the secrets of men’s hearts should pretend
to discover in another.  But I think they would do well to consider
whether such a behaviour does not deter men from religion....  In short,
those who represent religion in so unamiable a light are like the spies
sent out by Moses to make a discovery in the Land of Promise, when by
their reports they discouraged the people from entering upon it.  Those
that show us the joys, the cheerfulness, the good-humour that naturally
spring up in this happy state are like the spies bringing along with
them clusters of grapes and delicious fruits that so invited their
companions into the pleasant country which produced them."

Two of his articles have Westminster Abbey for their subject.  On one
occasion Addison, as the Spectator, goes there for a walk, and thus
describes his feelings:—"I yesterday passed a whole afternoon in the
Cloisters and the Church ... And I began to consider with myself what
innumerable multitudes of people lay confused under the pavement of that
ancient cathedral; how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and
soldiers, monks and prebendaries were crumbled one against the other;
how beauty, strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity,
lay undistinguished in the same heap of matter....  Some of the
monuments were covered with such extravagant epitaphs that, if it were
possible for the dead person to be acquainted with them, he would blush
at the praises which his friends bestowed on him.  There were others so
excessively modest that they deliver the character of the person
departed in Greek or Hebrew so that they are not understood once in a
twelvemonth. I found there were poets which had no monuments, and
monuments which had no poets....  Sir Cloudesley Shovel’s monument gave
me great offence.  Instead of the brave, rough English admiral, which
was the distinguishing character of that plain gallant man, he is
represented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long
periwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of
state.  The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of genius, show
an infinitely greater taste....  The monuments of their admirals which
have been erected at the public expense represent them like themselves,
and are adorned with rostral crowns and naval ornaments, with beautiful
festoons of seaweed, shells, and coral.  When I look upon the tombs of
the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of
the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the
grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when
I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of
grieving for those that we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying
by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by
side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and
disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little
competitions, factions, and debates of mankind.  When I read the several
dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred
years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be
contemporaries, and make our appearance together."

The next visit Spectator paid to the Abbey was in the company of Sir
Roger de Coverley, his own creation, that gentleman of ancient descent,
whose "singularities proceeded from his good sense, and were
contradictions to the manners of the world only as he thought the world
was in the wrong," and who was such a great lover of mankind, with such
a mirthful cast in his behaviour, so cheerful, gay, and hearty, that
"his tenants grew rich, his servants were satisfied, all young women
professed love to him, and the young men were glad of his company."  The
squire was now spending one of his frequent visits to London, and
informed the Spectator that having read his paper on Westminster Abbey,
he should like to go there with him, never having visited the tombs
since he read history.

"As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the
trophies on one of the new monuments, and cried out, ’A brave man!  I
warrant him!’  Passing afterwards by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he flung his
head that way, and cried, ’Sir Cloudesley Shovel, a very gallant man!’
As we stood before Busby’s tomb the knight uttered himself again after
the same manner. ’Doctor Busby, a great man!  He whipped my grandfather;
I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead.  A very
great man!’  Among several other figures he was very well pleased to see
the statesman Cecil upon his knees....  Sir Roger, in the next place,
laid his hand upon Edward III.’s sword, and leaning upon the pommel of
it gave us the whole history of the Black Prince, concluding that, in
Sir Richard Baker’s opinion, Edward III. was one of the greatest princes
that ever sat upon the English throne.  We were then shown Edward the
Confessor’s tomb, upon which Sir Roger acquainted us that he was the
first who touched for the evil, and afterwards Henry IV.’s, upon which
he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties
of that reign.  Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there
is the figure of one of our English kings without a head, and upon
giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been
stolen away years before, ’Some Whig, I warrant you!’ says Sir Roger.
’You ought to lock your kings up better.  They will carry off the body,
too, if you don’t take care!’  The glorious names of Queen Elizabeth and
Henry V. gave the knight great opportunities of shining.  For my own
part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest
passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to
the memory of its princes."

Addison died when under fifty years of age, and the story goes that in
his last moments he sent for young Lord Warwick, his stepson.

"Dear sir," said the lad, "any commands you may give me, I shall hold
most sacred."

"See in what peace a Christian can die," answered the older man
tenderly.

Years before, in his first letter as Spectator, he had written these
honest words, "If I can in any way contribute to the improvement of the
country in which I live, I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it,
with the secret satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain."
And the knowledge that he had been true to this pure ambition brought
him a calm content in that hour when all the things of this life
vanished into the dim background.

His funeral in the Abbey has been thus vividly described by Tickell, his
friend:—

    "Can I forget the dismal night that gave
    My soul’s best part for ever to the grave?
    How silent did his old companions tread,
    By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead.
    Through breathing statues, then unheeded things,
    Through rows of warriors and through walks of kings!
    What awe did the slow solemn march inspire,
    The pealing organ and the pausing choir;
    The duties by the lawn-robed prelate paid
    And the last words that dust to dust conveyed!
    While speechless o’er the closing grave we bend—
    Accept those tears, thou dear departed friend!
    Oh, gone for ever, take this last adieu,
    And sleep in peace next thy loved Montagu."



                             *CHAPTER XVI*

                    *GARRICK, JOHNSON, AND SHERIDAN*


Near together and under the shadow of Shakespeare’s monument lie three
men whose lives brought them into close contact with each other: David
Garrick, the actor and manager; Dr. Samuel Johnson, the critic and
conversationalist; and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, prince of playwriters
and parliamentary orators.  Little Davy Garrick was the first of the
trio on whom the curtain fell, and his funeral in the Abbey, which took
place on the 1st of February 1779, was a most imposing one.  The streets
were crowded with people gathered to see the last of him they had so
delighted in applauding. The procession extended far down into the
Strand; players from Drury Lane and Covent Garden mourned the kindliest
and most lovable of comrades; seven carriages were filled with the
members of the Literary Club, and round the grave stood Edmund Burke,
Charles James Fox, Sheridan, Dr. Johnson, with many another
distinguished man.  That was a day of triumph for the English stage.
True, indeed, other players had been buried in Westminster—Anne
Oldfield, who lies in the nave; Anne Bracegirdle and Mr. Cibber, whose
graves are in the cloisters—but the death of David Garrick was accounted
a national loss, and all desired to honour him, under whose wise
guidance "the drama had risen from utter chaos into order, fine actors
had been trained, fine plays had been written for the fine actors to
act, and fine, never-failing audiences had assembled to see the fine
plays which the fine actors had acted."  It has often been said that
even had he been neither an actor nor a public character his name would
have gone down to future generations as a perfect English gentleman, so
great was the spell of his charm and his influence.  He was born in an
inn at Hereford in the year 1716, the son of a penniless officer in the
dragoons, who had married Miss Isabella Clough, the equally penniless
daughter of the vicar-choral of Lichfield Cathedral.  The lieutenant had
to serve at Gibraltar, and little David, a bright lad, ever ready with a
witty answer, got his early education in a free school at Lichfield,
presided over by a master who used the rod freely, "to save his boys
from the gallows," as he assured them for their comfort.  An older boy
at the same school was Samuel Johnson, the son of a highly respected
bookseller in Lichfield.  In spite of the great difference in their
ages, he became David’s friend, and together they used to patronise such
plays as the companies of strolling players brought within their reach,
the acting taking place in such barns as were available.  David, full of
enterprise, organised and drilled a little company of his own when he
was barely eleven, which company performed a play called "The Recruiting
Officer," to the admiration of a large and interested audience, composed
mainly of parents.  But funds did not allow of many such pastimes, and a
year later David was sent out to Portugal to work in the office of an
uncle, a prosperous wine merchant there. Never was boy more unfit for
the daily routine of an office, a fact which, fortunately, his uncle
soon recognised, for in a few months he was back again in Lichfield,
slightly in disgrace, it is true, and was sent to his old school that
"discipline might repair his deficiencies."

[Illustration: DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.]

Young Johnson, who by now had returned from Oxford, had, thanks to the
assistance of a wealthy friend, Mr. Walmesley, set up a school of his
own in the town, dignified by the name of "The Academy."  At this seat
of learning Garrick studied for a while, and years afterwards he wrote
of his solemn ponderous master, "I honoured him, he endured me."  But
the academy did not prosper, and Johnson, who had already begun to
write, determined to try his fate in London.  Thither, too, young
Garrick was bent, for it had been decided that he was to study law, and
kind Mr. Walmesley had arranged to pay the expenses of the special
instruction he would need, declaring him to be "of a good disposition,
and as ingenious and promising a young man as ever I knew in my life."
So together they set out, and together they lived for awhile, Johnson
finding a scanty livelihood as a bookseller’s assistant, David working
as a student of Lincoln’s Inn.

Soon afterwards Captain Garrick died, and at the same time died also the
rich wine merchant uncle, who left a fair sum of money to his brother’s
children, with a special legacy to David, of whom he had been
particularly fond.  Then it was that for the first time the boy’s
ambition took definite shape: he knew there was only one life and one
career for him, and that was summed up in the stage.  His mother,
though, shrank in horror from the idea, and to his eternal credit,
rather than add to her sorrows, he set aside his own wishes, and made
one more desperate effort to please his family by going into the wine
business, as the London manager, with his brother Peter.  Even in so
doing, theatrical life pursued him, for his wines were so patronised by
the coffee-houses and clubs to which the actors resorted, that he
considered it part of his business to amuse and entertain his customers
by "standing on the tables at the clubs to give his diverting and loudly
applauded mimicries."  To make a long story short, the genius that was
in David would not allow him to settle down to a wine merchant’s career;
he became restless and dissatisfied, and one fine morning two letters
fell like bombshells into the Garrick household at Lichfield: one from
David, saying that his mind was so inclined to the stage that he could
no longer resist it, and he hoped they would all forgive him when they
found he had the genius of an actor; the other from an old friend, who
hastened to assure the family how great a success Davy’s first
appearance had been, how the audience was in raptures, and how several
men of judgment had wondered that he had kept off the stage so long.
Richard II. was the ambitious part Garrick had undertaken.  "I played
the part to the surprise of every one," he wrote humbly to his furious
brother.  "It is what I doat upon, and I am resolved to pursue it."  The
_Daily Post_ had an enthusiastic notice about this unknown gentleman who
had never appeared before, "whose reception was the most extraordinary
and great that was ever known, whose voice was clear, without monotony,
drawling, affectation, bellowing, or grumbling; whose mien was neither
strutting, slouching, stiff, nor mincing."  Pope, most keen of critics,
had watched him delightedly from a box.  "That young man never had his
equal, and never will have a rival," he remarked; adding, "I only fear
lest he should become vain and ruined by applause."

But there was a simplicity of character and a fund of good sense in
David which saved him from this latter fate, even though he quickly
became the talk of the town, the man about whom the fashionable London
world went mad.  After acting with ever-increasing success in nineteen
different parts, his London season came to an end for the time being,
and in response to an urgent invitation he went over to Dublin, where
the craze for him was so intense that, when a mild epidemic broke out,
it was given the name of the Garrick fever.  A second visit to that gay
capital was even more successful, and Garrick finally returned to London
with a clear £600 in his pocket.

It was then that various difficulties beset him, chiefly owing to the
bad management of the theatres and the endless quarrels between the
principal actors of the day; but at last, thanks to the many friends who
firmly believed in him, and whose faith he never disappointed, he was
able to invest £8000 in Drury Lane Theatre, and to become its manager as
well as its leading actor. His determination was to "get together the
best company in England," and it is characteristic of him that he let no
past jealousies or quarrels interfere with his selection.  Even Macklin,
who had violently attacked him with tongue and pen, was engaged, as well
as his wife, and he skilfully smoothed down the sensitive feelings of
the various ladies.  He insisted on rehearsals, which hitherto had
seldom been enforced, and he also insisted that players should learn
their parts, a very necessary proviso.  On the opening night he
remembered the friend with whom he had entered London, when triumphs
such as this had been undreamt of, and it was Dr. Johnson whom he
commissioned to write the prologue, which he himself gave with splendid
effect. Later on he loyally did his best to make a success of Johnson’s
heavy and somewhat clumsy play "Irene," and thanks to his efforts and
the money he freely spent on its staging, it ran for nine nights, so
that the Doctor made the sum of £300.  But with this the author was far
from satisfied, and always declared that the actors had not done justice
to their parts!

It would take too long to dwell on the many plays Garrick produced, the
many parts he created, the wide range of writers new and old he
explored, and the excellent standard he maintained.  Whether it was a
tragedy of Shakespeare’s, or a comedy of Ben Jonson’s, or a pantomime,
he threw himself heartily into them all and never spared himself.  He
knew his public and catered for them, but at the same time he taught
them to understand and applaud the best.  His kindness to every one with
whom he came in contact was proverbial; indeed, his greatest weakness
lay in his good-nature. He could not bear to vex people by refusing them
anything, and this trait often landed him into difficulties with the
army of playwriters to whose entreaties that he would produce their
works he seldom turned a deaf ear.  And when these plays were too
hopelessly bad to be dreamt of, David tried to soften the blow by a gift
of money, sometimes actually a pension.  As might have been expected, he
had a wide circle of acquaintances from the highest in the land to the
poorest Grub Street poets, and rarely was man so well liked.  For in
spite of his weaknesses—and he was restless and sensitive to the point
of touchiness—he never allowed himself to be unjust or ungenerous to
other people, and no thought of self ever interfered with the standard
he had set up for his theatre and his own profession.

More than once he talked of retiring, for the strain of his life was
heavy, and he looked forward to years of restful enjoyment with his
"sweet wife," who had been before her marriage the celebrated dancer
Mademoiselle Violette.  But the very mention of such an idea raised a
storm of excitement.  Once even the king intervened when David had taken
an unusually long holiday, and his Majesty requested Mr. Garrick to
shortly appear again.  The night when, thus commanded, he reappeared in
"The Beggar’s Opera," was one of his greatest triumphs; again "the town
went half mad," and the theatre was crowded to an alarming extent.  All
ideas of retirement vanished from David’s mind; the old magic had not
lost its spell, and for more than ten years longer he went on with his
work as vigorously as ever.

His fame became even more widespread, his public loved him even more
dearly, and from far-away country places people journeyed to London so
that they might boast of once having seen the great Mr. Garrick.

But in 1776, an illness, which he had long kept at bay, made itself
felt, and he was the first to recognise that the time had nearly come
for the curtain to fall. He gave a series of his greatest
representations, ending with Richard II.  "I gained my fame in Richard,"
he said, "and I mean to close with it."—Though he confessed to being in
agonies of pain, in the eyes of his enraptured audience he was as great
as he had ever been in his palmiest days of success, as graceful, as
winsome, and as gay.  His real farewell play, however, was "The Wonder,"
in which he took his favourite part, that of Don Felix, and "as his
grand eyes wandered round the crowded house, he saw a sea of faces,
friends, strangers, even foreigners, a boundless amphitheatre
representing most affectionate sympathies and exalted admiration.  He
played as he had never played before.  When the last note of applause
had died away, the other actors left the stage and he stood there alone.
The house listened in awe-struck silence.  At first he tried in vain to
speak; for once the ready words would not come for his calling.  When at
last he went on to thank his friends for their wonderful kindness to
him, he broke down, and his tears fell fast.  Sobs rang through the
theatre.  "Farewell!  Farewell!" was cried in many a quivering voice.
Mrs. Garrick wept bitterly in her box, and David slowly walked off the
stage with one last wistful glance at the sea of faces all around him.

His interest in his theatre did not cease after he had left it, and he
was disturbed at finding that the new manager, Sheridan, was sadly
easy-going and unbusiness-like.  But there was not much time left for
such things to trouble him.  Though he kept up his merry heart and his
sprightly manner to the end, and though he delighted in the undisturbed
companionship of his wife, the disease gained rapidly and he suffered
much pain.  Gradually a stupor crept over him, and though it sometimes
lifted, so that with his old sweet smile he had a jest or a word of
welcome for his friends, it never cleared, and he passed gently away in
the early dawn of a January morning, 1779, "leaving that human stage
where he had played with as much excellence and dignity as ever he had
done on his own."

So ended a prosperous, pleasant life, and rarely was a man better liked
by his fellows, or more genuinely mourned.  Dr. Johnson, in this moment,
forgot all his later coldness towards the Davy he had once so loved. He
left a card on Mrs. Garrick, and "wished some endeavours of his could
enable her to support a loss which the world cannot repair;" while he
wrote those well-known words, which Mrs. Garrick had engraved on her
husband’s memorial monument in Lichfield Cathedral, and which form an
inscription more appropriate than that on the Abbey tomb:—"I am
disappointed by that stroke of death, which has eclipsed the gaiety of
nations and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure."

David’s devoted wife outlived him for over forty years, keenly
interested to the last in all matters theatrical, and a well-known
figure in the Abbey, where, little and bent, she often made her way to
the tomb which held him she had so loved, and standing there would
readily recount over and over again to willing listeners the triumphs of
"her Davy."

Johnson, as we have seen, settled down in London with the intention of
making literature pay.  "No man but a blockhead," he said in his
strongest manner, "ever wrote except for money."  Perhaps it was for
opinions such as these that his wife, more than twenty years older than
himself, declared him to be the most sensible man that lived.  A curious
figure he must have seemed to those booksellers of whom he demanded work
as a translator, mightily tall and broadly made, with a face which he
twirled and twisted about in a strange fashion, features scarred by
disease, eyes which were of little use to him, and a manner pompous and
overbearing, though redeemed by a kindliness of heart not to be
concealed.  But he managed to struggle along, writing squibs or
pamphlets, reporting speeches in Parliament, trying his hand at plays or
poetry, and all the while working away at his Great Dictionary, for
which when finished he was to receive £1500, he out of that sum paying
his copyists and assistants.  He founded a club at which he began to
make his reputation as a talker, and out of those conversations with his
special friends there came to him the idea of starting a newspaper on
the lines of Addison’s _Spectator_. But Johnson’s heavy hand, his love
of long discourses, and the natural melancholy of his nature, did not
fit him for work such as this.  His _Rambler_ only lasted for two years,
and certainly made him no fortune, though it may have helped him to
exist during that time.  His Dictionary, when it was at last completed,
gave him a surer position in the literary world of London, and he was
paid the sum of £100 for his story of "Rasselas," but most of this went
in paying for the last illness and funeral of his mother, and Johnson
seems to have been sadly in need of money.  Through the influence of
some friends, the king, George III. who declared that he was most
anxious to offer "brighter prospects to men of literary merit," proposed
to give Johnson a pension of £300 a year.  At first he would not hear of
accepting it—indeed, there was a rather formidable difficulty in the
way, for in his Dictionary he had defined the word pension as being
"generally understood to mean pay given to a State hireling for treason
to his country."  However, the explanations and persuasions of his
friends at last overcame the obstacle, and from that time forward he
became one of the best known public characters. A favourite such as
David Garrick he could never have aspired to be, and to fashionable
folks, especially to ladies, he was an untidy, conceited, rugged old
man, who ate enormous meals, drank sometimes twenty-five cups of tea at
one sitting, wore slovenly and dirty clothes, half-burnt wigs, and
slippers almost in tatters. Then he contradicted flatly, and his anger
was of a very vehement kind; though he always declared himself to be a
"most polite man," and was occasionally ceremonious to a wonderful
degree.  And yet as he discoursed, men listened to him with such
pleasure that they forgot entirely his many monstrous failings. His
power of argument was magnificent; never could man so slay an adversary
by his words as could this vigorous, quarrelsome, brilliant talker, and
though he hit hard, he did not hit cruelly.  There was no venom in his
words, and however violently he argued, he never seems to have lost a
friend through it.  On the contrary his circle of admirers constantly
grew, and cheerfully submitted to whatever demands he made upon them.
Chief among those friends, of course, stands the faithful Boswell, who
idolised him with a worship that must have been very wearisome.  If
Johnson so much as opened his mouth Boswell bent forward wild with
eagerness, terrified lest one precious word should escape him; he sat as
close to him as he could get, he hung around him like a dog, and no
amount of snubbing could damp his ardour.  He delighted in asking his
master a series of such questions as these:—"What would you do if you
were shut up in a castle with a new-born baby?" Or, "Why is a cow’s tail
long?"

