« AnteriorContinuar »
12th July. I sent my black menage horse and furniture with a friend to his Majesty, then at Oxford. 23rd. The Covenant being pressed, I absented myself; but, finding it impossible to evade the doing very unhandsome things, and which had been a great cause of my perpetual motions hitherto between Wotton and London, October the 2nd, I obtained a license of his Majesty, dated at Oxford, and signed by the King, to travel again. 6th November. Lying by the way from Wotton at Sir Ralph Whitfield's, at Blechingley, (whitherboth my brothers had conducted me,) I arrived at London on the 7th, and two days after took boat at the Tower-wharf, which carried me as far as Sittingbourne, though not without danger, I being only in a pair of oars, exposed to a hideous storm; but it pleased God that we got in before the peril was considerable. From thence, I went by post to Dover, accompanied with one Mr. Thicknesse, a very dear friend of mine.* 11th. Having a reasonable good passage, though the weather was snowy and untoward enough, we came before Calais, where, as we went on shore, mistaking the tide, our shallop struck on the sands, with no little danger; but at length we got off. Calais is considered an extraordinary well-fortified place, in the old castle and new citadel regarding the sea. The haven consists of a long bank of sand, lying opposite to it. The market-place and the church are remarkable things, besides those relics of our former dominion there. I remember there were engraven in stone upon the front of an ancient dwelling which was showed us, these words in Inglish, “God save the King,” together with the name of the architect and date. The walls of the town are substantial; but the situation towards the land is not pleasant, by reason of the marshes and low grounds about it. 12th. After dinner, we took horse with the MesSagere, hoping to have arrived at Boulogne that night; but there fell so great a snow, accompanied with hail, rain, and sudden darkness, that we had much ado to gain the next village; and in this passage, being to cross a valley by a causeway and a bridge built over a small river, the
* The gentleman he has already mentioned as so much assisting him in his studies at Oxford.
rain that had fallen making it an impetuous stream for near a quarter of a mile, my horse slipping had almost been the occasion of my perishing. We none of us went to bed; for the soldiers in those parts leaving little in the villages, we had enough to do to get ourselves dry, by morning, between the fire and the fresh straw. The next day early, we arrived at Boulogne. This is a double town, one part of it situate on a high rock, or downs; the other, called the lower town, is yet with a great declivity towards the sea; both of them defended by a strong castle, which stands on a notable eminence. Under the town runs the river, which is yet but an inconsiderable brook. Henry VIII. in the siege of this place is said to have used those great leathern guns, which I have since beheld in the Tower of London, inscribed Non Marte opus est, cui non deficit Mercurius; if at least the history be true, which my Lord Herbert doubts.” The next morning, in some danger of parties [Spanish] surprising us, we came to Montreuil, built on the summit of a most conspicuous hill, environed with fair and ample meadows; but all the suburbs had been from time to time ruined, and were now lately burnt by the Spanish inroads. This town is fortified with two very deep dry ditches; the walls about the bastions and citadel are a noble piece of masonry. The church is more glorious without than within : the market-place large : but the inhabitants are miserably poor. The next day, we came to Abbeville, having passed all this way in continual expectation of the volunteers, as they call them. This town affords a good aspect towards the hill from whence we descended; nor does it deceive us; for it is handsomely built, and has many pleasant and useful streams passing through it, the main river being the Somme, which discharges itself into the sea at St. Valery, almost in view of the town. The principal church is a very handsome piece of Gothic architecture, and the ports and ramparts sweetly planted for defence and ornament. In the morning, they brought us choice of guns and pistols to sell at reasonable rates, and neatly made, being here a merchandise of great account, the town abounding in gun-smiths.
* In his history of that king.
Hence we advanced to Beauvais, another town of good note, and having the first vineyards we had seen. The next day to Beaumont, and the morrow to Paris, having taken our repast at St. Denis, two leagues from that great city. St. Denis is considerable only for its stately cathedral, and the dormitory of the French kings, there inhumed as ours at Westminster Abbey. The treasury is esteemed one of the richest in Europe. The church was built by king Dagobert,” but since much enlarged, being now 390 feet long, 100 in breadth, and 80 in height, without comprehending the cover: it has also a very high shaft of stone, and the gates are of brass. Here, whilst the monks conducted us, we were showed the ancient and modern sepulchres of their kings, beginning with the founder to Louis his son, with Charles Martel and Pepin, son and father of Charlemagne. These lie in the choir, and without it are many more; amongst the rest that of Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France; in the chapel of Charles V., all his posterity, and near him the magnificent sepulchre of Francis I. with his children, wars, victories, and triumphs engraven in marble. In the nave of the church lies the catafalque, or hearse, of Louis XIII., Henry II., a noble tomb of Francis II., and Charles IX. Above are bodies of several Saints; below, under a state of black velvet, the late Louis XIII., father of this present monarch. Every one of the ten chapels, or oratories, had some Saints in them; amongst the rest, one of the Holy Innocents. The treasury is kept in the sacristy above, in which are crosses of massy gold and silver, studded with precious stones, one of gold three feet high, set with sapphires, rubies, and great oriental pearls. Another given by Charles the Great, having a noble amethyst in the middle of it, stones and pearls of inestimable value. Amongst the still more valuable relics are, a nail from our Saviour's Cross, in a box of gold full of precious stones; a crucifix of the true wood of the Cross, carved by Pope Clement III., enchased in a crystal covered with gold; a box in which is some of the Virgin’s hair; some of the linen in which our blessed Saviour was wrapped at his nativity; in a huge reliquary, modelled like a church, some of our Saviour's blood, hair, clothes, linen with which
* A.D. 630.
