ePub 版

beseeching his Majesty, that the said pieces may remain in some corner of any of his houses, for a poor memorial of his most humble vassal.

"Item. I leave his said Majesty all the papers and negociations of Sir Nich. Throgmorton,* Knight, during his famous employ. ment under Queen Elizabeth, in Scotland, and in France; which contain divers secrets of State, that perchance his Majesty will think fit to be preserved in his Paper-Office, after they have been perused and sorted by Mr. Secretary Windebank, with whom I have heretofore, as I remember, conferred about them. They were committed to my disposal by Sir Arthur Throgmorton, his Son, to whose worthy memory I cannot better discharge my faith, than by assigning them to the highest place of trust. Item. I leave to our most gracious and virtuous Queen Mary, Dioscorides, with the plants naturally coloured, and the text translated by Matthiolo, in the best language of Tuscany, whence her said Maj. esty is lineally descended, for a poor token of my thankful devotion, for the honour she was once pleased to do my private Study with her presence. I leave to the most hopeful Prince, the pic. ture of the elected and crowned Queen of Bohemia, his Aunt, of clear and resplendent virtues, through the clouds of her fortune. To my Lord's Grace of Canterbury now being, I leave my pic. ture of Divine Love, rarely copied from one in the King's gal. leries, of my presentation to his Majesty ; beseeching him to receive it as a pledge of my

humble reverence to his great wisdom. And to the most worthy Lord Bishop of London, Lord High Treasurer of England, in true admiration of his Christian sim. plicity and contempt of earthly pomp, I leave a picture of He. raclitus bewailing, and Democritus laughing at the world ; most humbly beseeching the said Lord Archbishop his Grace, and the Lord Bishop of London, of both whose favours I have tasted in my life-time, to intercede with our most gracious Sovereign after

* An eminent Statesman and Ambassador in the Court of Elizabeth, whose daughter Sir Walter Raleigh married. He was imprisoned in the Tower, as a party in Wyatt's insurrection, but was acquitted for want of evidence; and being greatly esteemed by Secretary Walsingham, he was employed in Em. bassies, both to France and Scotland. He died in February, 1571, being ta. ken ill in the house of Treasurer Cecil, and not without suspicion of poison.

my death, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that out of compassionate memory of my long services,—wherein I more studied the public honour than mine own utility,—some order may be taken out of my arrears due in the Exchequer, for such satisfaction of my creditors, as those whom I have ordained Supervisors of this my last Will and Testament shall present unto their Lordships, without their further trouble: hoping likewise in his Majesty's most indubitable goodness, that he will keep me from all prejudice, which I may otherwise suffer by any defect of formality in the demand of

said arrears.


for a poor addition to his Cabinet, I leave, as emblems of his attractive virtues and obliging nobleness, my great Loadstone, and a piece of Amber, of both kinds naturally united, and only differing in degree of concoction, which is thought somewhat rare. Item. A piece of Chrystal Sexangular—as they grow all-grasping divers several things within it, which I bought among the Rhætian Alps, in the very place where it grew; recommending most humbly unto his Lordship, the reputation of my poor name in the point of my debts, as I have done to the forneamed Spiritual Lords, and am heartily sorry that I have no better token of my humble thankfulness to his honoured person. Item. I leave to Sir Francis Windebank, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, -whorn I found my great friend in point of necessity,—the four Seasons of old Bassano, to hang near the eye in his Parlour,-being in little form,—which I bought at Venice, where I first entered into his most worthy acquaintance.

“ To the above-named Dr. Bargrave, Dean of Canterbury, I leave all my Italian Books not disposed in this Will. I leave to him likewise


Viol de Gamba, which hath been twice with me in Italy, in which country I first contracted with him an unremoveable affection. To my other Supervisor, Mr. Nicholas Pey, I leave my Chest, or Cabinet of Instruments and Engines of all kinds of uses: in the lower box whereof, are some* fit to be bequeathed to none but so entire an honest man as he is. I leave him likewise forty pounds for his pains in the solicitation of my arrears; and am sorry that my ragged estate can reach no fur

* In it were Italian locks, pick-locks, screws to force open doors, and many things of worth and rarity, that he had gathered in his foreign travel.

ther to one that hath taken such care for me in the same kind, during all my foreign employments. To the Library of Eton College, I leave all my Manuscripts not before disposed, and to each of the Fellows a plain Ring of Gold, enamelled black, all save the verge, with this motto within, “ Amor unit omnia.'

“ This is my last Will and Testament, save what shall be added by a Schedule thereunto annexed, written on the First of October, in the present Year of our Redemption, 1637, and subscribed by myself, with the testimony of these Witnesses,

HENRY WOTTON." Nich. Oudert, Geo. Lash.”

And now, because the mind of man is best satisfied by the knowledge of events, I think fit to declare, that every one that was named in his Will did gladly receive their legacies: by which, and his most just and passionate desires for the payment of his debts, they joined in assisting the Overseers of his Will ;* and by their joint endeavours to the King,—than whom none was more willing—conscionable satisfaction was given for his just debts.

