Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

lineated the improvements which the place had undergone, and the new batteries that had been erected on the heights since the commencement of the blockade.”

The connexion of Prince William with the naval service, made him at that time, a special favourite with the people. The profligacies of his two elder brothers had already begun to excite the public attention; and the public drew the line of comparison between them and the youthful sailor, who was gallantly fighting the battles of his country, whilst they were running the round of libertinism and debauchery; and, therefore, in proportion as the former rose in the good opinion of the public, the latter deservedly fell, and fell also never to regain the position which they had lost. The Prince of Wales was then on the eve of his majority, and the public, no doubt, felt great delight on receiving the information that his Royal Highness, was an excellent musician, regularly attending the catch and glee clubs, and employing the energies of his mind, in the composition of some additional stanzas to the glee of “the Happy Fellow,” or “ By the gaily circling glass,” in fact, it was eulogistically said of him, that he was a musician among princes, and a prince amongst musicians.

Very different, indeed, was the life which Prince William led. He had been present at a naval battle of some consequence to the national welfare, under the peculiar circumstances in which the country then stood. The American war, one of the most unpopular that this country ever engaged in, depressed the spirit of the people, and the formidable attitude which the French and Spanish navy exhibited, and the extraordinary vigour which was shown in the equipment of their fleets, excited a degree of alarm throughout the whole country, which vented itself in loud denunciations of the policy of the Ministers in prosecuting a war, which was easily foreseen would end in disaster and disgrace. The news of a victory on the territory of America, was received in this country with the utmost coolness and indifference, as it was considered rather a pledge for the continuance of the war, than a step towards a general pacification. The victory of Rodney acted in some degree, as an impetus to the spirits of the people, who properly looked to the navy as their best bulwark in the hour of danger, and their safeguard against the encroachments of the enemy. The name of Rodney became as familiar to the lips of an Englishman, as the name “of his household gods,” and as the poets and poetasters of the day could not possibly allow such a glorious opportunity to escape them of exercising their talents ; it may be naturally concluded, that in the multitudinous effusions which appeared in “ the poets corner" of the daily prints and magazines, the name of Prince William was generally associated with that of Rodney. Mr. Pye, the Poet Laureat, of course, led the poetic train, astounding the public with his empyrean flights, and raising their enthusiasm with his thundering alexandrines. Others were of the Della Cruscan school, the Rosa Matildas, and Hafizs of the day, who, in effusions like the following, sounded the royal hero's praise.

Now last, not least in love, the Muse
Her William's name would fondly chose

The British youth among.
Still may the sailors love thy name,
And happy wealth and blooming fame,

Awake the future song.
So in the spring the promis'd rose
First buds, and budding gently blows

Beneath the morning dew;
Till nourished by a warmer ray,
The blushing leaves their sweets display,

And fragrance ever new.
E’en now the sea-green sisters bind
A wreath around thy growing mind,

And deck their favourite son.
E'en now the Bourbon colours meet,
Which laying at thy father's feet,

Thon tell'st how bravely won.

It, however, did not require the poet's aid to render Prince William a favourite with the people, and when it was publicly announced, that it was his intention to visit Drury Lane Theatre,

crowds flocked to the theatre to see him, and considerable danger was encountered on account of the

pressure. During his stay on shore, Prince William joined his royal brothers in their amusements, and it may be added in their indiscretions also. Vauxhall and the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens were their favourite places of resort, where frequently they were seen engaged in broils, by no means creditable to their rank and character. Ranelagh Gardens were at that time the rendezvous of all the elegantes of fashion, and proud indeed was the female who could boast of being selected as the companion of one of the handsomest men of the age. It

