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this morning, and he has no chance of ever seeing it again."" Walpole dwells on Bubb's good-nature, his ready wit, his want of taste, and tawdry ostentation in his dress and furniture. All this is undoubted; with the addition, that Bubb had no political honesty or principle-in fact, knew not the meaning of the words. His Diary records the most contemptible, mean, and selfish transactions on his part, in which, apparently, he saw nothing
wrong. His complacency never forsook him. The best feature in his character is his hearty hospitality and patronage of literary men. Being himself a dabbler in verse, he loved to have poets about him, and he evinced substantial kindness to Thomson, who was enabled by his bounty to travel in France and Italy. The anecdote of Thomson sauntering about Bubb's gardens, at Eastbury, with his hands in his breeches-pockets, eating the sunny side of the peaches, is well known. Mr. Bowles says he had examined all Bubb's correspondence, and, though there are letters from many literary men, upon literary subjects-from Young, Voltaire, Thomson, &c.-Pope's name is never once mentioned. The close of Dodington's career was in keeping with its whole progress. He secured the confidence of Lord Bute, and in 1761 was advanced to the peerage, under the title of Lord Melcombe Regis. Thus elevated, the magnificent " Bubo " had nothing further to look for, and he died the next year, aged seventy-one. His extraordinary Diary was not published till 1784.
Ver. 70. A work to wonder at-perhaps a Stowe.] Stowe has often been termed an Elysium. It is-or rather was-as near an approach to it as the English soil and climate will permit. It was the first specimen of landscape gardening on a great scale in this country. Whatever art, opulence, and vanity could command, was here collected. Nowhere else were united such magnificent gardens and grounds, such a profusion of temples, obelisks, and towers, rising among groves and lawns of the richest verdure; such a succes
sion of inimitable walks and landscapes. "If anything under Paradise," says Pope, in one of his letters," could set me beyond all earthly cogitations, Stowe might do it." Thomson ranked its sylvan scenes above the charms of "Persian Cyrus on Ionia's shore." The cynical Horace Walpole and the courtly Lord Chesterfield were equally charmed with it. The great Lord Chatham spent much of his early leisure amongst its shades. Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Lyttelton delighted to resort to it. Princes were also among its visitors. Frederick Prince of Wales (father of George the Third), and the Princess Amelia, were often there. Some of the clumps of oak were planted by Louis XVIII., Charles X., and Louis Philippe; and Queen Victoria has set her fair foot on its walks. Whole generations of Court beauties, maids of honour, titled matrons, patricians, and intriguing politicians, seem to fill the glades and avenues with forms once familiar to the spot. "O fair ladies," said John Knox to the attendants of Queen Mary of Scotland, "how pleasing were this life of yours if it could ever abide; and then, in the end, if ye could go to Heaven with all your gay gear!
But fie upon that knave Death, that will come whether we will or not!" There are other monitors besides Death. Misfortune is also a stern instructor, and its dark shadow has been cast over the splendours of Stowe. Images of distress and spoliation, of folly repented too late, of baffled hopes, disappointed ambition, and all those “vultures of the mind" which prey upon haughty spirits amidst household wreck and desolation, now mingle with the glories of art and nature, and dim the lustre of the scene. Let us read the lesson in charity and tenderness. Let us not pursue the stricken deer, but rather exult in what is left of this marvellous combination still undestroyed in its essential features of natural beauty and magnificence.
The grounds of Stowe lie close to the town of Buckingham-one of the smallest and most decayed-looking county towns in England. The streets and red-tiled houses, the little gardens and orchards, were basking in the morning sun when we saw them in the autumn of 1848, when the great sale at Stowe took place. Few people were abroad-the place seemed a Sleepy Hollow, but the quiet streets, we were told, were occasionally made noisy by inroads of roystering students from Oxford, which is about twenty miles distant. The first glance at the Stowe grounds tells you that you are approaching some fine patrician seat. A straight avenue of two miles, lined with a double row of trees, stretches before you; and at the end of the vista is seen a vast Corinthian arch or gateway, about sixty feet high, and as wide. Carriages and vehicles of all sorts pressed on towards the arch, and on the road were pedestrian groups, shaded from the dust and heat by the branching elms that form a verdant alley on each side. The sale had made a holiday all the country round-simple folks coming to stare and wonder, the malicious to sneer, and the good-natured to regret. It is thus that the fates adjust the balance among the different classes of society. Every peasant in the county at that time felt himself to be a happier, and perhaps a wiser, man, than its great Duke. Arrived at the gate, we see the south, or garden front, of the house-a lofty and richly embellished structure, standing on a gentle eminence, with sloping flower-gardens, antique vases, sculptured figures, a portico of the most imposing form, Corinthian and Ionic columns, medallions, and other decorations, crowding on the view. The measurement of the front is above nine hundred feet, including a grand centre, two colonnades, and two pavilion wings. The approach to the portico is by a flight of thirty-one huge steps. Horace Walpole complained that there was no getting out of the house without descending a flight of steps as high as St. Paul's. The sarcasm is well founded. The ascent is laborious, remind ing one how little comfort there is in magnificence. Glorious, however, to the eye and the fancy was the appearance of that great structure, its exquisite parterre, flower gardens, orangery, fountains, and sculptures-with the lawn, winding valley, and river spreading out below.
