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Church; the view of Clare Hall piece, as seen from King's College, or Clare Hall, with the adjoining objects, forms a most pleasing landscape, as seen over the Cam, and opening, through a plantation of venerable elms, to the adjacent fields: any eye that can perceive rural beauty may dwell on these pictures with delight: but, taking into consideration the beauty and grandeur of the several buildings, to be seen from Clare Hall, or King's College, Oxford must yield to Cambridge: 'nor must you say this is not Grasmere nor Keswick; there is no 'scene of the kind throughout all England, that can be compared with these. The aspect, too, is the best that could be, both for the walks, and effect on the adjoining buildings; a south-western more lightly planted; but it is more strongly planted and fortified against the north.
Having mentioned Mr. Brown, I cannot forbear just stating what his more bold attempt at improvements was. He proposed that the river, instead of taking its course, as it comes from Newnham, should be removed to a greater distance from the colleges: this would certainly have removed some nuisances, and formed the agreeable part in landscape scenery, as viewed from the chambers of those colleges, near which it now passes; and particularly, instead of moving closely under the western building of St. John's, it was, by being moved to a considerable distance, to have taken its course not, as now, on the south side of Magdalen College, but on the north side, between that college and St. Peter's Church, and all those summer houses, and other small houses on each side of the bridge, now abutting on Magdalen College and St. John's a
• For these two or three ideas of Mr. Brown's plan, I am indebted to Mr. Ashby's MSS.
- certainly no great ornaments -were to have been removed.
This plan, had it been executed, might certainly have added some beauties to these grounds, and have been more pleasing, by its distant view, from all those colleges; as it was to have had the accompaniment of other improvements, of which, in Mr. Brown's hands, these grounds were certainly susceptible: but it is enough just to have hinted at these matters. And this must suffice for our public walks.
ATTEMPTS AT OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
IN speaking of Mr. Brown's attempts at improvement, I am insensibly led to some suggested by Mr. Ashby, late fellow of St. John's: I at least suppose them to be his : for I am indebted to his paper for several ideas on this subject. One was, and he calls it the chief, to render the east end of Trumpington Street less inconvenient: for, if the corners could have been rounded off, and thereby much good done, yet the street, in that part, for a considerable way, is so very narrow, (besides the sharp turning off to Newmarket, which is again repeated at the entrance of Jesus Lane,) as to be quite inadequate to accommodate the great number of carriages passing constantly to and from all the eastern and northern counties : as the street cannot be widened, he thought the evil might be remedied by making an entire new street, from near the back gate of the Rose Inn, over against the lane between Trinity and Caius Colleges, in a strait line to open against Jesus Lane: this would, he thought, have carried off the numerous carriages, that wanted to go into Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex; and as the town is rather defective in dwelling houses, for gentlemen occa
sionally residing, it would have answered many good purposes to the town.
He thought, further, that on a stranger's entering the town from London, nothing would impress him with a higher opinion of the place, than an improvement of the façade of Pembroke Hall: it stands in a handsome broad part of the street, certainly; and if the other extremity was finished like the west end of the chapel, the entrance removed into the middle, handsome modern windows put in, and the roof properly marked by a balustrade, or parapet wall, it would contribute more to the ornament of the place, than perhaps any other college.
Mr. Ashby thought Clare Hall so complete, as hardly to allow of any improvement, except the removal of the mean dwarf walls, between the college and the bridge, and setting down the iron rails upon the ground; and that the similar walls, by the river side, should be taken away, for when the fine west front is viewed from the walks, these low dirty walls appear to form a vile looking brick base to a grand stone building; he adds, if Trinity College would be so obliging, as to allow the corner that projects into the street, next to St. John's College, being rounded off to the corner of St. John's College, and the gate leading into the back lane, between their college and St. John's, set level with the latter, and the high wall removed, which marks half their front, that society might exhibit a noble antique front, by bringing the east end of the chapel parallel with the rest, and finishing the other end with a similar wing, regulating the windows, roof, &c. as before recommended in Pembroke College.
Whether these were originally the unconnected hints of Mr. Brown, or make part of some regular plan of wished
improvements, matters not: they have been submitted to the reader, in Mr. Ashby's own words :- and the defects in our public walks, leading, by an association of ideas, to other defects, I should have been in danger of pursuing the subject still further, could improvements have been suggested as readily. But of evils, which scarcely admit of a remedy, it is fruitless to complain. Narrow, strait streets, and the paucity of genteel houses, for occasional residents, in a town with an excellent market, near which are such fine roads and walks, for daily exercise, and in which is an university, where a gentleman might sometimes like to superintend the education of his son, these are evils; but how will you remedy them?
Reverse, then, the picture, and consider the many real improvements made within a few years : little more than fifty years ago, the roads about Cambridge were very bad, some scarcely passable: they are now some of the best in England. Milestones, that great convenience, were first used on these roads : within a very few years back the town has been well paved and lighted. Contrast it as now seen with what it was in the time of Erasmus, who talks of taking a ride round the market place for exercise. In all directions from the town, east, west, north, and south, you have now neat and agreeable walks ; and on the west of the public walks you are beginning to have other walks agreeably planted :--so let us leave our university walks and public improvements. And let poor Cam still awaken some agreeable recollections, and plaintive feelings to those who have mused on his banks.
Qualis eram cum me tranquilla mente sedentem
Vidisti in Ripa, Came serene, tua.