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While educating at Oxford, he was considered “ As a dreaming young man, given more to dice and cards than study.” During the Civil Wars, he interested himself much by dangerous employments in behalf of the Royal Family. At the Restoration he obtained the reward of his loyalty. He did not long survive Cowley, on whose death he wrote an excellent Poem, and was buried by his side in Westminster Abbey, Prior says, that “ Denham and Waller improved our versification, and Dryden perfected it." The four following lines in Cooper's Hill are inimitable :-
0! could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
Cooper's Hill (says Dr. Johnson) is the work that confers upon Denham the rank and dignity of an original author. He seems to have been, at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be denominated local poetry, of which the fundamental subject is some particular landscape to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection or incidental meditation. He is one of those writers that improved our taste and advanced our language, and whom we ougbt, therefore, to read with gratitude." At Egham resided the great and good Judge Doddridge, who lies buried in Exeter Cathedral. He was the determined foe of every spe
cies of bribery and corruption. He was usually termed The Sleeping Judge, because he kept his eyes shut during the greater part of a trial, that, withdrawing himself from the influence of the outward senses, he might turn his eyes more effectually inward, and determine the causes brought before him with the greater equily. He was ancestor of the pious Dr. Philip Doddridge, who highly respected his memory, and he is very honourably mentioned in Fuller's Worthies of England.
Egham Races are well known and much frequented by the nobility, and even some branches of the Royal Family. Horse Racing was not unknown among the nations of antiquity, nor unpractised by our ancestors in Britain. Fitzstephen, who wrote in the days of Henry the Second, mentions the delight that the citizens of London took in the diversion, not from a spirit of gaming, but from a generous emulation of superior skill in horsemanship. In the time of Queen Elizabeth, racing was carried to such an excess as to injure the fortunes of the nobility. In the reign of James the First, the most celebrated courses were Croydon in the south, and Garterly in Yorkshire. They were called Bell Courses, the prize being a little golden bell; and hence, probably, the common expression applied to the attainment of excellence, Bearing the Bell! In the latter end of Charles the First's reign, races were performed in Hyde Park; but Charles the Second was immoderately attached to this diversion, and NEWMARKET became the prin
cipal spot after the Restoration. The King attended in person, entered horses in his own name, and established a house there for his accommodation.
Instead of Bells, he gave a Bowl or Cup, value one hundred guineas, on which the exploits and pedigree of the successful horse were generally engraven. Childers was the feetest horse ever known, running nearly a mile in a minute ; and Eclipse came nearest to him of any horse in England! I once, and but once, witnessed horse-racing, at Cardiff, in Wales; it was wonderful to observe how the animals themselves seemed to catch the spirit of their masters, and exult in putting forth their strength on the occasion. But the scene altogether exhibits such a spirit of gambling and dissipation, that it must be reprobated by the friend of morality and religion.
The Horse, however, is a noble animal, and on no occasion ought he to be wantonly abused. reduction of the HORSE,” says Buffon, with his characteristic eloquence, " to a domestic state, is the greatest acquisition from the animal world which was ever made by the art and industry of man. This noble animal partakes of the fatigues of war, and seems to feel the glory of victory. Equally intrepid as his master, he encounters danger and death with ardour and magnanimity. He delights in the noise and tumult
with resolution and alacrity. But it is not in perils and conflicts alone that the Horse willingly co-operates with his master; he likewise participates of human pleasures. He ex
THE WAR HORSE.
ults in the Chase and the Tournament ; his eyes sparkle with emulation in the course. But though bold and intrepid, he suffers not himself to be carried off by a furious ardour; he represses his movements, and knows how to govern and check the natural vivacity and fire of his temper. He not only yields to the hand, but seems to consult the inclination of his rider. Uniformly obedient to the impressions he receives, he flies or stops, and regulates his motions entirely by the will of his master. He in some measure renounces his very existence to the pleasure of
He delivers up his whole powers, he reserves nothing, and often dies rather than disobey the mandates of his governor!”
The War Horse is thus most picturesquely described in Job, chap. xxxix. 19–25. Hast thou given the HORSE strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strengthhe goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not uffrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage, neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha! ha! and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting! Of this sublime passage Dr. Young gives this spirited version :
Survey the warlike Horse! Didst thou invest
Till Death-and when he groans, he groans his last! Races of any and of every kind have formed a favourite species of amusement in ancient and modern times. In Homer and in Virgil they are delineated with a minute and fascinating circumstantiality. Nor do the inspired writers disdain frequently to allude to the practice, for the illustration of Divine Truth. In the writings of Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, allusion is made to the Olympic Games, and thence motives drawn to quicken the sluggisbness of our nature in its aspirations after a glorious immortality!
Between Egham and Staines is the famous spot of RUNNYMEDE, which forms so conspicuous a figure in every History of our beloved Country. Here King Joun and his Barons met, in full array, to settle the