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omnipresent! In all the known world where are such flower forests of chesnuts? The gayest blossoms of every season gladdening the eye, and filling the air with fragrance. Beauty of scene near at hand, and stretching as far distant as the sight can reach. The lulling music of waters-the magnificent in architecture— the matchless in painting-and, best of all, the throngs of happy faces (the statist tells you they exceed thirty thousand a month in the summer), abandoned to mirth, and oblivious of dull cares, and toil left behind them! Miserable indeed the wretch whose sympathies are not touched with some of these.
"Let any wight (if such a wight there be),
To whom thy lofty towers unknown remain,
And view thy splendid halls: then turn again
For kings the rest' (he'd say), 'but thou for gods wert raised.'"
In whatever point of view one regards Hampton and its Palace, it must at once be acknowledged that within the same distance of our metropolis, we can boast of no two places possessing together half the interest that attaches to this spot.
Reflect, for a moment, on the high gratification well regulated and generous minds will receive from a visit to this classic pile and its delightful vicinage-the gratification, as already noticed, of witnessing thousands upon thousands derive from holydays spent in contemplating the beautiful in art and nature, with which Hampton Court so bounteously supplies them. To those who, wrapped up in the selfishness of exclusion, find pleasure in scenes to which the privileged classes alone can gain access, the liberal indulgence by which the public at large are admitted here may be distasteful and offensive, but luckily this is a matter of no moment, for the public good is to be infinitely preferred before the exclusive feelings of individuals. Hampton Court, its gardens, pictures, flowers, and walks now serve the purposes of a normal school, where recreation ministers to instruction, and where eye and mind are at once delighted and improved.
It is a pleasing sight to those who are not afraid to come in contact with ordinary humanity, to see the roads crowded with numbers of holiday makers on their delighted way to Hampton Court, emancipating themselves, their wives, and children for the day, from the contagion of the town, or the sensual gratification of suburban pot-houses, and devoting the few hours they may have to spare from the daily-renewing necessity of toil, to pleasures in which the intellectual predominates over the animal, and in which relaxation from labour is made subservient to the inculcation of purer tastes, and enjoyments more re fined.
We live in hopeful times, says Mr. Murray in his "Environs of London," from whom we have been just now quoting, when our palaces become places of popular resort, and when our people are found worthy of the privilege accorded them of making palaces their own. It is strange, when we pause to think upon it that this noble pile, once the retreat of the Knight Templars-where Wolsey lived in more than royal state-whence the Eighth Harry chased the country round, converting fertile plains, the property and means of sustenance for its peaceful inhabitants, into a wilderness of beasts, and birds of game-where Elizabeth called a Shakspeare to entertain her on the stage, and the First James indulged himself in profitless religious controversy-where the unhappy Charles found himself less than the servant of his subjects-where Cromwell led an unquiet life of suspicion and never-ceasing fear; the polished floors, once silent beneath the mincing steps of courtiers, are now trodden by the humblest menthe treasures of art, formerly reserved for royal eyes alone, are now gazed upon by admiring myriads-the faces of historical personages become as familiar to the vulgar as their lives and actions to the learned.
If we forget everything about Hampton Court, save its richness and merely natural beauty, we shall still find abundance to admire. The happy situation of the place, occupying a delightful peninsula, which the Thames delights almost to encircle, and which, looked at upon the map, seems a huge emerald set in silver— the mighty masses of its foliage filling up the distance of the landscape, on which ever side you cast your eye-the plains, covered with the richest verdure in one place, with the stubborn grasses intermingled with ferns and heath, where the wild deer love to haunt, in another-the magnificent colonnades of mighty chesnuts, shooting upwards millions of pyramidical cones of wax-like snowy blossoms -the huge thorn trees, veterans of centuries, filling the air almost to oppressiveness with their luscious fragrance-the green alleys, with their lengthened vistas, their verdant carpets, and their ever-changing effects of shade and sunlightthen, the intermingling song of various birds-wild creatures flitting to and frothe timid deer, the hum of bees, the wandering flight of butterflies. To these add the pure elastic air, the azure firmament overhead, or, still better, fleecy vapours now and again veiling the meridian sun, and soothing zephyrs whispering i' th' ear of earth, and you have no need either of palace or pictures for the enjoyment of a delightful day-love of nature, and a disposition to observe and study her, will serve you instead of art and architecture. Nature here builds up for you aisles and transepts, courts and halls, of her own mighty pillars, far excelling in sublimity the memorials of the magnificent Wolsey. Nature displays her cartoons for your inspection,-brilliant landscapes, before which the drawing of Raphael, the composition of Poussin, the colouring of Claude, must sink into insignificant mediocrity; and if, as in the time-honoured halls you are about to
visit, you admire the power and the munificence that gave them form and substance, you may do more here. With holier awe and worthier reverence, in this great temple, you may worship the omnipotent and the omnipresent Maker and giver of all.
It is not one summer's day, or many, that will make familiar all Hampton Court can show; aud not a summer only, but in winter; when most places are cold, and gloomy, and sad, it is warm, bright and gleeful. It has charms for all the year round; and embarrassed with its riches, the difficulty to the occasional visitor, and still more so to the visitor for a single day, is to economise strength and spirits to relish each succeeding beauty, and leave the place, not in surfeited lassitude, but with agreeable general impressions of its most remarkable features. We must, however, refer our readers to guide books for directions how to make the selections; for no hundred ordinary pages can pretend to be a history of the place, which, in fact, is the history of three centuries, the most eventful of our country. In order to give an idea, for example, of the state kept up by Wolsey, during the period of his, it will be only necessary to mention that he had two hundred and eighty silk beds in his palace for visitors alone, and that he maintained nearly one thousand servants, among whom were several lords, fifteen knights, and forty esquires. His master cook was attired daily in velvet, and wore a gold chain. Well might Dr. Johnson call it
"The liveried army, and the menial lord."
It will add to the interest of the visitor at Hampton Court Palace, if he bears in mind that it was the last instance in this country of the magnificence of the household establishment of a priest, vying with the proudest royalty itself, and of a man of sacerdotal functions holding the highest offices in state as well as in church. Here, we repeat, Wolsey lived in more than regal state; and when it is considered how many persons he had in his suite, we shall be the less surprised at the vastness of his palace.
The part of Wolsey's palace, which still remains consists of the first and second quadrangles, and some small courts and passages to the right and left of them. If the original palace had five courts, which it is generally supposed to have had, it must have been nearly as large again as we see it at present. The third court next the garden was rebuilt by William the Third, and stands upon only a small part of the original site of the old palace. In looking at what remains of the latter we shall perceive an effect in the old English ecclesiastical character of building, that delights the imagination, and seems congenial with our native feeling. The small part, however, which remains of the original building can convey but a very inadequate idea of the former splendour of the place, as the apartments which are now standing are supposed to have been only used as do