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Here we first obtain a pleasant view of Oxford. The picturesque front of St. John's College, with its row of noble trees; and broad St. Giles, with its double row of beautiful elms, that form so fair a vista, closed by the picturesque church in the far distance; and then turning, the eye rests on the handsome front of Baliol College, and the well-restored church of St. Mary Magdalen. The Memorial Cross, too, beneath whose shadow we stand, deserves notice, although it is scarcely creditable to the English architect of the nineteenth century, that he should do little more than reproduce one of the beautiful crosses of Queen Elinor. Nothing, we allow, can be more beautiful than these wayside memorials-unmatched in any other country; but then we so closely connect them with the fair and good queen, whose graceful effigy still smiles in meek beauty on the passer-by, that we feel a kind of disappointment when, looking up to the well-known cross, we see harsh-featured, bearded old men. Still, honour to those who originated the "Martyrs' Memorial," and to those who watched over its completion; for it is the triumph of "low church principles in the very head-quarters of high churchism, the public defiance flung back to the Newmans, and Palmers, and Oakleys, the abiding pledge that the University from whence Wycliffe came forth, first on the battle-field of the Reformed faith, will ever hold fast her Protestantism.

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But let us go onward, and, passing the Corn-market, enter the High Street, that "broad and noble street that winds through the city in a serpent curve, disclosing-like the banks of a devious river-new effects as you pass on, building after building of new and different beauty," as an enthusiastic architect wrote some twenty years ago; "that street which has not its equal in the world," as Dr. Waagen, well acquainted with continental cities, with even more enthusiasm remarks. And yet, beautiful as is the High Street, the noblest and most beautiful colleges do not grace it. New College is far to the left; Magdalen-although her grey and silvery turrets look down upon you as you approach the bridge-stands apart; and Christ Church, that proud monument of "the ryghte triumphant lord hyghe Cardinal," is quite away on the other side. And so we may leisurely walk down the High Street, admiring stately church and noble college front, raising our eyes to the beautiful spire of St. Mary the Virgin, or fixing them on the fair towers of St. Mary Magdalen, rising so proudly amid those grand masses of foliage gilded by the setting sun, and still bear in mind that many are the noble and time-hallowed structures which will claim our admiration on the morrow.

Oxford is the city of colleges-seventeen in number, besides her halls; and she is a city of some antiquity, although even her most devoted antiquaries have not claimed for her an antiquity equal to Troynovant, or Caerleon. Indeed, even those most inclined to claim the highest for their "alma mater," have contented themselves with Saxon times. They have, however, made up for their moderation in this instance, by asserting that the University was in full flower in the

reign of King Alfred; and Antony à Wood declares that the good king "did, about the year 879, institute and found, and endow with perpetual salaries, lecturers in almost every faculty." We may be excused for doubting this, as well as his other assertion, that "lectures on Arabic and Chaldee were instituted in 1311." We have, certainly, no direct evidence earlier than that of Ingulf, in the eleventh century, as to the existence of a school at Oxford; and when we call to mind that in Saxon times there was a flourishing priory for nuns here, of which Frideswyde,-for so many centuries the tutelar saint of Oxford —was superior, we cannot place the establishment of its schools, we think, earlier than some time during the eleventh century,-that era when the European mind seemed so suddenly to arouse itself, and to "lay hold of all knowledge." In the twelfth century we find great numbers of Jews-those great teachers of science-at Oxford, and tradition reports that the scholar-king honoured it both by his gifts and his frequent visits. During Stephen's reign, even a raging civil war around them could not damp the ardour of the knowledge-seekers of that early day; for Vaccarius lectured there upon civil law, and the students were numbered by thousands; the fathers of St. Maur record, too, that toward the close of this century, a school of canon law here became so famed that many students, even from the University of Paris, repaired hither to avail themselves of its superior teachings. At the beginning of the following century, we find Oxford more distinguished for turbulence than for learning. From the crowds-thousands, say the chroniclers-of "idle varlets," who flocked here, more for riot than for study, Oxford seems to have surpassed Paris in the insubordination and profligacy of her students, and even the "gallows tree" did its office in vain. It was then that the plan of "colleges" first found favour, and the scholar really desirous of profiting by the lectures and disputations, was invited to enter quiet abodes, governed on the monastic system, where food and lodging-sometimes apparel toowould be provided, instead of sharing each night a wretched shelter at the "hostels," and seeking each day a precarious meal from the canons of St. Frideswyde's, or at Oseney abbey. First among these colleges Merton is to be placed; University College stands next in order of foundation: the third perhaps is Baliol, while most of the others were founded during the two following centuries.

