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Wonders Of The World:
St. Mark's Church
Tower Of London
Cathedral Of Antwerp
The Taj Mahal
Cathedral Of Notre Dame
Kremlin
Cathedral Of York
Mosque Of Omar
Cathedral Of Burgos
The Pyramids
Saint Peter's Cathedral
Cathedral Of Strasburg
The Shway Dagohn
Cathedral Of Siena
Town Hall Of Louvain
Cathedral Of Seville
Windsor Castle
Cathedral of Cologne
Palce Of Versailles
Cathedral Of Lincoln

The Cathedral Of Lincoln

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



Welcome to Lincoln! Upwards of twenty summer suns have rolled their bright and genial courses since my first visit to this ancient city, or rather, to this venerable Cathedral, for the former seems to be merged in the latter. There is no proportion between them. A population of only twelve thousand inhabitants and scarcely more than an ordinary sprinkling of low commonplace brick-houses, are but inharmonious accessories to an ecclesiastical edifice, built upon the summit of a steep and lofty hill-pointing upwards with its three beautiful and massive towers towards heaven, and stretching longways with its lofty nave, choir, ladye-chapel, side chapels, and double transepts. For site, there is no Cathedral to my knowledge which approaches it...

Upon a comparative estimation with the Cathedral of York, Lincoln may be called a volume of more extensive instruction; and the antiquary clings to its pages with a more varied delight. The surface or exterior of Lincoln Cathedral presents at least four perfect specimens of the succeeding styles of the first four orders of Gothic archi tecture. The greater part of the front may be as old as the time of its founder, Bishop Remigius, at the end of the Eleventh Century: but even here may be traced invasions and intermixtures, up to the Fifteenth Century. The large indented windows are of this latter period, and exhibit a frightful heresy. The western towers carry you to the end of the Twelfth Century: then succeeds a wonderful extent of Early English, or the pointed arch. The transepts begin with the Thirteenth, and come down to the middle of the Fourteenth Century; and the interior, especially the choir and the side aisles, abounds with the most exquisitely varied specimens of that period. Fruits, flowers, vegetables, insects, capriccios of every description, encircle the arches or shafts, and sparkle upon the capitals of pillars. Even down to the reign of Henry VIII. there are two private chapels, to the left of the smaller south porch, on entrance, which are perfect gems of art.

Where a building is so diversified, as well as vast, it is difficult to be methodical; but the reader ought to know, as soon as possible, that there are here not only two sets of transepts, as at York, but that the larger transept is the longest in England, being not less than two hundred and fifty feet in length. The window of the south transept is circular, and so large as to be twenty-two feet in diameter; bestudded with ancient stained glass, now become somewhat darkened by time, and standing in immediate need of cleaning and repairing. I remember, on my first visit to this Cathedral, threading the whole of the clerestory on the south side, and coming immediately under this magnificent window, which astonished me from its size and decorations. Still, for simplicity as well as beauty of effect, the delicately ornamented lancet windows of the north transept of York Cathedral have clearly a decided preference. One wonders how these windows, both at York and at this place, escaped destruction from Cromwell's soldiers... The Galilee, to the left of the larger south transept, is a most genuine and delicious specimen of Early English architecture. In this feature, York, upon comparison, is both petty and repulsive.

Wherever the eye strays or the imagination catches a point upon which it may revel in building up an ingenious hypothesis, the exterior of Lincoln Cathedral (some five hundred feet in length) is a never failing source of gratification...

Let us turn to the grand western front; and whatever be the adulterations of the component parts, let us admire its width and simplicity; - the rude carvings, or rather sculpture, commemorative of the life of the founder, St. Remigius: and although horrified by the indented windows, of the perpendicular style, let us pause again and again before we enter at the side-aisle door. All the three doors are too low; but see what a height and what a space this front occupies! It was standing on this spot, that Corio, my dear departed friend - some twenty years ago-assured me he remained almost from sunset to dawn of day, as the whole of the front was steeped in the soft silvery light of an autumnal full moon. He had seen nothing before so grand. He had felt nothing before so stirring. The planets and stars, as they rolled in their silent and glittering orbits, and in a subdued lustre, over the roof of the nave, gave peculiar zest to the grandeur of the whole scene: add to which, the awfully deepening sounds of Great Tom' made his very soul to vibrate! Here, as that bell struck the hour of two, seemed to sit the shrouded figures of Remigius, Bloet, and Geoffrey Plantagenet, who, saluting each other in formal prostrations, quickly vanished at the sound " into thin air." The cock crew; the sun rose; and with it all enchantment was at an end. Life has few purer, yet more delirious enjoyments, than this...

The reader may here, perhaps, expect something like the institution of a comparison between these two great rival Cathedrals of Lincoln and York; although he will have observed many points in common between them to have been previously settled. The preference to Lincoln is given chiefly from its minute and varied detail; while its position impresses you at first sight, with such mingled awe and admiration, that you cannot divest yourself of this impression, on a more dispassionately critical survey of its component parts. The versed antiquary adheres to Lincoln, and would build his nest within one of the crocketted pinnacles of the western towers-that he might hence command a view of the great central tower; and, abroad of the straight Roman road running to Barton, and the glittering waters of the broad and distant Humber. But for one human being of this stamp, you would have one hundred collecting within and without the great rival at York. Its vastness, its space, its effulgence of light and breadth of effect: its imposing simplicity, by the compararive paucity of minute ornament-its lofty lantern, shining, as it were, at heaven's gate, on the summit of the central tower: and, above all, the soul-awakening devotion kindled by a survey of its vast and matchless choir leave not a shadow of doubt behind, respecting the decided superiority of this latter edifice.



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