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It is indeed to Duke Humphrey that Oxford owes her first library. There is an old drawing of it, executed badly enough, but still showing enough to make us regret that the Gothic hall has been superseded by the more modern structure. But still, it were both unjust and ungrateful to regret, when standing in that noble room, which the almost life-long care of that "thrice worthy man," Sir Thomas Bodley, provided, two hundred and sixty years ago, for all those who, like himself, might seek "to set up their staff at the library door." But how dif ferent to modern libraries, even in the approach to it, is this! There is no need of going seeking about for them. They are conspicuous enough, with lofty portals, and a splendid gas-lamp over the doorperhaps a pair. But, here, you enter a bizarre-looking court, under a gateway composed of the five orders-a strange jumble of "the classical," and a monstrosity fitly enough surmounted by a statue of that wretched pedant James, who is presenting his works to Fame !— a gift which that lady has long ago forgotten. We gladly turn our backs on the gateway, and look at the various buildings in the court, chief among which are "the Schools," with large traceried windows; but where is the Bodleian? We go to one huge door and then to another in vain, and at length are pointed to a small door quite in the corner, which admits you to a flight of age-worn oak stairs. On we go, upward, upward, as though mounting a church-tower, and, half wearied with our ascent, reach a double-leaved door, and we enter "the solemn Bodleian." Not a wholly inappropriate phrase is this, for the casemented windows, and the dark oak fittings, and the heavy ceiling, though painted and gilded, give it at first a sombre look; but we soon find it light enough, and we glance along the book-shelves, and the cases, and into the pleasant little cells, and then up to the richlyblazoned ceiling, where, amid armorial bearings, that noblest of texts for a library meets the eye at every turn, " Dominus illuminatio mea." Yes, "The Lord is my light." Can the student seek a more inspiring motto ?
The "pleasant" Bodleian was that venerable library to us, that still retreat where even the footfall sounded rudely. How delightedly we looked around and then into those little nooks, veritable cells, each with its mullioned window enclosing, picture-like, some "bit" of rich greenery, just touched with autumn's crimson and gold—or some graceful hall and tower, or that grey castle-keep, seen through distant interlacing branches. Pleasant little cells! We have been in literary institutions, surrounded by books in gay bindings, and by gaily dressed readers; in the old Museum reading room, with the "busy bees of literature all working hard, and in that new and beautiful room-that palace-hall, so completely supplied with every appliance the reader can desire but for study, actual study-not for making extracts, not for painful and hurried " reading-up," but for quiet, deep, veritable study, nothing can compare with the old library. How suggestive of the earnest, devoted, student-life of other days is everything here. The cell with its latticed door, that shuts you out even from the quiet world
of fellow students, and the large oaken arm chair (were they giants in those old days in size as well as in learning?), and the low desk, with the bookshelves above, and the high desk just under the pleasant window, if the student preferred to stand. Very suggestive was all this to us, as, for the first time, we closed the latticed door. It brought almost bodily before us the deep, earnest scholar-life of centuries ago,that life of intense enjoyment which we can scantly realize now, when learning was followed for its own exceeding great reward, and the pale-eyed student smiled wonderingly at the question, "Wherefore this toil?" and answered, "Labor ipse voluptas." Long we sat. although some illuminated manuscripts from the Douce collection, "beautiful exceedingly," lay unopened; for we almost expected to hear the harsh murmurs of the "disputations" in the schools below, or to see the hooded doctors in their budge-lined robes pass by, or the benevolent face of Sir Thomas Bodley himself, greeting us with his kindly smile. Pleasant, indeed, were the mornings spent in the venerable Bodleian library.
