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was for some time in occupation of Marble-hill. The present possessor is Colonel Peel.
Little Marble-hill, or Marble-hill Cottage, formerly called Spencer Grove, was fitted up by Lady Diana Beauclerc, who decorated several of the rooms with paintings by her own hands.
Nearly opposite to Marble-hill is PETERSHAM, a picturesque village, situate in the midst of beautiful scenery. Here stood a capital mansion, built by the Earl of Rochester, Lord High Treasurer to James II. This building being destroyed by fire, much property, including the MSS. of the great Lord Clarendon, was destroyed, and some lives lost. Petersham Lodge, as the house was called, was rebuilt by an Earl of Harrington, from a design by Lord Burlington, but is once again pulled down, and the grounds thrown into Richmond Park. The pleasure-grounds were spacious and beautiful, extending to Richmond Park, part whereof had been added to them by a grant from George III. including the Mount, where, according to tradition, Henry VIII. stood to see the signal for the execution of Queen Anne Boleyne.
mansion of the time of Charles II. In the centre of the house is a large hall, surrounded by an open gallery; the balustrades of the grand staircase are of walnut tree, ornamented with military trophies. That great statesman and general, John Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, was born here. James II. was ordered to retire to Ham House, on the arrival of the Prince of Orange in London; but thinking himself unsafe so near the metropolis, he retired precipitately into France. It is a melancholy mansion, thickly embowered in wood.
TWICKENHAM," the Muses' Haunt,” is now before us, and we proceed to record its historical associations. Twickenham has been ever a favourite retreat of the poet, scholar, and statesman, and is altogether classic ground. The situation of Twickenham is sheltered, the vicinity well wooded, and the climate delightful. Half a century ago, no village round London was a more favourite resort of the wealthy and fashionable; wealth still delights to repose in these shades, but Fashion, fickle goddess ! has long since carried her votaries elsewhere. In the river opposite Twickenham, is an ait or eyot, of considerable extent, and divided into several estates, the largest portion belonging to Sir Alexander Johnstone: upon this ait a house of entertainment has been erected; and here the river steamers are accustomed to land great numbers of holiday folks, desirous of the delights of pure air, and solicitous to banquet upon eel-pies, for which the tavern is famed.
York House, a ghostly-looking edifice, opposite Twickenham Ait, was the property of the great Lord Clarendon, who used to return here from attending his royal master at Hampton Court; here the Princesses Mary and Anne, successively queens of England, were nursed. The demesne is magnificently timbered, and contains about seven acres. The Hon. Mrs. Damer, friend of Horace Walpole, occupied this mansion for some time.
Near there is the mansion belonging to Miss Byng : this noble house was erected by Lady Anne Conolly, on the site of a mansion belonging to the Earls of Strafford. A
very fine house, distinguished by an octagon room connected with the house by a long gallery, is now the property of Mr. Murray of Broughton. The octagon room, so conspicuously indicating this mansion, was built by Mr. Secretary Johnstone, for the purpose of entertaining Caroline, queen of George II., at dinner.
This noble mansion obtained the name of Orleans House, from the Duke
of Orleans, now Louis Philippe, King of the French, who resided here. His Majesty is still gratefully remembered by the poorer inhabitants, some of whom are said even now to participate in his bounty.
The Princess, afterwards Queen Anne, resided at Twickenham, with her son, the youthful Duke of Gloucester ; the duke brought with him his regiment of boys which he used to exercise on Twickenham Ait.
The haunts of Pope, and the associations called up in beholding them, naturally attract our first notice, and the largest share of our attention.
