Billeder på siden

of the present administration, which, during the short period of its elevation to power, has purified many of the public offices of slothful supernumeraries, and has to its eternal honour refused to augment the public burthens by reversionary pensions.

By such instances of public virtue, and the wisdom, vigour, and sound policy, which reign in the councils of his majesty, the British empire may ultimately triumph over its enemies, or at least be preserved entire amidst the general wreck of other nations.

The king of Holland was described to me to resemble his brother Napoleon, very strongly in size, complexion, manner, thoughtful taciturnity, and abstemiousness: he is a great invalid, and has received some severe paralytic shocks in one of his arms, for which, as well as for the general extreme delicate state of his health, he has been obliged to visit the baths of Wisbaden, and to drink the waters of the Spa; which prevented his remaining in Holland but for a very short time, after the constitution had placed him on the throne, and he was absent when I was there.

The king has the reputation of being much pleased with the English character, and very fond of the society of Englishmen; a gratification which a series of adverse circumstances has prevented him from indulging in for some time past. I remember, when I was at Paris, during the brief of. pause that just gave war, time for frighted peace to pant," he was never more happy than when he had one of our countrymen at his splendid and hospitable table.



The queen is, as she was also described to me, a brunette of considerable beauty, inclined to the en bon point, has a face expressive of great suavity of mind, and is highly accomplished; she particularly excels in dancing, in which, for the gracefulness of her attitudes, she is said to be unrivalled. To this elegant accomplishment she is particularly attached, and when she travels, is generally complimented, in any considerable town where she stops for a day or two, with a public ball, an attention by which she is always much gratified.

Their majesties have two princes who are very young; the eldest is called Napoleon after the emperor. Should the dynasty

of the Bonapartes experience no convulsive overthrow, it is generally believed that, upon the demise of that extraordinary being, who has pushed so many kings from their thrones to make room for the members of his own family, the crown of France will devolve upon this child.

In detailing these few anecdotes, which to me at least were interesting, I have been induced by a veneration for truth alone, to give a representation which, to such as think that nothing favourable, however deserved, should be reported of those with whom we are not in amity, will not be very palatable. To an enemy, if not generous, let us at least be always just. It is as base in principle, as it is dangerous in politics, to depreciate the popularity of a prince with whom we are at war, for it obviously leads to a miscalculation of his influence upon his people, and of the nature and extent of his strength and resources.

I abhor fuming a sovereign with adulation, more especially the ruler of a country at war with my own; but it is what I owe to my own country to relate the fact.



IN my way to the celebrated statue of Erasmus, and indeed wherever I moved, almost every face I met looked as if it belonged to a soul more disposed to cultivate the figures of arithmetic, than of rhetoric. I saw none of those sprightly physiognomies, which abound in the large towns of England or France, full of smiles, of levity, and carelessness, the happy owners of which appear as if they basked and frolicked in the sunshine of every event. Even the Spanish proverb, "thoughts close, looks loose," is not observed in this city. An eye prone to the earth, a look of settled meditation, and a measured pace denote the Rotterdammer. Yet with these appearances Holland has not been insensible to that literary merit, in honour of which, in other times and regions, the Grecians and Romans raised temples, statues, and constituted public games, to which the Persians, the Arabians, the Turks, and even the Chinese, presented the most magnificent rewards.

As the inhabitants of Languedoc established floral games, at which they bestowed golden flowers as prizes to the fortunate poets; as Rome crowned Petrarch with laurel; as Ravenna erected a marble tomb to the memory of Dante, and Certaldo a statue to 'Boccaccio; as delighted princesses touched with their fragrant lips the cheeks of poets; as the Venetians paid to Sannazarius six hundred pistoles for six verses; as Baif received a silver image of Minerva from his native city, and Ronsard had apartments reser

ved for him in the palace of Charles IX. of France, and also the honour of receiving poetical epistles from that monarch: behold the Hollander has raised a superb bronze figure to the memory of that great restorer of the Latin tongue, Erasmus.

This statue stands upon an arch crossing a canal, and is nearly ten feet high; it was finished in 1622, and is said to be the chef-d'œuvre of Henry de Keiser, a very celebrated statuary and architect. It has been observed, that in the quality of the different statues which the Dutch raised to the memory of Erasmus, may be traced the different degrees of zeal with which his memory was cherished by them.

In 1540 they raised a statue of wood; seventeen years afterwards, blushing for the little respect they had observed, they exchanged it for one of blue stone; and in sixty-five years following apotheothized him by the noble memorial of their veneration, which I contemplated with equal admiration and delight. In 1572 the Spaniards, Vandal-like, shot at the stone statue with their muskets, and threw it in the canal, from whence it was afterwards raised and again set up, by order of the magistrates, upon the expulsion of the Spaniards; upon whom the Dutch retaliated in the most spirited and gallant manner, by attacking that nation through her colonial establishments in the East and West-Indies, and in Africa, and by capturing the rich galleons of their merciless invaders.

The bronze figure is clad in an ecclesiastical habit, with an open book in his hand. Various attempts have at different times been made to convert the sage into a turncoat: before the revolution which expelled the stadtholder and his family, every concavity in his dress was crammed, on certain holidays, with oranges; during the hey-day of the republican form of government, amidst the celebration of its festivals, he was covered with tri-coloured ribbons, when the juice of the orange was never suffered to pass the lips of a true patriot!! Even the marigold, first consecrated by poets to the Virgin, and afterwards used as a symbol of the House of Orange,

"The marigold, whose courtier's face
Echoes the sun, and doth unlace

Her at his rise,"

[ocr errors]

was expelled from the gardens of the new republicans. Oh, Liberty! happy had it been for millions, if all the outrages perpetrated in thy hallowed name had spent themselves upon ribbons, oranges, and marigolds!

Oudaan the poet has done honour to this star of erudition, whose works filled ten folio volumes, and whose talents had nearly raised him to cardinalate under Pope Paul III. in the following lines in Dutch, which are inscribed on his pedestal:

Hier rees die groote zon, en ging te Bazel onder!
De Rykstad eer' en vier' dien Heilig in zyn grav;
Dit tweede leeven geevt, die't eerste leeven gav:

Maar 't ligt der taalen, 't zout der zeden, 't heerlyk wonder.

Waar met de Lievde, en Vreede, en Godgeleerdheid praald,
Word met geen grav gëerd nog met zeen beeld betaald:
Dies moet hier't lugtgewele Erasmus overdekken,
Nadien geen mind're plaats zyn tempel kan verstrekken!

Or thus in English:

Erasmus, here, the eloquent and wise,

That Sun of Learning! rose, and spread his beam
O'er a benighted world, through lowering skies,
And shed on Basil's towers his parting gleam.

There his great relics lie: he blest the place:

No proud preserver of his fame shall prove
The Parian pile; tho' fraught with sculptur'd grace:
Reader! his mausoleum is above.

The reader may perhaps be pleased with the following anecdote. When Erasmus was in England, which he visited several times, and where he was honoured with the friendship of Archbishop Warham, Bishops Tonstal and Fox, Dean Colet, Lord Montjoy, Sir Thomas More, and other distinguished men, he mentions a custom then prevalent amongst the females of this country, the discontinuance of which, considering how much improved they are since the time of Erasmus, and how their natural charms are heightened by the grace of the Grecian drapery, must

« ForrigeFortsæt »