But the sun, shining so gloriously on those grand masses of leafage, just touched into brighter beauty by early autumn, bids us go forth. Whither shall we go? Let us pay a reverent visit to William of Wykeham's foundation, the college, "new eighty years ago, when, his magnificent pile of buildings completed, some four hundred and the warden and the seventy fellows took possession of "St. Marye's College, of Wynchester, in Oxenford, otherwise Newe College." Alas! little of William of Wykeham's own work remains as he left it. portions which might have stood until now have been meddled with Even by "cobbling architects" as they have well been called. Still, the entrance quadrangle gives the spectator a fair idea of what it looked like, when just finished almost five hundred years ago, and the beautiful chapel would, we think, gratify the founder himself, could he rise to look upon it again. assertion, however, when, entering the solemn ante-chapel, we are We are almost inclined to retract the last pointed to the celebrated great west window, with the Nativity painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the seven attitudinizing ladies beneath. What has a Gothic chapel to do with a window which puts one in mind of a painted blind, more than anything else? And this tall window flaunting its garish colouring, while on each side of it are the original painted windows, with their rich though subdued tints, and filled with loveliest figures of virgin saints-how lovely still. The windows of the chapel are Flemish, very rich in their colouring, but still wanting in the delicate grace of those in the ante-chapel. The chapel itself, too, beautiful as are the decorations, seems to us spoilt by the cold stone screen, fine perpendicular Gothic though it is, being substituted for the usual east window. What a glorious trophy of the fourteenth century would this chapel have been with a window rich as that which surmounts the altar in gorgeous Merton College chapel, with its exquisite tracery, and its many tinted lights, not of glass, but of molten gems. Although having no especial admiration
for embroidered altar-cloths, we almost regretted the absence of one here; for the beautiful slab of purest white marble not only looks cold, but reminded us of a huge console.
Let us go on into the garden, hurrying through the smaller court, and shutting our eyes, if possible, that we may not see the wretched "Louis Quartorze" style of the buildings which superseded Wykeham's stately Gothic. Could he see them, we think he would at once seize that beautiful crozier which we have just admired, and, putting it to its most solemn use, have waved it, as he pronounced "Anathema" on the head of the pragmatical architect who dared to set up his miserable second-hand imitation of the worst renaissance under the very shadow of New College chapel. But the garden makes amends to us, with its noble rank of lindens, and its "velvet lawn," and the rich clusters of flowers, and then the lofty fragments of the old city wall, climbed over by thick ivy, which flings out its long fingers at the top, seeking yet higher support. Pleasant is it to sit here, and mark the quaint turret of ancient St. Peter's church, standing out 'from those grand masses of leafage in the distance, which we have before admired. These are "the stupendous elms" of Magdalen College; let us go thither. After visiting the noble foundation of William of Wykeham, Edward III.'s great architect, and the bishop to whom Winchester owes so much, it is fitting enough to visit the foundation of William Waynflete, his successor, both in the see of Winchester and in his magnificent liberality, for to him Oxford owes Magdalen College.
But Waynflete, although liberal as Wykeham, was not gifted as he. He gave wealth largely and willingly, but he could not preside over the rising halls like the great episcopal architect of the earlier century. Still, his builders did their work well; and when at length, in 1473, Magdalen was completed, it stood unrivalled by any college, save that of Wykeham. Magdalen tower, that "cynosure of every eye," is of later construction: it is said to have been designed by Sir Reginald Bray, Henry VII.'s great architect, and the builder, at a later period, of that monarch's elaborate sepulchral chapel. Much of the buildings are, however, modern, and unfortunately modern in style, with comfortable sash windows, and the parapet surmounted by a balustrade, with a pediment in the centre. Happily, some portions of the old buildings remain. There is the chapel, with its fair stone coronet over the west door, beneath which, each as in a shrine, stand five figures of the guardian saints, and the founder; and a little further on is the beautiful statue of Mary Magdalen-not as "the woman who was a sinner," but as the pure and holy saint who sat at her great Master's feet, and whose name was to be held in everlasting honour. And how lovely is this Mary, with the long parted hair on the calm brow, and her hand so gently laid on her bosom, as though still meditating on"the words of eternal life."
If it were needful to disprove for the hundredth time the stupid falsehood that charges our Puritan forefathers with all the injuries.
our cathedrals and churches have sustained, we would point to this lovely effigy. Brave Ironsides, in the full flush of victory, trod this pavement, perhaps stabled their steeds hard by; but no hand of theirs was raised to deface the beauty of foliaged arch, or crested pinnacle, not even to dash the image from its shrine. As we walked through Oxford, we felt this more forcibly than ever, for disproof met us at every step. Full fourteen years was Oxford in Puritan hands-given up helpless to the Goths, who rejoiced in breaking down images and smashing painted glass; and yet New College chapel retains her beautiful windows, and the beautiful effigy of the Virgin, too, over the hall door and this chapel of Magdalen has every window untouched, save by the hand of Time, and the ornaments in that rich fretwork which seems as though the mere touch would crush it, still cluster over arch and wall. And the cathedral, too, although John Owen preached in its pulpit, or sat as dean in his canopied stall-still everything, save the altar, remained untouched. At the "glorious restoration the poor cathedral experienced ruder treatment; for Antony à Wood tells us that "the dean and canons being minded to adorn it, plucked up the floor of the chancel, taking up many marbles with Saxon inscriptions, which, being looked upon by the dean and canons as old superfluous stuff and unhandsome, did cause them to be cast out, and some they caused to plank a sink that conveyed water under ground." They also made short work with the beautiful columns that stood in the way of their "improvements;" indeed, the venerable church of St. Frideswyde received from high-church hands as complete a "Dowsing," as that celebrated iconoclast could himself have inflicted on her.