"I will not be baited with what and why," Johnson would answer
impatiently.  "You have only two subjects, yourself and me.  I am sick
of both.  If your presence does not drive a man out of his house,
nothing will."

Johnson’s daily life seems to have been mapped out in this wise.  He lay
in bed late into the morning, surrounded by an admiring circle of men
friends, who consulted him on every particular, and listened
respectfully to all his opinions.  He only rose in time for a late
dinner at some tavern which occupied most of the afternoon, as other
circles of friends came to listen to him.  Then he would drink tea at
some house, frequently spending the rest of the evening there, unless he
was supping with other acquaintances.  Except for his "Lives of the
Poets," he wrote but little at this period of his life, and said in
excuse, "that a man could do as much good by talking as by writing."

Johnson was generally melancholy, the result of his miserable health to
a great extent.  Yet his pessimism never affected his wonderfully tender
heart.  Of his pension he barely spent a third on himself.  His house
became, after the death of his wife, the haven for a variety of
unfortunate and homeless people, and there lived in it Miss Williams, a
blind lady, whose temper was not sweet; Levett, a waiter, who had become
a quack doctor; Mrs. Desmoulins, and her daughter, old Lichfield
acquaintances, and a certain Miss Carmichael. Needless to say there was
very little peace in that household, and the poor old Doctor often
dreaded going home.  "Williams hates everybody," he wrote to his really
good friends, the Thrales.  "Levett hates Desmoulins, and does not love
Williams; Desmoulins hates them both; Poll Carmichael loves none of
them."

And yet this "rugged old giant," as he has been called, provided for
them all, and for many others who came and went at their will, and who
grumbled if everything was not exactly to their liking.  As his bodily
sufferings increased, he nerved himself to face the end with a
touchingly childlike confidence.  His thoughts wandered back to his
wife.  "We have been parted thirty years," he said.  "Perhaps she is now
praying for me.  God help me.  God, Thou art merciful, hear my prayers,
and enable me to trust in Thee."  Years before, when wandering about the
dark aisles with Goldsmith, he had pointed to the sleeping figures
around, saying, "And our names may perhaps be mixed with theirs."  So
now he was delighted when, in answer to his question, he was told that
he would be buried in Westminster Abbey. "Do not give me any more
physic," he asked the doctor at the very last; "I desire to render up my
soul to God unclouded."

His funeral was a very quiet one, in great contrast to Garrick’s, but
his executors felt that "a cathedral service with lights and music"
would have been too costly; as it was, the Dean and Chapter charged high
fees, and the expenses came to more than two hundred pounds.  But
Boswell assures us that a "respectable number of his friends attended,"
and though the Abbey holds many a greater name than that of Samuel
Johnson, few that sleep there carried a braver, kindlier heart
throughout a life of constant suffering.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan was the son of an actor and manager who had
been driven from Ireland, his native country, by a series of
misfortunes, and forced to earn his living in England as a teacher of
elocution.  Want of money, endless debts, a wonderful power of spending
freely with an entire absence of forethought, characterised the Sheridan
family, and young Richard was brought up on those very happy-go-lucky
principles.  He was sent to Harrow, where his tutor said, "The sources
of his infirmities were a scanty and precarious allowance from the
father;" and when he left school, a handsome, brilliant, careless boy of
seventeen the state of the family purse made any further education out
of the question.  His father had settled in Bath, and here Richard made
the acquaintance of that beautiful girl and wonderful singer, Elizabeth
Lindley "the link between an angel and a woman," as an Irish bishop
called her, whose father also taught music and gave concerts in Bath.
She was very unhappy, as her relations wished to force her into a
marriage with a rich but elderly gentleman whom she disliked, and in her
despair she confided her troubles to Richard Sheridan, the one among her
many admirers to whom she had given her heart.  To make a long story
short, the young couple fled together "on a matrimonial expedition," as
the _London Chronicle_ worded it; and in spite of all opposition they
married, and took up their abode in London, near Portman Square.  Though
neither of them had any private fortune, Sheridan refused to allow his
wife to sing in public.  This action of his was warmly discussed by Dr.
Johnson’s friends, some of whom said that as the young gentleman had not
a shilling in the world, he was foolishly delicate or foolishly proud.
The Doctor, however, applauded him roundly.  "He is a brave man.  He
resolved wisely and nobly.  Would not a gentleman be disgraced by having
his wife singing publicly for him?  No, sir, there can be no doubt
here."  But Sheridan had another surprise in store for his friends, and
suddenly it became known that he had written a play called "The Rivals,"
with which the manager of Covent Garden Theatre was entranced, a light,
fresh comedy, bearing on fashionable life in Bath.  It was produced, and
in spite of its many faults, chiefly arising from its having been
written in such hot haste, it made a reputation for its author, which
prepared the way for his great triumph two years later, when he brought
out "The School for Scandal," still the most popular of English
comedies.  With it he leapt into fame, and though barely twenty-five, he
became the man whose name was in everybody’s mouth.  With characteristic
airiness and vagueness in money matters, he took upon himself the
responsible duties of manager to Drury Lane Theatre after Garrick
retired, and brilliant though he was, his recklessness and want of any
business habits, soon brought about a serious state of chaos and
rebellion there.  This, however, seemed to disturb him but little, and
he turned his attention to politics; for at the Literary Club he had
made many political friends, including Fox, and he proposed going into
Parliament as an independent member, though he believed that "either
ministry or opposition would be happy to engage him."  He found a seat
at Stafford, and freely promised employment in Drury Lane Theatre to
those who voted for him; while the necessary money for the election,
which of course Sheridan did not possess, was provided by a gentleman in
return for a share in the Opera House.  His first speech was not a
success, but though disappointed he was not daunted.

"It is in me, however," he declared, "and it shall come out."

Within a very short time the House of Commons listened to him as it
would listen to no one else.  By constant practice he had trained
himself to speak perfectly and true to his Irish blood, he had a rich
store of language, a fund of wit and humour, and the power of handling
every emotion.  His great speech in the Warren Hastings case lasted six
hours, during the whole of which time he held the House in the hollow of
his hand, and when he continued his attack in Westminster Hall, people
paid twenty guineas a day to hear him.  "I cannot tell you," wrote his
devoted wife to her sister, "the adoration that he has excited in the
breasts of every class of people. Every party prejudice has been
overcome by such a display of genius, eloquence, and goodness."

Sheridan indeed was at the height of his glory; but fame is a dangerous
pinnacle for the strongest of men, and Sheridan had no foundation-stones
of strength or stability.  His wife’s death was the beginning of his
fall, debt and drink did the rest.  All sense of honour seems to have
left him where money was concerned.  His actors could get no payments
save in fair words; he kept the money which resulted from special
benefits; he borrowed where he could, and then plunged the more deeply
into debt, but he never curbed his extravagances, or went without
anything he desired, no matter to what means he had to resort.  His
buoyancy never failed him. Even when his theatre was burnt to the ground
with a loss to him of £200,000, his ready wit did not desert him. He sat
drinking his wine in a coffee-house from where he could see the flames,
merely remarking to a sympathetic friend, "A man likes to take a glass
of wine by his own fireside."  All the latter part of his life is
painfully sad; debt, poverty, and dishonour hemmed him in, and excessive
drinking brought on his last illness.  A few days before his death he
was discovered almost starving in an unfurnished room.  Even then the
bailiffs were about to carry him away to the debtors’ gaol, and only the
doctor, who stayed and nursed him to the end, prevented this last
disgrace.  The news of his destitution horrified those who remembered
him in the days of his dazzling triumphs, and in one paper an eloquent
appeal was made to the public generosity, "that we may prefer
ministering in the chamber of sadness to ministering at the splendid
sorrows which adorn the hearse."  In response, crowds of people, royal
dukes included, flocked to leave delicacies at his lodging.  But it was
too late; the fitful life with all its successes and failures was over,
the shining eyes of which he had been so proud were closed for ever now,
the man who had "done everything perfectly" was no more: the greatest
orator of his day was silent.

He had always hoped to be buried in Westminster Abbey, "where there is
very snug lying," and if possible next to Fox and Pitt.  Moreover, he
had desired that his passage to the grave should be quiet and simple.
But his friend, Peter Moore, determined that he should have a splendid
funeral; every one was invited and every one came.  The procession was
of great length, and "such an array of rank, so great a number of
distinguished persons" had never before assembled within the memory of
the beholders.  There was just room for a single grave near to where
David Garrick lay, and here Sheridan was buried.  While lest his name
should be all too soon forgotten, a simply worded tablet was immediately
prepared—the last tribute of Peter Moore.



                             *CHAPTER XVII*

                      *THE MUSICIANS IN THE ABBEY*


The Abbey which has its poets, its writers, and its actors, has also its
musicians.  Henry Purcell, who lies in the north aisle, spent his short
life among Westminster precincts, for he was horn in the year 1658 at
"an ancient house of Westminster, next door to the public-house and
skittle ground—the ’Bell and Fish.’"  His father, a "master of musique,
who could sing brave songs," was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, a
singing man of the Abbey, master of the choristers there, and, most
important of all, the musical copyist.  For under the Commonwealth,
church choirs and music had been sternly repressed, organs had been
broken up, singing books had been burned as superstitious and ungodly,
so that when once more the old cathedral services were allowed to be
held, but few of the old service books were left, and copyists had to
make good the deficiency. The older Purcell died when his little boy was
quite young, but Thomas Purcell, an uncle, also a gentleman of the
Chapel Royal, took him in hand, and at six years old Henry became a
chorister under that delightful old Master of the Children of the
chapel, Captain Cook, a musician whose devotion to King Charles I. had
led him to turn soldier during the Civil War, and who in his old age had
returned to his first love.  Purcell was under this original master for
eight years, and the old soldier seems to have taken a special pride in
the little chorister. But he did not live to see his favourite pupil
become famous, for in 1672 the old master died and was buried in the
Westminster cloisters, whither he was followed two years later by his
successor Humphreys. Then John Blow, another pupil, became Master of the
Children, and, as it is specially stated on his monument in the Abbey,
at the same time "master to the famous Henry Purcell."  It was
everything to the boy to be under so rare a teacher, for not only was he
an excellent musician, but also a man singularly sympathetic and
pure-minded, generous to a degree and without a thought of self.  He
became organist of Westminster Abbey, but he resigned it because he
thought it the very post Purcell could fill with advantage.  He then
accepted St. Paul’s, but having another pupil, Clarke, whom he
considered suited to it, he again set his own interests entirely on one
side and retired in his favour.

[Illustration: GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL.]

Purcell became a copyist of Westminster, but he chiefly devoted his time
to composing operas, as the managers of theatres offered him plenty of
work. He also turned his attention to church music and anthems.  The
year 1680 saw Purcell organist of the Abbey at the age of twenty-two,
and soon afterwards he modestly brought out a book of sonatas for two
violins, a bass, and the harpsichord or organ, in the preface to which
he said he had faithfully endeavoured a just imitation of the most famed
Italian masters, and went on to explain that, lest the terms of art
should puzzle his readers, _adagio_ imported nothing but a very slow
movement; _presto_, _largo_, and _vivace_, a very brisk, swift, or fast
movement; and _piano_ a soft one.  Operas, anthems, and odes all seem to
have flowed easily from his ready pen, and a list of them would only be
tedious. Among his anthems, perhaps the best known is the one composed
for the coronation of James II., "I was glad when they said unto me, we
will go into the House of the Lord."  The coronation of William and
Mary, however, led to quite a stir in the inner circle of the Abbey, for
Purcell allowed a number of persons to watch the ceremony from his
organ-loft, charging them for admission.  Now to this there was no
objection, but when rumour related that the fees so obtained amounted to
some hundreds of pounds, the Dean and Chapter, presuming that this was
worth contending for, claimed the money as their dues.  Purcell declared
that he had a right to organ-loft fees; and the feeling must have run
high, as in an old chapter note-book there runs the order that "Mr.
Purcell, the _organ blower_, is to pay such money as was received by him
for places in the organ-loft, in default thereof his place to be
declared null and void."  How the quarrel ended is not known.  However,
Purcell did not leave the Abbey, but went on with his flow of
compositions, and won from the poet Dryden the statement that "here we
have at length found an _Englishman_ equal with the best abroad."  It
was to Purcell that Dryden turned for the music to his opera King
Arthur, "for," he declared, "the artful hands of Mr. Purcell compose
with so great a genius, that he has nothing to fear but an ignorant,
ill-judging audience."  Queen Mary seems to have had a liking for very
popular music, and once seriously offended Purcell, when some of his
compositions were being performed to her, by asking to have sung instead
the old Scotch ballad, "Cold and raw."  So when he next had to compose a
birthday ode for her, he carefully introduced the air of "Cold and raw."
When the Queen died he wrote two beautiful anthems for the funeral
service in the Abbey, "Blessed is the man," and "Thou knowest, Lord, the
secrets of our hearts," of which a singer in the choir writes, "I appeal
to all who were present, to those who understood music as well as to
those who did not, whether they ever heard anything so rapturously fine
and solemn, so heavenly in the operation, drawing tears from all, and
yet a plain natural composition, which shows the power of music when
’tis rightly fitted and adapted to devotional purposes."  At many a
great public funeral since, this touching music of Purcell’s has been
used, and nothing has taken its place.

Delicate from his boyhood, it was early evident that Henry Purcell’s
life as organist of the Abbey was to be a short one, and in the year
1695 a pathetic little note was added to his song, "Lovely Albinia,"
stating that, "This is the last song the author sett before his
sickness."  His illness was just a wasting away, "dangerously ill in the
constitution, but in good and perfect minde and memory, thanks be to
God," to quote his own words.  A touching account has been given, in Dr.
Cumming’s "Life of Purcell" of the closing scene in this bright young
life:—

"He lay in a house on the west side of Dean’s Yard, Westminster, from
whence he could probably hear some faint murmurs of the Evensong service
wafted from the old Abbey close by, some well-remembered phrase,
perhaps, of one of his own soul-stirring anthems.  The Psalms for the
day (the 21st) to be chanted at that evening service, concluded with
words he had set to music which the world was not likely soon to forget,
music which still remains unsurpassed in truthfulness and dignity.  A
more noble or more fitting death-chant for a child of son" it would be
difficult to find—

    "’Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
    From everlasting, and world without end.
    And let all the people say, Amen.’


"So his gentle spirit passed into the better world, there to continue
his service of song and praise in fulness and perfection."

His own anthems were sung at his funeral; the organ he had so loved
pealed out its rich farewell to him; and on his gravestone are these
words in Latin—

    "Dead?  No, he lives, while yonder organ’s sound,
    And sacred echoes to the choir rebound."


Dr. Blow went back to his old post as Abbey organist on the death of his
pupil, and devoted himself to church music.  "To this," he said, "I have
ever especially consecrated the thoughts of my whole life.  All the rest
I consider but as blossoms and leaves.  With this I began my youthful
raptures in this art, with this I hope calmly and comfortably to end my
days."  His best known anthem, "I beheld, and lo!" was written within a
week for James II., who had asked him if he could do as well as the
Italian composers, and the king, much pleased with it, sent Father Peter
to congratulate Blow after service.  The priest, however, took it upon
himself to add that, "in his opinion, it was somewhat too long."
"That," replied Blow scornfully, "is only one fool’s opinion.  I heed it
not."

Blow, who died and was buried opposite to Purcell in 1708, was
considered by his fellow-musicians "to be the greatest master in the
world for the organ, especially in his voluntaries, which he played
gravely and seriously."  The inscription on his grave declares "that his
musical compositions are a far nobler monument to his memory than any
that can be raised to him," and on the open music-book below is given
the _Gloria_ from his fine Jubilate in C major.

William Croft succeeded Blow as organist, and most of his musical
compositions were written for special occasions; as, for example, his
anthem, "I will give thanks," which was produced after the famous
Blenheim victory. He, too, was of a lovable, kindly disposition, and the
inscription on his monument ends thus quaintly: "He emigrated to the
Heavenly Choir, with that Concert of Angels, for which he was better
fitted, adding his Hallelujah.  Awake up my glory!  Awake lute and harp!
I myself will awake right early."

Half a century later, that prince among musicians, George Frederick
Handel, was buried in the Poets’ Corner. Though not of English birth or
upbringing, he had become an English subject, and had found a warm
welcome in the hearts of the English people.  From babyhood he had shown
the bent of his mind.  Even his toys were tiny trumpets, horns, and
Jew’s harps, much to the annoyance of his kind old father, the
well-known doctor in the German town of Halle, who thought this craze of
George Frederick’s should be forcibly put a stop to, and who decreed
therefore, that "there was to be no more jingling, neither was he to go
into houses where music was practised."

The boy was outwardly submissive, but the longing within was too strong
for him.  Somehow he got possession of an old clavichord, one of those
muffled instruments on which musical monks could practise without
disturbing the brethren, and this he smuggled up to a garret in the roof
of the house, where, with storks to bear him company, he played away to
his soul’s content.  It was in utter ignorance of all this, that Dr.
Handel took the little boy with him once, when summoned to attend the
Court at Sache-Weisseufels, where the reigning duke delighted in
learning, art, and music.  Naturally, George Frederick found his way to
the organ-loft, where the good-natured organist lifted him up, for he
was but seven, that he might touch the notes.  To his surprise, the
child began to play with a practised hand, and with so much style, that
the Grand Duke, who heard him, sent for the doctor and begged him not
further to thwart such a genius.  So from this time forward the boy was
allowed to study seriously, under the enthusiastic organist of the
Liebfrauen Kirche in Halle, who taught him to play the harpsichord, the
organ, the violin, the hautboy, and other instruments, besides the art
of counterpoint.  When, after years of study, he came to England, where
Purcell’s death had made a blank not yet filled up, he was received with
open arms, his fame having preceded him.  At once he was engaged to
write an opera for the Queen’s Theatre, and having discovered a
_libretto_ which greatly pleased him, a stirring story of the Crusades,
his ideas poured forth so fast and so easily, that in a fortnight he had
completed the work, and his "Rinaldo" was soon the rage of the season.
Although Handel held the post of Kapellmeister to the Elector of
Hanover, and had only been given leave of absence for a "reasonable
time," he could not tear himself away from London, so well did he like
the place and the people.

From operatic music he turned to oratorio.  The Duke of Chandos, who
lived in almost regal state at his palace at Cannons, maintained an
orchestra and choir, so that the musical services of his private chapel
might be as nearly perfect as possible.  To Handel he offered the post
of musical director, and thus, in church music, the great composer’s
genius found a new outlet.  The wonderful old Bible stories, with their
vigour and dramatic force, and the stately Bible language, with its rich
simplicity, strongly appealed to him, and it is because of his oratorios
and cantatas rather than through his other works, that the name and the
memory of Handel remain for ever fresh among us.  "Esther" was his first
great work in this new line, first performed in a private house at
Westminster by the children of the Chapel Royal, assisted by the
choristers of the Abbey.  So pleased were the guests, that a few days
later the performance was repeated at the Crown and Anchor tavern in the
Strand, and would further have been given at the Opera House, had not
the Bishop of London refused permission for any choristers to take part.
Eventually, with a new band of singers, the oratorio was publicly given,
by the king’s command, in the Haymarket Theatre, "with a great number of
voices and instruments," and it was specially announced that "there
would be no acting on the stage, though the house would be fitted up in
a decent manner for the audience."  To this performance came all the
royal family, while so great was the crowd, that hundreds were turned
empty away, and six extra performances had to be at once arranged for.

"Deborah" and "Athaliah" soon followed, also "Acis and Galatea," which
latter, though not sacred music, served to increase his popularity, his
audiences numbering thousands.  A great blow to him was the death of
Queen Caroline, his kindest, most sympathetic friend, and in composing
the anthem for her funeral in the Abbey he wrote from the depths of his
sorrowing heart.  Nothing could exceed the pathos or the sweetness of
that music, with its undercurrent of desolate grief, and when, in the
February of 1901, the Abbey was thronged with a great representative
assembly, there to pay a last tribute of reverence to another queen,
this anthem rang once more through the old walls.

Success to Handel was but a stepping-stone, leading him towards
something higher.  He was never satisfied with himself, but went on from
strength to strength, conscious of his own power to produce music which
should live for ever.  His "Saul" and his "Israel in Egypt" showed how
completely he could throw himself into the spirit of his subject, and
through the pages of his music, Saul, Goliath and David, the Children of
Israel, the Egyptians and Miriam, all spring into life for us. As we
listen, the story takes new shape, and the events which surround it
stand out with a new lurid light.

But the greatest work of all was not produced in London.  Handel went on
a visit to Dublin, where he found audiences "more numerous and polite
than he had ever seen on like occasions," and the general enthusiasm "so
put him in good spirits," that after completing a second series of
concerts a special performance was announced, at which "Mr. Handel’s new
grand oratorio called ’The Messiah’" was to be given.  Furthermore, as a
great crowd was anticipated, ladies were begged to come without their
hoops, and gentlemen without their swords, for in this way quite another
hundred persons could be accommodated.

"The finest composition of musick that was ever heard," was the verdict
of that "grand, polite, and crowded audience," and a liberal sum was
received for the "relief of the prisoners in the gaols," to which
charity Handel, with peculiar appropriateness, had offered to devote the
profits.  Strange to say, the new work did not at once take root in
London, but with repeated performances its triumph became steady and
lasting. The subject was a great one.  The smallest mistake in dealing
with it would have jarred painfully, and so little would have robbed
that simple story of its majesty. But Handel gave to it a new glory, a
new splendid dignity, and to many a heart those familiar words have
struck home with a reality hitherto undreamt of, through the beauty and
the force of his music.  Reverently he touched the great mystery, and as
the story took life before his awe-struck eyes, he translated it into
harmonies worthy of so vast a theme.

"I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God Himself,"
said Handel reverently, as he spoke of the Hallelujah Chorus, which so
deeply impressed the audience in the Covent Garden Theatre on the first
night that, one and all, with the king setting the example, they sprang
to their feet and stood to the end.  The musician had led them into the
very Presence of God.

Other oratorios followed—"Samson," "Judas Maccabeus," and "Jephtha"—but
none of them equalled "The Messiah."  To this great work Handel had
given freely of his best, before that dark cloud arose which saddened
all his later days.  For gradually blindness crept over him, till at
last his sight departed for ever. In spite of this he continued to
conduct his own works, and to the last insisted on being led to the
organ, that he might play the concertos and voluntaries between the
parts of his oratorios.  And we hear how, when the fine solo in
"Samson"—

    "Total eclipse—no sun, no moon:
    All dark amid the blaze of noon,"

was sung with great feeling at one performance, the sight of the blind
composer sitting at the organ was so indescribably touching, that many
present were moved to tears.

On the 5th of April, 1759, a notice appeared in the _Public Advertiser_
that "The Messiah" would be performed in Covent Garden on the 6th of
April for the last time in the season.

Handel conducted his work, was carried fainting from the hall, and in
less than a week had passed away. His own wish, when he knew how near
the end loomed, was that he might die on Good Friday, "in hopes," he
said, "of meeting my good God and sweet Saviour on the day of His
resurrection."  And in this trustful spirit he went to the God he had so
worthily worshipped.

His funeral was intended to be private, but thousands came to it, and
though no trace remains of the music sung on that occasion, I cannot
help hoping that some boy’s clear voice rang through the aisles as he
sang "I know that my Redeemer liveth."  Nothing would have been so
fitting, and those are the words, nobler far than any epitaph, which the
good taste of some friend caused to be inscribed on his monument in the
Poets’ Corner.



                            *CHAPTER XVIII*

                  *WILBERFORCE AND HIS FELLOW-WORKERS*


The desire of Abou Ben Adhem that his name might be handed on as one
"who loved his fellow-men" would form a fitting epitaph not only to
those great-hearted workers in the cause of humanity whom the Abbey has
delighted to honour—William Wilberforce, the liberator of the slave, and
David Livingstone, the missionary and explorer in Darkest Africa—but
also to those others who toiled with them in the same great cause of
freedom, and whose claims to the grateful recollection of the nation are
recorded only by monuments—Granville Sharp, Jonas Hanway, Zachary
Macaulay, Fowell Buxton, and Anthony Astley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury.
A few words first about one of these latter, Granville Sharp, for he it
was who became the pioneer of that noble band who never ceased from
their labours till they had freed the slave on British territory.

He was only a linen-draper’s assistant, afterwards becoming a clerk in
the Ordnance Office; but the monotony of his work never allowed monotony
or narrowness to enter his life.  His heart was responsive to every high
claim, and difficulties only meant to him obstacles to be overcome.
Courage, energy, and determination were his watchwords.  His brother was
a doctor in Mincing Lane, who saw poor people free of charge, and among
his patients was a negro called Jonathan Strong, who had been brought to
London by his master, a lawyer, from Barbadoes, only to be turned out
into the streets friendless and homeless when he fell ill.  Dr. Sharp
treated him so successfully that he became quite well, and Granville
Sharp found him a situation with a chemist, which he kept for some
years, until one day he was seen and recognised by his old employer, who
finding him well and active had him seized, and kept in custody until he
could be shipped off to the West Indies.  Jonathan, in despair, thought
of Granville Sharp, and appealed to him for protection. Sharp at once
went to the Lord Mayor, who gave judgment that the man had been
wrongfully seized and held without a warrant, and ordered him to be at
once set at liberty.  But then arose an unlooked-for difficulty.
Jonathan’s late master had sold him, and his new owner appeared with the
bill of sale, claiming his property and declaring he had been robbed.
Then came the question as to whether the traffic in slaves which went on
openly, especially in London and Liverpool, was lawful or not.  Was a
slave free when he reached England, or could he be seized and compelled
to go back?  The lawyers declared that no English law protected the
slave.  Granville Sharp refused to believe it. During the next few years
he spent every hour of his spare time in studying the law; in wading
through masses of dry Acts; in sorting, sifting, verifying, and quoting,
though more than one friendly lawyer assured him that all his work was a
useless waste of time.  But the result of his labours surprised them as
much as it cheered the heart of Granville Sharp, for it proved that
"there was nothing in any English law or statute which could justify the
enslaving of others."  He at once published a plain, clear pamphlet
which he called "The Injustice of Tolerating Slavery in England;" and
further than that, certain in the justice of his cause, he went down,
armed with a writ of Habeas Corpus, to Gravesend, where he had been told
of a captured negro who was being taken back by force.  He found the
wretched man chained to the mainmast, but after a fierce struggle he got
possession of him and returned with him in triumph to London.  He did
much the same in the case of another negro called James Somerset, whose
owner promptly brought the matter before Lord Chief-Justice Mansfield,
who declared the question to be so important and doubtful a one that he
must take the opinion of the judges upon it.  A very lengthy trial
followed.  At last the court gave the opinion, that every man in England
had a right to his liberty unless he had broken the law; that the power
to seize or claim a slave in England had never been acknowledged by the
law, and that therefore Somerset was free.  It was the first great step
towards a more far-reaching freedom, and it was mainly won by the
careful, devoted study of Granville Sharp, whose pamphlet had made a
great impression on the Lord Chief-Justice.  The next step was to found
a society for the Abolition of Slavery, and to this flocked a number of
men, chiefly Quakers, who banded themselves together with most steadfast
determination never to cease from their labours until Parliament had
declared all traffic in slaves to be illegal in every part of the
British Empire.  This was a gigantic undertaking, for British merchants
dealt largely in slaves, and they were so powerful a body that it was
certain the Government would shrink from opposing them.  But this little
band of religious, earnest, chivalrous men had the strength which comes
from the conviction that theirs was a righteous cause destined in the
end to triumph over every obstacle.  One of their number was William
Wilberforce, a young and a delicate-looking man, who when only twenty
years of age had been elected as member for Hull, with no powerful
support except what he derived from his own personal influence and his
independent character.  In London he soon made his mark.  Pitt became
his greatest friend, and in society he was made much of, so full was he
of wit and charm; while in addition to his many other gifts, he was an
excellent singer.  But fascinating and absorbing as was the life into
which he was then thrown, it did not satisfy him.  Even while he stood
on a height, he caught the glimpse of the height that is higher, the
which having once seen, no true man can rest until he has attained it.
As the vision unfolded itself before his eyes Wilberforce became a
changed man, so much so that for a time it was believed by his friends
that he would leave public life and go quietly to the country. But his
vision, instead of narrowing down his conception of duty, broadened it
out.  "To shut myself up," he said to his mother, "would merit no better
name than desertion.  It would be flying from the post in which I have
been placed, and I could not look for the blessing of God upon my
retirement."

Just at this crisis he came under the influence of two or three people
who felt intensely on the slavery question, and in him they saw the very
Parliamentary champion they needed.  With his great influence, his
powers of speech, his many friends, his independent character, and his
high enthusiasms, Wilberforce seemed destined for this work, and he
eagerly grasped it.  Here was a direct call from God, and to him now
every gift, every power he possessed was held as a sacred trust.
Besides, he was respected by all parties in the House, and the hope of
the Anti-Slavery party lay in their cause being non-political.  Victory
could only crown their efforts when the whole moral feeling of the
nation was aroused, and much, very much hung on their choice of a
leader. "Mr. Wilberforce," said Granville Sharp, "with his position as
member for the largest county, the great influence of his personal
connections, added to his unblemished character, will secure every
advantage to the cause."  So from the year 1787, William Wilberforce,
chivalrous as any knight of old, gave up his life to the righting of a
great wrong and to the deliverance of the oppressed.

For twenty years the fight went on, and though he was successfully
opposed over and over again by the strong West Indian party, assisted by
many of the Tories and the majority in the House of Lords, he was never
baffled or disheartened.

"I am in no degree discouraged," he said after one defeat.  "It is again
my intention to move next year for the abolition, and though I dare not
hope to carry the bill through both Houses, yet, if I do not deceive
myself, this infamous and wicked traffic will not last out the century."

Both Pitt and Fox supported Wilberforce, but the opposition was solid
and wealthy, and the bill above mentioned, brought in during the session
of 1796, was again defeated by 78 votes to 61.  The Revolution in France
was causing much excitement and apprehension among all classes of
Englishmen, and the opponents of Wilberforce attempted, among other
things, to prove that he was at heart a revolutionist, and that his
efforts to set free a class who had always been kept in slavery showed
that he believed in the revolutionary "rights of men."

"There is no greater enemy to all such delusions," Pitt warmly and
indignantly made reply.

But by 1804 a change had come about.  All fears regarding a revolution
in England were allayed; every year Wilberforce and his party, by their
steady persistence, their moderation, and their powerful appeals to the
highest motives, had gained converts to their cause both in and out of
Parliament, and the Bill of May 30, 1804, was carried in the Commons by
a majority of over 70.  This was by far the greatest triumph Wilberforce
had yet gained, but to his regret it was not proceeded with by the House
of Lords, who had thrown out the two previous bills, though, in fairness
be it said, the majorities with which they had come from the Commons had
been very small.  However, the Abolitionists were by now accustomed to
possessing their souls in patience, and they knew the tide had turned in
their favour.  The death of Pitt put Fox, who of the two men was the
more zealous supporter of their cause, into power; he prevailed upon a
majority in the Cabinet to declare that the slave trade was contrary to
the principles of justice, humanity, and sound policy, and should be
abolished by the House with all practicable expediency.  In 1807 the
bill was again brought in, this time to be carried by a majority of 283
to 16. The Solicitor-General made a powerful speech, in which he
contrasted the feelings of the Emperor of the French in all his
greatness with those of that "honoured man who would soon lay his head
on his pillow, knowing that the slave trade was no more."  At this
reference to Wilberforce the House burst into delighted applause. They
had seen him during his many years of brave fighting, and now that
victory was at hand, they cheered him with such cheers as had seldom
before been given to any man sitting in his place in either House.
Further opposition was useless, and the bill became law.

"God will bless this country," was Wilberforce’s earnest declaration, in
the gladdest, proudest moment of his life.  His own share in the good
work he counted as nothing.

Much was won, but not all.  The slave trade was abolished—that is to
say, slaves could not be taken to any British possession, or put on any
British ships, and our warships were instructed to capture any vessels
disobeying this order.  Yet slaves were still held by British masters in
the West Indies and on the American coast.  Wilberforce, far from
resting content with his victory, made ready for a second fight, having
now for his lieutenant in the House of Commons, Fowell Buxton, called
Elephant Buxton, on account of his great size, a man as energetic and
indefatigable by nature as he was powerful in appearance.  However sad
the lot of the slaves, they had been bought and paid for under the old
law by their masters, just as if they had been cattle or any other
marketable produce, so that if they were to be set free by law, the
money spent on them must in honour be returned to these masters, or
otherwise they would be ruined, and a great injustice would be done.  To
compensate the owners, and thus honourably to free every slave, required
a large sum of money, not less than £20,000,000; but so changed had
become public opinion throughout England, and consequently in
Parliament, that the money was voted in 1833.  For the last few years
Wilberforce had been in failing health, and his old place in the House
of Commons knew him no more; but Buxton had valiantly carried on the
work, in a spirit best illustrated by some words of his own:—

"The longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference
between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the
insignificant, is energy, _invincible determination_—a purpose once
fixed, and then, death or victory!  That quality will do anything that
can be done in the world, and no talents, no circumstances, no
opportunities, will make a two-legged creature a man without it."

Wilberforce just lived to hear the glorious news which crowned his life
and work, and to realise that from that day forward there would not
exist a slave in any British colony.  It was the great triumph of
righteousness, and humbly he thanked God that his had been the privilege
of leading the little army which had gone on from strength to strength
until its mission was accomplished.  Two or three days later he passed
peacefully away, and immediately after his death this letter, signed by
all the leading members of both Houses of Parliament, was sent to his
son:—

"We being anxious upon public grounds to show our respect for the memory
of the late William Wilberforce, and being also satisfied that public
honours cannot be more fitly bestowed than upon such benefactors of
mankind, earnestly request that he may be buried in Westminster Abbey,
and that we, with others who agree with us in these sentiments, may have
permission to attend the funeral."

So to the Abbey he was brought.  All public business was suspended, and
public men of every rank followed him to the grave.  Members of
Parliament were there in numbers to show their reverence for one whose
eloquence had ever been put to the noblest uses, and, fitly enough, his
body was laid close to the tombs of Pitt and Fox.

"If you carry this point in your life, that life will be far better
spent than in being prime minister many years," a much-loved friend had
said to Wilberforce when he first resolved to devote himself to the
cause of the slave, and to set aside all thought of his own career and
ambition.  The young enthusiast had counted the cost, but it had not
changed him from his determination, and though he lived and died plain
William Wilberforce, member of parliament, the Abbey roll of honour is
made richer by his name, and he rests worthily in the Statesmen’s
Corner, great as any of those among whom he lies.


Just as Wilberforce was nearing the close of his life, a young spinner
in some mills near Glasgow, glowing with enthusiasm, was resolving to
offer himself as a medical missionary to China or Africa.  David
Livingstone, for he it was, came of homely Scottish stock.

"The only point of family tradition I feel proud of is this," he
declared.  "One of my forefathers, when on his death-bed, called his
children round him and said, ’I have searched diligently throughout all
the traditions of our family, and I never could find there was a
dishonest man among them....  So I leave this precept with you, Be
honest.’"

[Illustration: DAVID LIVINGSTONE.]

And perfectly honest David Livingstone certainly was to the end of his
days.  Though he went to work in the mills when ten years old, his love
of books made him learn eagerly in every spare moment and on so late
into the night, that his mother, half in anger, half in pride, often
went to him at midnight and carried off every available light.  However
David was a sturdy youth, or twelve hours’ work each day in the factory
added to six hours’ reading would have ruined his health.  He was
twenty-five when he offered himself to the London Missionary Society,
and he was sent for a three months’ trial to a training-place in Essex.
But when he had to deliver his first sermon, every idea fled from his
brain. "I have forgotten all I had to say, friends," he announced
frankly, and left the pulpit.  But for his other sterling qualities,
this would have put an end to his career.  As it was, he was given
another three months and came successfully out of the ordeal, after
which he went for two years to a London hospital.  Africa was to be his
destination, "Don’t go to an old station," Dr. Moffat, the veteran
missionary, said to him on the eve of his ordination.  "But push on to
the vast unoccupied district to the north, where on a clear morning I
have seen the smoke of a thousand villages no missionary has ever
reached."  Kuruman, an important station of the Missionary Society, more
than seven hundred miles up country, was his first halting-place after
leaving Cape Town, and he set himself with great energy to learn the
language of the natives, acting at the same time as their doctor.  In
this last capacity he soon made his name famous, and patients came to
him over enormous distances.  Splendid patients they were too, he always
declared, perfectly obedient and of extraordinary courage. When once he
had mastered their language, which he did in a short while, he combined
his missionary and medical work very happily.

