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stones, conduct us back to the medieval world. Mother Mary, the Archangel Gabriel and, no whit abashed in such high company, Bishop Wykeham the Founder, watch us from their storm-worn niches as we pass under the gateway into the majestic quadrangle. Here time-blackened walls hold the gaze enthralled with their ancientry of battlements and buttresses, deep-mullioned windows and pinnacleset towers. Beyond lie the gardens, still bounded on two sides by the massive masonry, embrasured, bastioned, parapeted, of the old City Wall,-gardens where it should always be October, drifty, yellow, dreamy, quiet, with wan poplars and aspens and chestnuts whispering and sighing together, till some grotesque face sculptured on the wall peers out derisively, through ivy matt or crimson creeper, and the redberried hollies, old and gay with many Christmases, rustle in reassuring laughter. Meanwhile the rooks flap heavily among the mighty beeches, whose tremendous trunks are all misshapen with the gnarls and knobs of age.
Of the fifteenth-century foundations, All Souls, “The College of All Souls of the Faithful Departed,” and especially of those who fell in the French wars, retains much of its original architecture; in the kitchen of Lincoln, if not in the chapel, Shakespeare would still find himself at home; and for him, as for all the generations since, the lofty tower of Magdalen rose as Oxford's crown of beauty. Magdalen College is ancient. The very speaking of the name (Maudlin) tells us that, all the more unmistakably because Magdalen Bridge and Magdalen Street carry the modern pronunciation. But Magdalen College, with it springing, soaring grace, its surprises of delight, its haunting, soul-possessing loveliness, has all the winning charm of youth. Its hundred acres of lawn and garden, wood and park, where deer browse peacefully beneath the shade of giant elms and where Addison's beloved Water Walks beside the Cherwell are golden with the primroses and daffodils of March and blue with the violets and periwinkles of later spring, are even more tempting to the book-fagged wanderer than Christ Church Meadow and “Mesopotamia.” It is hard to tell when Magdalen is most beautiful. It has made the circle of the year its own. On May Day dawn, all Oxford, drowsy but determined, gathers in the broad street below to seeit depends upon the wind whether or no one may hear—the choir chant their immemorial hymn from the summit of the tower. When the ending of the rite is made known to the multitude by the flinging over of the caps—black mortarboards that sail slowly down the one hundred and fifty feet like a flock of pensive rooks—then away it streams over Magdalen Bridge toward Iffley to gather Arnold's fritillaries and, after a long and loving look at Iffley's Norman Church, troops home along the towingpath beside the Isis. Shakespeare may himself have heard, if he chanced to be passing through on St. John Baptist's Day, the University sermon preached from the curiously canopied stone pulpit well up on the wall in a corner of one of the quadrangles, while the turf was sweet with strewn rushes and all the buildings glistening with fresh green boughs. But even in midwinter Magdalen is beautiful, when along Addison's Walk the fog is frosted like most delicate enamel on every leaf and twig, and this white world of rime takes on strange flushes from the red sun peering through the haze.
Of the six Tudor foundations, Trinity occupies the site of Durham College, a thirteenth-century Benedictine institution suppressed by Henry VIII; St. John's, closely allied to the memory of Archbishop Laud, is the survival of St. Bernard College, which itself grew out of a Cistercian monastery; Brasenose, associated for earlier memory with Foxe of the "Book of Martyrs” and for later with Walter Pater, supplanted two medieval halls; and Jesus College, the first to be founded after the Reformation, endowed by a Welshman for the increase of Welsh learning, received from Elizabeth a site once held by academic buildings of the elder faith. Only Corpus Christi, where Cardinal Pole and Bishop Hooker studied to such different ends, although it is, as its name indicates, of Catholic origin, rose on fresh soil and broke with the past, with the medieval educational tradition, by making regular provision for the systematic study of Latin and Greek.
