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is a scroll, on which appear the following lines from “The Tempest:"
“The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
Oliver Goldsmith's likeness is given in profile, under which, on the marble slab in the wall, is a Latin inscription, stating in substance that “he was eminent as a Poet, Philosopher, and Historian; that he scarcely left any species of writing unattempted, and none that he attempted, unimproved; that he was master of the softer passions, and could at pleasure command tears or provoke laughter; but in everything he said or did, good nature was predominant; that he was witty, sublime, spirited, and facetious; in speech pompous; in conversation elegant and graceful; that the love of his associates, fidelity of his friends, and the veneration of his readers had raised this monument to his memory.”
John Gay wrote his own epitaph, which we are told is censured by some for its levity. Nevertheless it is on his monument in these lines:
Life is a jest, and all things show it:
I thought so once, but now I know it.” Underneath are the following lines by Alexander Pope:
“Of manners gentle, of affection mild;
In wit a man, simplicity a child;
Unblamed through life, lamented in thy end;
Striking their pensive bosoms, ‘Here lies Gay!'”
On the monument of Edmund Spenser is the following:
“Here lies (expecting the coming of our Saviour Christ Jesus) the body of Edmund Spenser, the Prince of Poets in his time, whose divine spirit needs no other witness than the works which he left behind him. He was born in London in 1553, and died in 1598.”
The remains of a great many of the sovereigns of England and Scotland are interred here. There is a splendid monument to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, erected by her son, James I., soon after he ascended the throne. In 1612 he had her remains privately removed to this church from the Peterborough Cathedral, where they were first buried in 1587. He also caused to be erected here a magnificent monument to his predecessor, Queen Elizabeth. The inscription thereon says that “she was the mother of her country, and the patroness of religion and learning; she was herself skilled in many languages; adorned with every excellence of mind and person, and endowed with princely virtues beyond her sex; that in her reign religion was restored to its primitive purity; peace was established; money restored to its just value; domestic insurrection quelled; France delivered from intestine troubles; the Netherlands supported; the Spanish Armada defeated; Ireland, almost lost by the secret contrivances of Spain, recovered; the revenues of both universities improved by a law of provisions, and, in short, all England enriched; that she was a most
prudent governess, forty-five years a virtuous and triumphant Queen, truly religious, and blessed in all her great affairs; and that after a calm and resigned death, in the seventieth year of her age, she left the mortal part to be deposited in this church, which she established upon a new footing. She died March 24, 1602, aged seventy."
Many of the inscriptions, especially those of the royal families, recite important historical facts. For instance, there is an altar erected by Charles II. to the memory of Edward V. and his brother, "who, by their treacherous uncle, Richard III., were murdered in the Tower.” The inscription says:
“Here lies the relics of Edward V., King of England, and Richard, Duke of York, who, being confined in the Tower, and there stifled with pillows, were privately and meanly buried, by order of their perfidious uncle, Richard, the usurper. Their bones, long inquired after and wished for, after laying one hundred and ninety-one years in the rubbish of the stairs, (leading to the chapel of the White Tower,) were, on the 17th of July, 1674, by undoubted proofs, discovered, being buried deep in that place. Charles II., pitying their unhappy fate, ordered these unfortunate Princes to be laid among the relics of their predecessors, in the year 1678, and the thirtieth of his reign.” In allusion to this inscription a writer observes: “It is remarkable that Edward was born November 4, 1471, in the sanctuary belonging to this church, whither his mother took refuge during the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster; at eleven years of age, upon the death of his father, 1483, he was proclaimed King; and on the 23d of June, in the same year, was murdered in the manner already related Richard, his brother, was born May 28, 1471, and married while a child to Anna Mowbray, heiress of Norfolk."
On the monument to George Canning, born April 11, 1770, died August 8, 1827, is the following:
“ Endowed with a rare combination of talents, an eminent statesman, an accomplished scholar, an orator surpassed by none, he united the most brilliant and lofty qualities of the mind with the warmest affections of the heart; raised by his own merit, he successfully filled important offices in the State, and finally became first minister of the Crown. In the full enjoyment of his sovereign’s favor, and of the confidence of the people, he was prematurely cut off when pursuing a wise and large course of policy, which had for its object the prosperity and greatness of his own country, while it comprehended the welfare and commanded the admiration of Foreign nations."
Longer than by any other, perhaps, we were inclined to linger by the monument of the unfortunate Major John André, so well known, in this country at least, as having been hung as a spy by order of General Washington. On a molded paneled base and plinth, in the wall, is a sarcophagus, surmounted by a half-reclining female figure, her head bowed in grief, and in bas-relief on the front are represented on the one hand Washington's headquarters in an open tent, and on the other the British quarters, disclosing in company with officers, what are supposed to represent the mother and sister of André in deep distress, and between the two camps a British officer is represented as bearing a flag of truce to Washington, with a letter from Major André, begging that he might be shot instead of being hung. On the base is the following inscription:
SACRED to the MEMORY
MAJOR JOHN ANDRÉ, who, raised by his merit at an early period of life to the rank of AdjutantGeneral of the British forces in America, and employed in an important but hazardous enterprise, fell a sacrifice to his zeal for his King and country on the 2d of October, A. D. 1780, aged twenty-nine, universally beloved and esteemed by the army in which he served, and lamented even by his Foes. His gracious sovereign, KING GEORGE THE THIRD, has caused this monument to be erected.
On the plinth is an inscription to the effect that by direction of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, the remains of Major André were removed from Tappan, N. Y., and on the 28th of November, 1821, deposited in a grave near this monument.
It is a singular fact that the head of Washington's figure on this monument has been twice taken off; whether from motives of spite or from mere wanton curiosity it is uncertain; but charity might lead us to suppose the latter reason, since the heads also of some of the other figures have been removed—“being so well executed they were too great a temptation for the curious pilferer to withstand.” Here is the letter addressed to General Washington by Major André the night previous to his execution, and borne to him under this flag of truce:
“SiR — Buoyed above the terror of death by the consciousness of a life devoted to honourable purposes, and stained with no action which can give me remorse, I trust that the request which I make to your excellency at this serious period, and which is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected; sympathy toward a soldier will surely induce your excellency, and a military tribunal, to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of honour; let me hope, sir, that if aught in my character impresses you with esteem towards me — if aught in my misfortunes mark me as the victim of policy, and not of resentment, I shall experience the operations of those feelings in your breast, by being informed I am not to die on a gibbet. I have the honor to be, your excellency,
" JOHN ANDRÉ.
“ Adjutant of the British forces in America.” It was all in vain; he died on the gallows.