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Tue PALACE OF WHITEHALL, TIME OF CHARLES I. to face the Title. PLAN OF THE PARISH OF ST. JAMES, WESTMINSTER,
1755, . St. James's PALACE AND PART OF WESTMINSTER, 1660, 121 New PALACE YARD, WESTMINSTER, TIME OF CHARLES I. 313
TO THE BINDER.
The Plan of London and Westminster in the Reign of Elizabeth, to be placed
loose in a pocket in the cover of the first volume.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL
MEMORIALS OF LONDON.
TRADITIONS OF HYDE PARK CORNER.--SIR THOMAS WYATT.-CHARLES
THE SECOND AND THE DUKE OF YORK.-SIR SAMUEL MORLAND. WINSTANLEY.-POPE.—LORD LANESBOROUGH.-APSLEY HOUSE.THE PILLARS OF HERCULES.”-ORIGIN OF THE NAME PICCADILLY. -EMINENT PERSONS WHO LIVED IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
HYDE Park Corner, as the great western approach to London, seems to be the most appropriate place for commencing our antiquarian rambles. The spot, too, in itself, possesses great interest. It was here that Sir Thomas Wyatt "planted his ordnance in his famous attempt on London in 1554; * and here also, on the threatened approach of the royal army in 1642, the citizens of London hastily threw up a large fort, strengthened with four bastions; in which zealous work of rebellion they were enthusiastically aided by their wives and daughters. Butler tells us, in his inimitable Hudibras,
From ladies down to oyster-wenches,
And helped the men to dig like moles. I have seldom crossed the road between Constitution Hill and Hyde Park, without calling to mind the well-known retort which Charles the Second gave his brother, the Duke of York, on this particular spot. Charles, who was as fond of walking as his brother was of riding, after taking two or three turns, and amusing himself with feeding the birds in St. James's Park, proceeded up Constitution Hill, accompanied by the Duke of Leeds and Lord Cromarty, into Hyde Park. He was in the act of crossing the road, when he was met by the Duke of York, who had been hunting on Hounslow Heath, and who
was returning in his coach, attended by an escort of the royal Horse Guards. The Duke immediately alighted, and, after paying his respects to the King, expressed his uneasiness at seeing him with so small an attendance, and his fears that his life might be in danger from the hands of an assassin. “No kind of danger,” said the merry monarch, “ for I am sure that no man in England will take away my life to make you king."*
Close to Hyde Park Corner, the well known mechanist, Sir Samuel Morland, had a country house. A letter of his, addressed to the high-minded and ingenious philosopher, John Evelyn, is dated
* Dr. King's “Anecdotes of his own Time.” Dr. King tells us that Lord Cromarty was in the constant habit of relating the story to his friends.
from his “but near Hyde Park Gate.” It was to the town house of Sir Samuel at Lambeth, that Charles the Second passed from the palace of Whitehall by water, to pass the first night of his almost miraculous Restoration with Mrs. Palmer, afterwards the too-celebrated Duchess of Cleveland. Winstanley, another ingenious mechanist, who lived in the reign of Queen Anne, had also a “water theatre” near Hyde Park Corner, conspicuous from its being surmounted by a large weathercock; and here, we are told, the town was accustomed to crowd of an evening to witness his hydraulic experiments. Steele mentions him in one of his papers in the “Tatler,” and Evelyn has thought the projector worthy of praise.
One would be glad, but the wish is a vain one, to ascertain the exact spot, “ by Hyde Park Corner,” which was the scene of the school-boy days of Pope,—where the poet forgot the “ little” which he had learnt from his Roman Catholic preceptor, Bannister,—from whence he used to stroll to the play-house, to delight himself with theatrical exhibitions,—and where the youthful bard composed his juvenile play from "Ogildby's Iliad,” in which his school-fellows were the principal performers, and his master's gardener was the personator of Ajax.*
Since we are unable to point out the exact spot where the great poet “ lisped in numbers,” it is but small consolation to be able to fix the
Spence's “ Anecdotes of Men and Books.” Johnson's “ Lives of the Poets."