But onward we go through the pleasant cloisters-wishing, however, that the grotesque heads had been suffered to remain grey and decayed, instead of being so carefully restored; and soon we reach the far-famed Magdalen walks. One is called Addison's Walk, and, as a student at Magdalen, doubtless he often walked here. But this is not a place to think of Mr. Addison or the "Spectator" in; Birdcage Walk, in St. James's Park, is quite as suggestive of them. But Chaucer should have gazed on these glorious elms, and sang of them in companionship with the oaks to which he has given immortality. And here Milton might have wandered in the solemn twilight, musing a whole "Il Penseroso,;" or Herrick, when the glad sunshine played among their branches, and carolled a sweet Anacreontic to the spring. Loitering beneath these shades and beside the lilied Cherwell, we feel vexed that these poets of ours who felt so intensely the charm of natural scenery, should have been condemned to dull Cambridge instead of beautiful Oxford. "Beautiful exceedingly" are, indeed, all the trees here: not those modern, half-acclimated trees brought from warmer lands, with scanty foliage and leaves shivering in our health-giving air; but kings of the forest, the growth of many centuries, lifting their heads and stretching out their wide branches in stately independence, English on English ground, taking possession of it by right. These glorious elms! But then along Christ-Church meadows are trees almost as
noble; then what lindens are those in New College garden? And those stately chesnuts in Merton gardens that shade that unrivalled terrace walk, where the long view is closed at one end by the fair tower of Magdalen, and at the other by the beautiful spire of Merton College chapel. But where shall we end, if describing beautiful trees, when there is scarcely a college in Oxford but has some one to boast of.
Many, many a generation of scholars must these groves of Magdalen have seen. Young Wolsey, "the boy-bachelor," doubtless wandered in their shadow: and, gazing on Waynflete's noble chapel and college, did the wish then arise in his mind that he, the obscure scholar, might one day found a college which should hand down his name? Well known has that name become; but his regal foundation, Christ Church, brings him most pleasantly, and here, most appropriately before us. It is a singular coincidence that the three prelates to whom Oxford is indebted for her three noblest foundations, were alike Bishops of Winchester and Lord Chancellors. Wolsey, however, distanced his predecessors Wykeham and Waynflete, and stopped short only of the papal chair; and, as his ecclesiastical fortunes surmounted theirs, even so, proudly above all the Oxford foundations, stands Christ Church.
Very suggestive of the "ryghte triumphante lord highe Cardinal,” is that stately stone building, with its four hundred feet frontage, flanked by castle towers, and the great entrance adorned with the two richly-wrought turrets, oriental in their pear-shaped domes, but grand in effect. The tower is of later date, for Wolsey fell from his proud eminence ere his "Fayre gate" was finished; and the tower was built almost 200 years after by Wren. And worthy is "Fayre Gate" still of its ancient name, with that beautiful fan tracery, and its rich downhanging bosses,-worthy entrance to that magnificent quadrangle! We may pause beside the statue of its founder, looking upward as though appealing to Heaven for the justice certainly denied him by his king; and we may ask, was the haughty lord high Cardinal a sinner so great above all others of that fierce and rapacious day? His chief crime was that which his brutal master and the time-serving nobles deemed his one solitary virtue-obedience to the will of a despot. Poor Wolsey, haughty and over-bearing as he showed himself to Henry's nobles,-parvenues themselves, and therefore they could not forgive "the butcher's son,"-there were some that loved him, and these were the men who waited daily in his presence, and wore his gorgeous livery. And his heart was tender to them. Witness the bitter tears he shed when he took leave, as Cavendysh relates, of his "most faithful gentlemen and true-hearted yeomen," lamenting that while he had been able to provide for his chaplains, he was compelled to dismiss them unpaid and how, notwithstanding his utter destitution and disgrace, many still clung to him, and followed him into Yorkshire. And when he set out on that last sad journey which was cut short by his death, the commissioners actually locked these poor dependants in the chapel, that he might not bid them farewell. But they "made