was, however, frequently in disguise that the royal brothers committed their juvenile follies, and the masquerades, which were at that time far more fashionable than they are at present, were the grand scenes of their libertinism. A ludicrous circumstance has been mentioned connected with these frolics, which we have heard related by one of the parties, who was present. At a masquerade in which the Prince of Wales appeared in the character of a Spanish grandee, accompanied by four of his esquires, he paid particular attention to a nun, who appeared to be under the protection of a youthful sailor. The assiduities on the part of the grandee, were evidently not much relished by the fair Ursuline, and the gallant tar threatened instantaneous chastisement, if any further provocation were given. The grandee, however, was not to be daunted, and he was very ably supported by bis esquires, who boasted of the high and noble descent of their master, declaring it to be an act of the greatest condescension in him to hold any parley with a common English sailor. Some high words arose, and some taunting expressions were used tending to imply the suspicion, that the fair nun possessed no real pretensions to the character, which she had assumed. At last, some allusion having been made to the ladies of Portsmouth Point, the choler of the sailor could no longer brook the indignity, and a general row was the consequence. The constables were called in, and the disputants in a posse were marched off to the watch-house, the Spanish grandee leading the way in all his gorgeous finery. On Rodney acted in some degree, as an impetus to the spirits of the people, who properly looked to the navy as their best bulwark in the hour of danger, and their safeguard against the encroachments of the enemy. The name of Rodney became as familiar to the lips of an Englishman, as the name of his household gods,” and as the poets and poetasters of the day could not possibly allow such a glorious opportunity to escape them of exercising their talents; it may be naturally concluded, that in the multitudinous effusions which appeared in " the poets corner" of the daily prints and magazines, the name of Prince William was generally associated with that of Rodney. Mr. Pye, the Poet Laureat, of course, led the poetic train, astounding the public with his empyrean flights, and raising their enthusiasm with his thundering alexandrines. Others were of the Della Cruscan school, the Rosa Matildas, and Hafizs of the day, who, in effusions like the following, sounded the royal hero's praise.

Now last, not least in love, the Muse
Her William's name would fondly chose

The British youth among.
Still may the sailors love thy name,
And happy wealth and blooming fame,

Awake the future song.
So in the spring the promis'd rose
First buds, and budding gently blows

Beneath the morning dew;
Till nourished by a warmer ray,
The blushing leaves their sweets display,

And fragrance ever new.
E’en now the sea-green sisters bind
A wreath around thy growing mind,

And deck their favourite son.
E'en now the Bourbon colours meet,
Which laying at thy father's feet,

Thon tell'st how bravely won.

lt, however, did not require the poet's aid to render Prince William a favourite with the people, and when it was publicly announced, that it was his intention to visit Drury Lane Theatre,

It was,

crowds flocked to the theatre to see him, and considerable danger was encountered on account of the pressure.

During his stay on shore, Prince William joined his royal brothers in their amusements, and it may be added in their indiscretions also. Vauxhall and the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens were their favourite places of resort, where frequently they were seen engaged in broils, by no means creditable to their rank and character. Ranelagh Gardens were at that time the rendezvous of all the elegantes of fashion, and proud indeed was the female who could boast of being selected as the companion of one of the handsomest men of the age. however, frequently in disguise that the royal brothers committed their juvenile follies, and the masquerades, which were at that time far more fashionable than they are at present, were the grand scenes of their libertinism. A ludicrous circumstance has been mentioned connected with these frolics, which we have heard related by one of the parties, who was present. At a masquerade in which the Prince of Wales appeared in the character of a Spanish grandee, accompanied by four of his esquires, he paid particular attention to a nun, who appeared to be under the protection of a youthful sailor. The assiduities on the part of the grandee, were evidently not much relished by the fair Ursuline, and the gallant tar threatened instantaneous chastisement, if any further provocation were given. The grandee, however, was not to be daunted, and he was very ably supported by bis esquires, who boasted of the high and noble descent of their master, declaring it to be an act of the greatest condescension in him to hold any parley with a common English sailor. Some high words arose, and some taunting expressions were used tending to imply the suspicion, that the fair nun possessed no real pretensions to the character, which she had assumed. At last, some allusion having been made to the ladies of Portsmouth Point, the choler of the sailor could no longer brook the indignity, and a general row was the consequence. The constables were called in, and the disputants in a posse were marched off to the watch-house, the Spanish grandee leading the way in all his gorgeous finery. On

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »