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improvement of him in several sciences during his stay in the University.
From which place, before I shall invite the reader to follow him into a foreign nation, though I must omit to mention divers persons that were then in Oxford, of memorable note for learning, and friends to Sir Henry Wotton; yet I must not omit the mention of a love that was there begun betwixt him and Dr. Donne, sometime Dean of St. Paul's; a man of whose abilities I shall forbear to say any thing, because he who is of this nation, and pretends to learning or ingenuity, and is ignorant of Dr. Donne, deserves not to know him. The friendship of these two I must not omit to mention, being such a friendship as was generously elemented; and as it was begun in their youth, and in an University, and there maintained by correspondent inclinations and studies, so it lasted till age and death forced a separation.
In Oxford he stayed till about two years after his Father's death; at which time he was about the twenty-second year of his age; and having to his great wit added the ballast of learning, and knowledge of the Arts, he then laid aside his books, and betook himself to the useful library of travel, and a more general conversation with mankind; employing the remaining part of his youth, his industry, and fortune, to adorn his mind, and to purchase the rich treasure of foreign knowledge : of which both for the secrets of Nature, the dispositions of many nations, their several laws and languages, he was the possessor in a very large measure ; as I shall faithfully make to appear, before I take my pen from the following narration of his life.
In his travels, which was almost nine years* before his return into England, he stayed but one year in France, and most of that in Geneva, where he became acquainted with Theodore Beza, t
* Or rather, six years. The writers of the Biographia Britannica explain the mistake by supposing that the tail of the 9 should be turned upwards to make it 6. It appears from a letter to Lord Zouch, dated July 10, 1592, that' he had been abroad three years. He probably returned in 1595, as he was appointed Secretary to the Earl of Essex, after his return, in 1596, when he was in the 27th or 28th year of his age.
† One of the most celebrated promoters of the Reformation, born at Vezelai, a small town of Nivernais, in France, June 24th, 1519. He was educated
then very aged ;-and with Isaac Casaubon,* in whose house, if I be rightly informed, Sir Henry Wotton was lodged, and there contracted a most worthy friendship with that man of rare learn. ing and ingenuity.
Three of the remaining eight years were spent in Germany, the other five in Italy,—the stage on which God appointed he should act a great part of his life ;-where, both in Rome, Ven. ice, and Florence, he became acquainted with the niost emi. nent men for learning and all manner of Arts; as Picture, Sculpture, Chemistry, Architecture, and other manual Arts; even Arts of inferior nature; of all which he was a most dear lover, and a most excellent judge.
He returned out of Italy into England about the thirtieth year of his age, being then noted by many both for his person and comportment: for indeed he was of a choice shape, tall of stature, and of a most persuasive behaviour ; which was so mixed with sweet discourse and civilities, as gained him much love from all persons with whom he entered into an acquaintance.
And whereas he was noted in his youth to have a sharp wit, and apt to jest; that, by time, travel, and conversation, was so polished, and made so useful, that his company seemed to be one of the delights of mankind; insomuch as Robert Earl of Essex
under the famous Reformer Melchior Wolmar, from whom he derived his Protestant principles. He was not in orders, though he held some church preferments, but in 1548 he resigned them, retired to Geneva, married and abjured Popery. In 1549, he was made Greek Professor at Lausanne, and in 1556, published his Translation of the new Testament, and his Defence of the burning of Servetus. He was a powerful assistant to Calvin, and after his death became head of the reformed party. He died Oct. 13th, 1605, having given great encouragement to the Puritans, though his letters to Whitgift evince a high regard for the Church of England.
* Isaac Casaubon, the best Grecian of his time, was born at Geneva, Feb. 18th, 1559, and at the age of twenty-three, became Greek Professor there. About 1597, he read Lectures on the Belles Lettres, at Geneva, and in 1600, at Paris; when Henry IV. of France made him his Librarian, though he vainly endeavoured to draw him from the Protestant faith. In October, 1610, he came to England with Sir Henry Wotion, and was received with great distinction by King James I., who preferred him in the Church, and gave him a pension. He died July 1st, 1614, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where Bishop Morton erected a monument to him.
—then one of the darlings of Fortune, and in greatest favour with Queen Elizabeth-invited him first into a friendship, and, after a knowledge of his great abilities, to be one of his Secretaries; the other being Mr. Henry Cuffe,* sometime of Merton College in Oxford,—and there also the acquaintance of Sir Henry Wotton in his youth,—Mr. Cuffe being then a man of no common note in the University for his learning ; nor, after his removal from that place, for the great abilities of his mind, nor indeed for the fatalness of his end.
