Page images
PDF
EPUB

troops to be involved in one general destruction. Wcfind, however, that the event of the battle had adifferent termination. With the short description of it we shall close our present paper, regretting that we have not more room for extracts, which might be made in abundance, from this truly valuable poem:—

"Swift down the hill they rush, and in the plain
Meet the bold Saxon! see! the fight begins!
The battle rages! sword with sword hath met!
And hark, the terrors of the sounding shield,
That like two sheets of ice meet, and thro' heav'n
Send their loud dissonance and horrid crash!
The hoary head of some Norwegian crag,
High in the elements, that feels the blast
Shake its grey lock, which to the subject earth
At length rolls headlong, spreading as it rolls
One -wide destruction, well display's the coursa
Of Alfred's sword, as thro' the Danish ranks
It breaks its way—strewing the plain with Death."

THE PROSPECT OF LONDON.

From Moritz's Travels on Foot through several Parts of England.

TrT is no more singular than true, that many I people, who have only visited London, are better capable of describing it than those who, perhaps, were not only bom there, but have actually spent their days in the metropolis. In support of this assertion, and to prove that some foreigners have a better idea of London than many of its inhabitants, we lay before our readers the following pleasing description by a gentlemen of Berlin.

"At length, dearest Gedike, I am again settled; as I have now got my trunk and all my things from the ship, which arrived only yesterday. Not wishing to have it taken to the custom-house, p

which occasions a great deal of trouble, I w1s obliged to give a douceur to the officers, and those who came on board the ship, to search it. Having pacified, as I thought, one of them with a couple of shillings, another came forward and protested against the delivery of the trunk upon trust, till t had given him as much: to him succeeded a third; so that it cost me six shillings, which I willingly paid, because it would have cost me still more at the custom-house.

By the side of the Thames were several porters, one of whom took my huge heavy trunk on his shoulders with astonishing ease; and carried it till I met a hackney-coach. This I hired for two shillings; immediately put the trunk into it, accompanying it myself, without paying any thing extra, for my own seat. This is a great advantage in the English hackney-coaches, that you are allowed to take with you whatever you please: for you thu< .save at least one half of what you must pay to a porter, and besides go with it yourself; and are better accommodated. The observations, and the expressions of the common people here have often struck me, as peculiar: they are generally laconic; but always much in earnest and significant. When I came home, my lan ilady kindly recommended it to the coachman not to ask more than was just, ai I was a foreigner: to which he answered; nay, if he were not a foreigner, I should not overcharge him.

My letters of recommendation to a merchant here, which I could not bring with me on account of my hasty departure from Hamburgh, are also arrived. These have saved me a great deal of trouble in the changing my money. I can now take my German money back to Germany; and when I return thither myself, refund to the correspondent of the merchant here, the sum which he hsre pays me in English money. I should otherwise have leen obliged to sell my Prussian Friedrick's (Tor for what they weighed: for some few Dutch dollars, .which I was obliged to part with, before I got this credit, they only gave me eight shillings.

A foreigner has here nothing to fear from being pressed as a sailor; unless indeed he should be found at any suspicious place. A singular invention for this purpose of pressing, is a ship which is placed on land not far from the Tower on Towertill, furnished with masts and all the appurtenances of a ship. The persons attending this ship promise simple country people, who happen to be standing and staring at it, to shew it to them for a trifle; and as soon as they are in, they are secured as in a trap; and according te circumstances made sailors of, or let go again.

The footway paved with large stones on both sides of the streets, appears to a foreigner exceedingly convenient and pleasant; as one may there walk in perfect safety, in no more danger from the prodigious crowd of carts and coaches, than if one was in one's own room; for no wheel dares come a finger's breadth upon the curb-stone. However, politeness requires you to let a lady, or any one to whom you wish to shew respect, pass, not as we do, always to the right, but on the side next the houses or the wall, whether that happens to be on the right or on the left, being deemed the safest and most convenient. You seldom see a person of any understanding or common sense, walk in the middle of the streets in London, excepting when they cross over; which at Charing Cross, and other places, where several streets meet, is sometimes really dangerous.

It has a strange appearance, especially in the Strand, where there is a constant succession of shop after shop; and where, not unfrequently, people • p 1 1

THE

of different trades inhabit the same house, to see their doors, or the tops of their windows, or board* expressly for the purpose, all written over from top tf> bottom, with large painted letters. Every person, of every trade or occupation, who owns ever so small a portion of an house, makes a parade with a sign at his door; and there is hardly a cobler, whose name and profession may not be read ia large golden characters, by every one that passes. It is here not at all uncommon to see on doors ill one continued succession, " children educated here?'^ "shoes mended here;" "foreign spirituous liquors sold here-" and, " funerals furnished here." Of all these inscriptions, I am sorry to observe, that "dealer in foreign spirituous liquors" is by far the most frequent. And indeed it is allowed by the English themselves, that the propensity of the common people to the drinking of brandy or gin, it carried to great excess: and I own, it struck me as a peculiar phraseology, when, to tell you, that a, person is intoxicated, or drunk, you hear them say, as they generally do, that he is in liquor. In the late riots, which even yet are hardly quite subsided, and which are still the general topic of conversation, more people have been found dead near>empty brandy-casks in the streets, than were killed by the musket balls of regiments, that were called in. As much as I have seen of London, within these two days, there are on the whole, I think, not very many very fine streets and very fine houses, but I met every where a far greater number, and handsomer people, than one commonly meets in Berlin. It gives me much real pleasure, when I walk from Charing Cross up the Strand, past St. Paul's to the .Royal Exchange, to meet in the thickest crouds, persons, from the highest to the lowest ranks, almost all well-looking people, and cleanly and neatly dressed. I rarely see «ven a fellow with

a wheelbarrow, who has not a shirt on; and that too such a one, as shews it has been washed; nor even a beggar, without both a shirt, and shoes and stockings. The English are certainly distinguished for cleanliness.

It has a very uncommon appearance in this tumult of people, where every one, with hasty and eager step, seems to be pursuing either his business cr his pleasure; and every where making his way through the croud, to observe, as you often may, people pushing, one against another, only perhaps to see a funeral pass. The English coffins are made Very ceconomically, according to the exact form of the body; they are flat, and broad at top; tapering gradually from the middle, and drawing to a point at the feet, not very unlike the case of a violin.

A few dirty looking men, who bear the coffin, endeavour to make their way through the croud as well as they can; and some mourners follow. The people seem to pay as little attention to such a procession as if a hay cart were driving past. The funerals of people of distinction, and of the great, ire, however, differently regarded.

These funerals always appear to me the more indecent in a populous city, from the total indifference of the beholders, and the perfect unconcern with which they are beheld.

Th* body of a fellow-creature is carried to his Jong home, as though it had been utterly unconnected with the rest of mankind. And yet, in a small town or village, every one knows every one; and no one can be so insignificant as not to be missed, when he is taken away.

ThaS same influenza, which I left at Berlin, I iia-ve th<- hard fortune again to find here; and many people die of it. It is as yet very cold for the time of the year, and I am obliged every day to have a

« PreviousContinue »