Methinks I see The monster London laugh at me. . . . . . . Let buy thy wicked men from out thee go, And all the fools that crowd thee so, Even thou, who dost thy millions boast, A village less than Islington will grow, A solitude almost. Cowley.Of Solitude, V. 11, 12, A.D. 1660.
The walls and Towers are levelled with the ground, And scarce aught now of that vast citys found, But shards and rubbish, which weak signs might keep, Of forepast glory, and bid travellers weep. Cowley.The Davideis, Bk. 2. (With reference to Jerusalem that was.)
At last some curious traveller from Lima will visit England, and give a description of the ruins of St. Pauls like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.Horace Walpole. To Horace Mann, 24th November, 1774.
[And again the same writer in a letter to the Rev. William Mason, (27th November, 1775,) alludes to the period when this Island may be rediscovered, and some American smiles at the scenes on the little Thames while he is planting a forest on the banks of the Oroonoko, and then in a feigned rhapsody says, He is in little London, and must go dress and dine with some of the inhabitants of that ancient metropolis now in ruins! After Walpole we have Volney, Who knows, says he, but that hereafter some traveller like myself will sit down upon the banks of the Seine, the Thames, or the Zuyder Zee, where now in the tumult of enjoyment, the heart and the eyes are too slow to take in the multitude of sensations. Who knows but he will sit down solitary amid silent ruins, and weep a people inurned, and their greatness changed into an empty name.Ruins, Ch. 2.] The next in point of time is Henry Kirke White.
Where now is Britain? . . . . . . Even as the Savage sits upon the stone That marks where stood her capitols, and hears The bittern booming in the weeds, he shrinks From the dismaying solitude. H. K. White.Time. Written between 1803 and 1805.
She may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Pauls. T. B. Macaulay.On the Roman Catholic Church.