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of the “ House of Jesus of Bethlehem at Sheen.” The house continued to flourish till the suppression of monasteries. Very little in its history calls for record, but one or two rather unusual incidents are mentioned. In 1498, Perkin Warbeck, after he had escaped from his keepers, sought sanctuary here. Shortly after the battle of Flodden, the corpse of the gallant James IV. is said to have been enclosed in lead, and brought to this monastery for interment. Dean Colet, as we have seen, built himself a cell here—which served for the retirement of the fallen Wolsey.
Sheen Priory was one of the religious houses in which Mary replaced the dispersed monks; but it was of course again suppressed along with the other monasteries by her successor. The monks of Sheen then migrated to Flanders, where the community existed till near the close of the last century. . An ancient gateway, the last vestige of the priory of Sheen, was taken down in 1769, and the whole site enclosed within the limits of the Lower Park. At the same time the hamlet of West Sheen, consisting of eighteen houses, was also demolished and similarly enclosed.
It was on the site of Sheen Priory that Sir William Temple's house was situated, which he refers to with so much fondness in his letters, as well as in his · Essay on Gardening. His abode here is memorable, not on his own account only. Swift resided with Sir William at Sheen for a considerable period. At this time William III. used often to visit Temple, and Swift was accustomed to attend his Majesty–who, being troubled with the gout, needed some one to lean on-in his walks about the garden. The king was much pleased
with the young Irish parson, and bestowed such uncommon civility upon him, that Swift reckoned somewhat confidently upon the royal favour. William did reward him, but after a manner Swift little expected or relished. The king offered him an ensign's commission in a regiment of horse, and initiated him into the mystery of cutting asparagus after the Dutch fashion! Thus, at least, Swift told the story; but probably it was a little embellished. It was at Sheen that Swift becaine acquainted with Stella, whose story forms so sad a chapter in his biography. She was the daughter of Sir William Temple's steward.
Richmond is one of the largest, villages in the kingdom—indeed it is larger and more populous than many a considerable country town. At the census of 1841 it contained 7760 inhabitants; and now doubtless contains many more. A good part of the population consists of persons of independent means; and the place is, consequently, genteel as well as pleasant and healthy. There are many houses of a superior kind, but none that calls for particular notice here ; nor is there any thing very noteworthy in the appearance of the streets or of the public buildings. The old church, with the exception of the tower, is modern and mean; but it is interesting for its monuments. Of these the finest as a work of art is, perhaps, that by Flaxman, to the memory of Mrs. Lowther, but the most interesting, though the least prominent, is a plain brass plate, tarnished and blackened by age and neglect, and placed against the wall under the west gallery, in a spot so dark that it can scarcely be read. The inscription informs us, that “ In the earth below this tablet are the remains of James Thomson, author of the beautiful poems, The Seasons," "The Castle of Indolence,' &c., who died at Richmond on the 27th of August, and was buried there on the 29th, O. S., 1748. The Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man and so sweet a poet should be without a memorial, las denoted the place of his interment, for the satisfaction of his admirers, in the year of our Lord 1792” -and then follow some lines from The Seasons.' A monument on the wall of the south aisle records the virtues of Gilbert Wakefield the voluminous. Outside the church by the tower is a neat marble slab, with a medallion portrait, “ erected by his son," to the memory of Edmund Kean, who, after fretting his brief hour upon the stage, rests here. Here also rest many other men, and some women, celebrated in their day. In the New Cemetery, close by the church, is a monument to the memory of Dr. John Moore, the author of • Zeluco,' and father of General Sir John Moore.
Of all the famous men who have resided in Richmond, Thomson has conferred most renown upon it. It was in the maturity of his genius that he dwelt here; the larger portion of his immortal
Seasons' was written here, as was also the whole of the Castle of Indolence'--the most delightful poem of its class in our language, and displaying a luxuriance of imagination infinitely surpassing what is shown in the more popular Seasons ;' and here he died : while his description of the view from the hill is what always recurs to the memory of every visitor to Richmond, when he for the first time gazes upon that matchless scene. It is not to the credit of the Richmond folk, that his only memorial, in a place which owes so much to him, should
be the paltry brass plate which a private individual set up in the church, rather for his own glorification than to do honour to the poet.
Thomson lived in Kew-lane, in a house which now forms a part of Rosedale House, the residence of the Countess of Shaftesbury. A good deal has been preserved of what belonged to Thomson's house. The parlour in which he composed yet exists, with the furniture in it, as when he lived. Some portion of the garden, too, is said to remain nearly as when
“ The bard, more fat than bard beseems,” was wont to saunter into it at mid-day, and, as tradition relates, and Leigh Hunt has recorded in his always pleasant verse,
“ slipper'd, and with hands
Eating a wondering peach from off the tree !" The summer-house, which he used as his poetic study, is also preserved. A tablet over the entrance informs you that “ Here Thomson sung the Seasons and their change ;” and his employment of it is further commemorated by a long and inflated inscription, set up by Lord Buchan, the author of that in the church. This commences, “ Within this pleasing retirement, allured by the music of the nightingale, which warbled in soft unison to the melody of his soul, in unaffected cheerfulness, and genial though simple elegance, lived James Thomson.”
Thomson wanted not poetic companions while at Richmond, and the esteem in which he was held by them says much for the qualities of his heart. Savage lived here some time in close intercourse with him, and, as Dr. Johnson observes (“Life of Thomson'), “always spoke with the most eager praise of his social qualities, his warmth and constancy of friendship, and his adherence to his first acquaintance, when the advancement of his reputation had left them behind him.” Collins, too, resided at Richmond the last year or two of Thomson's life, and left it—unable to endure it longer on his death. The Ode on the Death of Thomson,' in which he gave expression to his affection and grief, is well known to every poetic reader. And so also is, or ought to be, the "Remembrance of Collins,' which Wordsworth “ composed upon the Thames near Richmond :"