The great Tudor foundation was Christ Church, built on the sacred ground where, in the eighth century, St. Frideswide, a princess with a pronounced vocation for the religious life, had erected a nunnery of which she was first abbess. The nunnery became, after her death, a house of canons, known as St. Frideswide's Priory. Cardinal Wolsey brought about the surrender of this priory to the king, and its prompt transfer to himself, some fifteen years before the general Dissolution. His ambition, not all unrealized, was to found as his memorial a splendid seat of the New Learning at Oxford to be called Cardinals' College. He had gone so far as to erect a magnificent hall, with fan-vaulted entrance and carved oak ceiling of surpassing beauty, a kitchen ample enough to feed the Titans, "The Faire Gate" and, outline, the Great Quadrangle, for whose enlargement he pulled down three bays of the Priory church, when his fall cut short his princely projects. His graceless master attempted to take over to himself the credit of Wolsey's labors, substituting the name of King Henry VIII's College, but on creating, a few years later, the bishopric of Oxford, he blended the cathedral and college foundations as the Church and House of Christ. The cathedral fabric is still in the main that of the old Priory church. Of the several quadrangles, Canterbury Quad keeps a memory of Canterbury College, which, with the other Benedictine colleges, Gloucester and Durham, went down in the storm. Christ's Church"The House," as its members call it-is the aristocratic college of Oxford. Noblemen and even princes may be among those white-surpliced figures that flit about the dim quads after Sunday evensong. Ruskin's father, a wealthy wine-merchant of refined tastes and broad intelligence, hesitated to enter his son as a gentleman commoner at Christ's lest the act should savor of presumption. Yet no name has conferred more luster on "The House” than that of him who became
the Slade Professor of Fine Arts, waking all Oxford to nobler life and resigning, at last, because he could not bear that the university should sanction vivisection.
Wadham College, though the lovely garden with its hoary walls starred by jasmine and its patriarchal cedars casting majestic shadows,-a garden that rivals for charm even those of St. John's and Worcester and Exeter,-has such a venerable air, is the youngest of all these. Its first stone was laid, on a site formerly occupied by a priory of Augustinian Friars, only six years before Shakespeare's death. In his later journeys, he would not have failed to note the progress of its erection.
But if Shakespeare saw, as he rode through Oxford, almost all the colleges that may now be seen, he also saw much that has crumbled away into an irretrievable past. Not only were the various colleges, halls, priories and friaries of the monastic orders still in visible ruin, but the great abbeys of Osney and of Rewley, the former one of the largest and richest in all England, still made the appeal of a beautiful desolation. No wonder that Shakespeare compared the naked branches of autumn, that wintry end of the season
"When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
"bare, ruined choirs."
If, as seems probable, the Arden sympathies lingered long with the Mother Church, if Shakespeare did not forget, even in those closing years when his homeward trips brought him to a Puritan household and an even more Puritan town, the bitter fate of his kinsmen of Wilmcote and Wootton-Wawen, he must have been keenly alive to these ravages of the Reformation. Yet he had been some twenty years at the vortex of Elizabethan life, in the very seethe of London; he had witnessed many a wrong and many a tragedy; he was versed to weariness of heart in the "hostile strokes" that befall humanity, in all the varied
and he knew, no man better, that Right is not of one party, nor Truth of a single creed. He must have mused, as he took the air in Oxford streets after Mistress Davenant had served his supper, on the three great Protestant Martyrs of whose suffering some of the elder folk with whom he chatted had been eye-witnesses. The commemorative cross that may now be seen in front of Balliol, near the church of St. Mary Magdalen whose tower was a familiar sight to Shakespeare's eyes, displays in richly fretted niches the statues of “Thomas Cranmer, Nicolas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned.” Most of all his thought would have dwelt on Cranmer, that pathetic figure whose life was such a mingled yarn of good and evil. He had won the favor of Henry VIII by approving the divorce of Queen Catherine. He had beheld—and in some cases furtheredthe downfalls of Sir Thomas More, of Anne Boleyn, of Wolsey, of Cromwell, of Catherine Howard, of Seymour and of Somerset. He had stood godfather to Elizabeth and to Edward. He had watched over the death-bed of the tyrant; he had crowned that tyrant's frail young son as Edward VI. When by his adherence to the cause of Lady Jane Grey he had incurred sentence of treason, he was pardoned by Queen Mary. Yet this pardon only amounted to a transfer from the Tower of London to the Bocardo in Oxford, that prisonhouse over the North Gate from whose stone cells used to come down the hoarse cry of cold and hunger : "Pity the Bocardo birds." There were those still living in Oxford who could have told the dramatist, as he gazed up through the moonlight (for who does not?) to the pinnacled spire of St. Mary-the-Virgin, all the detail of those April days, only ten years before his birth, when Cranmer, with Ridley and Latimer, was brought into the church and bidden, before a hostile assemblage of divines, to justify the heresies