HYDE PARK. (Page 262.)
THE foreground of this Plate represents the entrance of Hyde-park from Piccadilly. The building on the left is the under-keeper's lodge; the horse-road to the left is the celebrated ride called Rotten-row, which on Sundays, during the spring, if the weather be fine, is crowded by persons ambitious of equestrian fame, or proud of their horses, from those of the highest quality to the apprentice and shopman, who hire their hacks at a livery stable for half a guinea a day. This hobbyhorsical exhibition has been justly ridiculed in a well-known Prologue, where, alluding to the lateness of the spring, it is said,
"Hors'd in Cheapside, scarce yet the gayer spark
Achieves the Sunday triumphs of the Park;
Scarce yet you see him, dreading to be late,
Scour the New Road, and dash through Grosvenor-gate:
Anxious, yet timorous too! — his steed to shew
The back Bucephalus of Rotten-row!
Careless he seems, yet vigilantly sly,
Woos the stray glance of ladies passing by,
While his off heel, insidiously aside,
Provokes the caper which he seems to chide."
On the right hand of the ride is a footway leading to Kensington-gardens, which on fine Sundays is crowded from one extremity to the other. The road to the right of the Plate leads to Grosvenor-gate, opening into Park-lane, and to Cumberland gate, opening into Oxford-street. Part of that beautiful piece of water, the Serpentine-river, is seen in this view, and in the background are the trees of Kensington gardens, with the dormitory in the front of them, which, at this distance, forms a pleasing object, although it is now literally nothing more than a shelter for cattle from the heat of the sun.
The Plate affords a very lively picture of this bustling scene, which well deserves a visit from the stranger. Half the confusion of this place is occasioned by the want of sufficient provision for the foot passengers, and of a second gate for carriages and equestrians; by which all going in might have one gate, and all going out another gate.