In 1843 he left Kuruman to form a new station about two hundred miles to
the north-east at Mabotsa, and whilst here he married a daughter of Dr.
Moffat, a girl who had lived among missionaries for many years, and so
was accustomed to the rough, solitary existence which would be her lot.
"My time," wrote Livingstone to a friend, "is filled up with building,
gardening, cobbling, doctoring, tinkering, carpentering, gun-mending,
farriering, preaching, schooling, teaching, and lecturing, while my
wife, in addition to her usual work, makes clothes, soap, and candles,
and teaches classes of children."

Gradually it dawned upon Livingstone that a great work awaited him in
the interior, but it was a work which he must face alone.  "I must not
be a more sorry soldier than those who serve an earthly sovereign," he
wrote to the Directors of the Mission, to whose care he commended his
family.  "And so powerfully am I convinced it is the will of God, that I
will go, no matter who opposes."

Therefore in 1852, having seen his wife and children off to England, he
started in his Cape waggon and again made for Kuruman, after leaving
which he was constantly harassed by parties of Boers, who believed he
was teaching their slaves to rise in revolt.  But he reached the land of
Sebituan, a friendly chief, safely, and found the warmest welcome
awaiting him.  As doctor and missionary his hands were full, and seeing
the field of work opening all around him, he grew more and more anxious
to become the pioneer missioner to the very interior.  Fever, he
realised, would be his worst enemy. "I would like," he wrote in his
journal, "to discover some remedy for that terrible disease.  I must go
to parts where it prevails most and try to discover if the natives have
a remedy for it....  I mean to open up a path to the interior or perish.
I never have had the shadow of a doubt.  Cannot the love of Christ carry
the missionary where the slave trade carries the trader?"

The travels of Livingstone through that unknown country which he
practically discovered, would have to be closely followed on a map from
point to point to be made clear.  Otherwise they are a mere string of
strange names.  He set out in the November of 1853. "I had three muskets
for my people and a double-barrelled gun for myself," he said.  "My
ammunition was distributed through the luggage, that we might not be
left without a supply.  Our chief hopes for food were in our guns.  I
carried twenty pounds of beads, a few pounds of tea, sugar, and coffee.
One tin canister was filled with spare clothes, another was stored with
medicines, a third with books, and a fourth with a magic lantern.  A
small tent, a sheep-skin, and a horse-rug completed my equipment, as an
array of baggage would have excited the tribes."  Four years later, worn
out by frequent attacks of fever, but otherwise perfectly satisfied with
the result of his journeyings into parts where as yet no other
Englishman had penetrated, Livingstone sailed for England, having heard
nothing of his family for three years.  He at once became the hero of
the hour; dinners were given, speeches were made in his honour, and he
was asked to equip and command a government expedition for the
exploration of that part of South-Eastern Africa through which the river
Zambesi flows.  After some consideration he decided to undertake this,
though it meant that from henceforth he would cease to be a missionary
pure and simple.  But he looked at the question in its broadest aspect.
"Wherever I go," he said, "I go as the servant of God, following the
leadings of His Hand.  My ideal of a missionary is not that of a dumpy
man with a Bible under his arm.  I feel I am not my own.  I am serving
Christ in labouring as well as in preaching, and having by His help got
information which I hope will bring blessing to Africa, am I to hide the
light under a bushel, because some will not consider it sufficiently or
even at all missionary?  I refrain from taking any salary from
Missionary Societies, so no loss is sustained by any one."

In the March of 1858 he returned to his work, and Mrs. Livingstone
started with him to go at least as far as Kuruman.  This second Zambesi
expedition lasted nearly six years, and as Livingstone stood on the
shores of Lake Nyasa, he was able to feel that he stood where no white
man had ever stood before him.  Three years later, Bishop Mackenzie and
six missionaries followed him here, but among the many sorrows which
fell upon him about this time, was the death of the "good bishop" from
fever, the death of his own wife, and the growing feeling that the
extreme unhealthiness of the district would make anything like
colonisation impossible.  His third great journey, commenced in 1866,
was his last, and when more than three years passed by without any
tidings of him, owing to his long stay in the country of the cannibal
Manyema, the editor of the _New York Herald_ equipped an expedition to
go in search of him the man in charge of it being Henry Stanley, whose
orders were "to find Livingstone, living or dead."  It was in 1871 that
the two men met face to face at Tanganyika, and the relieving party
found the object of their search almost alone, worn out, fever-stricken,
cut off from all news of his children, and as near to despair as was
possible to one of his strong faith and brave nature.  But when Stanley,
after many attacks of fever, returned to Europe, he could not persuade
his companion to leave the country, which held him as a magnet.  He was
determined to find the sources of the Nile, and the determination cost
him his life.  The district through which he fought his way has been
described as "one vast sponge," and was poisonous to the last degree.
His strength failed, and though his faithful natives bore him along on a
litter with the utmost tenderness, his sufferings were terrible.  He
died on the first of May 1873, alone save for his natives, "the greatest
and best man who ever explored Africa."  Believing that to labour is to
pray, if the work be done for God’s glory and not for self-advancement,
David Livingstone’s life had been one long prayer, and throughout those
lonely dangerous journeyings the sense of God’s Presence had been his
stay and comfort.  Around the last hours of the brave man a veil is
drawn.  But who can doubt that the love of God overshadowed him, and
made even that desolate, marsh-like place a road of light, along which
the worn-out traveller passed to Him, his one true goal?

His native servants behaved with beautiful devotion, and would not leave
him alone in death.  His heart they buried where he died, but as best
they could they embalmed his body, and by slow stages made their way
towards the coast with their precious burden, which they were determined
somehow to get to England.  At one time every one of them was stricken
down by the terrible fever, but on they went for many a month, through
swamp and desert and through hostile lands.  Nothing could daunt them.
Their master must lie in his home, far away, over the seas.  When at
last they reached Zanzibar and handed over the trust they had so loyally
guarded, they barely received a word of thanks.  But one friend of
Livingstone’s came forward just in time, and undertook to pay all
expenses for two of their number to go to England and be present at the
funeral. Susi and Chuma, two of the slaves the Doctor had freed, and his
most devoted attendants, were chosen to go with their master till the
end of his journey.  It was almost a year after his death when the great
traveller was borne into the Abbey, and those two stood there among the
mourners, awe-struck but contented.  Their task was accomplished; the
white man who had been their deliverer lay among his own people.

A very simple inscription, ending with the words, "Other sheep I have
which are not of this fold.  Them also must I bring," marks the place in
the nave where, with a curious significance, Livingstone, an architect
of the Empire, lies close to other architects, Sir Charles Barry, Sir
Gilbert Scott, and John Pearson, whose works are to be seen in the
Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Westminster Hall.

We cannot leave these lovers of humanity without one glance at the
statue of the good Earl of Shaftesbury, the friend of little children
and of all those who were desolate and oppressed.  Possessed of all that
could make life attractive to him, he devoted himself to his dying day
to the service of his fellows, and his name will go down to history as
the liberator of the white slaves in England. For, as Wilberforce
championed the negro, Shaftesbury fought long and steadily in the cause
of the women and children employed in factories and collieries, who
worked sometimes for thirty-six hours at a time under the most appalling
conditions.  At last he forced Parliament to take action, and to pass
the Ten Hours’ Bill, besides insisting that factory inspectors were
appointed to see that all workers were protected as the law intended
they should be.  That was his greatest work, but to tell of all that he
did would fill a volume with a record of golden deeds. Ever ready to
lead an unpopular cause; an enthusiast without being a fanatic; strong,
clear-headed, steadfast, reliable, and single-hearted, he stands out a
noble figure in the social history of the nineteenth century.  Just
before his death, in 1885, his friend, Dean Stanley, in writing to him,
spoke of Westminster Abbey as the place where he should rest.  But the
old man shook his head and begged to be buried in his country home.

However, the Abbey could not altogether refrain from doing him honour,
and through streets lined with people, many of them the poorest in the
land, most of them wearing some outward sign of mourning, a bit of black
ribbon or a scrap of crape, followed by deputations from almost every
charitable association, the coffin was carried to Westminster.  Around
it stood high and low, rich and poor.  The wreaths sent by royal princes
lay Bide by side with the tributes from the flower-girls and the boys on
the training-ships.  A mighty volume of sound ascended to the vaulted
roof, as the familiar hymn was sung—

    "Let saints on earth in concert sing,
      With those whose rest is won,
    For all the servants of our King
      In earth and heaven are one!"

Then the organ ceased, the Blessing was given, and the great procession
left the Abbey to the march of the coster-mongers’ band, to the tramp of
thousands of feet, whose way in life he had made more easy and more
blessed.

In the north aisle of the nave rest three great men, builders in another
way, who have served the world by their thoughts—Newton, Herschel, and
Darwin.

Sir Isaac Newton made one of the most wonderful discoveries in the world
of science and nature, the law of gravitation, and also invented a
method by which the whole course of a comet could be calculated.  On his
monument you will see a globe, covered with constellations and the path
of a comet, while below are groups of children weighing the sun and the
moon.  The long Latin epitaph was one which greatly offended Dr.
Johnson, who said that "none but philosophers could understand it."

Sir John Herschel was the son of a distinguished father, and from his
boyhood he resolved to follow in his father’s footsteps.  "To put my
shoulders to the wheel, and to leave the world a little better than I
found it," was the ideal he set before himself whilst at Cambridge, and
in this spirit he carried on the work of making a careful study of the
stars in the southern hemisphere, which had never been done before.

Besides astronomy he was devoted to books, especially to poetry, and
translated many of Schiller’s poems, as well as parts of the "Iliad,"
into English.  "Give a man," he said, "once the taste for reading good
books, and you place him in contact with the best society in every
period of history, with the wisest, the wittiest, the tenderest, the
bravest, and the purest of characters who have adorned humanity.  You
make him a denizen of all nations, a contemporary of all ages."

His eyes were fixed on the stars; his heart was ever set on those things
that are above.  These are the beautiful words in which he has described
the object and the end of all his study:—

"To spring even a little way aloft, to carol for awhile in bright and
sunny regions—to open the doors of the human mind to let in light and
knowledge, always sure that right will come right at last—to rise to the
level of our strength, and if we must sink again, to sink not exhausted
but exercised, not dulled in spirit, but cheered in heart—such may be
the contented and happy lot of him who can repose with equal confidence
on the bosom of the earth, or ride above the mists of earth into the
empyrean day."

He died loaded with honours in 1871, though no man sought fame or honour
less.

    "Enough if cleansed at last from earthly stain,
    My homeward step be firm, and pure my evening sky."

Thus had he written, and how could longing soar higher?

[Illustration: CHARLES DARWIN.]

Charles Darwin was perhaps the greatest man of the three, for after long
years of patient hard work, bravely carried on through bad health, he
produced as the result of his experiments a wonderful book called "The
Origin of Species," in which he explained how the world, instead of
being created all at once as it is to-day, has grown slowly and very
gradually, through many processes, just as we ourselves, our minds, and
all our powers have developed from a state of savagery into our present
state of civilisation.  When first Darwin published his work explaining
all this, some people were frightened and horrified, and declared that
he wanted to upset all the old ideas about God and religion.  But thus
they had said whenever a new discovery had been made, and yet with each
new discovery we have only learnt more and more how great God is, and
how—

    "He moves in a mysterious way
      His wonders to perform."

So all such great discoverers as Newton, Herschel, and Darwin give us in
reality the same message, which is never to be afraid of truth, for
truth comes from God, and the only danger is when we doubt, even for a
moment, that it must come triumphant out of every honest discussion.



                             *CHAPTER XIX*

                   *PITT AND THE STATESMEN’S CORNER*


When William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, was buried in the north transept at
Westminster Abbey in the year 1778, Parliament having decreed that "he
ought to be brought near to the dust of kings," and not lie in St.
Paul’s Cathedral, earnestly though the City of London begged for this
favour, he drew to that part of the Abbey so many distinguished
ministers of the Crown, that it soon received the name of the
Statesmen’s Corner, in distinction to the Poets’ Corner which Chaucer
had created. Pitt the elder and Pitt the younger, Fox, Canning,
Palmerston, Castlereagh, Grattan, and Gladstone—these are the names
which most closely belong to the Statesmen’s Corner, and through their
lives we can catch glimpses of English political life from the reign of
George II. down to our own day.

William Pitt entered Parliament in 1735, and joined the party calling
themselves the Patriots, rallying round the Prince of Wales, who was
always at enmity with the King and Queen.  This party naturally included
any one opposed to Walpole, still the all-powerful minister at Court.
The Patriots were young men, talented and vigorous, and their first
signal victory was obtained when they forced Walpole into declaring war
against Spain, that country, they insisted, having systematically
hampered, injured, and insulted British traders, in spite of treaties
and negotiations.  Walpole was before all else a peace minister; but the
Patriots, supported by the country, declared that war was necessary if
England was to uphold her position and power on the seas, and Pitt, full
of energy and eloquence, was one of the most powerful, though one of the
youngest, among the Patriots.  This war, as Walpole had foreseen, was
but the prelude to a general disturbance; England became involved in
Continental quarrels, and the Stuart party seized this opportunity of
making a final, though unsuccessful attempt to place Prince Charles
Edward on the throne.  After nine years a treaty of peace was signed at
Aix-la-Chapelle, and broadly speaking, the result of the war, so far as
this country was concerned, was that we had been successful on the seas,
in Canada, and in India, unsuccessful on the Continent.  Walpole had
resigned, Newcastle was a Prime Minister "who had neither judgment nor
ability," and Pitt became more and more the ruling power.  The year 1757
saw him virtually Prime Minister, and with his whole might he set
himself to arouse a national spirit in England, to make the people see
that our real future lay not in the Continent, but in the Colonies.  "I
can save this country, nobody else can," he said confidently at this
time, and it was no vain boast.  The years which followed were glorious
years.  In India, France had joined with a powerful native prince to
oust the British traders, and had been utterly defeated at Plassey by
the genius of Clive, who had but a handful of troops as against seventy
thousand.  That victory made the British masters of the whole province
of Bengal, and laid the foundations of our Indian Empire.  From
henceforward the French power in India rapidly declined.  In America an
equal triumph crowned Pitt’s policy.  In Wolfe he had found a man able
to do in the West what Clive did in the East, and Canada became a
British Colony.  Wolfe himself fell in the great struggle for Quebec, as
did Montcalm, his rival French general, and a monument stands in the
north ambulatory of the Abbey to the memory of the gallant young leader,
who died in the hour of his victory.  "It is necessary to watch for a
victory every morning for fear of missing one," was the remark of
Walpole’s son Horace.  And the nation felt that it was Pitt whose policy
and whose power had made all these things possible.  Parliament was
entirely in his hands, he swayed the Commons by his eloquence just as he
impressed them by his strength; the King supported him, and the people
adored him.

But in 1760 George II. died, and his second son George, who succeeded
him (Frederick Prince of Wales having died), did not care for a minister
so fearless and independent.  Neither was Pitt without enemies.  When he
saw that his opponents, supported by the King, were determined to make a
peace with France of which he could not approve, he resigned, after
making a powerful speech though he was very ill at the time.  His words
concluded thus: "It is because I see in this treaty the seeds of a
future war that it meets with my most hearty disapprobation.  The peace
is insecure, because it restores the enemy to his former greatness; the
peace is inadequate, because the places gained are no equivalent for the
places surrendered."  Before a year was over, all that Pitt foretold had
come to pass, and England was again at war with Spain.  Bute, who had
been virtually Prime Minister since Pitt gave up office, now resigned,
leaving in power Grenville, the leader in the House of Commons, and in a
very short time Grenville brought forward a measure concerning America,
which was so short-sighted and so opposed to the colonial spirit, that
it could only have a disastrous ending.  Practically all North America
was in British hands, and it was divided into thirteen different States,
besides Canada.  Those States had their own Colonial Assemblies, but the
supreme power rested with the British Parliament.  In 1765 Grenville
brought in the Stamp Act, by which American colonists had to use legal
paper stamped in England for all their agreements, and this was carried
without the consent of the colonists, as they had no representatives in
Parliament, so that besides imposing a tax on them, Parliament had
really tampered with one of their most sacred rights as British
subjects.  The Act was very badly received in America, and relations
became so strained that Pitt, to whom any matter affecting the Colonies
was very dear, came out of his retirement to protest against the Act,
and brought all his splendid fearless eloquence to bear on the subject.
"This kingdom has no right to tax the Colonies," he argued, and he went
on to declare—

"I rejoice that America has resisted.  Three millions of people so dead
to all feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would
have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest....  The Commons of
America have ever been in possession of their constitutional right of
giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they
had not enjoyed it....  A gentleman asks, ’When were the Colonies
emancipated?’  I desire to know when were they made slaves? ... I stand
up for this kingdom.  I maintain that our legislative power over the
Colonies is sovereign and supreme in every circumstance of government
and legislation.  But taxation is no part of the governing or
legislative power.  Taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Commons
alone.  When therefore in this House we give and grant, we give and
grant what is our own.  But in an American tax what do we do? We, your
Majesty’s Commons for Great Britain, give and grant to your
Majesty—what?  Our own property? No; we give and grant to your Majesty
the property of your Majesty’s Commons of America.  It is an absurdity
in terms.  I beg leave to move that the Stamp Act be repealed
absolutely, totally, and immediately; that the reason for the repeal be
assigned because it was founded on an erroneous principle.  At the same
time let the sovereign authority of this country over the Colonies be
asserted in as strong terms as can be devised, that we exercise every
power except that of taking their money out of their pockets without
their consent."

Pitt still held his sway over the House of Commons, and the Act was
repealed.  A few months later he was again Prime Minister, but now no
longer as William Pitt, the great Commoner.  He had accepted a title, to
the disappointment of many of his followers, who had revered him in the
past for his entire independence; and after he sat in the Lords as Earl
of Chatham, his influence never made itself felt in the same way.
Besides, his health continually broke down, bravely though he struggled
against it, and he was often laid aside for many months at a time.
During one of these periods, another irritating Act was passed, taxing
all the tea, glass, and paper imported into America, and as this
occurred just when the sore feelings over the Stamp Act had been
allayed, it was particularly unfortunate.  The Colonists looked on it as
an act of revenge for their victory and determined to resist it, while
the King was unfortunately surrounded by a party, of which Lord North
was the chief, who urged him, whatever the cost might be, to force
America into submission.  Lord North becoming Prime Minister was the
signal for an outbreak of public feeling in America; riots occurred, and
some tea-laden ships in Boston harbour were boarded, the tea being all
thrown into the water.  Again Chatham raised his voice on the side of
consideration, of common sense, and of conciliation.

