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there is a fleet lying before it.-A fleet!-Why art thou surprized? The Belgae were merchants of repute in their day; and made several voyages in the course of a twelvemonth, along the entire stream of the Thames from their city downwards, and thence southward, along the coast of the island, even to the country of their fathers, Gaul. Dost thou not perceive their numerous ships? their mighty merchantnavy?-what! not yet?-be indebted to our better powers of observation once again then. That line of dark spots on the bosom of the stream, is the Belgic fleet, riding gloriously at anchor. But clear thy vision, and thou mayest with little difficulty see a mast arising from each vessel, with a sail attached to it. That sail, we will inform thee, is composed of the skins of beasts, ingeniously sewed together with leathern thongs; the tackle too is of leather; and the vessels themselves, unincumbered with a deck, and many of them capacious enough to carry twenty men with ease, are of a strong rib-work, cased with light timbers, and lined, for full security against the insinuating waters, with the thickest hides.
Such, attentive friend, was the Lun-den,* with
• For remarks on the true etymology of this word, as derived from the Belgic Lun, a wood, or grove, and Den, or Dun, a town, or fortress, see Longman & Co.'s ORIGINAL" Picture of London," for the present year, page 3.
all its civic and trading accompaniments, of the Belgic Britons: its situation "precisely such as the Belgæ are described to have selected for the advantages of a southern aspect, and of natural strength;" the site being "a bank sloping to the sun's meridian beams, in a wood, or rather forest, of large extent, and thus uniting eligibilities both for a town and a fortress," with a people whose strong-holds are described by Cæsar as rendered such only by those natural circumstances, with the addition of a ditch and earthen rampart.*-Let us now at once transport our attention from this scene, to the existing view from the spot we have hitherto in imagination occupied-LONDON, from Nun-head Hill, in the year 1825.†
It is a glorious view!-and the reality was indeed glorious when we witnessed it, tinted as it was with the light of "morning's prime," and Nature in all her freshness adding her associations to the imposing dignity in which the first of cities rose before us. Nearly the entire outline of the grandest of protestant churches,
* Vide the work just alluded to, page 4.
+ Our Artist, notwithstanding the interest and grandeur of the scene from this hill, has preferred that which presents itself from Greenwich, on account of the noble breadth of water conspicuous from the celebrated Observatory: and it must be admitted, that as regards this feature, (though in this only,) the prospect from Nun-head is deficient.
majestically presented itself in our front; the solemn cupola, with its cross burning in the sun-light, sublimely swelling into the bright blue sky. Far to the left, the sister towers of Westminster rose over their own awe-inspiring pile: and far beyond, the suburbs of the mighty city, pierced with innumerous spires, were out-stretched till they united with the blue uplands in the distance. A broader, yet more congregated sweep of roofs and towers, filled all the space betwixt the giant two among the metropolitic fanes; and the old twin hills, rich even in the remnants of their forest honours, heaved their high crests into the expanse of sky behind them. Yet to the right, mass after mass of fabric, piled in infinity of forms, stretched on, commingling with the host of spires: then "London's Column" rose; and next the "Towers of Julius:" until at length, beyond a wood of masts, the domes of Greenwich gave to this long, long spread of human haunts, a noble close. The bright broad stream of the majestic Thames was here first visible, rolling its course along the reach that faces the grand front of the structure so justly the Seaman's pride; then, doubling the bold headland, lying like a braid of light along the meadows, that led the eye over a picture of repose to the blues of the far horizon. In
the whole scope of vale betwixt this proud metropolis and the elevation from which we viewed it, where now was a token of the ancient empire of the flood? where the morass, with its oft-intermingled tufts of sedge and reeds, the habitations of the lonely water-fowl, whose shrill cries alone, gave note that the wide waste was tenanted by things of life? These all, like the forest glooms of yonder shore, had vanished; and in their place a suburb, itself a city in extent, stretched to within a brief mile of the spot we gazed from: while all the rest was garden, pasture, seats smiling from their beauteous grounds, and new white towers to modern Christian temples, rising on every side to emulate the pure style of the Athenian fanes of old.-Such were the contrasts we contemplated, as created by the lapse of more than twice ten centuries over the scene from the Hill of Nun-head. Our pleasure in the contemplation would have been indeed complete, had it but been possible to conjure up an Ancient Britain, and enjoy the inexpressible astonishment that would have possessed him at the prospect he beheld beside us.
Every city, and town of any importance, has a character peculiar to itself: the sort of character, we mean, which possesses the mind after having been once acquainted with it, and which never fails to recur to the imagination as often as it is again presented either to the eye or the mental view. The metaphysician's term, association of ideas, will explain this. The main features in the appearance of a place that has once strongly arrested our attention, connecting themselves with such historical recollections as we may have gleaned from books concerning it, or with such facts as our curiosity may have elicited upon the spot, produce this character; which naturally affects us in the degree that we are ourselves imaginative, and according to the extent of our previous enquiries.
Under what character, thus considered, does the northern metropolis of England, (as it might not unaptly be called), the ancient city of YORK, appear before us. Though a place of considerable inland trade, that character is not commercial; for we at once perceive its shipping