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The Altar-Piece was painted by Isaac Fuller, an English History-painter, about 140 Years ago; who kaving studied and admired the muscular manner of Michael Angelo, seems to have neglected the graceful elegance of Raphael : for although many of the Figures may juftly be deemed excellent Anatomical Drawings, yet, for want of that easy and natural dispofition peculiar to the last-mentioned great Master, and better colouring, the whole appears crude, and perhaps had not the last finishing. Underneath this Piece of the Resurrection is an admirable Picture of our Saviour bearing his Cross, supposed to be painted by Guido. It was at Vigo, and brought into Eng. land by the late Duke of Ormond: but afterwards falling into the hands of William Freemaan, Esq. of Hamels in Hertfordshire, he gave it to the College. To this Gentleman the College is likewise chiefly obliged for an excellent Organ, two additional Bells to the Peal of Eight, and other considerable benefactions.
The Altar was built, in the present manner, about the year 1730. The Design is elegant, and the Workmanship well performed : besides the common embellishments of the Corinthian Order, there are Festoons over every Pannel, extremely well carved, which greatly enrich it.
Each Window contains fix Figures nearly as large as the life, representing the Apostles, primitive Fathers, Saints, and Martyrs. Cathedral Service is performed here every day at ten and five, except Sundays and Holidays, when the morning Prayers begin at Eight, on account of the University Sermon.
From hence, on the right, we pass into the Cloyster, which remains in its primitive state ; the whole making the most venerable Appearance of any College, in Oxford, having undergone the fewest altera
tions of any since it was founded. On the south fide are the Hall and Chapel ; on the west the Library; and on the north and east, the Lodgings of the Fellows, Demies, &c. At the south-east corner of the Cloyster, is the way up to the Hall, which is a very spacious Room, handsomely fitted up, and adorned with four whole-length Portraits, viz. of the Founder, Dr. Butler formerly President, William Freeman, Esq. and Prince Rupert; two halfJengths, viz. Bishop Warner, a great Benefactor to the Library, and Dr. Hammond.
The interior Part of this Cloyster is ornamented with Hieroglyphics, of which (though a celebrated Antiquary* hath been pleased to call them whimsical Figures which serve to amuse the vulgar, but are only the licentious Inventions of the Mafon) we shall here give a particular, and, we trust, a rational account, from a Latin + Manuscript in the Library of this College.
Beginning therefore from the south-west corner, the two first-Figures we meet with are the « Lion and the Pelican. The former of these is the 6 emblem of Courage and Vigilance; the latter, of pa
rental Tenderness and Affection. Both of them together express to us the complete Character of a good Governor of a College. Accordingly, they are placed under the Window of those Lodgings
* See Dr. Stukely's Itinerarium Curiosum, p. 42.
+ This Piece is intituled Oedipus Magdalenenfis: Explicatio viz. Imaginum, et Figurarum, quæ apud Magdalenenfes in interiori Collegii Quadrangulo Tibicinibus impofitæ vifuntur. It was written by Mr. Wil. liam Reeks, sometime Fellow of this College, at the Request of Dr. Clark, who was President from the year 1671 to 1687, and to whom it is inscribed. It is divided into two parts. In the first, the general Doctrine of Hieroglyphics is very learnedly discussed. In the latter, he descends to a particular confideration of the Hieroglyphics at Magdalen; and from this Part the Account here given is extracted.
which originally belonged to the President, as the • instructions they convey ought particularly to regulate his Conduct.
Going on to the right Hand, on the other side of the Gateway, are four Figures, viz. the School* master, the Lawyer, the Physician, and the Divine. • These are ranged along the Outside of the Library, and represent the Duties and Business of the Stu
dents of the House. By means of Learning in general, they are to be introduced to one of the three learned Professions; or else, as hinted to us by the Figure with Cap and Bells in the Corner, they must turn out Fools in the End.
“We come now to the north side of the Qua• drangle; and here the three first Figures represent the History of David, his Conquest over the Lion
and Goliah; from whence we are taught, not to be discouraged at any Difficulties that may stand in our Way, as the Vigour of Youth will easily enable us to • surmount them. The next Figure to these is that
of the Hippopotamos, or River-Horse, carrying his young one upon his Shoulders. This is the Emblem of a good Tutor, or Fellow of a College, who is (set to watch over the Youth of the Society, and by • whofe. Prudence they are to be led through the
Dangers of their first entrance into the World. “The Figure immediately following represents Sobriety, or Temperance, that most neceffary Virtue of a Collegiate Life. The whole remaining train of
Figures are the Vices we are instructed to avoid. • Those next to Temperance are the oppofite Vices of Gluttony and Drunkenness. Then follow the Lucanthropos, the Hyæna, and Panther, representing Violence, Fraud, and Treachery; the Griffin representing Covetousness, and the next Figure, Anger or Morofee ness. The Dog, the Dragon, the Deer, Flattery,
* Envy, and Timidity; and the three laft, the Manti..
chora, the Boxers, and the Lamia, Pride, Contena • tion, and Lut.
• We have here, therefore, a complete and instruc. tive Lesson for the use of a Society dedicated to the " advancement of Religion and Learning; and, on
this plan, we may suppose the Founder of Magdalen thus speaking, by means of these Figures, to the Students of his College,
“ It is your Duty, who live under the Care of a “ President, whose Vigilance and Parental Tender. " ness are the proper Qualifications to support the « Government of my House, attentively to pursue t your Studies, in your several Professions ; and so so avoid the Follies of an idle, unlettered, and disipat« ed Course of Life. You may posibly meet with “many Difficulties at your first setting out in this “ Road; but these every Stripling will be able to over
come by Courage and Perseverance. And remem“ber, when you are advanced beyond these Difficul“ties, that it is your duty to lend your Asistance to & those who come after you, and whose Education is « committed to your Care. You are to be an Example ce to them of Sobrietyand Temperance : so fhall you guard
theni from falling into the Snares of Excess and “Debauchery. You shall teach them that the Vices « with which the World abounds, Cruelty, Fraud, “* Avarice, Anger and Envy, as well as the more , “ supple ones of abject Flattery and Cowardice, are e not to be countenanced within these hallowed Re-, <tirements. And let it be your Endeavour to avoid “Pride and Contention, the Parents of Faction, and, “ in your Situation, the worst and most unnatural of « all Factions, the Faćtion of a Cloyster. And lastly,
you will complete the Collegiate Character, if you ". crown all your other Acquirements with the un