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TIME was, when, in the belief of almost everybody, the green woods were haunted by fairies ; sylphs might be seen dancing on the banks of fresh running streams by moonlight; and in the court-yards of old castles, in the chambers of old towers, and in certain memorable parts of old cities, there were strange spirits of the past to be met with at the midnight hour. The village maiden, as she came back from her walk in the churchyard at sunset, fancied she saw some Robin Goodfellow sitting under the hedge, or coming out to salute her. The baron's daughter, in her chamber watching the embers on a winter's evening, with her foot on the rude and-irons, and, just as the castle clock struck twelve-lifting up her bright eyes to the grim portrait of the man in armour over the fire-place-was sure to think that she saw, as plain as plain could be, the stalwart figure step out of the canvas, and, striding toward the door, open it with a mysterious key, and then, with his iron boot, go thump, thump, along the echoing corridor. The very warder, as he kept watch at the still hour of night, if he saw nought else, would see something not of mortal mould; a crusader, not of flesh and blood, but one impalpable; or a lady fair, all clothed in white, no more to be touched than the moonbeam shining through the turret loophole.

Those days are gone by, and we are not sorry. People now are neither pleased nor troubled with apparitions of that kind. Yet we should not at all like to have this world of ours reduced to such a prosaic, matter-of-fact condition, as, in no sense, ever to see anything but what, according to the law of optics, was painted on the retina of the eye. To say nothing now of great spiritual realities, which encircle our globe and interpenetrate the scenes of our whole life, we must confess that we should be very sorry not to have communion sometimes with the shades of the mighty dead, as well as to shake hands and talk with the humble living. There are shades of a certain kind which we are glad to see. When some of them haunt us it is very pleasant; when others of them appear it is very grand; and they are all more accommodating than were those of the olden time. Then, when folks called for spirits from the “ vasty deep," there was room to ask, “but will they come ?" Now the shades we invoke always come when they are called for. By day as well as by night, they come. In the crowded street as well as the silent solitude, they come. To others they may be invisible, but to us they come. They are the Memories of Great Men ; and if there be one place more than another haunted by them, it is OLD LONDON.

Many, many changes have occurred in our mother city. Over and over again. it has been built and rebuilt. The very soil we walk upon is an accumulation of remains, in many parts some twenty feet above the pavement trodden by the Roman masters of that colony, which gave it its time-honoured name. as they have rolled over London, have left behind them memories not subject to the laws of change. The fire of 1666 destroyed many a goodly church, and hall, and mansion ; but not one of the names rendered famous by noble achievements, virtuous deeds, or historical associations, could it consume or blacken. Streets alter, public edifices disappear, houses are pulled down and new ones

But the ages,

take their place; but the monuments which consist of the recorded, actions, and deeds, and thoughts of the great and good, defy the accidents of time, and are as imperishable as the heavens. Fiction tells us of a city in an African desert where the inhabitants were turned to stone, and there they stood the memorials of their once living selves. And in Athens there was a second population besides the evanescent one that crowded her streets and climbed her Acropolis ; even the statues which stood in marble beauty by the steps of the temples and the thresholds of the houses. London has more enduring memorials of some who once lived within her walls; and has a second population, nobler than the sculptures of Greece, and the gods of her mythology. Almost defying calculation as the material wealth of our metropolis may be, unparalleled as “the value of its shipping and its stores,” its commerce and its money, its estates and their treasures, its arts and its manufactures, its antiquities and its curiosities—all that is surpassed by the moral wealth of its names and memories. “No material interests, no common welfare can so bind a community together and make it strong of heart, as a history of rights maintained, and virtues incorrupted, and freedom won; and one legend of conscience is worth more to a country than hidden gold and fertile plains."

Buildings, dingy and dilapidated, or tastelessly modernized, in which great geniuses were born, or lived, or died, are, in connexion with such events, transformed into poetic bowers; and narrow, dirty streets, where they are known often to have walked, change into green alleys, resounding with richer notes than ever trilled from bird on brake. Tales of valour and suffering, of heroism and patience, of virtue and piety, of the patriot's life and the martyr's death, crowd thickly on the memory. Nor do opposite reminiscences, revealing the footprints of vice and crime, of evil passions and false principles, fail to arise, fraught with salutary

Warnings and cautions. The broad thoroughfare is a channel, within whose banks there has been rolling for centuries a river of haman life, now tranquil as the sky, now troubled as the clouds, gliding on in peace, or lashed into storms. The history of London is the history of our commerce.

Here is seen gushing up, in very early times, that stream of industry, activity, and enterprise, which from a rill has swelled into a river, and has borne upon its bosom our wealth and our greatness, our civilization, and very much of our liberty.

The history of London is a history of our literature. Time would fail to tell of all the memorials of genius with which London abounds: memorials of poets, philosophers, historians, and divines, who there have lived, studied, toiled, suffered, and died. No spot in the world, perhaps, is so rich in associations connected with the history of great minds. There is scarcely one of the old streets through which you ramble, or one of the old churches which you enter, but forth with there come erowding over the minds of the well-informed, recollections of departed genius, greatness or excellence.

The history of London is the history of our constitution and our laws.

There thicken round it most of the great political conflicts between kings and barons, and lords and commons; between feudalism and modern liberty; between the love of ancient institutions and the spirit of progress, from which under God have sprung our civil government and social order.

The history of London is the history of our religion, both in its corrupted and in its purified forms. Early was it a grand seat of Romish worship; numerous were its religious foundations in the latter part of the mediæval age. Here councils have been held, convocations have assembled, controversies have been waged, and truth has been exalted or depressed. St. Paul's churchyard and Smithfield are inseparably associated with the Reformation. The principles proclaimed from the stone pulpit of the one could not be destroyed by the fires that blazed round the stakes of the other. The history of the Protestant establishment ever since is involved in that of our city; places connected with its grand events, its advocates, and its ornaments, are dear to the hearts of its children; while other spots in London, little known to fame, are linked to the memory of the Puritans, and, reverently traced out by those who love them, become hallowed ground.

The shadows of great kings cross our path as we go through the streets of ancient London. For example, one sees in the dim distance of the fourteenth century, Edward the Black Prince returning from the victory at Poitiers, with John of France as captive; the city making gala day-displaying triumphal arches, tapestry, plate, and arms and thousands of faces, peering out at windows, from the roofs of houses and down church steeples. Then there come gorgeous processions of the prince's father, with knights and squires, on his way to the jousting-place in Smithfield; and again the same crowned head is seen with three others-John of France, David of Scotland, and the king of Cyprus--riding down to Henry Picard's mansion in the Vintry, to do the city honour by feasting at the Lord Mayor's hospitable board. Henry the Sixth, too, meets us on London Bridge, and by the help of John Lydgate's MS. of “the cominge of the king out of France to London,” we are enabled to see all the show ; and brave it is: Lord Mayor clothed in velvet, sheriffs and aldermen in scarlet cloaks, crafts of the city in white liveries, the king and nobles in polished armour, the bridge decked out with towers, and cloth of arras, and giants, and emblematical empresses, Nature, Grace, and Fortune, and seven maidens full of mystic meaning, and other quaint devices, through which the inborn spirit of poetry in those romantic times sought to express itself. And later, Queen Elizabeth sweeps along Cheapside, in her progress from the Tower to Westminster.

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