We turned aside to reach the north front, where the sale was going on. The road passes through undulating grounds, amidst tall trees, and delicious greensward, over which the hares were running. The north front of the mansion is also an elaborate architectural work, with Ionic columns, open colonnades, and another gigantic flight of steps. But now the character of
the scene was changed. At the foot of an equestrian statue of George the Second was a group of cottagers gazing on the building; other groups filled the walks. In one of the colonnades was a stall for the sale of fruits and beer. Pictures and articles of furniture lay about ready for packing. Carpenters plied their hammers, and round the necks of the couchant lions on each side of the flight of stairs were hung placards, intimating that the parties who placed them there were ready to undertake the removal and conveyance of the purchased goods. Carriages, gigs, and led horses made up the bizarre picture-a sad contrast to the stately formality and palatial glory of Stowe! What a dispersion of works of art and virtù-of heir-looms centuries oldof objects consecrated by public and private associations! This was the last day of the sale of the pictures-the day of the great Rembrandt, the Cuyps, and Salvator Rosas; and an old grey-headed servant told us that the Duke expected that that day's sale would realize £40,000. The reality fell far short of this, for the whole sixty lots produced just 10,800 guineas. The collection of pictures, indeed, was but an inferior one for such a place. One second-rate Rembrandt, a negro armed with bow and arrow, was sold for 251 guineas; a finer specimen of the same master, 810 guineas; a Teniers, 240 guineas; a Claude, 125 guineas; two pictures by Albert Durer, 155 and 160 guineas; a noble Salvator, the Finding of Moses, 1000 guineas; and a Cuyp, 1470 guineas. A picture by Domenichino, the Sybilla Persica, was run up to 600 guineas. At the close came the grand Rembrandt-a very large picture: "The Unfaithful Servant brought before his Lord, between a Soldier and an aged Servant." The work had the characteristic features and excellence of Rembrandt-his unrivalled management of light and shade, his strong truth and expression. It was put up at 1000 guineas, and the biddings went on to 1600, when one gentleman startled the rural gentry and the uninitiated by bidding at once 400 guineas more. It was now at 2000, and it was ultimately sold for 2200 guineas. The sale over, Jew and Gentile left the magnificent saloon, with its pavement of Carrara marble, its sixteen Scagliola columns, and its alto-relievo cornice representing a Roman triumph -which magnificent apartment had been converted into the auction room. How bitterly and loftily would Pope have moralised on this scene of fallen greatness-if the prostrate lord of Stowe had been a Whig and a Hanoverian!
We wandered over the vast deserted house. Stripped of their costly furniture and embellishments, the state rooms and galleries appeared gaunt spectres of the past-phantoms of departed splendour. The family pictures and portraits huddled up in corners waiting removal, also told their tale. The Temples and Grenvilles were there in dozens. Sovereigns, peers, poets, and philosophers lay side by side. Pope and Addison fronted each other, forgetful of their quarrel. Charles the Second and Oliver Cromwell shared the same room. Henry the Eighth, in his slashed doublet, looked as fierce in the colours of Holbein as when he bearded pope and cardinal. Nell Gwynne, in yellow and blue, figured by the side of John Locke and Susannah and the Elders. Suits of armour, shields and swords, lay about the rooms. Here was the sash of young Charles Edward, taken from his baggage after the
battle of Culloden, which had been sold for forty guineas; and here were the badge and ribbon of the Order of the Bath worn by Sir Richard Temple at the coronation of Charles the Second. Much was said of a lock of hair, one of the tresses of the Princess Mary, daughter of Henry the Seventh, and successively the Queen of Louis XII. and the wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Brandon was the early playmate and lover of Mary, but bluff Harry, her brother, compelled her to marry Louis of France. After the death of Louis, Brandon, then Duke of Suffolk, appeared at the French Court with letters of condolence. The young widow met her former lover, and, disregarding all other offers, immediately married him. In reference to this royal match-who could omit mention of the incident?-the gallant duke appeared at a tournament, his saddle-cloth made half of frize, or coarse cloth, and half of cloth of gold, and each had its motto. One of these mottoes
"Cloth of frize be not too bold
Though thou art match'd with cloth of gold."
And the other half bore,
"Cloth of gold do not despise
Though thou art mateh'd with cloth of frize."
This is a chivalrous incident-an illustration of Sir Philip Sidney's "high thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy." The Buckingham family is descended from the Princess Mary, by her marriage with Brandon. The tomb of Mary, in Bury Church, was opened in 1784, and a lock of her hair was taken from the skeleton. This precious lock, which seemed, as was said, to "link the family of Buckingham with the throne of England," was sold to a Bond Street dealer for £7 10s.
Of all the portraits at Stowe, the celebrated one of Shakspeare attracted most attention. Its history and transmission are somewhat doubtful, but it is believed to have once belonged to Sir William Davenant, and, subsequently, to Betterton, the actor. While in the possession of Betterton, a copy of it was painted by Kneller, for Dryden, who undoubtedly considered it a genuine likeness, and who has finely commemorated Kneller's copy:
Shakspeare, thy gift I place before my sight,
With reverence look on his majestic face,
The epithet "majestic" will hardly apply, for the highest expression of the portrait is that of calm seriousness. The stone of the Stratford-on-Avon bust has more life and animation than the Chandos picture, and there is little resemblance between them. It is, however, not unlike the engraving prefixed to the first folio of 1623. We are glad that the Chandos portrait has fallen into the hands of the Earl of Ellesmere-a liberal and tasteful collector, whose splendid gallery is so easily accessible. His lordship gave 355 guineas for the portrait.
From the pictures in the interior of Stowe, we now turned to those out of doors. Not Claude himself, with his woods and aerial perspective, nor