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In the decorations of these scenes, the Roman empe. rors displayed their wealth and liberality; and we read, that, on various occafions, the whole furniture of the amphitheatre consisted either of silver, or of gold, or of amber. The poet who describes the games of Carinus, in the character of a shepherd attracted to the capital by the fame of their magnificence, affirms, that the net's designed as a defence against the wild beasts were of goldwire ; that the porticoes were gilded; and that the belt or circle which divided the several ranks of spectators from each other, was studded with a precious mosaic of beautiful stones.
II. Reflections in Wefminster Abbey, WHEN I am in a ferious humour, I very often walk
by myself in Westminster Abbey; where the gloominefs of the place, and the use to which it is applied, with the folemnity of the building, and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. I yesterday pafied a whole afternoon in the church-yard, the clciiters, and the church; amufing myself with the tomb-ftones and infcriptions which i met with in those several regions of the dead. . Most of them recorded nothing else of the buried person, but that he was born upon one day, and died upon
another; the whole history of his life being comprehended in these two circumstances, that are common to all mankind. I could not but look upon those registers of existence, whether of brass or marble, as a kind of satire upon the departed persons, who had left no other memorial of themselves, but that they were born, and that they died.
Upon my going into the church, I entertained myself with the digging of a grave ; and faw, in every shovelful of it that was thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull intermixed with a kind of fresh-mouldering earth, that, some time or other, had a place in the compolition of an human body. Upon this, I began to consider with myself, what innum able multitudes of people lay confused together, under the pavement of that ancient cathedral ; how men and women, friends and enemies,
priests priests and soldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the fame common mass; how beauty, ftrength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, lay undiftinguishçd in the lame promiscuous heap of matter.
After having thus furvered this great magazine of mortality as it were in the lump, I examined it more particularly by the accounts which I found on several of the monuments which are raised in every quarter of that ancient, fabric. Some of them were covered with such extravagant epitaphs, that, if it were poflible for the dead person to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the praises which his friends have bestowed upon him, There are others-fo excellively modest, that they deliver the charader of the.perfon departed in Greek or He. brew; and by that means are not understood once in a twelvemonth. In the poetical quarter, I found there were poets who had no monuments, and monuments which had no poets, I observed, indeed, that the prefent war had filled the church with many of those uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the me. mory of persons whole bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bofom oil the ocean.
I could not but be very much delighted with several modern epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expression and jullness.of thought, and which there. fore do honour to the living as well as to the dead. As a foreigner is very apt to conceive an idea of the igno. rance or politeness of a nation from the turn of their public monuments and infcriptions, they should be fub. mitted to the perural of men of learning and genius, before they are put into execution. Sir Cloudelly Shovel's monument has very often given me great offence. In• stead of the brave rough English admiral, which was the diftinguilling character of that plain gallant man, he is represented on his tomb by the figure of a beaŭ, dressed in a long periwig, and repofing himself 'upon velvet cushions under a canopy of itate. The infcription is answerable to the monument; for, instead of celebrating the many remarkable aétions he had performed in the service of his country, it acquaints us only with the nianper of his death, in which it was impoffible for him to reap any honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of genius, fhow an infinitely greater fafte in their buildings and works of this nature, than we meet with in thofe of our own country. The monuments of their admirals, which have been erected at the public expence, represent them like themselves, and are adorned with rostral crowns and naval ornaments, with beautiful feltoons of fea-weed, shells, and coral.
I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and dismal thoughts in timorous minds and gloomy imaginations : but, for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be me. lancholy; and can therefore take a view of nature in her deep and folemn scenes, with the same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By these means, I can improve myself with objects which others consider with terroute -When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate defire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents apon a tomb-ftone,
heart melts with compaffion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we muft quickly follow. When I fee kings lying by those who deposed them; when I confider rival wits placed fide by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes ; I reHect with forrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of fome that died yesterday, and fome fix hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.
III, The Charafter of Mary Queen of Scots. TO all the charms of beauty, and the utmost elegance
of external form, Mary added those accomplishments which render their impression irresistible. Polite, affable, insinuating, sprightly, and capable of speaking and of writing with equal ease and dignity. Sudden, however, and violent in all her attachments, because her heart was warm and unsuspicious. Impatient of contradi&ion, because she had been accustomed from her infancy to bo
treated as a queen. No stranger, on fome occafions, to diflimulation ; which, in that perfidious court where she received her education, was reckoned among the necefsary arts of government. Not infenfible to Hattery, or unconscious of that pleasure with which almost every woman beholds the influence of her own beauty. Formed with the qualities that we love, not with the talents that we admire, she was an agreeable woman rather than an illustrious queen.
The vivacity of her fpirit, not sufficiently tempered with found judgment, and the warmth of her heart, which was not at all times under the restraint of discre, tion, betrayed her both into errours and into crimes. To May that the was always unfortunate, will not account for that long and almost uninterrupted succession of calamities which befel her; we must likewise add, that The was often imprudent. Her passion for Darnly was rash, youthful, and exceflive. And, though the sudden transition to the opposite extreme was the natural effe& of her ill-requited love, and of his ingratitude, infoJence, and brutality; yet neither these, nor Bothwell's artful address and important services, can justify her attachment to that nobleman. Even the manners of the age, licentious as they were, are no apology for this unhappy passion; nor can they induce us to look on that tragical and infamous scene which followed upon it, with less abhorrence. Humanity will draw a veil over this part of her character, which it cannot approve; and may perhaps prompt some to impute her actions to her fituation, more than to her disposition; and to lament the unhappiness of the former, rather than accuse the perverseness of the latter. Mary's sufferings exceed, both in degree and in duration, those tragical distresses which fancy has feigned to excite forrow and commiferation ; and while we furvey them, we are apt altogether to forget
her frailties : we think of her faults with lets indig. nation ; and approve of our tears, as if they were shed for a person who had attained much nearer to pure virtue.
With regard to the queen's person, a circumstance not to be omitted in writing the history of a female Jeign, all contemporary authors agree in afcribing to
Mary Mary the utmost beauty of countenance, and elegance of fhape, of which the human form is capable. Her hair was black, though, according to the fashion of that age, the frequently wore borrowed locks, and of different colours. - Her eyes were a dark gray, her complexion was exquisitely fine, and her hands and arms remarkably delicate both as to shape and colour. Her ftature was of an height that rose to the majestic. She danced, she walked, and rode, with equal grace. Her talte for music was just ; and the both sung and played upon the lute with uncommon skill. Towards the end of her life she began to grow fat; and her long confinement, and the coldness of the houses in which he was imprisoned, brought on a rheumatism, which deprived her of the use of her limbs. : No man, fays Brantome, ever beheld her person without admiration and love, or -will read her history without forrow.
IV. Character of Queen Elizab:th. THERE are few personages in history who have been
more exposed to the calumny of enemies and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth ; and yet there fearce is any whose reputation has been more cer. tainly determined, by the unanimous consent of pofterity. The unusual length of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able to over- come all prejudices; and, obliging her detractors to
abate much of their invectives, and her admirers fome--what of their panegyrics, llave at laft, in spite of politi
cal factions, and what is more, of religious animosities, - produced an uniform judgment with regard to her con
duct. Her vigour, her con tancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, and address, are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear, not to have been furpaffed by any person who ever filled a throne : a conduct less rigorous, less imperious, more sincere, more indul. gent to her people, would have been requisite to form a perfect character. By the force of her mind, she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excess. Her heroism was exempted from all temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendhip from partiality, her enterprize from