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sixty years ago, through the carelessness of a beggar, who, having been permitted to sleep there, shook the lighted ashes from his pipe among the straw. What remains of the chapel is used as a pigeonhouse.
Below Bray our river brightens more and more till we reach Windsor. On the way are not many notable things. The first we come to is an island at which pleasure-parties usually land, and which is often visited by the angler. It rejoiceth in the name of Monkey Island, a name which it has received from a pleasure-house built on it by the late Duke of Marlborough, the drawing-room of which is painted over with monkeys in all sorts of positions. The house is hastening to decay, and is only kept from entire ruin by the occasional attention of the fisherman and his family who live in a cottage on the island, and who rent the water for the fishery, and two or three of the neighbouring aits for the purpose of growing basket-rods, and who supply boiling water and the like for visitors. On the left lies Dorney, with a little rural church buried among trees; and an old mansion. "The proud keep of Windsor" now stands out majestically before us, and as we advance, the whole pile by degrees unveils itself. This noble edifice is seen to great advantage as we follow the windings of the river. Every bend presents it in a new position, and its manifold combinations succeed each other with ever fresh beauty. When you think you have settled that the last is the best view, a few steps show a fresher and a better. Windsor people prefer the nearer views, but on the whole, I think its appearance most beautiful from the river just before reaching
Boveney, especially when the western sun is glancing kindly upon it; and scarcely elsewhere can it appear grander than from the same spot
"About the springing of the gladsome day."
Surley Hall, so well known to fishermen and Etonians; and Clewer, visited by all who visit Windsor, on account of its richly-decorated Catholic chapel, require no further mention here.
THE CASTLE OF WINDSOR.
Whatever of interest attaches to Windsor is centred in the Castle. The town is of goodly extent, has a large and busy population, yet is it quite lost sight of in the deep shadow of the mighty pile beneath which it lies. Topographers describe the town, account for its name, trace its history— who heeds them? The stranger visits it, puts up at his inn, walks about the streets, and the day after he has quitted it forgets all about it, and everything he has seen in it, except the Castle, and what is connected with the Castle.
Windsor Castle is eminently happy in its situation, in that it is so placed as to exhibit its vast extent and massive proportions to the best advantage; and at the same time to afford the most agreeable prospects, and a healthy dwelling-place to its possessor. It stands on a hill of moderate elevation, which slopes gently on all sides but the north, which is somewhat abrupt. The town is built along the slopes, and neither interferes with the view of the Castle or from it. Camden has given so admirable a description of the position of the Castle, that every one who has written of Windsor has quoted it: "It is built," he says, "on a high hill, that riseth with a gentle ascent: it enjoyeth a most delightful prospect round about; for right in front it overlooketh a vale, lying out far and wide; garnished with corn-fields, flourishing with meadows, decked with groves on either side, and watered with the most mild and calm river Thames. Behind it arise hills everywhere, neither rough nor over high, attired as it were with woods, and even dedicated by nature to hunting and game."
Windsor Castle is the only building we possess that is worthy to be the residence of the sovereign of England. The hideous mass called Buckingham Palace is fit only for a penitentiary, or a railway terminus, or to present to Dr. Reid to carry on his windy labours in, and to decorate with his prodigious cowls. But Windsor Castle is worthy of the country, and in its magnificent outline, and' its somewhat incongruous aggregation of parts, the growth of ages differing in almost every respect from each other, it seems fitly to symbolize the character of the nation slowly compounded of antagonistic materials into its present sublime form. One likes that there should be one national palace that has grown with the growth of the nation, and accommodated itself to its progress—that has advanced with it from the rude strength and suspicious defences of the feudal days, through the struggles of early civilization, to the present calm display of greatness and refinement, of power and wealth.
The history of the Castle commences with the Conqueror. The ground on which stands both town and castle had been granted by Edward the Confessor to the Abbey of Westminster; but William being desirous to possess it, the abbot agreed to exchange it for some lands in Essex. William erected a building, probably a fortress, upon it. The neighbouring country he converted into a royal forest, and perhaps used his house as a hunting lodge. By Henry I. it was entirely rebuilt, and made a residence; walls and ramparts were added; and it was raised to the rank of a castle. He held his court in it, on two or three occasions; and in a chapel which he built celebrated his second marriage with considerable splendour. In the time of Stephen—the age of castles—it was reputed to be the second for strength in the kingdom. Henry II. held a parliament in it, which was attended by the King of Scotland and his brother, as well as by the barons of England. As soon as the news of the imprisonment of Richard reached this country, the castle was seized by John; and when the barons had compelled him to sign Magna Charta, he shut himself up in it; and the barons on one occasion laid siege to it without success. In the struggle between Henry III. and the barons it once or twice changed masters. With both Edward I. and Edward II. it was a frequent and favourite abode. Edward III. was born at Windsor, and it was by him that the castle was raised to its present form and magnitude.
brilliant era in English history. The mind of England made one of those marvellous advances that are sometimes to be observed in the life of a nation. Men of lofty genius appeared in every calling that required the intellectual faculties to be brought into most powerful exercise. The victories of Crecy and Poitiers displayed the military skill and indomitable bravery of Englishmen; and whatever else may have been the good or evil of Edward's continental wars, those splendid victories, as Mackintosh has finely said, "sur
The reign of this prince