The gentlemen of
our party went up various perpendicular ladders, and at last pulled
themselves through a small hole into the ball. There is room, I
think, there for a dozen people, if well packed, not to stand, walk,
or sit, however; these things the nature of the place forbids. It is
a strange feeling, they say, to crouch in this little apartment and
hear the wind roaring and shaking the golden cross above. The whole
ball shakes somewhat, and by a sudden movement one can produce quite
a perceptible motion.
We descended the infinity of stairs, and entered the crypt, as it is
called, under the church. There were many grand tombs there.
Nelson's occupies the centre, and is a fine work. But what impressed
me most was the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren himself; a simple
tablet marks his tomb, with this inscription, which is repeated
above in the nave: -
Hujus Ecclesias et Urbis Conditor,
Qui vixit annos ultra nonaginta,
Non sibi, sed bono publico.
Lector, si monumentum requiris,
Obiit 25 Feb. MDCCXXIII., aetat. XCI.
We subjoin a translation of this inscription for our young
"Underneath lies buried Christopher Wren, the builder of this church
and city; who lived beyond the age of ninety years, not for himself,
but for the public good. - Reader, if you ask for his monument, look
around you. - He died on the 25th of February, 1723, aged 91."
He is called the builder of the city, as well as of the church; for
Sir Christopher Wren was the architect of more than fifty of the
churches in London.