It would be interesting to picture to ourselves the student-life of these earliest Oxford days: homely enough, in comparison with later times, it seems to have been, judging from some of the rules, drawn up by the Lady Devoirgil's confessor, for the management of the college which her husband, Sir John Baliol, had bequeathed to her charge. In these "ordinances," we find that the scholars are to be kept under strict control, and to be in all due obedience to the college authorities. If offending, they are to be publicly reproved; and, "if incorrigible, to be removed from the common table, and eat by themselves, and be served last!" What a visitation must this have been to the hungry scholar, in those days of hearty eating and hearty good fellowship!

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Placed far away from his merry companions-no one beside him to reciprocate "Wassail," when the huge peg-tankard was lifted to his lip-doomed to see a score of fellow-students carving to their heart's content at the mighty joint, or fishing up the fattest morsels out of the bowls of pottage-and he waiting, waiting there, until the big pewter dish, with little beside bones, was placed before him. We doubt not that by this plan most excellent discipline was maintained among the Lady Devoirgil's scholars, and that other colleges wisely adopted this wholesome rule of Baliol. From the same "ordinances," we find that attendance on public worship was strictly enjoined, and also close attendance at the schools; that the "common speech" was to be Latin, and that, further to sharpen their wits, there was to be a disputation among the scholars each alternate week, so that they may oppose and answer one another." We may laugh, fairly enough, at the "wordy wars" of the Middle Ages-at the actual "passion" for syllogism and splitting of hairs; still, it cannot be denied that great men were reared in these schools, and that the keen dialectician often became the profound reasoner. And many illustrious names can Oxford of the Middle Ages boast, although almost all have been forgotten save Roger Bacon, who owes his popular fame more to his apocryphal brazen head than to his undoubted scientific discoveries. Alas! Friar Bacon's study has been pulled down. Tradition asserted that it would fall on the head of the first "philosofre," greater than he, who passed underneath it. Was it feared that in this present enlightened age it might bury not one, but a whole dozen philosophers, proceeding to some "scientific soirée ?"

But these colleges-with which shall we begin? Ancient Merton, and its gorgeous chapel, finished in a style to make one half in love even with sedilia, and chancel-hangings, and altar-candlesticks, and its noble gardens and unrivalled north-terrace walk ;-New College, so venerable and so old, with the ivy clustering over the old city walls, that now enclose its "trim garden," and the beautiful buildings over which William of Wykeham presided;-or stately All Souls, the proud monument of Chichele's devotion to learning, with its beautiful chapel of the later Gothic, and its great quadrangle, most picturesque, notwithstanding its "wild intermixture of styles;"-or Magdalen, with her quaint cloisters and unrivalled walks, beneath those giant elms, which make one an instant convert to the opinion that the high-arched, long-drawn aisles of Gothic architecture, were first suggested by the grove of stately trees-Magdalen, unrivalled for her grounds;-or Christ Church, the only college without grounds, or even garden, but boasting its magnificent quadrangle four hundred feet square, and those most pleasant meadows, never forgotten by the Oxford man-the Christ-Church meadows. With which shall we begin, do we say? rather, where should we end, if we once attempted even a cursory survey of Oxford and her colleges.

We may go to many highly-lauded places-we may even make many a tour-but when we have marked the beauty of the landscape,

or the splendour of some building, little remains for the mind to dwell upon. Far different is it here. Here is beauty of field, of grove, of garden; beauty of church, of cloister, and hall; but recollections of more than six hundred years cluster around them all-stirring recollections, pleasant recollections, such as might give brightness to very commonplace localities. Emphatically, of Oxford streets may we say

"We never tread upon them, but we set
Our feet upon some reverend history."