Sir Henry Wotton, being now taken into a serviceable friendship with the Earl of Essex, did personally attend his counsels and employments in two voyages at sea against the Spaniard, and also in that—which was the Earl's last-into Ireland ; that voyage, wherein he then did so much provoke the Queen to anger, and worse at his return into England ; upon whose immoveable favour the Earl had built such sandy hopes, as encouraged him to those undertakings, which, with the help of a contrary fac. tion, suddenly caused his commitment to the Tower,
Sir Henry Wotton observing this, though he was not of that faction—for the Earl's followers were also divided into their sev. eral interests—which encouraged the Earl to those undertakings which proved so fatal to him and divers of his confederation, yet, knowing Treason to be so comprehensive, as to take in even cir. cumstances, and out of them to make such positive conclusions, as subtle Statesmen shall project, either for their revenge or safety ; considering this, he thought prevention, by absence out of England, a better security, than to stay in it, and there plead his innocency in a prison. Therefore did he, so soon as the Earl was apprehended, very quickly, and as privately, glide through Kent to Dover, without so much as looking toward his native and beloved Bocton; and was, by the help of favourable winds, and liberal payment of the mariners, within sixteen
* This unfortunate wit and scholar, was born at Hinton St. George, in Somersetshire, about 1560, and entered of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1576, from which he was expelled for some sarcasms on the Founder. His learning and abilities being very considerable, he was received into Merton College, and he was made Greek Professor; but his restless disposition induced him to follow the Earl of Essex to Cadiz.
hours after his departure from London, set upon the French shore ; where he heard shortly after, that the Earl was ar. raigned, condemned, and beheaded; and that his friend Mr. Cuffe was hanged, and divers other persons of eminent quality executed.
The times did not look so favourably upon Sir Henry Wotton, as to invite his return into England: having therefore procured of Sir Edward Wotton, his elder brother, an assurance that his annuity should be paid him in Italy, thither he went, happily renewing his intermitted friendship and interest, and indeed his great content in a new conversation with his old acquaintance in that nation, and more particularly in Florence,-which City is not more eminent for the Great Duke's Court, than for the great recourse of men of choicest note for learning and arts,-in which number he there met with his old friend Signior Vietta, a gentleman of Venice, and then taken to be Secretary to the Great Duke of Tuscany.
After some stay in Florence, he went the fourth time to visit Rome, where, in the English College he had very many friends ; —their humanity made them really so, though they knew him to be a dissenter from many of their principles of religion ; and having enjoyed their company, and satisfied himself concerning some curiosities that did partly occasion his journey thither, he returned back to Florence, where a most notable accident befel him; an accident that did not only find new employment for his choice abilities, but did introduce him to a knowledge and interest with our King James, then King of Scotland; which I shall proceed to relate.
But first I am to tell the Reader, that though Queen Elizabeth, or she and her Council, were never willing to declare her successor; yet James, then King of the Scots, was confidently believed by most to be the man upon whom the sweet trouble of Kingly government would be imposed ; and the Queen declining very fast, both by age and visible infirmities, those that were of the Romish persuasion in point of religion, even Rome itself, and those of this nation,—knowing that the death of the Queen and the establishing of her successor, were taken to be critical days for destroying or establishing the Protestant religion in this
nation, did therefore improve all opportunities for preventing a Protestant Prince to succeed her. And as the Pope's Excommu. nication of Queen Elizabeth, had both by the judgment and practice of the Jesuited Papist, exposed her to be warrantably de. stroyed; so, if we may believe an angry adversary, a secular Priest* against a Jesuit-you may believe, that about that time there were many endeavours, first to excommunicate, and then to shorten the life of King James.
Immediately after Sir Henry Wotton's return from Rome to Florence,—which was about a year before the death of Queen Elizabeth,-Ferdinands the Great Duke of Florence, had intercepted certain letters, that discovered a design to take away the life of James, the then King of Scots. The Duke abhorring this fact, and resolving to endeavour a prevention of it, advised with his Secretary Vietta, by what means a caution might be best given to that King; and after consideration it was resolved to be done by Sir Henry Wotton, whom Vietta first commended to the Duke, and the Duke had noted and approved of above all the English that frequented his Court.
Sir Henry was gladly called by his friend Vietta to the Duke, who, after much profession of trust and friendship, acquainted him with the secret; and being well instructed, dispatched him into Scotland with letters to the King, and with those letters such
* Watson in his Quodlibets.
William Watson, a secular priest, wrote a “ Decacordon of ten Quodlibetical Questions,” in which he discloses the character and conduct of the Jesuits; exhibiting in proper colours their arts of equivocation and mental reservation. Yet this man, so acute in discerning the errors of others, was hanged in 1603, for High Treason, along with William Clark, a Popish priest, and George Brook, brother to Lord Cobham, for conspiring the death of James I. He had deceived his accomplices by instructing them, “ That the King, before his coronation, was not an actual but a political king, and therefore no treason could be committed against him.”
+ First of that name of the House of Medicis, was intended for the Church, and was created a Cardinal by Pius IV. in 1563. In 1587, on the death of his elder brother, Francis-Maria, Duke of Tuscany, he resigned the purple, at the age of 52, and married Catherine of Lorraine, daughter of the Duke Charles II. He died Feb. 22nd, 1608–9, having governed with great mildness, being a wise and domestic Prince.