England without and Within

By Richard Grant White; Hamlet | Go to book overview
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I DID not spend a whole Sunday on the Thames; but as I was going to morning service at the Abbey, and to evening service at St. Paul's, I chose to make the river my way from one to the other; and doing this it seemed to me good to go leisurely over the, whole of it within what is called the metropolitan district. This one is enabled to do easily and pleasantly by the little steamers that ply back and forth constantly within those limits. The day was as beautiful as a summer sky, with its bright blue tempered by lazy clouds smiling with light and sailing upon a soft, gentle breeze, could make it; the sense of Sunday seemed to pervade the air; and even the great city sat in sweet solemnity at rest. When science has taken entire possession of mankind, and we find no more anything to worship, will the Sunday-less man possess, in virtue of his rule of pure reason, any element of happiness that will quite compensate him for that calm, sweet, elevating sense-- so delicate as to be indefinable, and yet so strong and penetrating as to pervade his whole being and seem to him to pervade all nature--of divine serenity in the first day of the Christian week? It is passing from us, fading gradually away, not into the forgotten,--for it can never be forgotten by those who have once felt it,--but into the unknown.


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England without and Within


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