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in Woodstock park. But the story that so engages the youthful fancy is only a fiction. Eleanor did not discover, by means of a silken thread, the secret of the labyrinth in which her rival was hidden, nor force her to drink from the poison-bowl. The plain fact, which must take the place of fiction, however pretty, appears to be, that on the marriage of the king, or not very long after, Rosamund retired to this nunnery at Godstow, and there, in penitence and in attention to the duties of religion, passed the remainder of her days. She was buried in the choir opposite to the high altar; and Henry raised a sumptuous monument to her memory. The nunnery having been greatly enriched by her benevolence, and by the bounty of the sovereign on her account, her remains were treated with much honour by the nuns, who hung a pall of silk over her tomb, and set lights of wax about it. And thus it continued, till, in the next reign, Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, came to the nunnery, and seeing so fair a tomb set about with lighted tapers, demanded whose it was; and being answered that it was " the tomb of Rosamund, sometime leman to Henry II.," his virtue was shocked, and he commanded her bones to be cast out of the church, that the "nuns might not be led astray by having her example thus constantly set before them, and that other women, being made afraid, might beware, and keep themselves from unlawful and advouterous company with men." Although his commands were obeyed, the grateful nuns, as soon as they dared, gathered her bones, and put them in a perfumed bag, which they placed in a leaden coffin, and again buried them in the church, setting over them a fair large stone, whereon were engraven her name and praise. They were not again disturbed till the suppression of monasteries in the reign of the pious Henry VIII., when, as Leland records, her tomb was opened by the royal commissioners; in it was found the leaden case, within which were the bones wrapped in leather. "When it was opened," he adds, " a very sweet smell came out of it"—which we may be sure was more than would come out of the coffins of those who committed this sacrilege. But let us be fair towards these precious commissioners—who have sins enough, altogether their own, to answer for—and not blame them for what is essentially a national characteristic. Whenever was there an opportunity afforded for turning over the bones of a celebrated person, that an Englishman did not avail himself of it? Men the most reverend have not been suffered to lie undisturbed in their coffins, and why should a poor leman escape? We all know how Milton's bones were handled; and Shakspere's have hardly been left unmolested, despite the curse so heartily invoked on him who should disturb them. And now are zealous archaeologists—whether of the Institute or the Association*—ready at any moment, if a barrow is to be opened, or the cemetery of an old priory to be turned up, to set out, brimful of enthusiasm, and not only to explore the coffins, but to measure tibia and femur, make section of humerus, and note "fracture" and " texture," examine the state of the teeth, and carefully chronicle the altitude of os frontis; and if there be aught else preserved besides bones, to analyse it, and faithfully record the taste, smell, and form;—but all this is in the service of science.
THE CITY OF LEARNING.
Let Us once more resume our journey.
And now, as we step slowly onwards, we see gradually opening before us one of the most glorious scenes our river has to show:
"That faire city, wherein make above
So many learned impes, that shoote abrode,
Joy to you both, ye double nursery
Spenser, Fairie Queen, c. xi.
Before it arrives at Oxford, the Thames, though it continues to be but shallow, expands to a considerable width, and making a bold curve, presents something of the appearance of a lake, beyond which rise the turrets and pinnacles of this City of the Muses—" Our Athens:"
"Mother of arts And eloquence."
The Oxford meadows are flat, and intersected by several branches of the river. On the Berkshire side the banks are elevated and woody, forming at every bend an agreeable foreground to the landscape. Here it is, perhaps, from the gentle slopes between Wytham and Bynson, that the best gene
ral view of Oxford is obtained. The broad sheet of water stretches beneath and before you, and the dark roofs and tall chimneys of the western suburb, which occupy the middle-ground, serve to throw into a finer distance and impart a more airy grace to the long range of towers, domes, and spires that form the picture; and that mark, as we know, spots where have lived and laboured a succession of the noblest men that our country—so rich in noble men —has to boast of.
As we contemplate the scene on this calm summer evening, when the gathering shades have obscured the meaner objects, an air of serene grandeur rests on the place, and trains of associations arise that elevate our thoughts above the selfishness and sordidness of ordinary life. The stranger fears almost to enter the city, lest the reality should destroy the idea which the distant prospect of it has raised. It does not at all. "An atmosphere of learning" seems to surround it, and it needs something like a familiar acquaintance to lessen the venerable dignity of its aspect.
The man is little to be envied who can for the first time wander through it without emotion. Scarcely does it seem possible at any time to stand in its noble High-street and gaze along the line of academic courts unmoved. Apart from its associations, and regarded merely as a matter of taste, Oxford is probably surpassed by few cities of equal size in the number and grandeur of its edifices, and perhaps beyond any other it carries its character deeply impressed upon it. But then, how glorious are its associations! How many of the most illustrious intellects of our land have here prepared themselves for their mighty tasks! From this place