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POETICAL DESCRIPTION OF LONDON.
AMONG the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum, is a miscellaneous collection of articles, principally written upon vellum, (viz. No. 762,) from which the following panegyrical verses on London have been correctly copied. The hand-writing appears to be of the time of Henry the Seventh : there are no points. There is considerable vigour in the thoughts, though with some reduplication, and the measure of the stanzas is not unharmonious. The bold figure in the last verse, which styles the Mayor both the load-star and guy, or guide, of the city, will not pass unnoticed by the poetical critic.*
Chaucer frequently uses the term gie, for guide, and particularly in his House of Fame, as may be seen from the foling passage, in which Phaeton is represented as intending both to lead and guide the car of Apollo: the lines, in themselves, are additionally curious, from acquainting us with the fact of the milky way having the name of Watling-street so long ago as Chaucer's time.-Jove's Eagle thus addresses the Poet:
An Honour to London.
LONDON thowe arte of townes A p se!
Of Marchavntes of substavnce and myght
Gladdeth a man thowe lusty Troynomond
Citie that somtyme cleped was newe Troye
Princis of townys, of plesure, and of Joye
Ffurmeth noon fairer syth the fflode of Noe
"Lo," quod he, " cast up thyne eye,
Again;-in the same poem, Chaucer thus invocates the Sun :
"God of science and of light,
Apollo, through thy great might,
This littell last booke now thou gie ;
Now that I will for maistrie,
Here art potenciall be shewde."
Jem of all Joy, jasper of Jocunditie
Most myghtie carbuncle of vertue and valure
Swete Paradise precelling in plesure
Whose boriall stremys plesaunt & preclare Vnder thy lusty wallys renneth a downe
Where many a swan swymeth w' wynge fare Where many a barge doth rowe and sayle w' are Where many a ship resteth w' top royall
O towne of townys patron and not compare London thowe arte the flowre of cities all.
Vpon thy lusty bridge w' pillers white
Been marchavntis full royall to be holde Vpon thy stretis goth many a semely knyght In velvet gownys and chaynys of gold
By Julius Cesour thy towre founded of olde May be the howce of Mars victoriall
Whose artilery w' tonge maye not be tolde London thowe arte the flowre of cities all.
Stronge be the walls abowte the stondis
Wise be the people that w'in the dwelles Ffreshe is thy River w his lusty strands
Blithe be thy chirches, well sownyng are thy bells Rich be thy marchavntes in substaunce that excells Ffaire be thy wives, right lovesom white and small Clere be thy Virgins lusty vnder kellys London thowe arte the flowre of cities all.
Thy famous Maire by sure governaunce
Above all Maires as maister most worthy
BUCKLESBURY ; AND CORNET'S TOWER. BUCKLESBURY, which commencing on the south side of Cheapside, proceeds in an oblique direction behind the Poultry into Walbrook, was "so called," says Stow," of a mannor and tenements pertaining to one Buckle, who there dwelt and kept his courts.* His mansion is supposed to have been the great stone building yet in part remaining on the south side of the streete ;-which hath of long time been divided, and letten out into many tenements: and it hath been a common speech, that when Walbrooke did lye open, barges were rowed out of the Thames, or towed up so farre; and therefore the place hath ever since been called the Old Barge,-of such a Signe hanged out over the gate thereof."+
Directly opposite to Buckle's mansion was an ancient and strong Tower, of stone, which Edward III., by the name of the King's House, or Cornet's Tower, "did appoint to be his Exchange of Money, there to
*"Survey of London," p. 477; edit. 1618.
+ Ibid.-In Barge-yard, an inclosed court on the south side of Bucklesbury, the well-known Sir Theodore Jansen, Knt. had a house in George the First's reign.
be kept."* Pennant says, this was "possibly a watch tower, from the summit of which, signals might have been given by the blowing of a horn;" in which conjecture he is probably right, and hence the origin of the name. But it is remarkable that that careless writer has committed no fewer than four errors in almost the same number of lines, in his brief account from Stow, of this Tower.t
Edward III., in his 32d year, (anno 1358) granted Cornet's Tower to his newly-built Chapel of St. Stephen, at Westminster. Stow informs us that it was taken down" of late yeeres," by Buckle, a grocer, (probably a descendant of the first mentioned owner of this manor,) who meant, in place thereof," to have set up and builded, a goodly frame of timber," that is, a handsome house of wood; but whilst he was "greedily labouring" to "demolish the old Tower, a part fell upon him, and bruised him so sore, that his life was thereby shortened; and another, who married his widow, set up the new prepared frame of timber, and finished the worke.”
Bucklesbury was, for a long period, chiefly inhabited by grocers and apothecaries, (or as we now call them, druggists,) who sold all kinds of herbs, "green as well as dry ;" and it has been observed, that their houses, during the occurrence of the plague, were generally free from the visitations of that dreadful Scourge. To" smell like Bucklesbury in simpletime," is a phrase used by Shakspeare, in his "Mer
+ Vide "London," p. 443; edit, 1793.