he wiped the Apostles' feet; with many other equally authentic toys, which the friar who conducted us, would have us believe were authentic relics. Amongst the treasures is the crown of Charlemagne, his seven-foot high sceptre and hand of justice, the agraffe of his royal mantle, beset with diamonds and rubies, his sword, belt, and spurs of gold; the crown of St. Louis, covered with precious stones, amongst which is one vast ruby, uncut, of inestimable value, weighing 300 carats, (under which is set one of the thorns of our blessed Saviour's crown,) his sword, seal, and hand of justice. The two crowns of Henry IV., his sceptre, hand of justice, and spurs. The two crowns of his son, Louis. In the cloak-royal of Anne of Bretagne is a very great and rare ruby. Divers books covered with solid plates of gold, and studded with precious stones. Two vases of beryl, two of agate, whereof one is esteemed for its bigness, colour, and embossed carving, the best now to be seen: by a special favour I was permitted to take the measure and dimensions of it; the story is a Bacchanalia and sacrifice to Priapus; a very holy thing truly, and fit for a cloister It is really antique, and the noblest jewel there. There is also a large gondola of chrysolite, a huge urn of porphyry, another of calcedon, a vase of onyx, the largest I had ever seen of that stone; two of crystal; a morsel of one of the waterpots in which our Saviour did his first miracle; the effigies of the queen of Saba, of Julius Augustus, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and others, upon sapphires, topazes, agates, and cornelians,—that of the queen of Sabak has a Moorish face; those of Julius and Nero on agates rarely coloured and cut: a cup in which Solomon was used to drink, and an Apollo on a great amethyst. There lay in a window, a mirror of a kind of stone said to have belonged to the poet Virgil: Charlemagne's chessmen, full of Arabic characters. In the press next the door, the brass lantern full of crystals, said to have conducted Judas and his company to apprehend our blessed Saviour. A fair unicorn’s horn, sent by a king of Persia, about seven feet long. In another press (over which stands the picture in oil of their Orleans Amazon with her sword) the effigies of the late French kings in wax, like ours in Westminster, covered with their
* Or Sheba.
robes; with a world of other rarities.—Having rewarded our courteous friar, we took horse for Paris, where we arrived about five in the afternoon. In the way were fair crosses of stone carved with fleur-de-lis at every furlong's end, where they affirm St. Denis rested and laid down his head after martyrdom, carrying it from the place where this monastery is builded. We lay at Paris at the Ville de Venice; where, after I had something refreshed, I went to visit Sir Richard Browne, his Majesty's Resident with the French king. 5th December. The Earl of Norwich’k came as Ambassador extraordinary: I went to meet him in a coach and six horses, at the palace of Monsieur de Bassompière, where I saw that gallant person, his gardens, terraces, and rare prospects. My lord was waited on by the master of the ceremonies, and a very great cavalcade of men of quality, to the Palais Cardinal, where on the 23rd he had audience of the French king, and the queen Regent his mother, in the golden chamber of presence. From thence, I conducted him to his lodgings in Rue St. Denis, and so took my leave. 24th. I went with some company to see some remarkable places without the city: as the Isle, and how it is encompassed by the rivers Seine and the Ouse. The city is divided into three parts, whereof the town is greatest. The city lies between it and the University, in form of an island. Over the Seine, is a stately bridge called Pont Neuf, begun by Henry III. in 1578, finished by Henry IV., his successor. It is all of hewn free-stone found under the streets, but more plentifully at Montmartre, and consists of twelve arches, in the midst of which ends the point of an island, on which are built handsome artificers’ houses. There is one large passage for coaches, and two for foot-passengers three or four feet higher, and of conyenient breadth for eight or ten to go abreast. On the middle of this stately bridge, on one side stands the famous statue of Henry the Great on horseback, exceeding the natural proportion by much; and, on the four faces of a stately pedestal (which is composed of various sorts of polished marbles and rich mouldings) inscriptions
* George Lord Goring ; upon whom the above title had been recently conferred.