"My Lords," he said, after he had used one telling argument after
another to prove how useless and irritating had been the action of the
Government, driving these loyal sons of the old country into actions
which were the result of despair, and which in cooler moments they would
heartily regret, "I am an old man, and I plead for a gentle mode of
governing America, for the day is not far distant when America may vie
with these kingdoms, not only in arms, but in arts also....  If we take
a transient view of those motives which induced the ancestors of our
fellow-subjects in America to leave their native country to encounter
the innumerable difficulties of the unexplored regions of the western
world, our astonishment at the present conduct of their descendants will
naturally subside.  There was no corner of the world into which men of
their free and enterprising spirit would not fly with alacrity rather
than submit to the slavish and tyrannical principles which prevailed at
that period in their native country. And shall we wonder, my Lords, if
the descendants of such illustrious characters spurn with contempt the
hand of unconstitutional power, that would snatch from them the
dearly-bought privilege they now contend for?  My Lords, proceed like a
kind and affectionate parent over a child whom he tenderly loves.
Instead of these harsh and severe proceedings, pass an amnesty on their
youthful errors; clasp them once more in fond, affectionate arms, and I
venture to affirm you will find them children worthy of their sire."

But his powerful pleading fell on deaf ears.  All in vain did he urge
that though the Government might be revenged on America, no Government
could conquer it. In 1775 war, terrible as a civil war, broke out
between the old country and the new.  The Congress raised an army, and
set at the head of it George Washington.  "The man first in war, first
in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen," solemnly declared that
from henceforth the United Colonies would be free and independent
States, and carried on the campaign with the utmost success, assisted by
France.  Dismayed at last and astonished, Lord North and his ministers
began to talk of conciliation.  But it was too late.  Two British
forces, each of about four thousand men, had been forced to surrender to
the American troops.  No longer was it possible for England to make
terms.

At home there was consternation, irresolution, and a sense of deep
resentment against the Government which had so blundered.  Chatham was a
dying man, but he yet had something to say.  Weakness, irresolution, or
fear were unknown words to him, even though now he admitted—

"I tremble for this country; I am almost led to despair that we shall
ever be able to extricate ourselves."

On the 7th of April 1778 he lifted up his voice for the last time, this
time against an ignominious surrender, which the discomfited Government,
terrified by the action of France, were all too ready to accept.
Conscious himself of his fast-ebbing strength, Chatham, the Imperialist
minister of the eighteenth century, summoned all his old fire and
eloquence to his aid, and spoke with intense feeling, rejoicing, he
said, "that the grave had not yet closed on him, pressed down as he was
by the hand of infirmity."

Panic-stricken, the Government were inclined to offer absolute
independence to all the Colonies.  Chatham vigorously opposed the idea.

"His Majesty," he declared, "succeeded to an empire as great in extent
as its reputation was unsullied.  Shall we tarnish the lustre of this
nation by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest
possessions?  Shall this great kingdom, that has survived whole and
entire the Danish degradations, the Scottish invasion, the Norman
Conquest, that has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada,
now fall prostrate before the house of Bourbon?  Shall a people that
seventeen years ago was the terror of the world, now stoop so low as to
tell its ancient and insatiate enemy, ’Take all we have: only give us
peace.’  In God’s name, if it be absolutely necessary to declare for
peace or war, and the former cannot be preserved with honour, why is not
the latter commenced without hesitation?  My Lords, any state is better
than despair.  Let us at least make an effort; and if we must fall, let
us fall like men!"

With this brave appeal Chatham sat down exhausted. A few moments later
he was carried fainting out of the House, which at once adjourned.  And
within a month, he who has been described as "the first Englishman of
his time," had passed from the troubled arena of politics.

[Illustration: WILLIAM PITT FIRST EARL OF CHATHAM.]

His monument in the Abbey shows him to us as he must often have looked
when, wearing his Parliamentary robes, he addressed the House in that
clear, sweet voice of his, which he could use with such wonderful
effect, and the sculptor has well caught the expression of his fearless
strength.  Near him stand Prudence and Fortitude; below is Britannia,
Mistress of the Seas; and the inscription tells how, under his
administration, Great Britain was exalted to a height of prosperity and
glory, unknown in any former age.

His second son, William, was born in 1759, the year that was perhaps the
most successful in his father’s life, and as he was too delicate to go
to school, the older man personally supervised the early education of
this his favourite child.  When quite small, Chatham began to give him
lessons in public speaking, making him stand on a platform to recite
poetry or speeches, and later on teaching him to argue their points.
With such a teacher and such a ready pupil, it is not surprising to hear
of excellent progress made.

Little Willy Pitt, as he was called, soon showed in which direction his
inclinations lay.  "I am glad I am not the eldest son," he remarked,
when he was seven, "as I want to speak in the House of Commons like
papa."

He was only nineteen when his father died, but it was he who had helped
the old statesman to his place in the House of Lords on the last day of
his life, he who assisted to carry him out, and he who stood as chief
mourner at that impressive funeral in the Abbey, his elder brother being
abroad.  The thought of any life but a political and a public one, never
entered his mind, and two years later he became a member of Parliament.
The first step up the ladder was taken.  Already a trained speaker, his
gifts were at once recognised by the House. Members of both parties
generously praised him, and prophesied that his would be a great career.
"I doubt not," said honest William Wilberforce, "but that I shall one
day see him the first man in the country."  His likeness to his father
was remarkable.  "Language, gesture, and manner were all the same,"
wrote his delighted tutor.  "All the old members recognised him
instantly, and most of the young ones said this was the very man they
had so often heard described."

But it was not on his father’s merits that William Pitt sprang into
immediate fame; his own personality was his passport.

Thirteen years before, another young man had entered Parliament, Charles
James Fox, the brilliant, excitement-loving son of Lord Holland.  After
Eton and Oxford he had been sent abroad to complete his education, but
so great were his follies and extravagances, that his father had to
firmly summon him home.  This mandate, we are told, "he obeyed with
great reluctance," and he seems to have gone back with an extensive
wardrobe of clothes in the latest and most costly fashions, leaving
behind him enormous debts in every town he had visited.

Lord Holland, who flattered himself that he had studied the world and
human nature with great attention and success, decided that a seat in
the House of Commons would best steady this irrepressible young man, and
provide him with occupation and ambition, so, though he was only
nineteen, and therefore legally not entitled to become a member, he was
duly elected, the Speaker, by wilful or accidental oversight, offering
no opposition.  He too from the first delighted the House as a speaker,
for he was fresh, forcible, and graceful, with a great personal charm of
manner and an entire absence of conceit, and no one gave a more cordial
welcome to Pitt than he did, little dreaming in how short a time this
young man would be his lifelong and his successful rival.  Rockingham,
who had succeeded North as Prime Minister, died suddenly in 1782, and
from every point of view Fox appeared to be the man who ought to have
succeeded him.  But the King cordially disliked Fox, and sent instead
for Lord Shelburne.  Fox, ever impetuous and hasty, refused to serve
under him, and Shelburne turned to Pitt, who thus at the age of
twenty-three became Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House
of Commons.  A year later Lord Shelburne resigned, and the Premiership
was offered to Pitt, an honour greater perhaps than any honour ever
offered to a young man of twenty-four.  He declined it; the Duke of
Portland accepted it; and Fox became leader in the House of Commons,
with what seemed to be a strong coalition Government at the back of him.
For the moment the Whigs were all-powerful, and against them stood Pitt,
who refused to be a member of any coalition, with a handful of men who
had belonged to the old Chatham party.  No one hated the present
arrangement more than the King, and before long he saw an opportunity of
crushing it.  Fox, chiefly by his own magnetic influence, had carried a
bill concerning India through the Commons, but the Lords, influenced by
the King, threw it out, whereupon he dismissed the Government, and
persuaded Pitt to accept the office of Prime Minister.  Never before had
such a state of things prevailed.  The Premier was a youth of
twenty-four, with a majority of two to one against him in the House of
Commons!  Whatever he brought forward was defeated.  Fox used all his
eloquence against him, and over and over again he was put in an
impossible position.  Pitt, Lord Rosebery has told us, was never young.
Certainly, at this crisis, his patience, his caution, his firmness, and
his cool judgment would have done credit to a statesman of half a
century’s experience. He did not make a mistake, and gradually he won
the country to his side.  Before many months were over, Parliament was
dissolved; an election had taken place; and Pitt came back into power
with a large majority. For seventeen years he remained in office.
Nothing could have been greater than the contrast between him and his
strenuous opponent Fox, who was the most impulsive, genial, and lovable
of men; extravagant in every direction, in his likes, his hates, and his
sympathies; easily stirred and able to pour forth a torrent of
passionate eloquence; living always in the excitement and impulses of
the moment, with never a thought for the morrow.  Pitt, on the contrary,
was cool and thoughtful. He stood, as it were, aloof from all the world,
though on the rare occasions when he unbent, he was full of charm.
"Smiles were not natural to him," said a contemporary.  "He is," said
Wilberforce, who unfeignedly admired him, even though he could not
always follow him, "one of the most public-spirited and upright men I
ever knew."  And he was called upon to guide the ship of State through
troubled waters.  It was his task to raise the money in payment of the
American war bill, for a debt of about twenty millions stared him in the
face.  Then he had to face more than the usual amount of difficulty with
Ireland, where the celebrated Dublin Parliament which Henry Grattan, its
brilliant leader, had forced Fox to agree to, proved itself so unable to
cope with the task undertaken, that riots and disturbances broke out in
every quarter.  Pitt believed that only one solution was possible,
namely, that instead of a separate Parliament at Dublin, the Irish
members with the Scotch should sit at Westminster, and in the year 1799
he brought in the Act of Union, which was carried during the next
session, in spite of a strong speech against it by Grattan, who was
dragged from his sick-room for the occasion.  Pitt had also to contend
with a restless wave which swept over England, the result of the French
Revolution.  But though the young minister was always ready for reform,
he would have nothing to do with violent changes or with revolution,
neither was he afraid to bring in such measures as seemed likely to
repress the revolutionary spirits in England.  The French leaders, not
content with having executed their king and queen, and having waged war
on Austria, when that country moved to rescue the luckless Austrian
princess, now Queen Marie Antoinette, went to the further length of
declaring that every country not agreeing with the doctrines of the
Revolution was to be regarded as an enemy, and was to be forced into
war.  For some while Pitt managed to hold the English people from
plunging into the conflict.  He was altogether a peace minister. But
public opinion was too strong for him; the old hatred of France was
there, and the events of the last few years had fanned it into life.
Pitt had to bow to the will of the nation, though it was the French who
finally declared war in 1793 by an attack on Holland, after which
England could no longer stand aloof, though Fox, in his hot-headed way,
declared that in his opinion we had no right to demand the withdrawal of
French troops from the Netherlands.  From that time until the day of
victory at Waterloo in 1815, the fight between England and France
continued with more or less intensity.

And the final issue was due in no small degree to Pitt, who, though he
hated the war, had during his long ministry of peace freely spent
millions of pounds on the British navy, recognising that so long as
England was mistress of the seas she was safe.  From the moment, too,
that war was declared, he threw himself heart and soul into every
measure for carrying it through successfully; never for a moment did he
show a weak front, or fail to be the leader in every sense of the word.
When Napoleon, elated by his series of triumphs on the Continent,
prepared to invade England, it was Pitt who gave an impetus to the
volunteer movement by himself raising a force of 3000 men, and placing
himself at their head.  "His spirit will lead him to be foremost in the
battle, and I am uneasy at it," said Wilberforce; "yet it is his proper
post, and I can say nothing against it."  In an incredibly short time a
volunteer force of 300,000 was enrolled, "their good sense and firmness
supplying their want of experience."  But though his spirit was as
strong as ever, his delicate frame was giving way under the high
pressure at which he had lived.  True to his promise to Wilberforce, he
had pushed forward the Abolition of Slavery Bill, and he did not relax
an effort as regards his war policy, though on the Continent Napoleon
was still all victorious.  Wellesley, a young soldier, had just come
back from India with a good reputation, and Pitt, then a dying man, sent
for him.  He knew that what England wanted now was a great soldier to
lead her armies; her navy was safe under such commanders as St. Vincent,
Collingwood, and Nelson.  For hours he talked to Wellesley, only ceasing
when he fainted from exhaustion.  "The greatest minister that has ever
ruled England," was the verdict of the soldier statesman.  Then came the
news of the victory at Trafalgar, saddened only by the death of the
heroic Nelson.  But Pitt was drifting far away from all these things.
His mind wandered as his life flickered out; only just at the end there
was a rally.  "Oh my country!" he cried; "how I leave my country!"  That
was his last thought and his last speech.

When the usual proposal was brought forward that he should be buried at
Westminster at the expense of Parliament, and that a monument should be
erected, Fox characteristically felt bound to oppose it.  "He could not
honestly," he said, "call a man an excellent statesman who had
consistently supported so bad a system."  But when it was further
suggested that Parliament should pay the debts he had left and provide
for his nearest relations, no one agreed so cordially or so readily as
Fox.  Wrong-headed he often was; wrong-hearted never.

Into the same grave as his father William Pitt was laid in the presence
of all the distinguished people of the day, his pall-bearers being six
men each of whom had been, or was to be, a Prime Minister of England.
"The figure of the first William Pitt," wrote Wilberforce, "seemed to be
looking down with consternation into the grave of his favourite son, the
last perpetuator of the name he had ennobled.  It was an affecting
ceremony."

Pitt was still a young man, only forty-seven, yet into those years he
had crowded a glorious life, and it was with truth that the herald
proclaimed over his grave, "He lived not for himself, but for his
country."

Eight months later, Fox, who did not live to enjoy the power his rival’s
death had placed within his reach, was buried close to him in the Abbey.
During his short spell of office, he had carried Wilberforce’s Slave
Bill, and had frequently said he could retire happily when once that
bill was made safe.  He disdainfully refused a Peerage.  "I will not
close my politics in that foolish way," was his remark.  Near together
too, though not in the Statesmen’s Corner, are the monuments of these
two whose lives were throughout so interwoven.  Pitt towers in lonely
state over the west door, standing there as if he were about to pour
forth his magnificent eloquence on the statues below and charm them back
into life for one brief moment. Fox lies surrounded by weeping figures,
one of whom represents the negro whose cause he had so powerfully
championed.  And so the great Mother Church gathers them both to
herself, claiming each as a noble son of England.

Henry Grattan, the Irishman, is buried close to Fox, his friend and
hero.  He had often told his followers that he wished to lie in a quiet
churchyard of his loved Ireland, but they had other ideas.  "Well then,"
he said resignedly, "Westminster Abbey!"  His funeral had a very
distinctive touch, for it was attended by hundreds of Irish children
from various charitable institutions, all of whom wore dresses of bright
green.

Next to the imposing monument of Chatham is a statue to Lord Palmerston,
that most English of statesmen. He went into political life more from a
sense of duty than from any particular liking for it, or from any
feelings of ambition.  But into every office that he held he carried
with him a sturdy independence, a dogged tenacity of purpose, a fund of
common sense, and a very clear idea of what he meant to attain.  Add to
this that he was the essence of good-nature, the most genial of friends,
simple and straight, manly and cheery, and we have some idea of the man
whom the nation insisted on having for Prime Minister, when he was over
seventy years of age, at a critical moment when it was felt that only a
strong, fearless, popular statesman could guide the ship out of the
storm.

And then, in contrast to the kindly, contented Palmerston, comes the
tomb of Lord Castlereagh, a statesman as much out of touch with the
people as "Pam" was their hero.  He was Secretary of State for War in
those days when the struggle with France was beginning, and because at
first things went badly he was made the scapegoat.  It was he who
planned that combination of forces which at last broke down the French
resistance, but that was not realised till long afterwards; in those
early days his policy was not successful, so it was unpopular.  He stood
aloof from all men; he was cold, indifferent, wanting in tact, with no
gifts as a speaker, and yet, looking back now on his work, it is easy to
see how well he faced a period of unexampled difficulty. Nevertheless,
he was invariably misunderstood, and therefore unjustly disliked, so
that at last his mind gave way under the storm of hatred and abuse
levelled against him, and, in a dark moment, he put an end to his life.
Even at his funeral in the Abbey, the crowds could not forget their
dislike of him, and shouted exultantly as the coffin was carried inside
the doors.  But the Abbey gave him a welcome and a resting-place.

On the opposite side stand the statues of the three Cannings: George
Canning, the statesman; his youngest son, Lord Canning, first Viceroy of
India; and their cousin, Lord Stratford de Radcliffe, "the wise old man
of the East," who was our ambassador at Constantinople during those
years which led up to the Crimean War, and whose influence, supported by
the Government at home and France, made it possible for Turkey to hold
Russia at bay.  The verse on the statue:

    "Thou third great Canning, stand among our best
    And noblest, now thy long day’s work hath ceased;
    Here silent, in our Minster of the West,
    Who wert the voice of England in the East,"

is the work of Tennyson, who has only written one other epitaph in the
Abbey.  Close together are the monuments of Sir Robert Peel and Benjamin
Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield.  Peel was the Minister who, in the face
of violent opposition, caused the tax on imported corn to be repealed,
thereby making bread cheaper; and Disraeli, who first won his reputation
by the persistent manner in which he fought this policy of Peel’s,
doggedly forged his way to the front against much prejudice, until he,
though not an Englishman by race, held the proud position of being the
loved and trusted Prime Minister of Queen Victoria.  The statue of
Beaconsfield—for by his own desire he was buried next to his wife in the
country churchyard at Hughenden—casts its shadow over the grave of
William Ewart Gladstone, whose family only consented to his being laid
there on the condition that Mrs. Gladstone should eventually rest beside
him, even as Lady Palmerston lay by her husband’s side.  The coffin
which contained this old statesman, who was better loved and better
hated perhaps than any public man of our generation, was placed for some
time in Westminster Hall, and nearly a quarter of a million people
passed through to pay their last token of respect.  The time has not yet
come when his place in English history as a statesman can be fairly
judged, but friend and foe alike can bear tribute to his brilliant
intellect; his talents as a financier; his excellent learning; his
wonderful personality; his rich eloquence; his generous sympathies; his
stainless private life; and to those other qualities which his political
opponent Lord Salisbury so finely described as making him "a great
Christian."  "God bless you, and this place, and the land you love," had
been his last public utterance, and in the spirit of that message we
leave him, who in life stirred up such sharp dissensions, sleeping
peacefully in the Abbey.



