« PreviousContinue »
Sonne," in Fleet Street.* At the west end of St. Bride's Church was interred the ill-fated poet, Richard Lovelace; and here, also, rests another bard—whose hopes were once as ambitious—John Ogilby, the translator of Homer. Half hidden by one of the pews, on the south side, is the gravestone of Richardson the novelist; and here also lies buried Sir Richard Baker, author of the “ Chronicle of the Kings of England,” the circumstances of whose melancholy end we shall presently have occasion to record in our notices of the Fleet Prison.
Nor are Ogilby, Lovelace, and Sir Richard Baker the only unfortunate authors who are interred in St. Bride's Church. Francis Sandford, author of the “Genealogical History," who died in the Fleet in 1693; and Robert Lloyd, the poet, who also died in that prison, in 1764, are buried in St. Bride's Church. Ogilby, Sandford, Richardson, and Lloyd, were buried in the present edifice; as were also Thomas Flatman, the poet, who died in 1688, and Dr. Charles Davenant, the celebrated political writer of the reign of Queen Anne. In the churchyard of St. Bride's lie the remains of Dr. Robert Levett, the intimate friend of Dr. Johnson.
It may be worth mentioning that in St. Bride's Church was buried the abandoned Mary Frith, known as Moll Cutpurse, who, from the days of James the First to those of the Commonwealth, carried on the united professions of procuress, fortune-teller, pickpocket, thief, and receiver of stolen goods. Her most famous exploit was robbing General Fairfax upon Hounslow Heath. Butler has immortalized her in his “ Hudibras."
* The father of Wynkyn de Worde kept the "Falcon Inn," in Fleet Street, from the sign of which it is not improbable that the present Falcon Court, near Chancery Lane, derives its name.
He Trulla loved, Trulla more bright,
And Swift alludes to her in his “Baucis and Philemon":
The ballads pasted on the wall,
Moll Cutpurse died of the dropsy in the seventyfifth
year of her age, and was buried in St. Bride's on the 10th of August 1659.
St. Bride's, or rather St. Bridget's Church, is unquestionably of very ancient foundation. It appears to have been originally but a small structure; but in the year 1480 it was considerably enlarged and beautified by William Venor, a pious warden of the Fleet Prison, who erected a spacious fabric at the west end, consisting of a middle and two side aisles, to which the ancient church served as the choir. The patronage of the living was for centuries vested in the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, till, at the dissolution of the monasteries, on Westminster being elevated into a bishopric, Henry the Eighth granted the preferment to the
new diocesan. On the reinstatement of the abbot
and monks of Westminster in the reign of Queen Mary, the patronage was restored to them; but, on the accession of Edward the Sixth, it again changed hands, and was made over to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, by whom it is still enjoyed. The old church was destroyed by the great Fire of London; and, between the years 1701 and 1703, the present noble edifice was erected on its site by Sir Christopher Wren, at an expense of $11,430.
It was in St. Bride's Churchyard that Milton took up his residence after his return from Italy in 1642. Here it was that he superintended the education of his two nephews, John and Edward Philips, as well as that of a few other youths, whose parents had prevailed upon him to take their children under his charge. It was also during the period of his residence in St. Bride's Churchyard, that Milton formed his ill-assorted marriage with his first wife, Mary Powell.
- His first wife,” says Aubrey, “was brought up and lived where there was a great deal of company, merriment, and dancing; and when she came to live with her husband at Mr. Russell's, in St. Bride's Churchyard, she found it very solitary; no company coming to her, and oftentimes hearing his nephews beaten and cry. This life was irksome to her, and so she went to her parents at Forest Hill. He sent for her after some time, and I think his servant was evilly treated; but, as for wronging his bed, I never heard the least suspicions, nor had he of that any jealousy."
On the same side of Fleet Street as St. Bride's Church is Salisbury Court, so called from the London residence of the Bishops of Salisbury, which anciently stood on its site. Here the great Lord Clarendon was residing for a short time after the Restoration. To the literary student the principal interest which attaches itself to Salisbury Court, is from its having been the residence of Richardson, the author of “ Pamela," and of “ Sir Charles Grandison." His residence was in the centre of the square, where he was visited by the most eminent literary men of the last century; and here it was that this singular compound of vanity and virtue-surrounded by his coterie of literary ladies --passed his hours of relaxation in complacently listening to their fulsome adulations—in dwelling incessantly on the merits and the success of his own works,-or in reading aloud to his female admirers the last effusions of his pen. To modern superficial readers—delighting only in rapidity of action and vivacity of description—the delicate touches and intimate knowledge of human nature, as portrayed in the novels of Richardson, are but little compensated for by his procrastinated narratives, and his weary delineations of individual character. To the majority of persons, in fact, the genius of Richardson is associated only with ponderous volumes and still heavier fiction ; and yet it would be difficult to convey a just idea of the enthusiasm
with which every volume of Richardson was hailed in his life time, not only by his fellow countrymen, but over the whole of Europe. It may have been, as Mr. D’Israeli observes, that to a Frenchman the style of Richardson was softened by translation ; but there is no doubt that the French were among his most ardent admirers. Diderot observed that he had never met with a person who spoke enthusiastically of the writings of Richardson, but that he felt inclined to embrace him ; and he added, that, if circumstances were to compel him to part with his library, he would keep back the works of Richardson, with those of Moses, Homer, Euripides and Sophocles. The admiration which Rousseau expresses for the works of Richardson is even more enthusiastic, and is probably more familiar to the reader.
The following extracts from an account of the mode of life of the celebrated novelist, as well as of the kind of society with which he surrounded himself in Salisbury Court, is from the pen of a lady well acquainted with him, whose recollections were published by Mrs. Barbauld, in her edition of Richardson's original correspondence. · My first recollection of Richardson was in the house in the centre of Salisbury Square, or Salisbury Court, as it was then called ; and of being admitted as a playful child into his study, where I have often seen Dr. Young and others; and where Iwas generally caressed, and rewarded with biscuits, or bonbons, of some kind or other, and sometimes