Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

the Masters of Arts, Bachelors, and Under-Graduates, in their respective Habits and Places, toge ther with Strangers of both Sexes, it makes a most august Appearance.

On the Outside it is adorned with Sculpture; particularly the Statues of Charles II, the first Duké of Ormond, and Archbishop Sheldon, done by Chair: Within, with Painting, viz. the Pourtraits, at full Length, of the Founder Archbishop Sheldon, the same Duke of Ormond, and Sir Christopher Wren the Architect : Likewise a curious Cieling; of which the following is a Description :

• In Imitation of the Theatres of the ancient Greeks • and Romans, which were too large to be covered

with Lead or Tile, so this, by the Painting of the • Alat Roof within, is represented open; and as they • stretched a Cordage, from Pilaster to Pilaster, upon • which they ftrain'd a Covering of Cloth, to protect the People from the Injuries of the Weather, fo • here is a Cord-moulding gilded, that reaches cross * the House, both in Length and Breadth, which fup* porteth a great reddish Drapery, supposed to have • covered the Roof, but now surled up by the Gonij . round about the House, towards the Wall, which • discovereth the open Air, and maketh Way for the • Descent of the Arts and Sciences, that are congregated • in a Circle of Clouds, to whose Assembly Truth descends, as being follicited and implored by them

* all.

• For Joy of this Festival fome other Genii sport about the Clouds, with their Feftoons of Flowers and • Lawrels, and prepare their Garlands of Lawrels and • Roses, viz. Honour and Pleasure, for the great Lovers • and Students of those Arts : And that this Affembly.

* might be perfectly happy their great Enemies and


• Disturbers, Envy, Rapine, and Brutality, are by the

Genii of their opposite Virtues, viz. Prudence, Furtitude, and Eloquence, driven from the Society, and

thrown down Head-long from the Clouds: The Re• port of the Assembly of the one, and the Expulsion

of the other, being proclaimed thro' the open and • serene Air, by some other of the Genii, who blowing • their antick Trumpets, divide themselves into the • several Quarters of the World.

Thus far in General. More particularly, the Circle of Figures confift, • First of Theology, with her Book of Seven Seals, • imploring the Allistance of Truth for the unfolding • of it.

On her Left-hand is the Mofaical Law veiled, • with the Tables of Stone, to which she points with • her Iron Rod,

• On her Right-hand is the Gospel, with the Cross • in one Hand, and a Chalice in the other.

• In the same Division, over the Mofaical Law, is: History, holding up her Pen, as dedicating it to Truth, and an attending Genius, with several Frag• ments of Old Writing, from which the collects her History into her Books,

• On the other Side, near the Gospel, is DivinePoesy, with her Harp of David's Fashion.

In the Triangle on the Right-Hand of the Gospel; * is alfo Logick, in a Posture of arguing; and on the • Left-hand of the Mofaical Law, is Mufick, with her • Antick Lyre, having a Pen in her Hand, and a Pa, per

of Musick Notes on her Knee, with a Genius on. • her Right-hand, (a little within the Partition of

Tbeology) playing on a Flute, being the Emblem of • ancient Musick.

• On the Left (but within the Partition for Phyfick) Dramatick Poesy, with a Vizard, representing Comedy, "a bloody Dagger for Tragedy, and the Reed Pipe for Paftoral.

• In.

[ocr errors]

* In the Square, on the Right Side of the Circle, • is Law, with her Ruling Scepter, accompanied with * Records, Patents, and Evidences on the one side, ' and on the other with Rhetorick; by these is an atten.

ding Genius, with the Scales of Justice, and a Figure with a Palm-branch, the Emblem of Reward for vir. • tuous Actions; and the Roman Fasies, the Marks of • Power and Punishment.

Printing, with a Case of Letters in one Hand, ' and a Form ready set in the other, and by her seve• ral sheets hanging to dry.

* On the Left Side the Circle, opposite to Theology, • in three Squares, are the Mathematical Sciences, (de

pending on Dernonftration, as the other on Faith, in • The first of which is Aftronomy with the Celestial Globe,

Geography with the Terrestial, together with three • attending Genii; having A ithmetick in the Square on * one Hand, with a paper of Figures ; Optics with the

Perspective-Glass ; Geometry with a pair of Compasses • in her Left; and a Table with Geometrical Figures

in it, in her Right-Hand. And in the Square on the • other hand, Architecture embracing the Capital of

a Column, with Compasses, and the Norma or Square a lying by her, and a Workman holding another Squart « in one Hand, and a Plumb-Line in the other.

• In the midt of these Squares and Triangles (as descending from above) is the figure of Truth. fitting as on a Cloud, in one Hand holding a Palm Branch (the Emblem of Victory) in the other the • Sun, whose Brightness enlightens the whole Circle • of Figures, and is so bright, that it seems to hide • the Face of herself to the Spectators below.

• Over the Entrance of the Front of the THEATRI, are Three Figures Tumbling down; First Envy, with • her Snaky Hairs, Squint Eyes, Hag's Breast,. pale • venomous Complexion, strong but ugly Limbs, and rivela Skin, frighted from above by the Sight of the



[ocr errors]

• Shield of Pallas, with the Gorgon's Head in it,

against which she opposes her snaky Tresses, but her • Fall is so precipitous, that she has no Command of • her Arms.

* Then Rapine, with her fiery Eyes, grinning Teeth, sharp Twangs, her hands imbrued in blood, holding • a bloody Dagger in one Hand, in the other a burning • Flambeau ; with these Instruments threatning the • Destruction of Learning, and all it's Habitations, but • she is overcome, and prevented, by a Herculean Ge. «nius, or Power.

Next that is represented brutish, scoffing Ignorance, endeavouring to vilify and contemn what the under• ftands not, which is charmed by a mercurial Genius • with his Caduceus."

In the Theatre are held the Public Acts, called the Comitia, and Encænia : At which solemn Times there are several extraordinary Proctors appointed, who are to take care that Public Peace is observed, and that all Persons are placed according to their Degrees.

This Edifice which juftly deferves to be deemed one of our principal Curiosities, was built by that celebrated Architect Sir Christopher Wren, at the Expense of Archbishop Sheldon, the Chancellor, in 1669, and cost his Grace 15000 l. to which he added 2000 l. to purchase Lands for the perpetual Repair of it:

On the West of the Theatre is the ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM, a handsome Edifice, built by the University at the Request of Elias Ashmole, Efq; Wind for Herald to King Charles II. who placed here all the Rarities he had collected and purchased, particularly from the two Tradescants. The Building


« PreviousContinue »