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HAMPTON COURT PALACE.
of mind. The gay and cheerful will delight in beholding others perplexed in the pursuit of the central spot, while the grave and reflecting have an opportunity of viewing, as in a mirror, a picture of active life, where man often seems to deviate from the true path, which nevertheless conducts him the nearest way to the end of his journey; while others, though sonetimes very nigb the desired object, in a manner blindfold pass by, and with every step advance the contrary road! Such then is the nature, and such may be the uses of the Maze, within the royal confines of Hampton Court.
The account of the Palace of HAMPTON COURT, respects both its history and present condition. We now proceed with its history.
CARDINAL WOLSEY, who makes such a figure in the annals of our country, has the honour of being the original founder of a Palace at Hampton Court. It has been observed, that he meant to construct such a splendid specimen of Grecian correctness, as might impart a new bias to the architecture of the island, though the Gothic and Grecian styles were blended in the magnificent building at Hampton, with pointless and disgusting impropriety. The lowness of the spot secured it from piercing winds, and the vicinity of the Thames was an unequivocal recommendation. The Cardinal made a present to his master, Henry the Eighth, of this sUPERB PALACE, and the monarch passed within its walls some of his best days in revelry and merriment.
Of WOLSEY I have given some account in my JUVENILE TOURIST, under the article Leicester Abbey, where he died and lies interred. History has recorded his pride and insolence-whilst his disgrace has formed a theme for the tragic muse
Like a red meteor we behold him soar,
Johnson has also drawn his character with great energy :
In full blown dignity see WOLSBY stand,
ELIZABETH AT HAMPTON.
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
Thus Camden speaks of the edifice of HAMPTON COURT:
A place which nature's choicest gifts adorn,
Of this original Palace, alas! its domestic offices are indeed its only remaining apartments.
Henry having received this present at the hands of Wolsey, often frequented Hampton Court, ELIZABETH shewed it peculiar marks of favour. Nicholls, in his Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, tells us, that “In September, 1572, the Queen, who had been hitherto very healthy, (never eating without an appetite, or drinking without some alláy,) fell sick of the small-pox at Hampton Court. At HamPTON COURT also, some of the unwarrantable proceedings against the beautiful and unfortunate Queen of Scots were instituted.
JAMES THE FIRST called a Synod at Hampton
Court, with the view of facilitating the introduction of Episcopacy into Scotland.
Towards the close of the Civil War, the unfortunate CHARLES THE FIRST was conducted to Hampton Court. And he afterwards fled from this Palace, without the invitation of friends, who were likely to shelter him in adversity.
These are the most celebrated events that mark the history of the Old Palace at HAMPTON Court. And though they are well known to persons conversant with the British anpals, yet they are too curious to be here passed over in silence.
It was during the reign of KING WILLIAM, of glorious memory, that the Old Palace was devoted to destruction, and on its ruins uprose
present magnificent structure ! Sir Christopher Wren was the architect employed by that monarch, and the edifice does honour to his memory. The grand façade to the Garden is in width three hundred and thirty feet, exceeding by two feet in width the front towards the Thames! The general design of the building, though delicate, is magnificent. The Ionic Order prevails in the principal departments of the edifice. On the north side is a Tennis Court. Passing through a court-yard, the first portal appears leading to two quadrangles. The gardens are in the regular Dutch style, so aptly described by Pope :
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
Wuliam, the founder of this New Palace, was much attached to the spot. Unaccustomed in bis · native country, Holland, to the charms of picturesque scenery, he deemed the flatness of the adjacent peighbourhood, its most captivating point of beauty.
QUEEN ANNE entertained a partiality for Hampton Court, withdrawing herself here into privacy, remote from the cares and anxieties of government. But a modern writer has been pleased to declare, that“ The Princes of the House of Brunswick have ex. hibited more strength of judgment, and have aban, doned the level verdure of Hampton, for the magnificent boldness of Windsor Castle."
Since this period, Hampton Court may be said to bave been in a manner deserted, though it is not altogether uninhabited. By a strange caprice of fortune, indeed, the late Prince of Orange, when driven from his government by the French, took up his residence within the Palace, and spent much of his time in an inglorious obscurity. Here he lived in the very mansion which his illustrious predecessor had raised with a splendour worthy of his character; and, where having achieved our deliverance from the yoke of the Stuarts, he had passed away the remainder of his days with distinguished glory.
As KING WILLIAM made Hampton Court his favourite residence, by having a great part of it rebuilt, and passing most part of his time here, some particulars of his life will be acceptable.