                              *CHAPTER XX*

                *INDIAN STATESMEN AND SOLDIERS: LAWRENCE
                     AND THE HEROES OF THE MUTINY*


The Indian Mutiny, which produced "such a breed of warlike men," the
equals of whom have rarely, if ever, been found awaiting their country’s
need of them, is especially commemorated in the Abbey, which holds the
graves of Lord Lawrence; Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde; and Sir James
Outram.  Only a monument does honour to Warren Hastings, whose name is
so indissolubly linked with Westminster and with India, for it was at
Westminster School that he was educated, the favourite pupil of the
head-master Dr. Nichols, who found him "a hard student, bold, full of
fire, ambitious in no ordinary degree;" and it was to India that he
went, when eighteen, into the service of the East India Company.  To the
building up of the British Empire in India he gave his life, working
with unfaltering courage under a thousand difficulties, sometimes no
doubt making errors of judgment, more often the victim of other men’s
intrigues and treachery, but always the dauntless, enthusiastic servant
of the State.  And his reward was disgrace, confiscation, and
impeachment.  He was used by Ministers at home as a cat’s-paw in the
game of politics.  Burke and Fox charged him in Parliament with cruelty,
extortion, and corruption, while Sheridan’s brilliant eloquence so
dazzled the Commons as to obscure all their calm judgment, and they
impeached Warren Hastings at the bar of the House of Lords for "high
crimes and misdemeanours."  In the February of 1788 this most famous of
trials commenced in Westminster Hall, and it took Burke two days to get
through his list of charges.  All the force of his great powers as an
orator was brought to bear against the accused, who "stood there small,
spare, and upright, his bearing a mixture of deference and dignity, his
soft sad eyes flashing defiance on his accusers; the lines of his mouth
and chin firm, his face very pale but calm."

The trial lingered on and on; it was seven years before the verdict was
given, a verdict which practically cleared Hastings, and proved that, if
on occasions he had been unnecessarily ruthless or hard in his rule, he
had not so acted from any selfish or unworthy motive, but because he
believed that thereby he was best serving the interests both of England
and of India.  Though he was acquitted, he was practically a ruined man.
The trial had cost him more than £70,000, and he was not rich, neither
could he hope for any employment under Fox or Pitt.  The East India
Company voted him a pension for twenty-eight years, but refused him when
he asked that it might be continued during the lifetime of his wife,
"the dearest object of all his concerns."  And so he died a bitterly
disappointed man.

[Illustration: RT. HON. WARREN HASTINGS.]

John Lawrence was the son of a soldier, and from boyhood he had chosen
the army for his profession, as a matter of course.  Three of his
brothers had already gone to India, two into the cavalry, and one into
the artillery, and John was hoping to enter the service of the East
India Company in the same way, when to his disgust he was offered an
appointment, not in their army, but in the Civil Service.  There could
be no question as to which of the two branches offered the better
opening to any hard-working, ambitious young man, but John would hear
none of this.  "A soldier I was born, a soldier I will be," he said
firmly.  And he was only moved in his resolution by the simple, sensible
arguments of his invalid sister Letitia, to whom he was entirely
devoted.  So to the East India College at Haileybury he went, and sailed
for India at the age of eighteen, considered by his elders to be a
reliable, intelligent lad, but nothing more.  The old longing for a
soldier’s life came back to him on landing, and for the first few weeks
he was so entirely miserable, that, as he said afterwards, "the offer of
£100 a year would have taken me straight home again."  Then he firmly
pulled himself together and resolved that there should be no turning
back now; he would go forward, and do the work which came to him with
all his might. Delhi was his first destination, and soon he found
himself in charge of a district, so good a reputation had he made for
being both self-reliant and cautious.  It was a turbulent, unsettled
piece of country that he was given to bring into order, but his
firmness, justice, and conscientious hard work accomplished wonders, and
prepared him for greater things.  Without a single soldier he kept
perfect order among his people through the great drought, which filled
his district with starving men and with bands of robbers, but at last
his health gave way under the strain of eleven years’ work, and he came
home to England on sick leave.  Two years later he returned to his post,
now a married man, and was soon brought into close contact with that
sturdy soldier, Sir Henry Hardinge, who was in command of the fierce
campaign then being waged against the Sikhs.  Hardinge entirely depended
on being able to get sufficient supplies, guns, and ammunition from the
base at Delhi, and it was to the civilian magistrate there, John
Lawrence, that he appealed for help.  Splendidly that help was given.
Lawrence organised a system of carts, each to be driven by his owner;
and in an incredibly short time a long train of guns, ammunition, and
food of all sorts, reached the camp, as much to the delight as to the
astonishment of the General.  A few days after the arrival of these
welcome supplies, the battle which ended the campaign was fought and
won.  Hardinge did not forget the man who had made this victory
possible, and gave him for reward a most responsible piece of work, the
charge of the newly won Sikh province of Jalandhar.

A second Sikh war, which ended in the complete submission of the Sikh
army, gave the whole province of the Punjab into the hands of the
Viceroy.

"What shall we do with it?" he asked of Lawrence.

"Annex it at once," was the answer; and when Lord Dalhousie pointed out
the difficulties, Lawrence, who had known and realised them all, met
every objection with the words: "Action, action, action!"

So the Punjab was annexed, and it was decided to govern it by a Board,
which included Henry Lawrence and John Lawrence.  Frankly, let us admit
at once that the arrangement was not a happy one.  Both brothers were
men of strong character and great ability, but they saw things from very
different points of view. Henry was enthusiastic, imaginative, and
easily moved; John was entirely practical and clear-headed.  Each loved
and respected the other, but neither would give way on what seemed to
each vital questions of importance.  Finally, both sent in their
resignations, and Lord Dalhousie, wisely recognising that John Lawrence
was specially fitted for the special work required at the moment in the
Punjab, made him the Chief Commissioner, and moved Henry to another
field.  It was a great province to reduce to law and order, even when it
was divided into seven districts, ruled over by picked men.  But
Lawrence was a born organiser.  Not only could he work himself
indefatigably, but he knew how to choose other men for the posts that
had to be filled, and having chosen them, he trusted them and supported
them loyally.  He had only to recognise "grit," or "metal," in a
subordinate, and there was nothing he would not do to help him on.
"Human nature is human nature," he would say, and "A strong horse if
held with a tight hand will do more than a weak horse to whom you may
give his head."  So he managed to keep his brilliant colleagues all in
one team; he smoothed over their disagreements, he dealt with them all
quite frankly, criticising where he held it needful, praising generously
whenever it was possible, and thus he gathered around him that band of
men, including Nicholson, Chamberlain, and Edwardes, who came to the
fore so vigorously a little later in the hour of the crisis.  But
Lawrence was to do still greater things in the near future.

A year later saw the outbreak of the Mutiny, which came as a thunderbolt
to the British Government in India.  The first rising, terrible in its
suddenness, was at Meerut, where a maddened crowd of sepoys, thirsting
for the blood of all Europeans, seized the arms and ammunition, released
their prisoners, murdered whoever resisted them, and then made for
Delhi, at which place all the rebels from the country round were
assembling.  Within Delhi, the native regiments joined the mutineers;
Europeans were ruthlessly massacred, and though the tiny garrison made a
magnificent defence, expecting every hour to be relieved by a strong
British force, they at last had to realise that resistance was useless
and that each one must escape for his life as best he could.

To Lawrence, just starting for his holiday, came the well-known message
from Delhi, "The sepoys have come in from Meerut, and are burning
everything.  We must shut up," followed by a second telegram which told
that Delhi was in the hands of the rebels. Strange to say nothing was
being done from Meerut, where there was a fairly large force of British
troops, to avenge the murderous outbreak.

John Lawrence, however, was a man of action, and his younger colleagues
were not a whit less determined.  At all costs Delhi must be
regained—that was the first move unanimously agreed on; but every hour’s
delay meant danger, for each day brought recruits to the rebels, and the
disarming of the doubtful native troops must be carried out at once if
it were not to be too late.  Lawrence had a twofold task.  He must make
safe and hold secure for England the Punjab, that vast inflammable
province containing more than thirty thousand sepoys, for which work he
knew he could rely on Chamberlain, Nicholson, and Edwardes; but more
than this, he must put forth every power to assist in the retaking of
Delhi.  When at last an army of about three thousand men took up their
stand on a ridge outside Delhi, they knew that within the walls of the
city at least a hundred thousand foes awaited them, with numbers of guns
and an unlimited supply of ammunition.  Overwhelming indeed were the
odds against them.  But one fact gave them confidence.  Behind them lay
the road leading to the Punjab and to the man whom they knew would send
along it, to their help, his best officers, his best troops, ample
supplies and ammunition, who would never cease watching, working, and
urging until once more the British flag waved over Delhi.

For twelve weary weeks the struggle waged, and Lawrence strained every
nerve.  The position in the Punjab was highly critical; only the
ceaseless vigour of its Chief Commissioner, and his strong, fearless
policy, held in check the rebellion all ready to break out.  Had the
Punjab failed, nothing but disaster could have overtaken the Delhi Field
Force.  But John Lawrence never doubted, never despaired, even when
there reached him the appalling news of the Cawnpore massacre, followed
by the tidings from beleaguered Lucknow, where Henry Lawrence had fallen
at his post with the dying request that on his tomb might be recorded
the words: "He tried to do his duty."

At last the tide turned.  Delhi was saved, and though all was not yet
won, Lawrence knew that the crisis was over.  But that moment was
clouded, for the man who, above all others, had brought about the
capture of Delhi, was no more.  John Nicholson had fallen in the
proudest hour of his life, and when the news came to Lawrence he
completely broke down.

"He was a glorious soldier," he said.  "He seems to have been specially
raised up for this juncture, and so long as British rule shall endure in
India his fame shall never perish; without him, Delhi could not have
fallen."

It was a generous tribute and a just one.  But we must never forget that
behind John Nicholson was John Lawrence.

"Not a bayonet or a rupee has reached Delhi from Calcutta or England,"
wrote Edwardes.  "It has been recovered by Lawrence and his resources.
Honour, all honour to Coachman John, and honour, too, to the team that
pulled the coach.  He alone was at the helm, and bore all the
responsibility on his own shoulders"!

The district of which Delhi was the capital was at once handed over to
the Punjab Government, and Lawrence hurried thither in a mail-cart, that
law and order might be restored without delay.  His policy was just what
might have been expected of him—a generous combination of strength,
mercy, and justice; and within six months he was able to report that
"perfect order reigned throughout the Delhi territory."

It was just at this juncture that Colin Campbell arrived in India as
Commander-in-Chief.

"When will you be ready to start?" Lord Palmerston had asked him in
offering the command.

"To-morrow!" said the soldier promptly.  And on the morrow he started.

He had distinguished himself in the Crimea.  There he had held the
command of the Highland Brigade, a post of all others for which he was
fitted.  A Highlander himself, he perfectly understood how to handle the
men of his own race, and the advance on the Alma was splendidly made by
his troops, who exhibited such rare courage combined with perfect
coolness that when Lord Raglan rode up to compliment their commander,
"his eyes filled with tears and his countenance quivered."

"The army is watching you, make me proud of the Highland Brigade,"
Campbell said to his men on the day of Balaclava.  "Remember," he added,
"there is no retreat from here!  You die where you stand."

"Aye, aye, Sir Colin; we’ll do that!" was the answer.

Rarely has a more touching farewell order been issued than that from
Campbell to his men, when at the end of the campaign he was about to
return to England.  Part of it ran thus:—

"A long farewell!  I am now old, and shall not be called to serve any
more; and nothing will remain to me but the memory of my campaigns, and
the memory too of the enduring, hardy, generous soldiers with whom I
have been associated....  When you go home you will tell the story of
your immortal advance up the heights of Alma, and you may speak of the
old brigadier who led you and who loved you so well....  And the
bagpipes will never sound near me without carrying me back to those
bright days when I was at your head and wore the bonnet you gained for
me, and the honourable decorations on my breast, many of which I owe to
your conduct.  Brave soldiers, kind comrades, farewell!"

But the old soldier had not done yet, and he promptly left England for
India, where he arrived at the darkest hour, before the fall of Delhi,
and when Havelock had been foiled in his brave attempt to relieve
Lucknow.

Sir Colin and John Lawrence were old friends, and the Commander-in-Chief
at once wrote: "It will be a matter of real gratification to me if we
exchange our plans and ideas from time to time....  I am thankful you
were in the Punjab to face the storm."

The chief concentrated all his energy on bringing order and organisation
out of chaos at Calcutta, so that efficient reinforcements, properly
equipped, might be speedily got together, and meanwhile Outram went to
the assistance of Havelock.  "Outram is a fine soldier and a fine man,"
Lawrence had written of him affectionately, and this "Bayard of India,
who had served that country for forty years in war and council," as it
is recorded in the Abbey, showed himself full worthy of the highest
praises that could be bestowed on him.  When he reached Cawnpore with
reinforcements which would make possible the relief of Lucknow, he
refused, though the senior officer, to take the command.  Havelock had
borne the heat and burden of the day, Havelock must be the hero when the
hour of victory was at hand.  "I cheerfully waive my rank and accompany
the force to Lucknow, tendering my services to Brigadier-General
Havelock as a volunteer," he said, with a fine chivalry which was
characteristic of one "who ever esteemed others better than himself, who
was valiant, self-denying, and magnanimous—in all the true knight!"  The
column forced its way into Lucknow, but even so, it was impossible to
fully relieve the garrison.  Once inside the walls Outram took over the
command, and made the best of the position directly he realised that for
the present he could only reinforce, not relieve.  But Colin Campbell
was on his way with the army of about five thousand men which he had
collected after great efforts.  A miscellaneous force indeed it was:
Lancers, Sikhs, Punjab infantry, the Queen’s, and the 93rd Highlanders,
which the Commander-in-Chief had formed up, so that he might address
them, and the Highlanders burst into cheers at the sight of their
beloved General.

"You are my own lads," he said to them; "I rely on you to do yourselves
and me credit."

"Aye, aye!  Sir Colin," answered a voice from the ranks; "ye ken us, and
we ken you.  We’ll bring the women and bairnies out of Lucknow, or we’ll
leave our ain banes there!"

Magnificently they kept their word.  When it came to the last assault,
Sikhs and Highlanders positively raced with each other to be first
through the breach, and seemed impervious alike to the heavy fire poured
on them, or the desperate hand-to-hand struggle.  Over five hundred
killed and wounded made up their casualty list; but the women and the
bairnies were saved.  And though Sir Colin longed to make a second
decisive attack on the enemy, he held back with great self-control,
deeming it his first duty to withdraw all the sick with the women and
children in safety to Alumbagh, a feat difficult enough under any
circumstances, and requiring all his available troops.  Hardly had he
accomplished this than news came that Cawnpore, with its tiny garrison,
was once more surrounded by the enemy, and was, so the message said, "at
its last gasp."

"How dare you say of her Majesty’s troops that they are at their last
gasp," thundered the chief.  And forthwith made for the entrenchments,
where his very presence saved the situation.

[Illustration: WEST TRANSEPT.]

All this while John Lawrence had not relaxed his efforts, and just at
this moment he sent the welcome intelligence to Sir Colin that he had
three thousand cavalry and twelve guns waiting for him.  With those and
other welcome reinforcements the chief was able to make his final attack
on Lucknow, which continued fiercely during nineteen days, but which
ended in complete victory for the British troops, though they were but a
force of 30,000 against 120,000 of the rebels.  With the fall of Lucknow
the burning flames of the Mutiny may be said to have been extinguished;
what remained was the smouldering of the fire.  To Sir Colin the Queen
wrote an autograph letter which thrilled him with pride, part of which
ran thus:—

"The Queen has had many proofs already of Sir Colin Campbell’s devotion
to his Sovereign and his country, and he has now greatly added to the
debt of gratitude which both owe him.  But Sir Colin must bear one
reproof from his Queen, and this is, that he exposes himself too much.
His life is most precious, and she entreats that he will neither put
himself where his noble spirit would urge him to be—foremost in
danger—nor fatigue himself so as to injure his health."

A little later her Majesty signified her intention of conferring on him
a peerage.

"We dinna ken hoo tae address ye, Sir Colin, now that the Queen has made
ye a lord!" said one of the Highlanders sadly.

"Just call me Sir Colin, John, the same as in the old times: I like the
old name best," was the answer.

Although Lucknow was taken in the March of 1858, it was more than two
years before Sir Colin Campbell was able to return to England, having
finished his work; and then after three years spent at home, surrounded
by "honour, love, and troops of friends," the old warrior passed away
from the battle-field of life.

Lawrence, now a baronet, and greatly worn out by the heavy strain he had
been through, had reached England in 1859, where he found the British
public eager to shower honours on one whom they held to be the saviour
of India.  His great modesty led him to shrink from it all.

"If I was placed in a position of extreme danger and difficulty," he
declared, "I was also fortunate in having around me some of the ablest
civil and military officers in India.  And I hope that some rewards will
be extended to those who so nobly shared with me the perils of the
struggle, and by whose aid my efforts were crowned with success."

He settled down to work as a member of the Council of India, and Lord
Derby, then at the India Office, was deeply impressed not only by his
great ability but by his "heroic simplicity."  "Even if his opportunity
had never come," he declared, "you would always have felt that you were
in the presence of a man capable of accomplishing great things, and
capable also of leaving the credit of them to any one who chose to take
it."

The death of Outram was a great sorrow to Lawrence, and he it was who
went to the Dean to beg that his old friend should be buried in the
Abbey, as the one place worthy of him.  He too made all the arrangements
for the funeral, and it was at his suggestion that the sergeants of
Outram’s old regiment carried their beloved leader to his grave.

Quite unexpectedly the Government called on him to return to India as
Viceroy, and though he would far rather have remained in England, he
felt that he ought to go.  To him the call of duty was ever the one call
to which the heart of every true man must unfailingly respond.  His
appointment was for five years, and during this time he remained at his
post, carrying out the policy of his life, by which he desired "to avoid
complications, to consolidate our power in India, to give to its people
the best government we can, to organise our administration in every
department on a system which will combine economy with efficiency, and
so to make our Government strong and respected."

"I do not wish to shorten my term of office, nor do I wish to prolong
it," he said in answer to the question as to what his feelings were now
that he was about to deliver over the government of the country.

"It was a proud moment for me," he added, "when I walked up the steps of
this house, feeling that without political interest or influence I had
been chosen to fill the highest office under the Crown, the Viceroy of
the Queen.  But it will be a happier moment for me when I walk down the
steps with the feeling that I have tried to do my duty."

On his return home he was made a peer, and for some years he devoted
himself untiringly to public and philanthropic work, acting as Chairman
to the London School Board until his failing eyesight and his broken
health put an end to his public life.  "It is overpowering to see him
thus laid low and worn out," wrote one who saw him daily.  "But to us he
seems grander than ever in his affliction, and we realise the truth that
’he who ruleth his spirit is greater than he who taketh a city.’"

Ten years after he had left India the end came, and Honest John, as he
was affectionately called, was carried to the Abbey, to be buried there
with all the honour that was his due.



