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Or dubb'd historians by express command,
To enroll your triumphs o'er the seas and land,
Yet 'think, great Sir! (so many virtues shown;) Ah think, what poet best may make them known; Or choose at least some minister of grace,
Fit to bestow the 'Laureat's weighty place.
Charles, to late times to be transmitted fair, 380 Assign'd his figure to Bernini's care;
And great 'Nassau to Kneller's hand decreed
husband was uncommonly curious in works of that kind, and no present could be more acceptable to him. Bernini was one of a haughty temper, and had lately refused the like favour to the Cardinal Richlieu, who desired his own busto from the same hand. But Barberini's reputation and address prevailed upon him to grant the request. I mention this busto upon account of the extraordinary circumstances which attended it; some whereof are taken notice of by our historians. But what I shall further relate, is not commonly known. It is reported, that when Bernini took a view of the original picture, according to which he was to form the king's busto, he observed such melancholic lines, that they in a manner spoke some dismal fate that would befal the person it represented. And this he signified to those who were present." P. 38. Warburton.
Ver. 382. And great Nassau] "This prince," says Mr. Walpole, "like most of those in our annals, contributed nothing to the advancement of the arts. He was born in a country where taste never flourished, and nature had not given it to him as an embellishment to his great qualities. Reserved, unsociable, ill in his health, and soured by his situation, he sought none of those amusements that make the hours of the happy much happier. He had so little leisure to attend to, or so little disposition to men of
Judicium subtile videndis artibus illud
Ad libros et ad hæc Musarum dona vocares,
wit, that when St. Evremond was introduced to him, the king said coldly I think you was a major-general in the French service'." Warton.
Ver. 384. So well in paint] The taste and knowledge of Charles I. in the fine arts are universally known and acknowledged; and his fondness for Shakespear and Fairfax's Tasso, shews his judgment in poetry. Warton.
Ver. 385. But kings in wit may want discerning spirit.] This is not to be wondered at, since the sacerdotal character has been separated from the regal. This discerning of spirits now seems to be the allotment of the ecclesiastical branch, which the following instance will put out of doubt. The famous HUGO GROTIUS had, some how or other, surprized the world into an early admiration of his parts and virtues. But his Grace, Archbishop Abbot, was not to be deceived by dazzling appearances. In one of his rescripts to Sir Ralph Winwood, at the Hague, he unmasks this forward Dutchman, who a little before had been sent over to England by the States. "You must take heed how you trust DOCTOR GROTIUS too far, for I perceive him to be so addicted to
SOME PARTIALITIES IN THOSE PARTS, THAT HE FEARETH NOT TO
LASH SO IT MAY SERVE A TURN. At his first coming to the king, by reason of his good Latin tongue, he was so tedious, and full of tittle tattle, that the king's judgment was of him, that he was some PEDANT, full of words, and of NO GREAT JUDGMENT. And I MYSELF DISCOVERING that to be his habit, as if he did imagine that every man was bound to hear him so long as he would talk, did privately give him notice thereof, that he should plainly and directly deliver his mind, or else he would make the king weary of him. This did not take place, but that afterwards he fell to it again, as was especially observed one night at supper at the Lord Bishop of Ely's, whither being brought by Mr. Casaubon (as I think), my Lord intreated him to stay to supper, which he did. There was present Dr. Steward and another civilian, unto whom he flings out some question of that profession; and was so full of words, that Dr. Steward afterwards told my Lord: That he did
So well in paint and stone they judg'd of merit : But kings in wit may want discerning spirit. 385
perceive by him, that, like a SMATTERER, he had studied some two or three questions; whereof when he came in company he must be talking, to vindicate his skill; but if he were put from those, he would shew himself but a SIMPLE FELLOW. There was present also Dr. Richardson, the king's Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, and another doctor in that faculty, with whom he falleth in also, about some of those questions, which are now controverted amongst the ministers in Holland; and being matters wherein he was studied, he uttered all his skill concerning them. MY LORD OF ELY SITTING still at the SUPPER ALL THE WHILE, AND wonDERING what a man he had there, who, never being in the place or company before, could overwhelm them so with talk for so long a time. I write this unto you so largely, that you may know the disposition of the man: and HOW KINDLY HE USED MY LORD OF ELY FOR HIS GOOD ENTERTAINMENT.' Winwood's Memorials, vol. iii. p. 459.
Seriously, my Lord of Ely's case was to be pitied. But this will not happen every day: for as exposed as their Lordships may be to these kind of insults, happy is it, that the men are not always at hand, who can offer them. A second Grotius, for aught I know, may be as far off as a second century of my Lords of Ely. But it was enough that this simple fellow was an Arminian and a Republican, to be despised by Abbot and his Master. For, in the opinion of these great judges of merit, religion and society could not subsist without PREDESTINATION and ARBITRARY Power. However, this discerning spirit, it is certain, had not left L. when the grave historian, Anthony Wood, was so hospitably entertained there; who, in the journal of his life, under the year 1671, tells the following story: "I and John Echard, the author of the Contempt of the Clergy, dined with Archbishop Sheldon. After dinner, when the Archbishop had withdrawn and selected his company, I was called into the withdrawing room, and Echard was left behind to go drink and smoke with the Chaplains." So well adjusted was this respect of persons; Echard, the wittiest man of the age, was very fitly left to divert the Chaplains; and Anthony Wood, without all
"Boeotum in crasso jurares aëre natum.
[At neque dedecorant tua de se judicia, atque Munera, quæ multa dantis cum laude tulerunt, Dilecti tibi Virgilius Variusque poëtæ;]
Nec magis expressi vultus per ahenea signa, Quàm per vatis opus mores animique virorum Clarorum apparent. Nec sermones ego mallem Repentes per humum, quàm res componere gestas, Terrarumque 'situs et flumina dicere, et arces Montibus impositas, et barbara regna, tuisque Auspiciis totum confecta duella per orbem, Claustraque custodem pacis cohibentia Janum, Et formidatam Parthis, te principe, Romam : Si, quantum cuperem, possem quoque. Sed neque
*Carmen majestas recipit tua; nec meus audet
peradventure the dullest, was called in to enjoy the conversation of his Grace. Warburton.
Ver. 385. But kings in wit] They may, nevertheless, be very good kings. It is not for his verses, any more than for his victories, that the late king of Prussia will be celebrated by posterity: but for softening the rigours of a despotic government, by a code of milder laws than his crouching people had known before; and for building many villages and farm-houses, to encourage agriculture, and repair the wastes and ravages of war. He must therefore be pardoned for an absurd judgment, which he has passed on Homer, whom he could not read in the original, where he says: "Ses chants et l'action ont peu ou point de liaison les uns avec
The hero William, and the martyr Charles,
One knighted Blackmore, and one pension'd Quarles;
Which made old Ben and surly Dennis swear,
"No Lord's anointed, but a Russian bear,"
Not with such a majesty, such bold relief,
Your country's peace, how oft, how dearly bought!
les autres, ce qui leur a mérité le nom de rapsodies." Preface to the Henriade. Warton.
Ver. 387. pension'd Quarles;] Who has lately been more favourably spoken of by some ingenious critics; particularly by the author of Thirty Letters. Warton.
Ver. 397. how dearly bought !] All this is in the spirit of the most contemptuous irony!