The next thing wherewith I shall acquaint the Reader is, that he went usually once a year, if not oftener, to the beloved Bocton Hall, where he would say, “He found a cure for all cares, by the cheerful company, which he called the living furniture of that place; and a restoration of his strength, by the connaturalness of that which he called his genial air.”

He yearly went also to Oxford. But the Summer before his death he changed that for a journey to Winchester College, to which School he was first removed from Bocton. And as he returned from Winchester towards Eton College, said to a friend, his companion in that journey ; “How useful was that advice of a holy Monk, who persuaded his friend to perform his customary devotions in a constant place, because in that place we usually meet with those very thoughts which possessed us at our last

* The Will is recorded in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, in the volume marked Coventry, Article 8: it was proved Jan. 18th, 1639-40, before Sir Henry Marten.

being there! And I find it thus far experimentally true, that at my now being in that School, and seeing that very place where I sat when I was a boy, occasioned me to remember those very thoughts of my youth which then possessed me: sweet thoughts indeed, that promised my growing years numerous pleasures, without mixtures of cares: and those to be enjoyed, when timewhich I therefore thought slow-paced—had changed my youth into manhood. But age and experience have taught me that those were but empty hopes; for I have always found it true, as my Saviour did foretell, “sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.' Nevertheless, I saw there a succession of boys using the same recreations, and, questionless, possessed with the same thoughts that then possessed me. Thus one generation succeeds another, both in their lives, recreations, hopes, fears, and death."

After his return from Winchester to Eton, which was about five months before his death, he became much more retired and contemplative: in which time he was often visited by Mr. John Hales, *_learned Mr. John Hales,—then a Fellow of that Col. lege, to whom upon an occasion he spake to this purpose : “I have, in my passage to my grave, met with most of those joys of which a discoursive soul is capable; and been entertained with more inferior pleasures than the sons of men are usually made partakers of: nevertheless, in this voyage I have not always floated on the calm sea of content; but have often met with cross

* Mr. John Hales, of Eton, commonly called “the Ever-Memorable," and “the Walking Library,” from his extensive erudition, was Greek Professor of the University of Oxford, and was born at Bath in the year 1584. He entered Corpus Christi College at the age of 15, whence he was elected a Fellow of Merton in 1606, Sir Henry Saville having discovered his prodigious talents. In 1613, he left Oxford for a Fellowship at Eton; and in 1618, he attended Sir Dudley Carleton, the Ambassador of James I. to the Synod of Dort, of the proceedings of which, he wrote a faithful and regular narrative in a series of Letters. In 1638, Archbishop Laud made him one of his Chaplains : and, in the following year, a Canon of Windsor ; he suffered much from his attachment to the Royal cause, and was obliged to sell his collection of books at a low price, notwithstanding which, and the assistance of some friends, he died in extreme distress at Eton, on the 19th of May, 1656.

The passage concerning Mr. Hales is wholly omitted in the first edition of the Life of Wotton.

winds and storms, and with many troubles of mind and tempta. tions to evil. And yet, though I have been, and am a man compassed about with human frailties, Almighty God hath by his grace prevented me from making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, the thought of which is now the joy of my heart, and I most humbly praise him for it: and I humbly acknowledge that it was not myself, but he that hath kept me to this great age, and let him take the glory of his great mercy. And, my dear friend, I now see that I draw near my harbour of death ; that harbour that will secure me from all the future storms and waves of this restless world; and I praise God I am willing to leave it, and expect a better; that world wherein dwelleth righteousness; and I long for it!”

These and the like expressions, were then uttered by him at the beginning of a feverish distemper, at which time he was also troubled with an Asthma, or short spitting : but after less than twenty fits, by the help of familiar physic and a spare diet, this fever abated, yet so as to leave him much weaker than it found him; and his Asthma seemed also to be overcome in a good de. gree by his forbearing tobacco, which, as many thoughtful men do, he also had taken somewhat immoderately. This was his then present condition, and thus he continued till about the end of October, 1639, which was about a month before his death, at which time he again fell into a fever, which though he seemed to recover, yet these still left him so weak, that they, and those other common infirmities that accompany age, were wont to visit him like civil friends, and after some short time to leave him,-came now both oftener and with more violence, and at last took up

their constant habitation with him, still weakening his body and abating his cheerfulness; of both which he grew more sensible, and did the oftener retire into his Study, and there made many papers that had passed his pen, both in the days of his youth and in the busy part of his life, useless, by a fire made there to that purpose. These, and several unusual expressions to his servants and friends, seemed to foretell that the day of his death drew near; for which he seemed to those many friends that observed him, to be well prepared, and to be both patient and free from all fear, as several of his letters writ on this his last sick-bed may testify. And thus

« 上一頁繼續 »