                             *CHAPTER XXI*

                   *DICKENS, BROWNING, AND TENNYSON*


It is impossible to wander round the Poets’ Corner without a longing
that the Abbey could claim as her own all the great singers and seers
who have made the literature of our country.  Chaucer and Spenser indeed
we have, with other writers of the Elizabethan and Stuart periods; but
many familiar names are missing altogether, or marked only by a bust or
slab.  John Philips, Matthew Prior, John Gay, and Thomas Campbell—these
were the last poets buried in Westminster for many a long day.
Shakespeare, Milton, Goldsmith, Coleridge, Burns, Keble, Wordsworth,
Thackeray, Matthew Arnold, Kingsley, Ruskin, have monuments, and so we
have their names; but how many a one is there for whom we look in vain
in this national temple of honour.  Langland, Herrick, Herbert, Sidney,
Pope, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Bunyan, Sir Thomas More, Defoe, and Swift
are unknown English writers so far as the Abbey is concerned.

Towards the latter end of the nineteenth century, however, there came a
change.  Macaulay and Grote, historians, were both buried within its
walls, and when Charles Dickens died in 1870, Dean Stanley at once
suggested Westminster to his family, who declined the offer.  Then there
appeared an article in the _Times_ declaring that the Abbey was the one
place worthy to receive so distinguished a writer.  Still his family
hesitated, and at last only consented on the condition that the ceremony
should be entirely private.  So it came to pass that, one evening after
dark, when the Abbey was closed, a grave was dug in the Poets’ Corner
close to Thackeray’s bust, and in the early summer morning the funeral
took place in solitary simplicity.  But in a few hours the news had
spread, and before the day was over thousands of persons had been to
take a last look at the grave of the writer they loved, many of them the
very poorest people, who yet brought with them a few flowers or some
other humble token of remembrance.

There was no aspect of their life he had not understood and sympathised
with, for his boyhood’s days had been spent in their midst.  His father,
unable to pay his debts, had been cast into prison at Marshalsea, so the
Dickens family had settled in the neighbourhood, little Charles
supporting himself by pasting labels on to blacking-pots, and making the
acquaintance of all those queer people and odd characters with whom his
writings have taught us to be familiar.  "David Copperfield" is to a
great extent an autobiography of Charles Dickens himself, who started
life "a prey to the cruel chances of the London streets, and who, for
all the care that was taken of him, might easily have become a little
robber or vagabond, but for the mercy of God," to use his own words.
However, brighter days were in store for him, for the elder Dickens
managed to get clear of his debts and became Parliamentary reporter to
the _Morning Herald_; and Charles, after a few years at school, during
which he had managed to learn as much as was possible, decided to take
up newspaper work, though in many ways stage life was what attracted him
most.  "I was always an actor and a writer from a mere baby," he said.

Fortunately regular work was offered him on the staff of the _Morning
Chronicle_, and before long he had made his name as the "best
Parliamentary reporter in the Peers’ Gallery."  From henceforward he
determined that writing should be his career, and under the name of Boz
he launched a book of Sketches, "illustrating everyday life and everyday
people," into the world.  The sketches were just what they claimed to
be, but it was a master-hand that had drawn them, and these everyday
people were described with such a perfect touch that the general public,
delighted and greatly entertained, at once set the young author on a
pedestal of popularity.

The "Pickwick Papers," which followed shortly afterwards, increased his
reputation and established his position.  Here was a writer bubbling
over with a fresh, keen sense of humour, and in every page of his book
the humour came out, never strained or forced, always natural, kindly,
and infectious.  From "Pickwick" he turned to quite a different style,
for in "Oliver Twist" he gave to the world a brilliant picture of the
"dregs of life."  The subject was sad enough, and Dickens, before all
things a truthful writer, did not seek to conceal anything, and yet so
wonderful was his sympathy with all humanity, even the most degraded,
that he never failed to recognise goodness and nobleness however deep
down they might be hidden away. He saw below the surface, and in all
that he wrote he forced his readers to think the better of mankind.
Dickens went on from one success to another; he thoroughly understood
his public and his own line, and his great heart was so full, so
responsive, so in tune with the tender emotions which belong to all men
and women in common, that he never grew stale or dull. Master alike of
pathos and of humour, he appealed direct to the hearts of his readers.
"Nicholas Nickleby," "The Old Curiosity Shop," "Martin Chuzzlewit," "The
Christmas Books," "Dombey & Son," "David Copperfield," "Bleak House,"
and "The Tale of Two Cities," in their turn won for him countless
friends and admirers from every class of life in England and in America,
for all his characters were living people, and though he never moralised
or lectured, he always purified and uplifted.

"Do not harden your hearts," was his message to the world.  "Sympathise,
pity, help, understand, love. Laugh if you will, so long as you laugh
not in scorn; but love always, love everywhere."

A gravestone in Westminster is his only monument there, but that was by
his own desire.  To a great crowd assembled in the Abbey on the Sunday
after his funeral, Dean Stanley read aloud these words from his will,
"sacred words," he said, "which come with a new meaning and a deeper
force, because they come from the lips of a lost friend, because they
are the most solemn utterance of lips now for ever closed in the
grave":—

"’I direct that my name be inscribed in plain English letters on my
tomb....  I conjure my friends on no account to make me the subject of
any monument, memorial, or testimonial whatever.  I rest my claims to be
remembered of my country upon my published works, and to be remembered
of my friends upon their experience of me in addition thereto....  And I
exhort my dear children humbly to try to guide themselves by the
teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit, and to put no faith
in any man’s narrow construction of its letter here or there.’"

It was in this "broad spirit" of Christ’s Teaching that Dickens lived
and wrote.  He tore down the veil that hid the lives of the poor and
suffering from the lives of the rich and prosperous.  The remembrance of
those dark sights and scenes of his boyhood never passed away from him.
"They pierce through my happiness, they haunt me day and night," he
said.  He could never rest till he had lifted up his voice in the cause
of those "little ones" whom he loved and in whom he could recognise so
much that was beautiful and true.  Kindness, tenderness, sympathy,
generosity, and divine pity, these were the stones with which he built
up his monument, and they are stones which shall endure through the ages
to come, a glorious memorial of him "who loved, with a rare and touching
love, his friends, his country, and his fellow-men."

Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson, the greatest poets of our
generation, lie side by side, underneath Chaucer’s monument, and to both
of them was given a stately public funeral, which showed how honoured a
place they held in the hearts of their countrymen. For more than fifty
years Browning had been writing, and only very slowly, very gradually
had he made his way in the public favour.  He was not, except on
occasions, a sweet singer; his rhymes did not flow gracefully and
easily; his thoughts were great, but his words were clumsy; to himself
what he taught was as clear as the day, but to his readers it was often
sadly confused and hard to understand.  Nor did he ever aim at winning
popularity or success.  He wrote more for the future than for the
present, and he was quite content to wait.

"Were you never discouraged," a friend asked him once, "at the
indifference of the public, and the enmity of the critics?"

"_Never_," was his emphatic answer.

And his reward came while he was still there to appreciate and rejoice,
not after death as is so often the guerdon of him who sees what is
hidden from his fellows.  He set up a standard of thought and feeling,
and slowly but steadily he saw the public coming up to that standard,
and marching onward more hopefully, more bravely, more confidently.  His
life story is simply told.  He was born in Camberwell, and most of his
education was obtained at the London University. His father was a bank
clerk, who hated the routine of office work, and had a perfect passion
for books. He read in season and out of season, he was a familiar figure
at all the old book-stalls, he knew many languages, and had a mind
literally stored with treasures of culture and learning.  Robert soon
showed he had inherited the same love of books, and when he was fourteen
coaxed his mother till, after some difficulty, she got him copies of the
poems written by Keats and Shelley.  "Those two poets came to me as two
nightingales," he has told us, and from henceforward his mind was
practically made up.  He, too, would be a poet, and as if to begin a
suitable course of training, he set himself to read and master the whole
of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary.  His father put no hindrances in his way,
on the contrary he promised him every assistance, and an aunt came
forward with offers of money, so firmly did she believe in the talents
of her nephew.  It was at her expense that his first book, "Pauline,"
was published anonymously, and though a very small public appreciated
the work, here and there a friendly critic was found brave enough to say
that the author, whoever he was, though he must not look for popularity
or expect to make a sensation, was certainly a poet.  "Paracelsus"
followed, the story of a man who desired knowledge above all else, and
who in the search for knowledge forgot to seek for love, hope, fear, and
faith, those nobler qualities that give to life its true note and
character; but at the time this shared the same fate as "Pauline," and
was little appreciated.  Then he tried his hand at dramatic writing,
producing first "Stafford" and afterwards "The Blot in the Scutcheon,"
and though Dickens wrote enthusiastically concerning the latter, "This
play has thrown me into a perfect passion of sorrow....  It is full of
genius, natural and great thoughts, profound yet simple, and beautiful
in its vigour," Browning contented himself with saying, "A pitfull of
good-natured people applauded it."  Then, with the buoyant hopefulness
which was part of him, he added, "Failure will not discourage me from
another effort: experience is yet to come, and earnest endeavour may yet
remove many disadvantages."

And he continued to write.  In 1844, being then thirty-two, he met
Elizabeth Barrett, the invalid poetess with whose work he was already
familiar, and from the first his heart went out to her.  For some time
she steadily refused to listen when he talked of marriage, on account of
her ill health.  But his persistence wore down her half-hearted
resistance, especially as her happiness in the knowledge of his love
proved a good doctor, and she showed signs of growing stronger. Her
father, who seems to have objected to any of his daughters marrying, had
made up his mind that Elizabeth would never leave home, and it was
certain he would never have given his consent.  So with some misgivings
Miss Barrett consented to her lover’s entreaties.  They were married
privately; he took her abroad, and in her newly found joy she rallied
surprisingly.  To the end of her life she was fragile, and it was never
possible for her to stand side by side with him through all the daily
ups and downs, but the sympathy between them was as complete as their
love for each other was beautiful, and in spite of the many new
responsibilities it laid upon him, his marriage with this rare mind
brought a daily increasing happiness to the poet.  From this time
forward much of his time was spent in Italy, for the sake of his wife;
but when in 1861, with her death, "the light of his life went out," he
returned to London and lived here till the end, always working, always
genial, drawn more and more into an ever-widening circle of friends, as
the greatness of his mind and genius became known and appreciated.
Active to the last, he died in 1889, while on a visit to Venice.  But
England claimed him as her own, and so strong was the feeling as to the
Poets’ Corner being the only place where he could be buried, that his
son consented, in spite of the fact that Mrs. Browning slept under the
blue skies of Italy.

It would be quite impossible now to talk of Robert Browning’s poems by
name; they are too many in number and too deep in thought to be lightly
dealt with.  But we can try to understand what it is that has made him
so great a figure in English literature, why it is that he has left so
powerful an influence on his age.

First of all he was a great teacher, he was a seer, as every true poet
must be if his work is to live.

    "To know the heart of all things was his duty;
      All things did speak to him to make him wise,
    And with a sorrowful and conquering beauty,
      The soul of all looked grandly from his eyes.

    He gazed on all within him and without him,
      He watched the flowing of Time’s steady tide,
    And shapes of glory floated all about him,
      And whispered to him, and he prophesied."


He looked on life as a great whole, part to be lived here, part to be
lived beyond the grave, but each part belonging to the other.  He
believed that over all, guiding all and through all, was the Divine
Power.

    "God’s in His Heaven:
    All’s well in the world."


He knew that human nature must work its way upwards by struggling
bravely on through the darkness, certain of victory at last, because
good and not evil was the all-conquering force.  And so, while he was
full of hope and full of confidence, his understanding and his
sympathies were boundless.

Courage! unfailing, confident courage! is the refrain of which he never
wearies.  Aspire towards the highest; be your best; love for love’s sake
and not for reward; work your hardest; fight valiantly to the end; never
listen to despair; never lessen your efforts.  It is the struggle and
the striving that makes life worth living, for—

    "Life is probation, and this earth no goal
    But starting-point of men."

Nor is there such a thing as failure to those who aspire rightly.

    "A man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
    Or what’s a Heaven for?"

And again—

    "Then welcome each rebuff
    That turns earth’s smoothness rough,
    Each sting that bids nor sit, nor stand, but go!
    Be our joys three parts pain,
    Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
    Learn, nor account the pang: dare, never grudge the throe."


The power and the love of God, the possibilities within the reach of
every man, and the unalterable certainty of the life beyond, these
beliefs made it impossible for Browning to sing in any but a hopeful
strain, and it is for this that we owe him our deepest debt of
gratitude. For he always encourages us, he always inspires us, he always
sends us on our way cheered by his own strong faith.

Sometimes, it is true, his verse is rough and rugged, often he is so
absorbed in the sense of what he says that he cares very little how he
says it, but every poem he wrote holds so many precious things that it
is worth while wading through difficult places to get at them.  And as
he himself once said, "With care for a man or a book, most obstacles can
be overcome."

Many a poem could I give to show you that Browning could pour out sweet
music when he wrote of certain subjects.  Here is one of his most
charming songs—"Home Thoughts from Abroad":—

    "Oh to be in England now that April’s there,
    And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
    Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
    In England—now!

    And after April, when May follows,
    And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows!
    Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
    Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
    Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge,—
    That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
    Lest you think he never could recapture
    The first, fine, careless rapture!"


On the day of his death there was published the last volume of his
poems, and it had been a great pleasure to him to hear with how much
interest they were expected. For more than fifty years he had waited,
and at last his message to his generation was being understood. He had
been "ever a fighter," and now, as he stood facing that "one fight more,
the best and the last," which was at hand, he had still one fine
marching song to send back to his fellow-men.

"Never say of me that I am _dead_," he had asked of a friend not long
before.

    "No work begun shall ever pause for death!
    Love will be helpful to me more and more
    In the coming course, the new path I must tread."

So when those who loved him read the words that told how Robert Browning
had died at Venice, having lived more than his threescore years and ten,
they turned for their comfort to his last stirring message, and
remembered him as he had wished to be remembered—

    "At the midnight, in the silence of the sleep time,
    When you set your fancies free,
    Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned—
    Low he lies, who once so loved you, whom you loved so.
      Pity me?

    Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
    What had I on earth to do
    With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
    Like the aimless, hopeless, did I drivel
      Being who?

    One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward,
    Never doubted clouds would break,
    Never dreamed though right were worsted wrong could triumph.
    Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
      Sleep to wake!

    No, at noonday, in the bustle of men’s work time,
    Greet the unseen with a cheer.
    Bid him forward, breast and back, as either should be.
    ’Strive and strive!’ cry Speed—fight on, fare ever
      There as here."


Three years after Browning’s death a crowd of over eleven thousand
persons filled Westminster to every corner, on the day when our other
great poet, Alfred Tennyson, was borne here, to remain for ever "a
citizen of the Abbey."  His coffin, fitly draped with the Union Jack,
because some of his finest lines had been called out by the thought of
Empire, Flag, and Queen, was surrounded by all the most noteworthy men
of the day as it was carried slowly through the aisles, "down the avenue
of those men, princes and peers by right of intellect divine."
Tennyson, like Browning, had written a last message to the world, but
his was not a marching song.  Instead it breathes of perfect peace, of
the joy which came to him, "who throughout the night had trusted all to
Him that held the helm, and then saw face to face, full flushed and
glorious with the new morning’s glow, the Pilot whom he had trusted."

    "Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell
    When I embark;
    For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar."

These thoughts of his filled the Abbey with a sense of their
restfulness; then there thundered out from thousands of voices the
familiar hymn—

    "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!"

and the words recalled to many a mind that Vision of which the
clear-souled poet had sung, the Gleam he had so faithfully followed,
until now it had surely led him right up to the presence of God.

[Illustration: LORD TENNYSON.]

Alfred Tennyson had been born at a country vicarage in Lincolnshire in
the year 1809, and had begun to scribble verse almost as soon as he
could write.  When he was eight he produced such lines as—

    "With slaughterous sons of thunder rolled the flood,"

which he thought "very grand" at the time; at twelve he wrote a poem of
six thousand lines, and at fourteen a drama.  He was not the sort of boy
likely to be very happy at school, and he had, as he described it, "to
shout his verses to the skies."  But to his brother he was wont to say
many a time, "Well, Arthur, I mean to be famous."  He went to Cambridge,
and when Thompson, that shrewd observer, afterwards Master of Trinity,
saw him walk into the hall, "six feet high, broad-chested,
strong-limbed, his face Shakespearean and with deep eyelids, his
forehead ample, crowned with dark wavy hair, his head firmly poised," he
remarked, "That man must be a poet!"

In 1829 he won the University Prize Poem on the not very inspiring
subject of Timbuctoo, and soon afterwards published a volume of short
poems, which was warmly welcomed and admired by his friends, one of
whom, Arthur Hallam, remarked, "Tennyson will be the greatest poet of
our generation."  But the general public cared little for poetry, and
preferred novels, so that Tennyson was thought to have scored quite a
success when three hundred copies of his book had been sold.

In 1833 there fell on him a stunning blow.  Arthur Hallam, the friend
whom he had loved with an intense love, who was so full of exceptional
promise that every one with whom he came in contact believed the
greatest future was in store for him, died quite suddenly, and to
Tennyson it seemed as if from henceforth the very light of his life had
been snatched from him. Dark were the years that followed, rendered more
so by the fact that the young poet was very poor and saw no chance of
being able to marry the woman he loved. But gradually, as he "faced the
need of going forward and braving the struggle of life" (to use his own
words), a fuller understanding and a wider view opened out before him.
Sorrow and work together led him out of the valley.  He produced several
volumes of short poems, each one showing more certainly his great poetic
sense, his gift of using musical and beautiful language, and each one,
too, making it clear from the subjects he chose, and his way of dealing
with them, that he himself, like the poet of whom he wrote—

    "Saw thro’ life and death, thro’ good and ill,
      ... Thro’ his own soul,
    The marvel of the Everlasting Will
      An open scroll,
    Before him lay."


Then came "The Princess," a longer work and a most delightful one, in
which Tennyson, many years in advance of public opinion, pleaded the
cause of women’s education, and showed that "Woman’s cause is man’s;
they rise or sink together;" and though "distinct in individualities,"
they must be "self-reverent each, and reverencing each," if they would
in all their powers dispense the harvest, "sowing the To-be."