Look up to the stern Castle-keep, so spectral in the pale moonlight, so picturesque with the slant sun shining upon it. There it stands, stalwart and grim, looking down upon hall and college, just as its grim castellan, Robert d'Oyley, looked down upon the city and its Saxon inhabitants in the days of Norman power. Many a stout assault have these stern grey walls sustained, and many a long siege. It was a bone of contention to the barons in the reigns both of John and his son; and many a time did the huge mangonel batter its outer walls, while defiance was flung from the battlements, and the broad standard with the Plantagenet lions floated proudly there. It was one of the "royal castles ;" and therefore claimed by name by the confederate barons when, with Simon de Montfort that earlier Cromwell-as their leader, they demanded that the provisions of the Great Charter should be maintained; nor laid down their arms until the weakminded, false-hearted king had yielded. All readers are familiar enough with the story of Oxford during the Parliament war, when plumed cavaliers manned her walls, and satin-robed dames added beauty to her fair gardens, and she boasted herself as the "Aula regis,” and the king held his court in the truly royal hall of Christ Church; but few are aware that, almost four hundred years before, Oxford was the scene of a far more important gathering-that here "the third estate of the realm" was first summoned to meet the twenty-four barons, chosen half by the king and half by the De Montfort party; and that actually in Tory Oxford the "Commons of England" were first recognized as a power. And little did these hooded representatives, as they reverently laid their hands on the holy Gospels, and swore, "in good faith," that "each and altogether they would aid each other in doing right against all folk," think what a proud history that of England's "Commons House of Parliament" would be! How little did noblehearted Simon de Montfort dream of what an illustrious band of patriots he was that day the leader, even as ere long he became their proto-martyr! But the Oxford Parliament was soon dissolved, and the "Oxford Provisions" scorned as a dead letter; but the principle was established, and ere the next generation "the three estates of the realm" became a recognized legal phrase.

We cannot be surprised that Henry III. had no great liking for Oxford; nor did his son, the "ruthless king," often honour it by his presence or his gifts. In earlier times our kings seem frequently to

have resided here, for there was a palace on the site of Beaumont Street, and there Richard Cœur de Lion was born; but we do not find many of our Plantagenets paying Oxford often the respect of a visit, or indeed much notice. Queen Philippa, however, doubtless at the instance of her confessor, Robert Egglesfield, founded "Queen's College," and liberally endowed it. In the buttery they still show the drinkinghorn-a capacious horn that will hold two quarts-the gift of their foundress, with the hearty old English word, "Wasseil," engraved upon it. Queen's College is scarcely worth a visit, although Wren has "the dubious glory" of its erection. But many portions are doubtless later than his day; certainly the gateway, "graced "-shall we say ?-by an immense stone cage, surmounted by a clumsy crown, and enclosing the statue-not of the veritable foundress, but of metaphysic-loving Queen Caroline, mounted on the top of some steep steps, and evidently wondering how she came there.

Since the matriculation of our young Prince at Oxford, fashionable newspapers have been very anxious to make out that many scions of royalty received their education in former days here; and, as may well be supposed, have, like Fadladeen, "most learnedly shown that they knew nothing at all about the matter." The case really is, that from the very nature of the studies then pursued, and from the peculiar characteristics of the indispensable disputations, it was simply impossible for a king's son to have been a student there. Very pleasant for the ermine-robed Plantagenet, with the strawberry-leaf circlet on his brow, to be jostled in the schools by the thread-bare scholar, prouder of his academical honours than of noblest armorial bearings ;-to hear "negatur" thundered in his ears, or to be challenged by some stalwart "baccalaureus" to a war of words, in which the gentlest epithet would be "stultissime!" Besides, the military education which was really necessary in those days, when kings led their own armies to battle, began at as early an age as the scholastic. On this account, even although the story were less apocryphal, we should utterly disbelieve the assertion that our Henry V. was an Oxford scholar. It is true that in his case-although it seems to have been forgotten-his father was simply Earl of Derby, and his prospect of the crown visionary indeed; but he was the eldest son, and on him would devolve the maintenance of the rights of the proud House of Lancaster; the victor of Agincourt, therefore, was doubtless trained to arms, and not to arts. John of Gaunt's sons, however, were all distinguished for love of learning; and as Henry Beaufort was Chancellor of Oxford at the close of the 14th century, it is not unlikely that his nephews, the younger sons of Henry IV., while yet Earl of Derby, might have been sent there; and when we remember the strong attachment always expressed towards Oxford by Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and his magnificent gift both of a library and books, we think there is little doubt that he pursued his studies there. Queen's College was most probably his residence, for it was founded and endowed by his greatgrandmother.

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