Alexander Pope was born in Lombard-street, London, on the 22nd May, 1688, in the house of his father, an eminent linen-draper, who pursued his trade so successfully that he retired with a fortune of twenty thousand pounds. His mother was daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York, two of whose sons died in the service of Charles I. ; the third became a general officer in Spain. To his parents an elegant tribute was paid by their gifted son, in the Satires addressed to Arbuthnot:
The delicacy of the future poet's constitution naturally much engaged the attention of his parents and relations, and he was still more endeared to them by the uncommon sweetness and placidity of temper which he displayed in his childhood ; his voice was so melodious that they used to call him the
little nightingale. At the age of eight years, one Taverner, a Roman Catholic priest, instructed him in the rudiments of the Greek and Latin languages. Having made great advances in learning under the care of Taverner, he was removed to a celebrated seminary of his persuasion at Twyford, a pleasant village on the banks of the Itchin near Winchester, and it is asserted that a lampoon on his master at that place was the occasion of his removal thence to a school kept near Hyde Park Corner.
The earliest poetry from which he derived any gratification worthy remembrance was Ovid translated by Sandys, and Homer by Ogilby; he frequently spoke in the latter part of his life of the exquisite pleasure the perusal of these two translators gave him. It would appear from his having taken the trouble, which no doubt to him was an exquisite gratification, of turning the chief events of the Iliad into the dramatic form, and connecting with some verses of his own the speeches taken from Ogilby, that this translation had a more important use in directing the future tendency of his character than the youthful poet was aware of. Certain it is that he persuaded some of the upper boys of his school to act the piece, assisted by the master's gardener, who was persuaded to accept the not unimportant part of Ajax.
We now trace our bard to a retirement calculated to complete the education of a poet, as Homer may have been said to have commenced it—to Windsor Forest, whither he retired with his father, who, unwilling to trust his money under the laws then pressing heavily upon persons of his persuasion in the public securities, purchased a small estate at Binfield near Oakingham, within the limits of the forest, where he lived on his capital while it lasted.
We have now pursued the youthful poet from his first instructor, who appears to have done his duty, to a public school, first in the country, and again in town: thence we pursue him to the forest, where a still greater advantage awaited him—the employment by his parents of a master who compelled him to instruct himself.
His education was now, as far as masters were concerned, at an end. He formed the determination, rare in one so young, and in him possibly owing as much to the feebleness of his constitution as to the strength of his will,
his studies on a plan of his own, which he did with great diligence and perseverance, devouring all books that he could procure, especially books
Inquiry into the accidental circumstances that help to make men poets is not unworthy the attention of the student of human nature—such inquiry might tend to throw light upon the nature of that curious abstraction called genius, and to assist us in forming a more accurate estimate how much of the poetic faculty may be natural, how much acquired, in different men under different circumstances. It is worth remembering that in the case of Pope, as in those of Scott and Byron, early infirmity, in the former case constitutional, in the latter local, had a material influence in determining that love of solitude, and that turning of the mind inward upon itself which solitude naturally engenders.
With original delicacy of constitution, there is often combined, as every one must have observed, an astuteness, precocity, and intelligence wonderfully great, as if nature, leaving the members defective, had flung all their substance into the brain—or as if a kind dispensation of Providence was exhibited in compensating for physical defects by superior mental endowments.
To Alexander Pope, with a ricketty frame, which he was compelled not only in infancy and childhood, but through life, to have swathed in flannel, and to have supported by stays and paddings, was given a musical voice, a fine ear for concordant sounds, and a taste exquisite and refined for nature and her imitations in art. The incapacity to join his playmates in exercises of strength and athletic gambols was compensated for by pleasures derived from books, and the recreative luxury of uninterrupted thought : if his privations were his own, so also were his pleasures. Who shall say how far the consciousness of his corporeal infirmities—as was doubtless the case with the other great poets whose names we have taken the liberty of mentioning-might have been a spur to his contradicting, as it were, the fiat of nature that he should live weak, obscure, and useless; and of impelling him onwards in that chase of immortality which was to give him a life beyond the lives of strongest men, and to make him more formidable and more followed, while he lived, than if he had been seven feet high? We remember that Scott was a cripple in his childhood—we know that Byron retained a sad, fierce sensitiveness on the subject of his lame
While we do not attribute to mere physical defects more than they are worth, we are not inclined to underrate their effect in giving to minds of power the disposition to compensate themselves for the injurious caprices of nature.