In 1850 he published his greatest work, "In Memoriam," the poem which
came straight from his own heart, and went as straight to the hearts of
all who ached under some crushing, desolating blow.  It told of his love
for his dead friend, and how this very love led him onwards and upwards,
away from his own selfish sorrow, away from despair and darkness, till
with this larger hope there came faith in God and faith in man; the
certainty that good must be the final goal of ill; the conviction that
Love was the great power working in all and through all, destined in the
end to conquer all.  "In Memoriam" has been rightly called "the triumph
of a great love."  The work brought him fame if not fortune, and at last
he was able to marry her "who brought into his life," he said, "the
peace of God."  A year later he was made Poet Laureate, and settled down
to a quiet country life at Farringford.  "Maud," and some of his war
poems, "The Ode to the Duke of Wellington," and "The Charge of the Light
Brigade," were included in his work of the next few years, and then came
what he considered the most ambitious thing he had attempted, "The
Idylls of the King."  The old mysterious story of King Arthur and his
knights had fascinated many a poet before him, and the romance of it all
laid full hold on his imagination.  Nay, more than this, for he saw
beyond the fragmentary story, and each one of the characters, under his
hand, stands out in a new light. Arthur, Galahad, Percival, Bedivere,
Lancelot, Guinevere, Enid, and Elaine—how real they all become to us!
How intensely vivid are the scenes unfolded before our eyes, how great
and noble are the ideals of the true chivalry as distinguished from the
false, towards which Tennyson leads us, reverence for conscience,
faithfulness to duty, pure-heartedness, love of truth, fear of sin,
courtesy, gentleness, courage, pity, and forgiveness.

"A poet must teach, but not preach," Tennyson once said, and I think it
is in these legendary stories of "The Idylls," told in the beautiful
language of which he was master, that the poet has given some of his
greatest lessons, and has held up his loftiest ideals to the age in
which he lived.  After "The Idylls" came some dramas, and many short
poems, "Enoch Arden," perhaps, being the one best liked by the large
public Tennyson could now command.  But even to touch on the short poems
is impossible here, so many and so varied are they; some, soul-stirring
and patriotic, as "The Defence of Lucknow" or "The Revenge;" some, poems
of nature; some, coloured with the quaint, north-country humour he knew
so well; some, exquisite little word-pictures. His last volume of all
was published in 1889, and it included "Merlin and the Gleam," an
allegory of the ideals he had set before himself as a poet.  He, as the
old man, talks to the young mariners just about to set out.  He tells of
the Gleam which shines for every one who will see it; which calls, which
beckons on through wilderness, desolate hollows, and wraiths of the
mountain; past warbles of water and cataract music of falling torrents;
by rolling of dragons and over the level of pasture and ploughland.
Onwards, ever onwards, it leads.  To follow it is to live, to die in the
search for it is happiness, for the Gleam can never fail.

    "Through the magic
    Of Him that is mighty,
    Who taught me in childhood,
    There on the border
    Of boundless Ocean
    And all but in Heaven
    Hovers the Gleam."

So to the young mariners, he, the old magician, gives his parting word
of counsel—

    "Down to the haven,
    Launch your vessel
    And crowd your canvas,
    And, ere it vanishes
    Over the margin,
    After it, follow it,
    Follow the Gleam."

"I want to go down to posterity," Tennyson once said, "as a poet who
uttered nothing base."  And the criticism which he declared was "the
best and tenderest praise that came to cheer his old age," was the
remark of a girl who said, "When I read his poems, I always rise
determined to be better."

Much might be said about the perfect music of his poetry; the richness
of his imagination; the faultless ear he had for words; the crystal
clearness of his style; his power to see beauty and, having seen it, to
shape it; his sympathy, his sensitive understanding, and his lofty
ideals.  His claim to greatness is based on all that and still more.
Out of the depths of his pure soul he gazed on all things lovely, just,
true, pure, and of good report; and translating these into language easy
to be understood, he led those who listened to him along the Road
Beautiful, till they too stood with him on

    "The heights of life, with a glimpse of a height that is
            higher."



                             *CHAPTER XXII*

                         *A LAST WANDER AROUND*


There are still many monuments and memorials in the Abbey which do not
come in under the broad headings we have made, and to some few of these
I must take you in this our last wander round the aisles and chapels.

As we come in by the great north entrance and pass between the row of
statesmen, we must stop for a moment by the Canning group and notice the
monument to the "loyall Duke of Newcastle," who lost a large fortune and
became an exile from England on account of his devoted faithfulness to
Charles I.  The Duchess, who came of a family in which "all the brothers
were valiant and all the sisters virtuous," was, in the Duke’s eyes at
least, a very "wise, witty, and learned lady," though every one did not
deem her so. Pepys, when he made her acquaintance, wrote: "She is a
good, comely woman, but her dress is so antick, and her deportment so
ordinary, that I did not like her at all.  Nor did I hear her say
anything that was worth hearing."  It was curiosity, I suppose, that
caused Pepys to stay at home one day "to read the history of my Lord of
Newcastle, written by his wife."  Certainly his criticisms were not
favourable.  "It shows her to be a mad, conceited, ridiculous woman," he
said.  "And he is an ass to suffer her to write what she writes to him
and of him."

Perhaps the "loyall Duke" found his learned lady not always quite easy
to restrain, for he is reported once to have declared to a friend, "Sir,
a very wise woman may be a very foolish thing."

But she had better claims than her wit or wisdom to his love, as the
inscription on her monument tells, for she proved herself to be "a
louvinge carefull wife, who was with her lord all the time of his
banishment and miseries, and when he came home, never parted from him in
all his solitary retirements."

Round the west door, and underneath the statue of the younger Pitt, are
a number of memorial monuments to men, many of whom lived and laboured
in our own times. There is Lord John Russell, the great statesman, who
throughout his life was true to the emblem and the motto of his house,
which you will see on the pedestal—a mountain goat wending its way
through dangerous precipices, but never losing its footing.  And there
is General Gordon, true type of the happy warrior, who lived for the
poor, the needy, and the oppressed, and who fell at his post in far
Khartoum, faithful unto death.  On the one side is a spot sometimes
called the Little Poets’ Corner, and here, under a window given by an
American to the memory of George Herbert and Cowper, "both Westminster
scholars, and both religious poets," we find statues or busts of
Wordsworth; of the two Arnolds, Dr. Arnold, the schoolmaster, and his
son Matthew Arnold, the poet, whose beautiful verses about his father,
telling of his radiant vigour, his buoyant cheerfulness, his strong
soul, have inspired many a one struggling to be a leader, not a laggard,
in the march of life.  Here also is Keble, another religious poet, some
of whose hymns, "Sun of my Soul" and "New every morning is the Love,"
are as well known to all of us as any poems in our language; and close
by we find Maurice, the teacher and preacher who influenced so many
young men to become knights of their own day; to war against all that
was mean, or base, or false; to fight in the foremost rank for the
wronged or the oppressed; to champion the unpopular cause, and defend
the truth well-nigh forgotten.  By those who loved him he was called the
Prophet, because he stood, as it were, between God and man, because he
looked beyond the present and the things that are seen, right into the
hidden glories of the things eternal.  Kingsley, too, lies here, the
most famous of Maurice’s disciples—the man who was scholar, poet,
novelist, thinker, teacher, enthusiast, and leader all in one; who
roused his listeners to a sense of the duty that lay at their door; who
taught them to love the beautiful things in nature even as they loved
nature’s God; who made them enthusiastic for all that was chivalrous and
soul-stirring; who himself so loved all humanity that round his grave
the highest in the land, gipsies from the country lanes, and
white-faced, sweated toilers from the great cities, mourned side by
side, this their great-hearted friend.

Fittingly in this group comes Henry Fawcett, the most knightly figure in
modern politics.  For though he became blind through an accident when he
was twenty-five, he refused to let that turn him aside from his purpose,
and threw himself all the more earnestly into public life.  At first
when he tried to go into Parliament he was beaten, the electors actually
being afraid of a blind candidate, but gradually his speeches, which
showed how much he thought and cared, and how intensely alive he was to
the needs of the working classes, broke down this foolish prejudice, and
once in the House he was loved as he was trusted by men of both parties.
His monument is quite one of the most beautiful among the modern
monuments, and one great authority has declared that "the exquisite
little figures which adorn it are the best of their kind since the
little angels were placed on the tomb of Queen Philippa."

In the south aisle of the choir is the monument of Sir Cloudesley
Shovel, which so annoyed Addison. And indeed it is rather hard on this
British sailor, who worked his way up from the lowest rank till he
became Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet, and was drowned in a shipwreck
off the Isle of Stilly, to be handed down to posterity, dressed, not in
the uniform he loved and wore so honourably, but in the armour of a
Roman general!

Monuments to Doctor Isaac Watts the hymn writer and to John and Charles
Wesley are here, and very appropriate is the Wesley inscription, "The
whole world is my Parish," breathing as it does the great-hearted spirit
of the Abbey.

Sir Godfrey Kneller, the only painter who has a monument in the Abbey,
refused to be buried here, declaring he would not lie among fools, and
he left money for a memorial to himself which was to be put up in
Twickenham Church.  But the place he had chosen had already been
appropriated by Pope, who refused to give way, so that after all the
monument had to be put up in Westminster, and Pope, by way of
compensation, undertook to write the inscription, in which he declared
that "Kneller was by Heaven, not by master taught."

Gilbert Thornburgh, a courtier, has a delightful Latin epitaph which
states that


                        "He was always faithful
                To his God, his Prince, and his Friends.
             Formerly an earthly, now an Heavenly Courtier,
              It shall be no more said in the Age to come,
                 Who must be good must leave the Court,
          When such shining Piety as his shall appear there."


Some epitaphs are humorous, as when we read of one Francis Newman, a
Fellow of All Souls College in Oxford, who in 1649, "divested of Body
was received among the seats of the Blessed Souls, and became truly a
New-Man;" or of Sir John Fullerton, a courtier, who died "Fuller of
Faith than of Feare, Fuller of Resolution than of Paines, Fuller of
Honour than of Dayes."

Unconsciously humorous are the words on the tombstone of James Fox, who
at the age of twelve fell ill of smallpox and took his flight to heaven.
"He was a man even when a child, and a Hercules from his cradle;
favoured with Beauty, Wisdom, and all Endowments of Mind and Body no
less than were Adonis, Venus, and Apollo; a child of singular
dutifulness and great sincerity."

    "Oh parents! pity his parents.
    Oh posterity! reflect upon your loss!"


It was smallpox which caused the death both of Richard Boothey—who was
"of manly judgment even in his youth, of so happy a memory as to be
envied, a flower, more beautiful than the rest, cut off in the spring of
life"—and of Mr. Thomas Smith, buried in the little cloisters, "who
through the spotted veil of smallpox rendered a pure unspotted soul to
God, expecting but never fearing death."

More pathetic perhaps than any other is the little tablet in the
cloisters which marks the grave of "Jane Lister, dear child," though
almost as touching is the inscription which tells us of "Mary, daughter
of William Green, more adorned with virtue than with high birth, who
married William Bulmer, Gentleman, to whom she was no occasion of
trouble except by leaving him at her death.  She bore him one son,
William, a youth of great genius, who was snatched away by too hasty
death.  His most tender mother chose to be buried near him, that she,
though dead, might be united in death with him she so entirely loved
while living."  Right at the other end of the Abbey, in the Chapel of
St. Erasmus, is the tomb of Mrs. Mary Kendall, which has these words for
inscription:—

   "She had great virtues, and as great a desire of concealing them.
           Was of a severe life, but of an easy conversation.
                Courteous to all, yet strictly sincere.
       Humble without meanness.  Beneficent without ostentation.
                      Devout without superstition.
                       Those admirable qualities,
    In which she was equalled by few of her sex, surpassed by none,
  Rendered her in every way worthy of that close union and friendship
           In which she lived with the Lady Katherine Jones."

And in the adjoining Chapel of St. Andrew is the heart-broken tribute of
the Earl of Kerry, "to his affectionately beloved wife, Anastatia, the
dearest, most loved, most faithful companion that ever blessed man, who
for thirty-one years rendered him the happiest of mankind."

The last of our epitaphs must be that of Archbishop Boulter, who pulled
a great many political strings in Ireland, and lived a very eventful
life.  But his inscription reveals us none of these things, and only
describes a series of promotions, for it relates that "He was born
January the 4th, 1671: he was consecrated Bishop of Bristol 1718: he was
translated to the Archbishoprick of Armagh in 1723, and from thence to
Heaven, on Sep. 27, 1742."

Over Abbot Islip’s Chapel is a chantry, now used for keeping the few wax
effigies which remain.  For, as you remember, it used to be the custom
at royal funerals, or indeed at any important funerals, to carry the
likeness of the dead man or woman before the coffin; these painted
effigies being made of boiled leather, wood, or wax, dressed up in the
clothes of the person they represented.  Only eleven of these remain,
though at one time there must have been quite a collection of royal
figures in the Abbey which were open to the public, gaze, and evidently
left to the mercy of the public.  Queen Elizabeth can still be seen,
gorgeously dressed, but weary and sad-looking; Charles II. is there, and
the beautiful Duchess of Richmond of the Stuart race, whose monument,
with that of her husband, is in Henry VII.’s Chapel.  Then there is the
Duchess of Buckinghamshire, proud and pomp-loving, who insisted on
seeing the canopy for her funeral hearse, that she might be sure it was
magnificent enough, and who made her attendants promise that even when
she became unconscious they would still stand in her presence.  By her
is her little son, and near her, her eldest son, who also died young.
Queen Anne beams on us; William and Mary have the crown set between
them, and he stands on a stool so as not to appear smaller than his
wife.  General Monk’s armour is there, much the worse for wear; and
Pitt, Earl of Chatham, is splendid in his Parliamentary robes.  Nelson
was put here from a very worldly point of view, for when he was buried
in St. Paul’s, such crowds went to see his grave, that Westminster Abbey
was neglected, and as the pence of the sightseers were too valuable to
be lost, it was decided that some memorial of the great hero must be
placed in the Abbey to attract people back again.  All the clothes
except the coat, and certainly the hat, belonged to Nelson, but a
waxwork effigy hardly seems a worthy monument to him in the place which
he must have loved and honoured, nay, must have dreamt of, when he cried
to his men as he led them to attack, "Westminster Abbey, or glorious
victory."

And now, leaving monuments, sleeping figures, epitaphs, inscriptions,
and effigies, come and stand for a moment on the steps leading up to the
High Altar, that we may take our last look at the Abbey from what is
perhaps the most interesting spot in it.  For, as you will remember, it
is in this part of the Church that the coronation service takes place,
it is here that every sovereign of England has been crowned from the
days of Harold onwards.

[Illustration: THE HIGH ALTAR. (SHEWING ABBOT WARE’S PAVEMENT.)]

The pavement inside the rails is made of the mosaics brought back from
Rome by Abbot Ware in 1267, where he went to be duly confirmed in his
office by the Pope; the pillars near the altar are on the very bases
which were put there when Edward the Confessor built his church.  Here
are the tombs of Aymer de Valence, of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of
Lancaster, and of Aveline his young wife, who as a bride had stood in
front of the altar but a few months before her death in the year 1269.
Opposite, King Sebert is said to lie; under the pavement rests Abbot
Ware, with other of his successors, and Richard the Second’s sad
helpless face looks at us from his portrait with its fine background of
tapestry.  The altar and the reredos which we see are both new, and just
as the old frieze through in the Confessor’s Chapel depicts scenes in
the life of Edward, so the modern reredos gives us glimpses of Him in
whose honour the Saxon king first raised these walls.  From among the
gold, four white figures stand out, "the four living creatures which
have been thought worthy to stand round the central figure of our
departing Master," as Dean Stanley described them when they were
erected. On the right stands St. Peter, patron saint of the Abbey,
holding in one hand the keys, and in the other a book, on which is
written the great truth, "God is no respecter of persons," and next to
him is Moses, the first statesman and lawgiver, looking towards the
buried statesmen in the Abbey.

On the left stands St. Paul, grasping in his hand that Sword of the
Spirit which he had named as the weapon of the Christian warrior, and by
him is David, the sweet singer of Israel, whose face is turned towards
the Poets’ Corner as though he would claim those sleeping there for his
brethren.

Through the glass we catch a glimpse of the Chapel of the Kings, and all
around is a network of slender arches fashioned by master-hands into
forms of stately but perfect beauty.  High above are the three Eastern
Windows, though in the course of the years these have been so constantly
repaired with any scraps of glass available, that the effect is rather
confusing.  But the figure of a thorn-crowned Christ stands out, and
near to Him are Edward the Confessor and St. John the Evangelist.

Now turn to the west, look at the glade of arches stretching down the
nave, at the Statesmen’s Corner on the right, where under the Rose
Window Chatham’s fine figure stands out almost with an air of proud
satisfaction, and then towards the left to the monument of Oliver
Goldsmith, and the more imposing memorial to the great Duke of Argyll,
"an honest man, a constant friend, a general and an orator."  Two
commanding statues of Campbell and Addison loom out in the half light,
Campbell casting a shadow over the graves of Abbot Litlington, Owen
Tudor, and Dean Benson, and hiding from our view the dignified,
thoughtful figure of William Shakespeare, who holds in his hands a
scroll on which are those lines of his from the "Tempest":—

    "The cloud-capt towers,
    The gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples,
    The great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit
    Shall dissolve,
    And like the baseless fabric of a vision
    Leave not a wreck behind."

Burns and Sir Walter Scott greet us from their niches; Grote and
Thirlwall, the truth-loving writers of history; Camden, the Westminster
master and antiquarian; Garrick the actor, Handel the musician, all
cluster around us as we look down the southern aisle; and we can just
see at the end the newest addition to the building, a bronze memorial to
John Ruskin, a great teacher and writer of our own day.  Some words of
his come to my mind at this moment, as applying in a very special sense
to the Abbey: "The greatest glory of a building is not in its stones,
nor in its gold.  The glory is in its age, and in that deep sense of
voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even of
approval or condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been
washed by the passing waves of humanity.... It is in the golden stain of
time that we are to look for the real light, and colour, and
preciousness of architecture; and it is not until a building has assumed
this character, till it has been entrusted with the fame and hallowed by
the deeds of men, till its walls have been witnesses of suffering, and
its pillars rise out of the shadows of death, that its existence, more
lasting as it is than the natural objects of the world around it, can be
gifted with even so much as those possess of language and of life.
Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever....  God
has lent us the earth for our life; it is a great entail.  It belongs as
much to those who are to come after us, and whose names are already
written in the Book of Creation, as to us."

And surely, too, the Abbey leads our thoughts towards other temples,
which it is ours to guard, to honour, and to make honourable, temples
not fashioned by human hands.  Those old builders often worked in the
dark; some corner, some piece was allotted to them, and into this they
put all their skill, all their genius, caring little for fame or reward,
knowing nothing of the whole plan which they would never live to see
accomplished.  Only this was their task, to beautify the little part
entrusted to them. And because they were faithful to this ideal, we, who
gaze on their completed work, do grateful homage to those nameless
craftsmen, long since dead and forgotten.  Nay more, we will make it our
aim to labour as they laboured; to live not basely and selfishly in the
Present, but nobly and truly, with the Future ever before our eyes; so
that in days to come Englishmen shall still be able to say, "See!  This
our fathers did for us!" and generations, yet unborn, will deem that we
were faithful to ourselves and to them.



                                THE END



                  Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co.
                           Edinburgh & London





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