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peers of the land at one clap (extempore, and stans pede in unuj; and to manifest the absolute power of the potter, he chooses not only the worst clay he could find, but picks up even the dirt and mire, to form out of it his vessels of honour. It was said anciently of Fortune, that, when she had a mind to be merry and to divert herself, she was wont to raise up such kind of people to the highest dignities. This son of Fortune, Cromwell (who was himself one of the primest of her jests), found out the true haut goust of this pleasure, and rejoiced in the extravagance of his ways, as the fullest demonstration of his uncontrollable sovereignty. Good God! what have we seen? and what have we suffered? what do all these actions signify? what do they say aloud to the whole nation, but this (even as plainly as if it were proclaimed by heralds through the streets of London), ' You are slaves and fools, and so I will use you!'
"These are briefly a part of those merits which you lament to have wanted the reward of more kingdoms, and suppose that, if he had lived longer, he might have had them: which I am so far from concurring to, that I believe his seasonable dying to have been a greater good-fortune to him, than all the victories and prosperities of his life. For he seemed evidently (methinks) to be near the end of his deceitful glories; his own army grew at last as weary of him as the rest of the people; and I never passed of late before his palace (his, do I call it? I ask God and the king pardon), but I never passed of late before Whitehall, without reading upon the gate of it, 'Mene Mene, Tekel Upharsin V But it pleased God to take him from the ordinary courts of men, and juries of his peers, to his own high court of justice; which being more merciful than ours below, there is a little room yet left for the hope of his friends, if he have any; though the outward unrepentance of his death afford but small materials for the work of charity, especially if he designed even then to entail his own injustice upon his children, and, by it, inextricable confusions and civil wars upon the nation. But here's at last an end of him. And where 's now the fruit of all that blood and calamity, which his ambition has cost the world? Where is it? Why, his son (you will say) has the whole crop. I doubt, he will find it quickly blasted. I have nothing to say against the gentleman f, or any living of his family: on the contrary, I wish him better fortune than to have a long and unquiet possession of his master's inheritance. Whatsoever I have spoken against his father, is that which I should have thought (though decency,perhaps,might have hindered me from saying it) even against mine own, if I had been so unhappy, as that mine, by the same ways, should have left me three kingdoms."
Here I stopped; and my pretended protector, who, I expected, would have been very angry, fell a-laughing; it seems, at the simplicity of my discourse, for thus he replied: "You seem to pretend extremely to the old obsolete rules of virtue and conscience, which makes me doubt very much whether from this vast prospect of three kingdoms you can shew me any acres of your own. But these are so far from making you a prince, that I am afraid your friends will never have the contentment to see you so much as a justice of peace in your own country. For this, I perceive, which you call virtue, is nothing else but either the frowardness of a Cynic, or the laziness of an Epicurean. 1 am glad you allow me at least artful dissimulation and unwearied diligence in my hero; and I assure you, that he, whose life is constantly drawn by those two, shall never be misled out of the way of greatness. But I see you are a pedant and Piatonical statesman, a theoretical commonwealth's-man, an Utopian dreamer. Were ever riches gotten by your golden mediocrities? or the supreme place attained to by virtues that must not stir out of the middle? Do you study Aristotle's Politics, and write, if you please, comments upon them; and let another but practise Machiavel: and let us see then which of you two will come to the greatest preferment. If the desire of rule and superiority be a virtue (at sure I am it is more imprinted in human nature than any of your lethargical morals; and what is the virtue of any creature, but the exercise of those powers and inclinations which God has infused into it ?) if that (I say) be virtue, we ought not to esteem any thing vice, which is the most proper, if not the only, means of attaining of it:
It is a truth so certain, and so clear,
That to the first-born man it did appear;
Did not the mighty heir, the noble Cain,
By the fresh laws of nature taught, disdain
That (though a brother) any one should be
A greater favourite to God than he?
He strook him down; and so (said he) so fell
The sheep, which thou didst sacrifice so well.
Since all the fullest sheaves which I could bring,
Since all were, blasted in the offering,
Lest God should my next victim too despise,
The acceptable priest I 'll sacrifice.
Hence, coward fears; for the first blood so spilt,
As a reward he the first city built.
'T was a beginning generous and high,
Fit for a grand-child of the Deity.
So well advanc'd, 't was pity there he staid;
One step of glory more he should have made,
And to the utmost bounds of greatness gone;
Had Adam too been kill'd, he might have reign'd
alone. One brother's death, what do I mean to name, A small oblation to revenge and fame f
The mighty-soul'd Abimelec, to shew